Westham Island is an island located near my little village of Ladner in British Columbia, Canada. It's accessible via the Westham Island Bridge, a partially single-lane, truss bridge.
Once over the bridge, you pass the Westham Island Rod and Gun Club, which was organized in 1925 by the farmers who lived on the island. "The objectives of the club were to conserve game birds, protect the property of its members, regulate shooting by nonresidents, and enforce the regulations of the Game Act. Regulation of gamebird hunting is largely done through the issuance of a limited number of permits. The club also contributed to the hiring of game wardens and stocking of gamebirds on the island."
The island is full of farms, one of the most famous of which is Bissett Farms. In 2003, the family opened a winery (Westham Island Estate Winery). In its first year, the winery won three medals in the Northwest Wines Summit in Oregon State and continues to this day to produce wines of the highest quality.
Continuing past the winery, the final destination on the island is the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. This is the winter home of the Lesser Snow Goose and one of Canada's top bird-watching sites in the heart of the Fraser River estuary. It consists of 850 acres of managed wetlands, natural marshes and low dikes and is a place where people go during any season. Stroll through the sanctuary to view varieties of birds, enjoy the quiet rural scenery, take photographs or paint, and even climb the tower that overlooks the estuary and Vancouver Island in the distance.
In the month of November, the snow geese in flocks of 20,000 or more gather here on their migratory path south. Thousands of people from all over the Lower Mainland converge on the village of Ladner where buses take them out to the Island. The snow geese come all the way from Wrangel Island that lies in the Arctic Ocean, north of Siberia, and belongs to Russia. Most of these birds stay in the Skagit Estuary in the state of Washington, just south of BC until April when they return to Wrangel Island.
I've taken my children and grandchildren out to Westham Island many many times to see the ducks and geese. I even took my girls strawberry picking so we could make jam. (I'll never forget how hot it was that day!) Speaking of which, I should check and see if the "U-pick" farms are open yet.
From wine to Wrangel Island snow geese, there's lots to see and do on Westham Island. If you're ever in the neighbourhood, stop by and I'll take you there.
(You might also like to take a look at a post I did last summer when I took my Welsh visitors to Westham Island. Just click here.)