Serpentine Migratory Bird Sanctuary is what we call a "left-wild" area that is a part of the refuge network for migratory birds on the Great Pacific Flyway. And as such, the area is rarely supervised so as to allow the birds there to flourish in a natural environment. We, humans, are visitors to that environment and should respect the fact that the environment there is for the wild birds and not purely for our own enjoyment. The birds there are resting up for their migrations and as such, respect is needed that we do not influence their behavior.
The main trail is the 1.5 km. Serpentine River Dyke Trail which offers magnificent views of the South Fraser estuary and alluvial plains. It is a gorgeous area and is home to many different types of species of birds known to frequent the West Coast.
As you walk along the Serpentine River Dyke Trail, you will see a lot of different wildflowers as well as birds. There is an artificial resting perch made up of a metal fence for the very active swallow population in Serpentine Fen.
As you walk further you will come across observation towers. I believe there are at least 3 dotting the entire landscape that with their elevation gives you panoramic views of the entire Serpentine Fen area. Admittedly a wide angle lens here rather than a super-telephoto lens offers the best view as the observation towers are more for a panoramic view of the surrounding area than they are at "observing" the wildlife. For doing the latter, getting up close and down on the ground is the best way for a photographer to "interact" respectfully with the wildlife.
At the foot of most of the observation towers, you will find an informative and thorough information guide to the wildlife species that you will find in this wildlife sanctuary. Do take the opportunity to read it.
There is a small bay just to the right of the first observation tower that you run into by the Serpentine River Dyke Trail. This is a nice cozy little place for dabbling ducks such as mallards, wood ducks and gadwalls. You may also, if you are lucky, find cinnamon, blue and green teals.
As you walk past the meander of the river that has become a little bay, you will see the remains of a pier. This was used a launching location for for boats of former settlers of the area before the land was bought up by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and reverted to the control of the Province. The ruined pier posts still dot the small little cove and provide resting perches for birds. It is said that double-crested and pelagic cormorants have used them as sitting areas, but I have yet to see a double-crested cormorant or pelagic cormorant this far inland.
A further walkthrough can be found here: A Fun Day At Serpentine - The Views Around The Sanctuary
This admittedly is not a one time visit location by any means and you will see varying wildlife every time you come out. But the one thing that still galls me is to see despite the warning signs posted visibly that people will still "unleash" their dogs to chase wildlife. This is an absolutely disgusting bit of behavior by dog owners that makes me livid every time I see it. There are two visible signs that I saw during my walk along Serpentine River Dyke Trail. One was by the marsh bridge.
The other was located halfway along Serpentine River Dyke trail in front of a field along a grove of trees where cedar waxwings and robins and other songbirds nest.
I will say this harshly, because there seems to be no other way to get the point across. These signs are not just there for your amusement. This is a wildlife management area; a sanctuary for wild birds - not a dog-walk. The welfare and the safety of the wildlife is paramount in this location and any such interaction such as what I saw on August 1st will be duly noted and reported to the Ministry of Environment. I saw dogs let off leash to chase whatever they could find, swim in the river, gallivant through the meadows in absolute violation of the signs posted. If you are willing to abide by the rules of the wildlife sanctuary then you are welcome. If you cannot respect the wildlife or understand that this area is for them, then STAY OUT! If you must bring your dog with you, then keep him/her leashed as per the rules or go to someplace like Hawthorne Park which was designed for children and dogs.
If you wish to come to Serpentine Fen, please enjoy the area, but also respect the wildlife there and obey the signs.