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Showing posts from November, 2017

The King Eider Twitch, Memories from Nome and a Documentary on a Falcon named "Spirit."

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1.Today I went and saw the King Eider that Mike Klotz found back on Oct 24th. The bird disappeared 3 days later for a month and was refound by Mike Cranny at the same spot on Nov 23rd. The Eider goes away (to God knows where?) for a few days and comes back to the same spot. However, when he is there, he sits right inside the ferry berth #5; so unfortunately you have to pay to go inside the terminal or onto the ferry to see him but he's worth the price of admission.  We rarely get adult males in breeding plumage in the province so it's worth it!

The bird was out over 500m from where I was standing at the walk on passenger waiting room. I got good scope views of him (I watched him for an hour) and this poor heavily cropped hand-held record shot using a teleconverter :).

This is the 258th bird I have seen in Metro Vancouver this year, the 308th for my Metro Vancouver life list and the 414th bird I have seen in the province of BC.


2. I was thinking about Nome yesterday just bein…

Galapagos study finds that new species can develop in as little as two generations

To read the article click HERE.

To read the scientific research paper "Rapid Hybrid Speciation in Darwin's Finches" By Sangeet Lamichhaney, Fan Han, Matthew T. Webster, Leif Andersson, B. Rosemary Grant, Peter R. Grant, Published online 23 Nov 2017.


Please click HERE

Meet Robert Bateman (iconic bird painter and naturalist) in Surrey and Delta - Dec 1st and 3rd!

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I love Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman's beautiful paintings of birds, animals and nature. His paintings have inspired me as an artist. I also love his philosophy on life, his passion about nature conservation and his belief that it is vitally important to get children out into nature. He believes the world would be a better place if everyone was a birder. Bateman started as a high school teacher passionate about teaching geography and environmentalism to kids. He then started to paint in an impressionistic style before switching to realism. He is also an accomplished author about environmental and conservation issues.

You can watch a video about this incredible artist and naturalist below:



Event Details:

"Come meet the amazing 87 year old living legend, Mr. Robert Bateman himself, who will be sharing his experiences and stories behind his artworks. It is a free venue, sponsored by Blue Lotus Art gallery. Book signing and signing of pictures will also be done on t…

The ABA Checklist is out, Hawaiian Crows are in the wild again & more Bird News and Research Papers

The Little Gull Twitch

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I went up to Penticton yesterday after my friend Chris Charlesworth and another birder Jesse Hannebauer found a Little Gull. This is a bird I have wanted to see in BC for a long time. It is the smallest gull in the world. I just love the Hooded Gulls. I was out of town the last time 2 showed up in the Vancouver area in 2012. I also missed the one in Nakusp in 2014. Therefore, I decided to travel the 4.5 hours to Penticton for this lifer. I was expecting some snow through the mountain passes but it was like summer up there! Not a drop of snow on the road. In the Okanagan there wasn't any snow at all! I have driven here in years past, at the same time in November and had so much snow and needed a 4 wheel drive, so it was a welcome treat. The drive was sunny and warm for the season, about 5 degrees Celsius. Black-billed Magpies started as soon as I got into Princeton. I made it in great time and saw Michelle Lamberson and her husband and young birder Kalin Ocana there. He told me he…

Snowy Owls and Owl Photography in the Lower Mainland and a Young Birder Painting of a Snowy Owl!

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Seeing an owl anytime is special, they are rare and beautiful and when they look at you, you are entranced. You can't blame people for being excited when they see one. It's a thrill! Especially when you see ones that you don't normally see in the area you live, like the ones from the Boreal. This year I successfully completed an owl big year, seeing all 19 North American Species. So no one has to tell me twice, how special they are.

Speaking of Owls, here is a gorgeous photo of a painting of a Snowy Owl that young birder Viktor Vandereyk completed recently. Man these youth are talented!


It seems this year may be a flight year for Snowy Owls in the Lower Mainland. Time will tell. Snowy Owls are here now and getting lots of attention. Photos are posted on Facebook and sightings are all over eBird. 

This year many incidents have occurred already. People have witnessed a Snowy Owl flushed 4 times in 30 mins by photographers approaching it on both sides. Another one was ca…

Young Birders inspire all over North America and the local Bald Eagles are back!

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1. I am really proud of the young birders I work with in BC. However, I am also really proud of many I have met across North America.

When Ilya and I went down to California in January 2016 we got to meet a young birder named Ryan Andrews who I had been corresponding with via Flickr. He helped us tremendously with finding birds and I really wanted to meet him. So his mom and him came out and met us in San Diego we birded around Balboa Park and was looking for a reported Summer and Hepatic Tanager. The Hepatic Tanager would be a lifer for Ilya. I had already seen them in Arizona. Anyways we had searched the grounds as we got there early before Ryan and his mom arrived.

We found Allen's Hummingbirds, California Scrub-Jays, Black Phoebes and the like but no Tanagers of any sort! Well we meet Ryan and we all decide to split up and look for this Tanager. About 5 mins later Ryan is calling loudly "I've got the Tanager!". We run to him and he has a beautiful male Hepatic T…

Hawaii is now in the ABA, should Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands be added next?

Well there are many who think so and yet many who are still upset about the Hawaii addition.

To read "The case for adding the US Territories in the Carribean to the ABA" click HERE.

If they are added or not it will be another contentious decision. Some wonder where the line will be drawn. Will Guam, American Samoa and Mexico also be added? Mexico is part of North America...

Then there are those who just don't care at all and they are probably the happiest of us all.

Register for Christmas Bird Count for Kids and Young Birder and Adult Tours for IOC.

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Hi all it's that time of year again and I'm doing another Christmas Bird Count for Kids in Delta for youth aged 12-18 years old.

Please meet on December 16th at 9 am at the foot of 72nd St at the Boundary Bay Dyke. 

The event will end at 12 noon.

Come look for winter birds like Common Redpolls, American Tree Sparrows, Short-eared Owls and Rough-legged Hawks and other great birds at our CBC4Kids in Delta. The youth will be led by an experienced birder in a team setting. Each team will conduct a bird survey and record the number of bird species and individuals seen. All data we collect from our count will be sent to Ebird and Bird Studies Canada to aid in studies for bird conservation.

The Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids), based on the traditional Christmas Bird Count, is a fun winter birdwatching event that engages youth in real Citizen Science. The goal is to promote nature appreciation, ecological literacy, build bird ID and monitoring skills, and environmen…

Quick Lightroom Classic CC Tutorial for Bird Photographers

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I just switched over to the new update to Lightroom Classic CC instead of Lightroom CC. Lightroom CC was too basic and you can't even watermark photos. If you are serious about editing your photos I see no other option than Lighroom Classic CC. I love it so far, since it is faster and virtually the same with some extra features. The price is no different for Lightroom Classic CC, I'm still paying 10$ a month. To learn more about the 2 new updates for Lightroom and to see which one will suit you better view a video below:



I'm learning the new update, if you are interested in a great step by step tutorial on how to import and cull images on Lightroom Classic CC, take a look at Tim Boyer's tutorial below:








*UPDATED: Young Birder Giveaway Contest! Winner Announced!!

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Update: It was hard to decide the First and Second place winners from the 5 essays submitted to me but it had to be done.

The winner is Viktor Vandereyk! His writing was truly elegant and engaging and he brought poetry to the birds around us. He will be awarded 2 books of his choosing plus "The Birds of Pacific Rim National Park"

2nd place goes to Katya Kondratyuk whose essay made me laugh and remember why I love birds. It was so delightful. She will receive the remaining 2 books and checklists.

Both essays will be published in the upcoming BCFO Magazine.

Congrats to both winners!! Thanks to everyone who submitted such amazing essays, you are all very talented writers and passionate birders.

Thanks again to Cameron Eckert for donating these great books!

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My friend Cameron Eckert, conservation biologist from Whitehorse, Yukon (whom recently found a Far Eastern Curlew and author of "Birds of The Y…

How to photograph white birds, Birds in the news and a painting by a BC Young Birder!

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1.One of my bigger problems when I started taking photos was blowing the whites. I usually got the exposure wrong and the picture was ruined. You can only fix the whites so much in photo processing.

Now I shoot manual and have virtually no problems it is all about the exposure and lighting and your angle in relation to the sun.

Here is a step by step guide on how to photograph white birds. I use these steps as well and it really works.


2.Birds in the News:

Why go to Texas for a fallout when you can go to Nova Scotia ?!!

Brown Boobies are now nesting in California. (This is the only place I've seen them in the ABA outside of Hawaii).

Who knew geese glow?

How does Lyme disease spread? The answer may lie in the hearts of grouse

How a stressed out woman found solace in looking at birds.

How an African American woman city slicker turned into a birder in Seattle.

Crabs can eat birds...

It's not Asia where illegal bird slaughter is the worst but Holland!

Life cycle changes, such as breeding a…

Are you sure that Dark-eyed Junco you are listening to isn't a female?

Scientists just proved that female Dark-eyed Juncos sing just as much as males in the breeding season. It was previously thought that only some females in the southern hemisphere sang as much as males but new evidence shows this isn't true.

Read the exciting news arcticle HERE.

You can read the full research paper below:

Reichard, D. G., Brothers, D. E., George, S. E., Atwell, J. W. and Ketterson, E. D. (2017), Female Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis thurberi) produce male-like song in a territorial context during the early breeding season. J Avian Biol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/jav.01566

Photo processing for Bird Photographers

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A few people have asked me what I use to process my RAW photos. I generally use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I use this exact workflow shown here. It was first taught to me by Tim Boyer on a San Diego workshop that Ilya and I took a few years ago. Here is a great video showing you a quick and easy workflow step by step.



Fish that eat Birds!

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If you haven't seen this you should watch this incredible footage from BBC's "Blue Planet II." It doesn't come out in Canada until 2018 on BBC Earth channel but you can watch a preview of the first episode and what you see is absolutely incredible.

I have heard of Catfish eating Pigeons in Europe and Asia and of Carp eating ducklings and young Grebes in North America but nothing like this!

To see the speed and accuracy of these Giant Trevally fish catching juvenile Sooty Terns on the wing is completely mind blowing. I cannot wait for this series I loved Planet Earth and know I will love this just as much!