Vancouver Island is a wildlife viewing mecca, a bucket list destination for anyone eager to catch the spray of a whale’s blow, spot a bear combing the beach, or take a photo of the legendary bald eagle. These are the hallmark critters of Vancouver Island, the ambassadors that represent the complex and stunning ecosystem of our oceans, forests, and beaches. They’re not the only species worth spotting though, and one new tour operator is eager to shine the spotlight on a lesser loved bird, the seagull.
“Seagulls are a beautiful bird with a bad rap,” says Van Isle Seagull Watching owner-operator Avril Phule. “Many travellers ignore the gull, opting instead to focus on bald eagles or cormorants, but they’re really missing out on the magic. I first fell in love with seagulls when one nested outside my office window. I watched the little bird take its first steps and grow up.”
Phule started Van Isle Seagull Watching with the intent to raise awareness about the shore birds, their habits, and conservation of the gull on Vancouver Island. “What most travellers and residents don’t realize is gulls are a Queen’s bird. Queen Elizabeth took a liking to them, and named them a protected species. What would be better birding than a royal bird?” says Phule.
The curious flying flock are often seen in popular tourists areas and dismissed, but now’s their time to shine. Van Isle Seagull Watching specializes in viewing tours that you can share with your loved ones through social media: they find the most photo-worthy destinations on the Island where seagulls tend to hang out, and coach you on how to take a #SelfieWithASeagull.
“By merging real-world wildlife viewing with a social media campaign, we can spread the good word of the seagull while also giving our customers a souvenir they’ll cherish for a lifetime.”
Bookings aren’t open for the 2018 season just yet, but Phule is looking forward to sharing her passion with travellers. She’s certain that with the uptick in seagull admiration, she won’t be the only operator offering seagull watching on Vancouver Island for long.
Tours will be customizable and Phule is willing to travel, meaning travellers can choose to view seagulls in almost any Vancouver Island town.