Solander Island lies 1.5 km off the coast of the Brooks Peninsula on the west side of Vancouver Island. It has rocky cliff faces and steep grassy slopes that culminate in a conical rocky peak. Like Triangle and Sartine of the Scott Islands to the north, Solander Island is devoid of trees. The vegetated portion is composed primarily of grass species along with patches of salmonberry and other herbaceous vegetation. Gould Rock, Clerke Islet, and the southern rocky islets associated with Rugged Islands are also included in the IBA. Patches of grass or herbaceous vegetation grow on the higher sections of these small rocky islets. They are the only other sites within this area that support nesting seabirds. In addition to Solander Island and the above mentioned islets, the IBA also includes the adjacent marine areas and rocky islets of Brooks Bay between Lawn Point to the north and Clerke Point to the south.
Solander Island supports two species in globally significant numbers. Approximately 70,000 pairs of Leachs Storm-Petrels were recorded during surveys completed in 1989. This represents about 2.5% of the estimated Eastern Pacific population and 12.7% of the national eastern Pacific population. Large numbers of Cassins Auklets were also present, with a total of 34,000 pairs being recorded during these surveys (about 1.9% of the global and 2.5% of the national population). For Leachs Storm-Petrels, Solander ranks as the third largest colony in British Columbia, and for Cassins Auklets it ranks as the sixth largest colony.
In addition to these globally significant populations, four other species are present in nationally significant numbers. These species include Pelagic Cormorants, Tufted Puffins, Glaucous-winged Gulls, and Pigeon Guillemots (7.2%, 7.9%, 1.5%, and 1.1% of their national populations, respectively). The Pelagic Cormorant colony, which contains as much as 1.4% of the continental population, is the second largest in British Columbia. In addition, Black Oystercatchers nest on Solander Island as well as on the rocky shores of the other islets within Brooks Bay. Collectively the area supported at least 9 pairs, which is just under the 1% threshold. Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons (ssp. pealei nationally vulnerable) are also recorded in the area.
The coastal waters within about 500 m of the Brooks Bay shoreline are an important feeding area for Marbled Murrelets (designated as nationally threatened). Surveys conducted in late June 1991 recorded 4.63 birds per km along a 46 km transect, for a total of 213 birds. In 1991, high levels of Marbled Murrelet activity were recorded during forest habitat surveys that were conducted inland from the Brooks Bay IBA in the Klashkish River watershed.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Solander Island was established as a Provincial Ecological Reserve in 1971. In 1995, the island and the northern shoreline of Brooks Bay were included within the Class A Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park. The primary threats that remain include potential oil spills and disturbance from boaters.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Solander Island and Brooks Bay. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/11/2022.