Posts

Chasing the Curlew Sandpiper!

Image
You might remember from my recent trip report to see Olympic Marmots in Port Angeles that a Curlew Sandpiper had shown up while we were away in the US. Well this bird showed up on Sept 10th at Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta.

You can read all about it HERE.
Well this would be a lifer bird for me and an ABA bird for Ilya and one we had always talked about wanting to get in our home province. So we were a bit sad we missed that bird sighting but it was very brief and sadly only a few people ever got to see the bird at Reifel due to a pesky (I really do love them) Peregrine Falcon.
Well we went out the next day to look for that bird at Reifel with dozens of others but no dice. I kept checking Reifel almost daily and there were good birds there like a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpipers and Red-necked Phalaropes but nothing quite as desirable as a Curlew Sandpiper. Ilya checked Brunswick Point frequently and came up with other good birds like Pacific and American-Golden Plovers, Red …

Canada's endangered species are declining faster than ever ...

Sadly the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the Federal Government are not doing an adequate job at protecting our most endangered and vulnerable species.

Endangered species are declining at rapid rates (on average greater than 60% since the 1970's)  like Canada Warblers, Rusty Blackbirds, Cerulean Warblers, Stilt Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs and that's just the beginning.

SARA doesn't enforce any laws on animals not listed as threatened or endangered. A Barn Owl in BC for instance is listed as "Special Concern" and has no extra enforceable protection under SARA. To me it just doesn't make sense especially when scientists think this population will most likely be extirpated in the next few years sadly . We can't wait until what happened with Spotted Owls in BC happens to Barn Owls for instance.

If we don't protect the animals and birds before we get to that stage it will be innefective. The withholding of protection of vulnerable species, (esp due t…

Mountain Quail and Olympic Marmots Oh My!

Image
Ilya and I went down to Washington and had a terrific weekend. Ilya needed Mountain Quail as a lifer so I took him to a spot I knew and we ended up getting 7. I will post a few shots below. These birds are not easy to find in WA and are severely declining there. They are declining mostly due to habitat loss due to development, intense agriculture and overgrazing, flooding of riparian areas (through dams) and climate change creating the loss of much needed water sources. Mountain Quails are the largest of any quail in North America and these birds are sadly completely extirpated from BC. While looking for the Quail we saw many other birds of note such as Black-throated Gray Warblers, Cassin's Vireos, Band-tailed Pigeons, Bewick's Wrens and Western Tanagers just to name a few.

We went to Neah Bay for a pelagic but sadly due to weather and people getting really sick our boat had to turn back to port. It was a long way to go for a big disappointment. It was good seeing my friend …

Hurricane Irma and the effects on the birds

My heart goes out to all affected by Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm. The death toll is only expected to rise sadly. The people of the island of St. Martin/St. Maarten were especially hit hard.

You can see photos of the devastation there HERE.

HERE are some ways you can help all the people and domestic animals affected by this Hurricaine please do what you can.

But who is helping the Birds and other animals? US Fish and Wildlife said understandably they can't do anything for safety concerns to their personal until the storm completely passes. The small Carribean Island who got most battered are trying to save human lives and rebuild and can't focus on that right now. Therefore the birds and animals need our help not to mention with the huge costs of essential habitat restoration.

You can read an article that came out today about how birds are affected by hurricanes HERE. Cornell also put out an article on how birds are affected by hurricanes which you can read HERE. In some…

VANCOUVER ISLAND MARMOTS!!!!!!!!!

Image
Ilya and I hiked up Mount Washington and finally got to see Vancouver Island Marmots. It was a toughish hike but worth it. It was mostly tough due to the baking heat.

Taken on Mount Washington. This is the most endangered mammal in Canada! They are endemic to Vancouver Island.

In 2003 there were only 23 of them left in the wild. Today through successful conservation efforts there are 200. This is still a critically endangered animal and all must be done possible to protect it. I have wanted to see one forever, so was so happy to get the chance. I ended up seeing 2 yesterday. They will be hibernating very soon.

You can help them out by donating here

http://marmots.org/how-you-can-help/donate-now/



Tofino Pelagic Trip, Sept 3, 2017

Image
25 of us set out of Tofino Harbour on 2 chartered boats from Ocean Outfitters.  We did not chum on board but were able to find a longline fisherman. It is too bad we couldn't have found a dragger that really pulls in the birds like Laysan Albatrosses haha.

Highlights on this trip were: 40 Buller's Shearwaters (I've never seen that many off BC), Flesh-footed Shearwaters, Black-footed Albatross, Sabine's Gulls, Fork-tailed Storm-petrels, Sea Otters, Humpback Whales, Dall's Porpoises riding our boat, Red Phalaropes, Red-necked Phalarope, Tufted Puffin, Long-tailed, Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers, Sabine's, Herring and Heermann's Gulls, Arctic Terns, Northern Fulmars, Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters, Ancient Murrelets and Cassin's Auklets.

We had good people on this trip: Peter Candido, John Vooys, George Clulow, Rob Lyske, John Reynolds, Vince Knight, Neil and Andrea MacLeod and family, Jayme Brooks, Rebecca Tranmer, Ilya Povalyaev, Mike and Sharon Tooc…

Listen to my CBC radio Interview that aired today and a list of Birding Interviews I have done

Swallow-tailed Gull Twitch!

Image
Yesterday, I got the chance to go down to Seattle to see the adult Swallow-tailed Gull (ABA Code 5 bird) that my friend Ryan Merrill found in Carkeek Park in Seattle. The bird was the most gorgeous bird I've ever seen. It is a nocturnal gull. It is actually the only nocturnal gull and seabird in the world! It eats squid and fish that come to the surface at night to feed on plankton.  I and BC resident and friend Ann Nightingale went down with me as well. We had fantastic views of the bird as it flew at us and sat on the shore. Traffic was surprisingly good all the way down to Seattle as well.  When we arrived the crowds of birders were there and it was easy to see where the gull was. My friend John Gatchet was there and we had crippling views.

I really wonder how this bird that breeds in the Galapagos Islands got all the way to Seattle (apparently this bird can become nomadic when food shortages occur...climate change?) but I am sure glad I was there to see it. This was one of th…

Seeing Northern Spotted Owls and the conclusion to my North American Owl Big Year!

Image
This weekend Ilya and I went hiking in the mountains of Washington and we were blessed to see 3 Northern Spotted Owls. These owls are endangered. In BC they are basically extirpated with less than a dozen left in the wild. In Washington the species is not doing well and there are about 200 birds left in the state.

Everytime I see one I feel truly blessed to be in their presence. I have never seen a more curious and beautiful creature. They climb up and down the tree branches like parrots. All 3 of them flew in separately to us over the  2 days we were present. We found one baby the first day and no other owls. Dead tired we returned to the same spot and hiked up a tough incline where we found mom. The female flew within arms length and stayed with us the whole time, while we sat beneath her and at times at eye level. It was a magical experience in a most peaceful setting far away from any people and cell service. On the way down the mountain we were greeted by not one 1 baby but 2 ba…

Listen to my birding interviews on CBC Radio on Sept 2 and 3

I will be doing several interviews about birding this weekend. Subjects covered will be women in birding, youth in birding and themodern birding culture in Canada.

For those listeners from BC I will be doing a radio interview on CBC Radio One's program "North by Northwest" with host Sheryl Mackay on Saturday Sept 3rd it airs at 7:10am.

You can listen live online HERE

I will post a link later for those who can't listen live.

The other programs across the country are listen below check local listings on CBC Radio One's website here. Each show will also post the interviews online and/or on their respective websites a day or so after it airs.

NEWFOUNDLAND  - "Weekend AM" Host: Heather Barrett Air Time: 6-9:30am on Sat Sept 2, 2017 Show Website
SASKATCHEWAN - "Saskatchewan Weekend"  Host:  Shauna Powers  Airs: 6-9am on Sat Sept 2, 2017 Show Website

OTTAWA - "In Town and Out"   Host: Giacomo Panico
Airs: 6am-9am on Sat Sept 2, 2017 Show …