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RED KNOT EXTRAVAGANZA!

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I went down with my friend Blair on Friday to see Red Knots at Bottle Beach in WA. I ended up meeting scientific researchers from Alaska with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), who have banded and tagged them with radio transmitters. They were at the beach looking for their flagged birds.  To read more about why scientists are studying the Climate-endangered Red Knot click HERE. To read about the impact of the Canadian study click HERE, both the USA and Canada list the bird as Endangered.

During my visit we counted 500 breeding plumaged Red Knots and dozen of Ruddy Turnstones. It was incredible as I had never seen that number of Red Knots ever in one spot. Hearing them and watching them fly in the large flocks was breathtaking. I took off my shoes and walked barefoot onto the mudflats. Other shorebirds present were Whimbrel, Greater Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Black Turnstones, Short-billed Dowitchers and Black-bellied Plovers. Had my FOY Brown Pelican too for WA!

The resea…

Eurasian Skylarks, mass movements of Pacific Loons and a new Vancouver bird: a Common Grackle!

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Yesterday, I went to Victoria to show my friend Blair Bernson his Eurasian Skylark. He has tried 4 times before. As soon as we Brian Stech, Blair and I) stepped out of the car, the birds were singing and displaying. There was a total of at least 4 birds present. When they land on the dirt it's like they evaporate as they blend right in with the dirt. I got the best photo I could hope to expect as they are tough to photograph and my last photo was to be desired.


The days of wine and roses...

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I got a call about a Phalarope discovered at the mansion at 96th St but the person couldn't identify it so I went down to nail it to species. It would be my first of year regardless the tide was awful and wasn't expecting to see much. I went down and it was 28 degrees harsh light and a sunny beautiful day. Before I even got to the mansion a small plover caught my eye I got my bins on it and could see it was a golden plover. I got the scope out and they started multiplying it was one, then 2 more appearing. My luck ran out at 3 birds now it was the hard task of identifying these guys in the harsh light haha. One was in full breeding plumage and they all had a short primary extension with 3 primaries visible past the tertials and white on the flanks they were all Pacific Golden-Plovers. I have never seen such a full breeding plumaged one in Vancouver before. I know my friend Kevin Louth found one when I was out of town so it was a cool sight to see. The bird were sitting at the…

Lapland Longspur, Franklin's Gulls and more good birding in Metro Van!

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It felt like I was back in Nome on Sunday seeing this breeding plumaged Lapland Longspur! Ilya and I had a great day of birding.

At Iona we relocated the male breeding plumaged Lapland Longspur that Tak Shibata found. The bird was past the second shelter on the south jetty at Iona.In the inner ponds we had some nice shore birding with our FOY Pectoral and Semipalmated Sandpipers. The inner ponds were loaded with Blue-winged Teal too. I wasn't able to show Ilya the Common Terns or Bank Swallow I saw when he was out of town.

After that, we went to Brunswick Point where we found 5 breeding plumaged Red Knots, 2 adult breeding plumaged Franklin's Gulls on the mudflats which was a cool rarity! We also saw 22 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 1 Semipalmated Plover, many Black-bellied Plovers, 13 Whimbrel and a FOY beautiful male Bullock's Oriole. We also had an American Bittern (pumping), Caspian Terns, a Yellow Warbler and so much more.

After dinner we didn't know where we should g…

Young Birder Overnight Trip to Cleland Island in Tofino

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We started eagerly on Friday at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal en route to Tofino via Nanaimo for our pelagic. At the compensation lagoon in Tsawwassen, we saw one late female Long-tailed Duck, 1 Black Scoter and Greater White-fronted Goose, Semipalmated Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, Brant, Harlequins and many Black Oystercatchers. We got in to the "Whaler's on the Point Guesthouse" and met the others. We were all excited for the pelagic the next morning.




Well...our pelagic got cancelled at 6:15 am on Saturday; the same day we were supposed to be going out at 7 am. The disappointment by all was an understatement. On top of that, there was heavy fog in town making shorebirding impossible. My friend Mark Wynja had done some pre-scouting for us and when we tried to check it out ourselves an hour later, it was still socked in, we did see an Osprey and Blue-winged Teal, a few Whimbrel and Western Sandpipers through the heavy fog but that was it; so I decided to try for a plan B.

We …

Red-shouldered Hawk being raised by a Great-horned Owl!!

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At Pinnacles National Park in California Great-Horned Owl has taken a Red-shouldered Hawk as prey for her young but apparently has changed her mind and is now raising the Red-shouldered Hawk as her own young beside her Great-Horned Owlet. Check out the full incredible pictures HERE

This is very reminiscent of the Red-tailed Hawk that was successfully raised by Bald Eagles in Sidney, BC last year; see HERE for that story.


Birds in the news and a new comic

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The new Osprey Nesting Platforms are up in Grant Narrows!

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Last month the old decaying Osprey nesting platforms collapsed and fell into Pitt Lake and no one wanted to fix them ....I tried to get help from every level of government, city and regional parks. We were in a rush because we knew the birds wanted to begin nesting and it's huge work for them plus the Bald Eagles predate them so we wanted to give them a helping hand since they were visibly distressed when they couldn't use their old nests sites.

Well Kathy Boylen and I set out to get a plan to get these new nest platforms up. We contacted the local Katzi First Nations and I contacted the Federal and Provincial Governments who had no jurisdiction and sadly weren't eager to help but I wanted to clear everything legally and we were set. Next the boat we had was too large to get us out and the platforms weren't designed right for the pilings so we had to go back to the drawing board and get them reconstructed. Thank you to Chris Bradford who volunteered his time and boat …