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Showing posts from 2020

THE GRAY-TAILED TATTLER TWITCH!

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A Gray-tailed Tattler (GTTA) was found by Joachim Bertrands and Christian Kelly on June 23rd at Minette Bay. This was Canada's first record. A news story on the bird from CBC news can be found here. A CBC Radio interview with my friend Walter Thorne about the GTTA can be found here.

You may remember how I missed this rare bird by 20 mins in Nome. A painful memory, as not only did I miss him but also a Ross's and Ivory Gull all in the same area. So it was a lifer I really wanted to get. I got the Ivory Gull recently therefore I am just waiting now for the Ross's Gull....

Anyways I decided to get up there on Friday even though it was a long long way from Vancouver. It is beautiful country up there and I looked forward to get back there. I arrived and went straight to the spit at Minette Bay and walked out. I met Mark Phinney from Dawson Creek who was there and had been waiting for 8 hours before it showed up. I also met up with local Kitimat birder Walter Thorne. 

The bird was …

Goodbye Northwestern Crow...

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Well we have lost our beloved Northwestern Crow. The North American Checklist Committee of the American Ornithological Society has lumped that species with American Crow.

Also they denied to make the Northern Saw-whet Owl subspecies on Haida Gwaii a full species. However, Mexican Duck was officially and finally split from Mallard.

Japanese White-eye was officially split into Warbling and Swinhoe's too.

To read all the changes click HERE 

Also  to liven up this post I have included a recent painting Charlotte Belland (Professor of Animation at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio) recently did of my Common Yellowthroat photo. I was honoured!


Check out my Wild Bird Trust of BC Interview

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I was interviewed by Alice Sun for The Wild Bird Trust of BC.

You can read the interview HERE

Thanks to Alice Sun and The Wild Bird Trust for the feature.

Here is one of the photos they featured in the article.








Check out this painting done of me by Casey Girard

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A talented artist from California named Casey Girard asked me if they could paint a portrait of me. I was honoured!. Casey drew me with my favourite bird the dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk. 

This was done as part of Casey's series in celebration of Black Birders who have made a difference in their communities so I was truly honoured to be part of it. You can check out some of the other Black Birders that Casey has painted HERE at Casey's instagram account.


The Ovenbird Twitch to Squamish

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Young birder Bridget and I went up to Squamish today to twitch an Ovenbird that Christopher Di Corrado found yesterday in Brackendale. 

As soon as we drove up to the spot on Gov't Rd he was singing his heart out so loudly. He was doing his "Teacher, Teacher, Teacher" call. You can hear my recording here. It took quite a while to finally get a visual on him but we did. We also got badly eaten by mosquitoes in the process. 

It was a new BC bird for Bridget! Congrats B. My friend Chris Dale told me we were lucky to get photos because he couldn't. Several others could not as well, despite trying for hours :(. Other highlights here were Cassin's Vireo, Chipping Sparrow, Townsend's Warblers and some Evening Grosbeaks.


We then headed to the Spawning Channels where we had several Red-eyed Vireos and an American Redstart, MacGillivray'sand Yellow Warblers and a Willow Flycatcher. After this we had a delicious take away lunch of sushi outside at Umai Sushi. Bridget ke…

A Victory for Owls in North Vancouver !

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You know I've made several posts about the dangers that rodenticides pose to a variety of animals, especially Owls.

Well today the District of North Vancouver's council voted to ban the use of rodenticides and it passed!. The poisons will no longer be used in any of the city's facilities. The motion also petitions the province to ban rodenticides outright and asks citizens to stop using them on their land as well.

You can read the full news story HERE

Hopefully this will spread to other cities in BC and across Canada!

Thank you councillor Megan Curren for bringing this motion forward!

Please let us continue to write our cities and the province to ask for the same thing and more -- a full ban!


An Outing To Beautiful Pitt Meadows

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Went to Catbird Slough on the weekend. I got to see some gorgeous birds including Cedar Waxwings. Waxwings are such elegant birds, so I was thrilled when a few perched close to me.


This photo even got featured on the eBird homepage (ebird.org). It was my first time to be featured which was cool!. They also tweeted it out on twitter here and on instagram here.


Also we saw a male American Redstart, Gray Catbirds, Bullock's Orioles, Swainson's Thrushes, both Black and Vaux's Swifts and 3 Bears. Nearby on Hale Rd we also found 2 stunning Lazuli Buntings.


It was a thrill also to have a Western Wood-Pewee land in close at eye level. They usually sit so high up, so I definitely took advantage of my good luck!

*UPDATED* The First Ever Black Birders Week May 31-June 5th

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By now you have probably heard about the racist Canadian-born White woman who did a racist attack on a Black birder named Christian Cooper in Central Park in NYC. All he asked was for her to leash her dog in a on-leash dog area. If you haven't heard of this story you can watch the video and read about it HERE. It's a vile video of a vile person who knew her White privilege and used it as a weapon against this man. 

We all know that in America many Black people especially Black men are killed by police for no reason at all but the colour of their skin. A good example is George Floyd who was killed by a police officer (while 3 other cops looked on) for what they said was a possible 20$ forged bill. The White police officer put a knee on his neck on camera for over 8 mins until he died, despite having the victim completely restrained, begging for mercy and not being able to breathe. Only one police officer was charged and not for 1st degree murder but third and manslaughter.

You ma…

Watch new video on the proposed Delta Port Expansion and take action now!

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The Raincoast Conservation Foundation came out with a new video yesterday about the importance of protecting the Fraser River Estuary. Did you realize the expansion would create an artificial island that is the size of 150 football fields?. You can watch the video below.  My friend Ian Cruickshank provided the great sounds in the video and my friend Kate Paton provided some of the video footage .



The Raincoast Conservation Foundation would like everyone to use and sign this form letter located HEREwhich will go to Jonathan Wilkinson, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

We need to put pressure on him to reject the Terminal 2 expansion which is proposed by The Port of Vancouver as the Federal Gov't will be making the final decision.

We must do this for the birds, fish and animals that we love that use this area and for the future of generations to come. 


World Albatrosss Day June 19th

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I was honored to have 2 of my Albatross photos featured in the recent Birds Canada article "Wet And Wild Seabird Facts For World Albatross Day."

On June 19th, 2020 it will be the very first World Albatross Day! To read more about why this day was created click HERE

I love Albatrosses and have been lucky enough to see Black-footed, Short-tailed and Laysan in BC (off Tofino).

You can read the full article where my photos are featured HERE.

If you are able please donate to the "Mouse-free Marion Project" which is trying to eradicate predatory invasive house mice from Marion Island in South Africa. Click HERE to donate through Birds Canada.

It is vitally important that we keep working to reduce our use of plastics and ensuring that commercial fisheries use sustainable fishing methods to reduce the worldwide loss of these wonderful birds.

Here are the 2 photos of mine featured in the article:


Thanks again to Birds Canada for asking me to be a part of this! And don't forget…

Invitation To Attend The public Iona Wastewater Treatment Plant Project Meetings

Metro Vancouver is hosting two public online community meetings on May 19th and May 21st for the general public to attend.

This is to discuss the upcoming decommissioning of the Iona sewage ponds which will affect many migratory shorebirds and waterfowl that use the area.

These public meetings will be held on:

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 12:00 to 2:00 pm or
Thursday, May 21, 2020, 6:30 to 8:30 pm 

In these meetings Metro Van states they want the public to learn about the design concepts for the new plant and give feedback on community and park integration, and habitat enhancement and resource recovery opportunities. 

This is your chance to stand up for the birds that use this important area and voice your opinion on how you think habitat should be restored.

To sign up please click HERE

I have been invited to attend a second stakeholder meeting with Metro Van Park on May 13th and I will be sure to voice my concerns about the importance of these lagoons to birds and birders in the area and how the …

Hundreds of birds die on a cruise ship...

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Every year many migrating birds die on cruise ships, also the cruise ships hit whales and kill many resting Albatrosses. It is the dark side of the cruise industry that few talk about.

Recently on April 24-25, 2020 a catastrophic event occurred that The Cornell Lab of Ornithology just published. You can watch a video of all the dead birds (mostly warblers) on every deck, see photos and read more about this phenomenon HERE.

Most likely the birds were attracted to and disoriented by the lights of the cruise ship as they were nocturnally migrating. There was also an intense storm at the time and all these factors and being tired probably caused the birds to get confused and slam into the structures on board killing them.


Some of the beautiful birds that perished were the Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler and American Redstart.

Sadly there isn't much hope for cruise ships to darken their light…

Owls in North Vancouver continue to get poisoined

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Recently a breeding pair of Great Horned Owls in North Van were found dead from rat poison. Also a Barred Owl was found lethargic and bleeding from its mouth and being dive bombed by crows. This is sadly the second time this particular tagged Owl has got sick from rat poison.
The Barred Owl was taken to OWL a second time and is there now after 5 days of Vitamin K injections.
It is time now for rodenticide to be banned and for us all to switch to CO2 rat traps which are more humane to the rat and protect our birds and wildife. Watch the video HERE on how this safe and fairly humane rat trap works. You can buy it HERE.
What more will it take? Please keep writing your MPs and MLAs so we can get this banned. We have to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves. I have lost count on how many posts like this I've written and nothing seems to change but one day it will and I won't give up.
Looking at this bleeding and suffering owl in this video, just breaks my heart.


You can …

A few good ways to virtually celebrate Migratory Bird Day on May 9th!

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Alice Sun, a talented young birder who graduated from my young birder program, is doing a photography workshop for birders of all ages. The workshop (put on by The Wild Bird Trust of BC) aims to teach people how they can help bird conservation through the use of photography and storytelling. Alice Sun is an incredibly talented environmental visual storyteller and photographer. She will do a great job teaching you on this workshop!. 

In a world where habitat and bird species are under constant threat, we need this now more than ever. It is through visual displays that we can really influence and help educate the public about how important it is to protect the planet's animals and the planet itself.
This is a free virtual event happening May 9th at 1pm and you can register at this link HERE

Also before this event at 11 am on May 9th you can join in with The Migratory Bird Day Virtual Celebration put on by Birds Canada , Metro Van Parks and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.…

Photographing The Difficult Common Yellowthroat

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Today won't be a lengthy post but wanted to share my encounter with this very accommodating Common Yellowthroat. It was a good morning for Warblers today and I was happy to also see my first Yellow Warbler of the year.

Yellowthroats are one of my favourite warblers and I find them extremely difficult to photograph. I've included a tight crop and also a habitat shot. To get these shots I crouched in the wet reeds beneath the bird as he hopped from bush to bush singing his heart out. I am hoping they will  nest here which would be a first for my tiny local park.


A special encounter with a Pileated Woodpecker

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I had a really special encounter with a Pileated Woodpecker in Musqueam Park this weekend. It was special because she let me approach on my belly and continued to feed unperplexed.

It was worth all the scratches and cuts just to get this shot. They are one of my fave woodpeckers on the planet. They are stunning to look at with their large size, red crests and that call that resonates right through you. It was a real privilege to have this interaction with this pretty lady, as I have never got a decent shot of one until now.


I have been really enjoying the spring migration. It is nice during this pandemic that we can still enjoy our hobby. I have been going every day to my local patches and been so happy to see the first Wilson's Warblers and Hammond's Flycatchers of the year etc. 


Recently Ilya and I found a Red-naped Sapsucker in my local patch and then a Pacific Golden-Plover, Dusky Flycatcher and House Wren. Also we successfully chased a Black-billed Magpie which was a new Met…

BC Young Birders and I featured in New Bird Book

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Ann Eriksson (biologist and conservationist) wrote a new book called Bird's Eye-View: Keeping Wild Birds in Flight. It is a book that is geared to young birders and features several. 2 of our BC Young Birders were featured in the book including Katya Kondratyuk and Adam Dhalla. 

This book comes out on May 12, 2020 but the publisher sent me an advance copy today. This book is very special because it examines why wild birds are important and why they need to be conserved. It also shows what young birders all over the world are doing to protect them. It is inspiring to see what these young people are doing globally.

They asked me to submit a little write up about Katya and a photo I took of her up on Mt Illal where we saw White-tailed Ptarmigan on one of our young birder trips.


The BCFO Young Birder Program also gets a mention in the book about important websites of groups  for young birders.


It was an honour to be involved with this project and especially to see the art of these young b…