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Back to my old stomping grounds in Saskatoon and the most Whooping Cranes ever seen in one spot!

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Well I always love to go back to Saskatoon. It is such a beautiful city and there are many things I miss about living there. Chris Charlesworth had a large amount of people sign up for his Whooping Crane and Saskatchewan birding tour and he asked me if I could come and guide the group with him for his company Avocet Tours. I said for sure and became his co-leader. Many flights were delayed including mine on October 2nd due to the largest snow storm in Calgary's October history. They had the most snowfall of any October in the last 100 years! Saskatoon luckily had all of its snow melted but everywhere outside of Saskatoon was blanketed with snow.

I started out by taking the group to the Saskatoon Weir where used to be my favourite place to sit after work and see the American White Pelicans fish. Today we were looking for October migrants as it's a great spot for them like Palm Warblers. In 2014 I found the second record of House Wren for October in Saskatoon and the 2nd record…

I lost my best friend

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I lost my love. I lost my best friend and I lost my heart. I returned from SK a few hours ago and planned to do my next blog post on seeing the unprecedented record breaking number of Whooping Cranes for all of Canada. I saw 157 in one day and 126 in one spot. Well that all changed when I put down my luggage and my dogs came to greet me. I noticed my big girl was rapidly breathing and that she was coughing she was still wagging her tail and came to hug me. She then began coughing up blood and it started to come out of her nose. I got her to the car and drove straight to animal emergency in Vancouver by Alberta and 7th. By this point she was having great difficulty and blood was coming out on my back seat. I lifted her into the vet clinic all 60 pounds of her and the vets and staff took her straight into the back. A few minutes later the vet comes out to tell me the bad news that a ultrasound showed her liver to be enlarged and that she had cancer that spread from the liver into the l…

Young Birder Trip to Vancouver Island and a Red-throated Pipit!

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It was our final trip of the year yesterday. We went to Sooke for the hawk watch. On the ferry from Tsawwassen we had one Parasitic Jaeger right off the ferry jetty as we were 30 seconds into our departure. We also saw many Bonaparte's Gulls, Red-throated, Pacific and Common Loons and many Brandt's Cormorants. When we got off the ferry, we drove straight to Aylard Farm at Beechey Head in Sooke. It was the official hawk watch put on by the Capital Regional district, so there was tons of people out and about. As we walked up on the 20 min hike, with our scopes, we heard several Pacific Wrens. Last year we had an incredible time there,  see that postHERE.

This year there was far less action (there was no thermals for the hawks to really ride) but we still had a great time. We got to chat with old friends like Kevin Neill, Geoffrey Newell, Ann Nightingale, Kim Beardmore and Mike McGrenere. We also got to meet the new BCFO president Marian Porter and Dan Alcroft. The weather was n…

Young Birders Workshop Report, Dating Birders, Saving Birds from Fishing Nets, a new Wildlife Area in BC and Birds in the News.

1. Young birders Isaac Nelson and Bridget Spencer went this summer to the Doug Tarry young ornithologists workshop at Long Point in Ontario.
To read about their incredible time there click HERE

2. Here is a fun news article I read about dating a birder. Most non-birders and normal people think we birders are crazy so this is a fun read. Click HERE to read "A beginner's guide to dating a birder".

3. Now here is some really great news which I have talked about before. However, I wanted to share it again. The federal government has created a new wildlife area in BC. It's called "The Scott Islands Wildlife Area" and is the first wildlife area protected under the Canadian Wildlife Act. To read about this incredible news which will protect Seabirds like Tufted Puffins click HERE

4. Every year birds die in fishing nets. Thousands die actually. We find them washed up on the shore of places like Boundary bay and Point Roberts, WA. All along Vancouver Island and the…

Twitching my lifer BLACK-TAILED GULL in Powell River!

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Today I went to Powell River to twitch my lifer Black-tailed Gull (BTGU).  Let me back up, this gull was first found by Ken Wright on Sept 13th but because he didn't know what it was the message got delayed reaching the public. Luckily when Ken got back from his kayak trip on Sunday Sept 16th, he eBirded it after someone identified it for him and I contacted him for details. I quickly got in touch with the local birders in Powell River, Pierre and Iwan to let them know. Pierre said he would go out in his boat immediately to check it out.

See this gull Ken found was roosting on "Major Islet," or as the locals call it "Major Rock." Ken had seen this bird while kayaking and the only way anyone could get there would be by boat. Well Pierre went out Monday morning and could not relocate the gull. I and many others were quite disappointed but Pierre didn't give up and went back out in the late afternoon. Right after 4 pm he refound the gull roosting on Major Isl…

Congratulations to my friend John Reynolds on becoming the new chair of COSEWIC!

My friend John Reynolds has become the new chair of The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

There is truly no one better for the job he's diplomatic and cares about the environment and protection of threatened and endangered species. We have had lots of conversations about the decline of Barn Owls in BC and other species in Canada. With him at the helm it really gives me hope for some positive changes to the Species At Risk Act (SARA) by getting more species listed and more habitat protection for them where before seemed hopeless.

Congratulations John on this honour.

You can read the full news story HEREand the official press release HERE.

Eight bird species went extinct this decade including the Spix's Macaw.

When will we wake up? We are fully informed and continue to let fossil fuel companies rule society and we consume consume consume. We cause massive deforestation and turn critical habitat into agricultural land. We exacerbate climate change instead of slowing it down. This is the first time that mainland species are now going extinct before island species.

8 species have went extinct this decade including the Spix's Macaw.

Here are some of them:

Spix's Macaw last seen in Brazil in 2000.

Pernambuco pygmy owl last seen in Brazil in 2001 (most likely killed off by illegal logging)

Cinnamon-colored cryptic treehunter last seen in Brazil in 2007 (killed off due to sugar plantations replacing their forest habitat)

Alagoas foliage-gleaner last seen in 2011 in Brazil (killed off due to deforestation and sugar plantations)

The Po’o-uli, or black-faced honeycreeper was last seen in Maui, Hawaii in 2004 (killed off due to invasive species, mosquitoes and climate change)

Glaucous Macaw, New Ca…

What's next?! Apparently a Red Phalarope!

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So after this crazy long weekend of 3 new Vancouver life Birds and one genuine lifer I got Metro Van bird #317 tonight after Hui Sim found one off the Iona jetty. I went out and searched for it right away as she had it on the mud at the base of the south jetty. However I could not find it there nor others so I got up on the south jetty and started scoping all the mud. My trust Kowa didn't let me down and I spotted it a glowing white phalarope from the distant jetty. I called Ilya who was searching on the beach an he ran to me and looked in my scope. It was a bit far to make sure it was not a Red-necked Phalarope so we drove in my car then walked down to the beach. The bird was moulting and since their moult is so variable in Red Phalaropes it made the id a bit tricky at first glance but after watching it for an hour we were sure by it's stocky build and thicker bill, grey plumage  etc that it was a Red Phalarope. Normally I would go and look at the other birds especially sinc…

Little Stint round 2!

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Well Ilya came back from being in the field for work and I rallied friends together the Toochins and Kevin Louth to go Little Stint hunting at Boundary Bay. We ran into my friend John Vooys on the flats and we all began searching. My other friend Dave Beeke was down at 88th St hunting hard for the Snowy Plover I had seen the day before. Ilya still needs Snowy Plover for BC so he was greatful. We met up with my friend Rob Lyske at 104th St who was with Steve Ansell, Doug Bamford and many other birders from WA and BC. They had a Pacific Golden-Plover before we arrived but we could not see a single Black-bellied Plover. Nor the Willet or Ruddy Turnstones but there was several large flocks of Western Sandpipers. As we got closer to them a Peregrine Falcon came and flushed the flock. Then as we got closer to Steve Ansell he shouted I have the Stint! We congratulated him and got on the bird quickly. Everyone in our now group of 12 got on the Little Stint. It was a lifer for John Vooys and …

The crazy long weekend continues with an Arctic Tern!

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Well I can't quite remember a weekend like this in recent memory. To think I was planning to go away this weekend. I am so glad I didn't! Today an Arctic Tern was found on the south jetty at Iona. My poor feet were soooo tired from the walking about on the mudflats for the Little Stint. Thank goodness the Little Stint hung around today and people got great photos and views! But anyways this tern was first identified as a Common Tern I got a hold of the pics and saw immediately it was an Arctic Tern thanks to Kevin Louth who was on the jetty and said there is a probable Arctic Tern out there. So after I reviewed the pics I got the word out and many came to twitch it. I was the first one since I only live 10 mins away. I met up with Kevin and his lovely wife and my poor feet took me to the end of the jetty. I didn't see the turn I watch a baby otter and his mom roll around in the sand. I searched for Jaegers in vain and of course the Tern. I started to walk back hoping it w…