The District of Sooke occupies the unceded traditional territories of the T’Sou-ke and Scia’new Nations. Central to Sooke’s history, we recognize the ongoing presence, influence and rights of these Nations within the community. It is with tremendous gratitude that we have the honour to call these lands home.

A short drive from Victoria or a peaceful ferry ride from Vancouver, Sooke, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, offers an enchanting birdwatching experience. Surrounded by a tapestry of coastal landscapes, including ocean shores, estuaries, woodlands, and lush marshlands, Sooke provides an ideal habitat for a diverse range of bird species.

Nestled within its stunning natural beauty, Sooke welcomes bird enthusiasts to explore its thriving birding hotspots. From the shores of Sooke Basin to the trails winding through its pristine forests, every corner promises a unique avian encounter. After a rewarding birding session, one can indulge in farm-to-table dining and locally-roasted coffee, complementing the relaxed pace of this coastal town.

Birders can craft their journey through the charming communities of Sooke, soaking in the authentic coastal vibe and exploring the area’s independently-owned businesses. As part of the rich tapestry of Vancouver Island’s natural wonders, Sooke offers a chance to unwind, rejuvenate, and revel in the captivating beauty of Canada’s west coast.

Spring birding in Sooke

Spring in Sooke is bursting with bird species. As the season unfolds, a vibrant tapestry of avian life graces the region. Keep an eye out for the elusive Orange-crowned Warbler, its subtle beauty blending with the budding foliage. Listen for the melodic songs of the Golden-crowned Kinglet, a tiny jewel of the forests. On the coastline, don’t miss the annual arrival of Brant geese, a celebrated event in the community. These spring sightings, along with a chorus of other species, make Sooke a premier destination for birdwatching during Spring.

Summer birding in Sooke

Summer bird watching in Sooke is a treat for birdwatchers and non-birders alike. The diverse ecosystem of this coastal region attracts a variety of avian residents and migrants. Along the shoreline, scan for chatty Black Oystercatchers foraging with their bright orange bills. In the dense forests, listen for the enchanting melodies of  Swainson’s Thrush. Keep an eye on wetlands for the secretive Virginia Rail, a small, sneaky bird. The rich avian diversity and stunning natural scenery make Sooke a prime destination for summer birdwatching.

Fall birding in Sooke

Fall in Sooke brings a dynamic shift in birdwatching opportunities. Migratory birds begin their southward journey, flocking to the area before continuing on. Look out for slick Cormorants, the area hosts three species – Brandt’s, Double-crested, and Pelagic.On the coastline you may spot Black Turnstones and Sanderlings as they forage along the shores. Fall is also the time to spot raptors like the Peregrine Falcon and Northern Harrier as they pass through the region. Birdwatching in Sooke during the autumn season offers exciting encounters with these seasonal travelers.

Winter birding in Sooke

Winter birdwatching in Sooke offers a serene and rewarding experience. As the season settles in, the coastal region becomes a haven for various bird species. Seek out enchanting Harlequin Ducks with their striking plumage along the shoreline. Scan the waters for graceful Pacific Loons and energetic Common Goldeneyes. The marshes come alive with the chatter of Northern Pintails and the elusive Sora. Winter birdwatching in Sooke promises encounters with these resilient birds against a backdrop of serene coastal beauty.

The Sooke Basin

As you arrive in the community Sooke via the historic Highway 14, you are greeted with a sudden break in the towering evergreens that showcases the serene beauty of the Sooke Basin. This sheltered body of water and the community beyond were named for the T’sou-ke Nation. In the SENĆOŦEN language, the word T’Sou-ke is the name of the Stickleback fish that live in the estuary of the river.

Birdwatching along the Sooke River
  • 1
    Sunriver Nature Trail
    2351 Phillips Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0Y3

    Located in the Sunriver Neighbourhood, the trailhead for the Sunriver Nature Trail begins just outside of a subdivision. Don’t let the suburban start fool you however, as just a few minutes from the parking area you will find yourself wandering amongst old growth cedars along the banks of the Sooke River. The gentle trail winds its way 2km along the river before looping back for a total distance of just under 4km, making it an accessible option for all visitors. Species observed here include many forest songbirds, woodpeckers, birds of prey and waterfowl on the river.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee along the Sunriver Nature Trail
  • 2
    John Phillips Memorial Park
    2201 Otter Point Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 1J2

    The charming community of Sooke is home to more than just excellent waterfront wildlife viewing and a visit to John Phillips Memorial Park will showcase the variety of forest-dwelling species in the region. While the park does have some waterfowl on it’s pond, the highlights are found in the surrounding open parkland, so enjoy a stroll around the meadows and scan the trees for splendid species such as Cedar Waxwings, Anna’s Hummingbird, Purple Finch and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

  • 3
    Fred Milne Park
    2249 Sooke River Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0X5

    While Fred Milne Park is perhaps most commonly utilized by the community for recreation and sports, it is also home to nesting Osprey’s during the summer months, and a healthy population of Canada Geese during the winter months. Located high up on a lightpost in the south-west corner of the park, the Osprey nest has been active for over a decade and provides an excellent opportunity to see these impressive diving raptors in an accessible environment.

Looking south towards the Olympic Mountains from Sooke.
  • 5
    Stickleback Oceanfront Cider & Taphouse
    5449 Sooke Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0C8

    Overlooking the serene waters of the Sooke Basin, the Stickleback Oceanfront Cider and Taphouse offers a crowd-pleasing menu chock full of homemade favourites best enjoyed on their waterfront patio. If your visit allows, drop by on Sunday between 11am and 1pm to enjoy their delicious Sunday Brunch.

  • 6
    17 Mile House Pub
    5126 Sooke Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0E2

    Rustic charm abounds at the historic 17 Mile House Pub. Enjoy a relaxed lunch on their garden patio during the summer or a hearty roast dinner accompanied by a perfectly poured Guinness in their cozy dining room.

Belted Kingfisher, Sooke.
  • 7
    Route 14
    6686 Sooke Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0H2

    Serving fine food in a casual atmosphere, Route 14 prides itself on using the finest locally and ethically sourced ingredients on their menu. A vibrant local hangout, be sure to peruse their drinks menu featuring local craft beers brewed nearby.

  • 8
    The Lazy Gecko
    5-6631 Sooke Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0A3

    Known for their substantial burritos and authentic tacos, Lazy Gecko delivers the best of Mexican cuisine in the heart of Sooke. A local favourite for a casual meal, their colourful dining room also features a patio for the summer months.

The Sooke River.
  • 10
    Sooke River Campground
    2259 Phillips Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0Y3

    Located along the banks of the Sooke River, this delightful Campground also features some economical cabins on their waterfront property. Enjoy excellent birdwatching opportunities along the river right from your campground and enjoy the natural beauty of this coastal community.

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  • 11
    Spring Salmon Place (KWL-UCHUN) Campground
    Sooke River Road, Sooke, BC V9A 3N6

    Open during the busy summer months, this popular campground is located on the Sooke River near the popular local swimming spot, the Sooke Potholes. This campground operates on a first come, first served basis so no reservations are available. 

Anna's Hummingbird, Whiffin Spit.
 Visitor Centre
  • 12
    Sooke Region Museum & Visitor Centre
    2070 Phillips Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0Y3

    The Museum is home to a comprehensive collection of exhibits exploring the history of the Sooke Region through the experiences of its residents. With a number of outdoor exhibits available during daylight hours and an indoor visitor centre staffed by friendly, knowledgeable advisors, travellers to the region should be sure to stop by for up to date information and recommendations.

The Sooke Harbour

As you make your way towards the Sooke Harbour, you pass through the bustling centre of the town. Comprised overwhelmingly of small, locally owned businesses, be sure to take time to refuel before continuing on to explore the stunning natural harbour where it meets the untamed waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

An aerial view of the Sooke Harbour.
  • 13
    Billings Spit
    Sooke, BC

    Located at the mouth of the Sooke River where it drains into the harbour, the rich tidal waters mix with the freshwater of the river to create an abundance of nutrients and wildlife. Best visited during a low tide, when the receding waters expose the abundant mudflats of the estuary, this easily accessed park allows for excellent sightings. Commonly sighted species include the Great Blue Heron, Canada Goose and California Gull although less common varieties frequently make an appearance. If you are looking for a more adventurous walk, make your way northeast along the shoreline towards the small salt marsh at Seabroom Park, a popular spot for sheltering waterfowl.

  • 14
    The Pier at Prestige Oceanfront Resort
    Sooke, BC V9Z 0V1

    Along the water behind the impressive Prestige Hotel, a number of nesting boxes have been installed along the Sooke Pier to house Purple Martins that return annually to rear their young. Installed thanks to a collaboration with a number of community members, the twelve boxes form the basis of a bustling colony that peaks during the summer breeding season. Be sure to scan the waters around the pier for waterfowl and wildlife during your visit, it is not uncommon to spot Harbour Seals in the area and although rare, Killer Whales have been known to pass by.

Walking along the Sooke Pier.
  • 15
    Whiffin Spit

    Widely regarded as one of the South Island’s best birding hotspots, Whiffen Spit is a must visit for any bird enthusiast spending time in Sooke with over 220 species observed here. Acting as a natural wharf for the protected waters of the Sooke Harbour, Whiffen Spit can often feature vastly different conditions from one side to the other. The ocean side of the spit features rougher waters and is often found to host a number of seabird species, notably Harlequin Ducks during the winter months. On the lee side of the spit, calmer waters prevail welcoming dabbling ducks, waders and shorebirds. As you make your way out towards the tip of the spit, keep your eyes amongst the trees at the beginning for chances to spot a number of passerine species flitting amongst the stunted evergreens.

Whiffin Spit Park, Sooke.
  • 16
    Cafe Vosino
    6715 Eustace Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 1H0

    Sooke’s community centered Co-Op coffee shop! Recently inaugurated, this delightful gathering place serves up delicious coffee roasted right next door and hearty eats, Cafe Vosino has all you need to get your day started off right.

  • 17
    Little Vienna
    6726 W Coast Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 1H5

    An authentic European bakery nestled in the heart of Sooke, Little Vienna crafts handmade loaves, preservative-free pastries and daily deli features. Pick up a fresh breakfast sandwich and coffee to enjoy on their patio or drop by for some lunch sandwiches to bring along on your explorations.

Purple Martins, Sooke Pier Nesting Boxes.
  • 18
    Mom's Cafe
    2036 Sheilds Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0P6

    A longtime local favourite, Mom’s Cafe has been serving the citizens of Sooke classic homemade comfort food since 1963. Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, you can be sure to have a satisfying meal at Mom’s no matter what time you visit, just be sure to grab a slice of pie before you go.

  • 19
    Up Sooke Eatery
    6697 Sooke Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 1H8

    With a welcome, down to earth atmosphere and breakfast served all day, Up Sooke Eatery promises a satisfying meal for reasonable prices. Enjoy a filling breakfast or a classic lunch plate to fuel up for your day of adventure.

  • 20
    Indian Delight Bistro & Bar
    6676 Sooke Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0A5

    Known for their mouth-watering curries and welcoming environment, Indian Delight promises flavourful dishes and authentic recipes. Open for Lunch and Dinner 7 days a week, the experienced chefs will ensure you have an excellent dining experience.

Watching Seabirds along Whiffin Spit.
  • 21
    West Coast Grill
    6929 W Coast Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0V1

    Located in the Prestige Hotel, the West Coast Grill offers delectable and fresh culinary creations to suit every appetite. Open each day from 8am to 9pm, the welcoming, upscale atmosphere is complemented by the refined dishes on their curated menu.

  • 22
    Wild Mountain
    1831 Maple Avenue South, Sooke, BC V9Z 0N9

    Wild Mountain embraces the slow food movement at their delightful dining room serving West Coast Canadian Cuisine that reflects the harvest & season. Locally renowned for their creative, flavourful dishes and hand crafted cocktails, the team at Wild Mountain is sure to impress with their hospitality and talents.

A gull in the Sooke Harbour.
  • 23
    Village Food Market
    103-6661 Sooke Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 0A1

    In the heart of Sooke, Village Foods is a full service grocer offering an extensive deli selection and a wide assortment of fresh produce and an in-house bakery. Stop by to stock up on accompaniments for your adventures.

  • 24
    Bits of Bliss Confectionery
    6705 W Coast Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 1A2

    A delightful confectionery offering homemade doughnuts, carefully decorated cupcakes and cakes fit for any occasion. Stop by in the summer for a handmade ice cream or get creative with an icecream sandwich featuring one of their delectable doughnuts.

Purple Martin nesting in Sooke.
Exploring the forest at the Sunriver Nature Trail.