Showing posts from 2018

270 Bird Species This Year In Metro Vancouver and Happy New Year!

On Jan 1st, 2018 I decided that I would set out and try and get 270 birds in Metro Vancouver in one calendar year. Well I was able to achieve it today! It was so much work and I dipped on a common bird a "Horned Lark." I missed 2 Vancouver rarities including one mega that was Rob Lyske's "Loggerhead Shrike" because I arrived too late and I missed Kevin Louth's  Bar-tailed Godwit because I was gravely ill. The toughest bird this year for me to track down was a Northern Pygmy-Owl because I didn't join the crowds in 2018 to see the one at Maplewood. What a mistake that was! Well I never searched harder for a little Pygmy-Owl but today my hard work paid off when I found one in West Vancouver.

A big thanks to all my friends and family who helped me achieve my goal. Today I thought I was going to end at 269 until I heard the little owl and then saw him "tooting" at me.

I beat the previous record of 264 which I held last year and tonight I will have…

Young Women are changing the face of Birding everywhere!

It is so nice to see more and more young women (and women in general) getting into birding. It is a male dominated hobby, so the more women the better. Even better yet, it's great to see more racially diverse women getting into the hobby as it has traditionally been a Caucasian based hobby as well.

You should read about this incredible young woman from Uganda, who is changing the face of birding in her community in a very positive way HERE.

You can also read about the incredible movement of female millennial birders in America HERE.

We can see right here in BC how many young women are improving birding for us all with their sheer presence. Just think of Bridget Spencer, Toby Theriault, Cedar Forest, Rebecca and Emma Reader-Lee, Katya Kondratyuk , Alice Sun, Sasha Fairbairn and Willa Crowley just to name a few!

All these women are truly inspirational!

Here's to more GIRL POWER in Birding Everywhere! We should make sure to support and lift up young women birders and be inclusiv…

There is hope for the world's rarest bird... Also how will the new Sewage Treatment Plant at Iona affect birders?

The Madagascar Pochard was thought to be extinct after no one seeing it for 15 years but a small population was rediscovered and now captive birds are being released and there is renewed hope. Read the full story and watch the video about the birds and the incredible people who are helping them HERE.

There is a new Wastewater Treatment Plant being built at Iona. There is a public information session being held Wednesday, January 9, 2019 from 6 to 8:30 pm in the Auditorium at the Pacific Autism Family Network at 3688 Cessna Drive, Richmond. As us birders like to access this site it might be worth attending if you have any questions on how the new plant and land expansion will affect the birds and wildlife and any access to it.

All info HERE

Read an interview I did with The Richmond News and Christmas Greetings!

I recently did an interview with the Richmond News about winter birding; you can read it HERE.

Also, I want to wish every one of my blog readers and followers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I wish you many good birds, peace, love, happiness and all good things in 2019!


Yes, I got a Fieldfare today!! Let me back up. Yesterday, Roger Beardmore emailed me about a Fieldfare that he and his wife Nan and his friends Peter and Sharon Lawless had found on their local Christmas Bird Count in Salmon Arm. My jaw dropped at his stunning photos see them HERE.

I was so excited I told Roger I would be up the next morning and I rallied some friends to go. Brian Stech said he would drive and my friend Peter Candido said he wanted to go. First of all we thought 6 am would be fine but then Brian thought better of it and we decided to meet at 5 am. I am sure glad we did. We promptly departed at  5 am. I was surprised how non-tired I was. I got little sleep excited about this bird. It was a lifer for me and one I have always wanted to see in BC!... But Brian's friendly chatter kept me awake and I was glad for it. We talked a lot about my upcoming trip to Ecuador. Brian scared me about pickpockets and venemous deadly snakes. I even saw a photo of a man who lost his …

More Owls are dying in North Vancouver due to rat poison

.....and this is not just occuring in North Van but everywhere! Read more about this problem HERE.

Things you can do to help is to please stop using Rat Poison and tell all you know to stop using it as well. Many bird and animal lives will be saved if only the gov't would deregulalte the use and people would stop using it.

Also this is not about birds directly but more salmon means more Eagles .... but great news about the closure of several (17!) salmon farms in Vancouver Island. I hope this leads to more closures of open net fish farms and a transition to land based farming. We need to do all we can including closing the commercial fishery to help save endangered Salmon which benefit so many birds, animals like Orcas and ourselves! A big thank you to the Namgis, Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis and Mamalilikulla people for fighting for this change.

To read about the closures click HERE.

To see my friend John Reynolds speaking about the plight of Chinook Salmon click HERE

Scientists in WA have proven that Northwestern and American Crows are not distinct species

Read the full scientific study HERE

A Winter Wren and a Baby - 2 Gifts in one day!

Two days ago Ian Cruickshank found a Winter Wren at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site in Colwood. He detected it by call of course as they really are not truly distinguishable by looks alone. Ian Cruickshank is one of the best audiophiles in BC so when he first reported a "probable Winter Wren" I knew it would be legit. Even though the bird was not relocated by those who looked on Sunday I decided I would try the next day. I figured the bird would stick around just like the Winter Wren that Chris Charlesworth found a couple years ago in Kelowna. When a bird turns up in December it usually stays unless there is a major weather change.  Fort Rodd Hill doesn't open until 10:30 am so there was no point getting on the 7 am ferry from Vancouver so we hopped on the 11 am ferry. We were surprised to see no one looking for the bird. I mean it was raining and the admission is 4$ but it is a frigging Winter Wren in Southern BC! It was also the first record for Vancouver Island…

A Wild Goose Chase with some Eastern Bluebirds mixed in.

Young Birder Cole Gaerber texted me on Nov 25th to tell me that a Tundra Bean Goose was photographed in Corvallis. He knew that was one of my most wanted ABA birds having missed the bird in Oregon in 2014. So I readied myself to go if the bird was seen the next day (it's a long drive!), but it was never seen. In fact it was not seen again until Dec 1st. Until that sighting I thought it had left. So when it was still seen Dec 2nd I felt I better get my butt down there.

My friend Blair Bernson had good looks at it on Dec 2nd with some big year birders. He also told me he had it flying off the water just after sunrise. So I drove all the way down there it took over 6 hours. When I got there a feeling of dread came over me . There was over 4000 Cackling Geese feeding in the fields, some were really distant some were too distant even for my high quality scope. Some were hidden behind rolling hills and ridges. Thousands were flying over my head in every which direction. It was a nightm…

Getting the perfect Bald Eagle flight shot.... is not easy!

I have tried many years unsuccessfully to get the perfect Bald Eagle flight shot. They are common birds and seemingly everywhere on the Pacific Northwest but they have white heads and tails and dark bodies. It is easy to overexpose them. You also need to think about background, light and composition. They can be skittish and always fly in the opposite direction it seems too haha.

Anyways, I think flight photography is something that takes a fair amount of time to master, especially when you shoot manual as I do. I still have so much to learn. This weekend I went to Harrison Mills and Squamish and here are some of my efforts.

I visited Brackendale and the water levels were too high washing away many of the carcasses. I saw some seals and Barrow's Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers and a few Bald Eagles and got to eat lunch at the "Water Shed Grill" (which  is my fave place to eat in Squamish). Again it was on a beautiful sunny day so couldn't complain. Last year I went on…

The biggest threat to the Northern Spotted Owl is the gov't in charge of protecting it.

When will Canada do right by the Northern Spotted Owl?

The provincial government of BC has failed the Northern Spotted Owl and frankly so has the federal gov't. This is why they are almost extirpated in the wild here. Just a few (apparently only 3 now in the Fraser Canyon) infertile females hold on in the wild. There is a Northern Spotted Owl breeding program that has not successfully released any Spotted Owls yet but when they do, the real question will be where will they go? The provincial Gov't is not discontinuing the logging of Old Growth Forests.  The logging of old growth forests is the biggest threat to their survival. Not Barred Owls as they will have you believe.  Isn't this statement an oxymoron? "The B.C. government, for instance, has approved clear-cut logging in areas it set aside for spotted owl recovery, while sinking almost $1.5 million into the experimental captive breeding program since 2014."

The owls simply cannot survive in any other type o…

ABA Birding Magazine published my photo!

Just got the new Vol. 50. No. 5, October 2018 issue of "Birding" by the American Birding Association and saw that my photo of a male Anna's Hummingbird was published in the 4 page article about IOC called "The 27th International Ornithological Congress, Vancouver, British Columbia, August 21-28, 2018: Highlights, takeaways, and a path forward" by Nick Minor. It was cool to see :)

Here is the cover and portion of the article with my photo below:

The original photo can be found here:

On Nov 17th you must watch David Attenborough’s New show called “Dynasties”!

I love Sir David Attenborough. He is a world wide treasure. I’ve grown up with his wonderful voice. There is no one who makes watching wildlife on television more intriguing and amazing. You can tell he’s a true naturalist that really cares about the animals he’s observing. As he is in his 90’s now, when he is gone, it will be a great loss for the world. He’s been ahead of his time since a young man, doing these documentaries in the 50’s. He’s spoken out about climate change, plastics you name it. It’s too bad we didn’t listen then... and we still aren’t listening enough now. Funny how we have a way of ignoring the truth until it hits us in the face and it’s too late. Well there is still some time left and programs like Blue Planet and Planet Earth have helped bring awareness. In this new program called “Dynasties” David is featuring a 5 episode miniseries where he deals with 5 animals battling the very real threat of extinction. The animals are Lions, Emperor Penguins, Chimpanzees, …

Great news, a conservation area in BC is being expanded by 8000 hectares!! You can also read about Young Birder Liron's rare loon encounter!

Protected Grizzly, Wolverine habitat expanded in BC - Read the rare great news HERE.

You can also read the fun encounter Liron had with a Red-throated Loon in Audubon's Magazine HERE.  

I had a similar encounter with this speces a few months ago that you can read about HERE.

A new BC and Vancouver Bird (in 2 different counties) in one day!

Today was one of those birding days a twitcher dreams of. I got a new Metro Vancouver bird and a new BC bird and they were 4 hours apart in 2 different counties.

Let me back up. Yesterday, Mark Thomson emailed me and told me he found a Black-and-White Warbler (BAWW) at Riverfront Park. By the time I got the message it was dark... darn these short winter days! So I decided to get up at dawn and see if I could find him. I felt it was November and birds weren't so much on the move so I had a good chance to relocate him. Birds are most active in the morning as they are feeding so I figured I better get there early and I wanted to go to Kelowna and leave no later than 8 am. Since sunrise was at 7:15 am that didn't give me much time!

Well Ilya and I arrived at the park at 7:17 am and began searching we split up and covered more ground. He went to one extreme end and I the other pishing and walking around looking at every  branch and bush when I began to admire a large flock of busht…

Rare Triple Hybrid Warbler in Pennsylvania! Plus check out McKay’s Buntings on their breeding grounds.

I saw this interesting news story and wanted to share it. I am fascinated by hybrids. I remember when there was a Black-chinned Hummer reported that turned out to be a hybrid at Richmond Nature Park. At the time a lot of people told me they were so disappointed. I thought it was cool and actually cooler than a pure Black-chinned Hummingbird. There are only a small handful of this occurring in Western North America. So to me it was sensational because it was the most northerly record of this rare Anna’s X Black-chinneds hybrid.

Anyways this hybrid is a hybrid-lover’s dream! A Chestnut-sided Warbler X Golden-winged Warbler X Blue-winged Warbler! According to Cornell this particular 3 species Warbler-hybridization has never occurred before! What is even more cool about this hybrids is that they are of different genuses!

To read the full story click HERE

Also if you like McKay’s Buntings, a really neat video came out by Cornell recently showing them on their breeding grounds. Few people …

The crazy courtship of the bird with the largest wingspan in the world!

Watch this amazing National Geographic film on the mating habits of Wandering Albatrosses on South Georgia Island.

It came out last month and you can watch it below:

It’s my dream to go there and now even more so! As the video describes one of the biggest threats to Albatrosses is the longline fishing industry. All fisheries and govts around the world must adopt new methods and techniques such as adding lights to ensure the survival of these long lived species. In addition we need to stop using so much plastics which are also killing the birds due to ingestion.

Watch this video of this inspiring young birder from Brazil

In what seems at times to be an ever increasing bleak world it is young people like Lorena Patricio from Brazil that give us hope and inspiration for the future.

Please always support young birders (and young people in general), they are our future.

Register for the Christmas Bird Count for Youth on Jan 5th, 2019!

Come out and join the Christmas Bird Count for Youth at Boundary Bay! The youth will be led by an experienced birder. We will be conducting a bird survey and will 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.

Time: 8 am-1pm on January 5, 2019

Location: Boundary Bay Dyke at 3321-72nd St in Delta

Admission is FREE!

Register at the link HEREor email me at bcbirdergirl(at)gmail(dot)com

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 environmental stewardship in the next generation of naturalists.
More info on the program can be found HERE.

Bird # 318 for Vancouver - another Vancouver Mega!

Today I successfully chased a Philadelphia Vireo. Although these birds breed in Northern BC they never come down to the south coast of BC. The bird was photographed yesterday by Quentin Brown and identified as a Warbling Vireo I mean who would think they are seeing a Philadelphia Vireo in Vancouver? A late Warbling would make much more logical sense! Well I asked Quentin for some photos because I wanted to rule out Philadelphia and as soon as I saw the 1/2 dozen photos and video I said it looked good to me for Philadelphia Vireo. It was so bright yellow ventrally and the head looked right for Philadelphia. Since I am cautious I listed it on the RBA as Possible and sent it to a few friends and experienced birders, banders and ornithologist Peter Pyle who all confirmed it. It was a HY bird.

When I got to Hastings Park,  Mike Toochin and Mike Tabak were searching in the pouring rain. After an hour of searching with Peter Candido who drove in right beside me Mike Toochin spotted the bird…

The life of seabirds and mammals are being altered by climate change

Everywhere animals are paying the price while we (most of society) sit back and do nothing.

Have a look HEREat what is happening in Antarctica (informative videos of the crisis at that link as well). Yes, we have heard over and over what is happening there but we can never read it enough. Everything is off balance, the humpback whales are currently thriving there but the penguins are dying from lack of sea ice, tons of leopard seals are killing them off. Soon the leopard seals will be gone when there is no sea ice for them to rest on or animals to eat. The humpbacks will lose the krill that will die from warming temperatures that the whales are hunting so successfully right now in  open water from the sea ice loss. With more sea ice loss, more ship traffic will increase which will create more oil spills and more whales being killed by vessels. Rain from warming temperatures are killing the penguin chicks causing them to freeze to death as well. Over-fishing in the waters around Antar…

A day with a long-billed curlew and a group young birder interview

A few days ago I went to Blackie Spit where I spent an hour photographing a Long-billed Curlew. My friend Max taught me long ago that I have to get up at the crack of dawn for the best pictures. He tells me that the lack of sleep will all be worth it in the end. It is not easy for a night owl like me to get up early. However, I tend to agree with him every time.... but it's so hard to get up! As I get older I find getting up earlier to be easier which is strange.... I guess I know it's all for a benefit. You waste the day away just sleeping in ;). The later you get up and get out the less birds you will see, it's just a fact. I enjoyed this morning shoot with the Long-billed Curlew as I find most times I go he is on the wrong side of the light. I haven't shot him since last year with my friend Max. You can review that series HERE as it was done in a very different style and included his frenemy a Marbled Godwit.

We sure are blessed in Metro Vancouver to have this norm…