Hillkeep Regional Park is located at the top of Chilliwack Mountain and is easily considered a hidden gem with scenic trails, wonderful valley views and, of course, no shortage of birds. Data collected at the site is relatively slim so far, so there's still much to discover. The park's trails wind through a variety of habitats making a birding walk quite enjoyable. Mosquitoes can be a bit of an issue in June and July and bears are seen annually.
Amenities include an information kiosk, directional signage on the trails and a viewing platform over the valley. More information on the park and gate opening and closing times visit the FVRD website.
Hillkeep's location on the top of a mountain might contribute to the good diversity of migrant bird species seen on both spring and fall migration. Almost all the expected warbler, vireo and flycatcher species have been noted here passing by on migration. Some raptor movement has also been recorded in the few locations that offer a decent view of the sky.
Summer has quite a few breeding species including the expected Swainson's Thrush, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, MacGillvray's Warbler, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak and two years running, singing Olive-sided Flycatchers noted well into the summer suggesting a possible breeding pair. Western Tanager also appear to likely breed here.
In the winter, things quiet down for birds, but a late afternoon hike to watch the sun set on Cheam Mountain from the viewing platform should offer a few birds such as Varied Thrush, woodpeckers and winter finches.
~By Jamie Gadsden - June 19, 2019