Posts

Purple Martins are nesting at the new Richmond Colony!

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Just wanted to update to let you know we have a pair of Purple Martins nesting at the new colony I started at Garry Point Park in Richmond! I will keep monitoring but wanted to share this news because it’s exciting that a pair found the colony so fast. Hopefully this attracts new Martins to the boxes. Information signs with QR codes are now placed in front of the boxes too. Info sign placed by City of Richmond with QR code at Garry Point Park - Photo: Melissa Hafting You can read more about the installation process HERE . Also while doing my Tree Swallow nest box checks I found one box with 7 eggs! This is the largest clutch size I’ve seen to date. I am happy to report almost all of the Tree Swallow nest boxes have eggs in them. The Sandwich holes have worked to protect against Flicker damage and the heat shields and white boxes have not deterred the birds. Now the real test will be how they hold up during any heat waves and if they spare fledgling and adult Tree Swallow lives. Cheers

Another Mother’s Day Without My Mom

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My mom loved being a grandmother to little Parker - Photo: Melissa Hafting This is my second Mother’s Day without my mother. I miss you every day mom, especially today. You were a wonderful mother and grandmother.  There is not a day I do not think of you. There is not a day I do not miss you. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t love you. I still cry all the time over losing you. Thank you for everything you ever did for me and for loving me. Next month I need to go through my first Father’s Day without my Dad. It is so hard to survive without both of you but I will always be grateful I had you and was able to love you. You and Dad were the greatest gifts I ever had in my entire life.  This year we have had unprecedented numbers of Mountain Bluebirds, which has warmed my heart, when I see one I can feel you in every place I visit. Time doesn’t heal your loss one bit but life grows around the grief. The sadness comes in intense waves. My heart hurts without you and will forever

Radio feature with CBC

I was recently honoured to be featured on CBC Radio One’s “North By Northwest” with Margaret Gallagher. We went for a walk around Iona and she interviewed me. You can listen to the interview HERE

450 BIRDS FOR BC!

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Went up to Kamloops today to see a Snowy Egret that Andrew Klassen found yesterday at Overlander's Park. The bird was walking around and foraging on the Thompson River right up close. I took my 8 month old pup "Pipit" with me. When we got there not a soul was there. There were no birders or anything except a lone elderly gentleman drinking some coffee with his walker. I am not sure how he got down the steep embankment but there he was. He was real friendly and we got to chatting. He loved my dog and you could see the joy the dog was bringing him. He told me that he recently lost his dog to cancer.  He asked if he could hold and play with "Pip" while I photographed the Egret. I said "sure!"  The Snowy Egret was very tame, allowing me to approach it quite close, as it happily fed along the river bank. It was a real special moment. This was the 450th bird species I had seen in the province of BC. Two days prior I had been fortunate enough to see a White-t

Watching Sharp-tailed Grouse Dance

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Closeup of the face of a male Sharp-tailed Grouse while dancing on the lek - Photo: Melissa Hafting I t is always a blessing to be in the presence of lekking threatened Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse. The sounds, the dance… it is all so magical to be a witness to it. Grassland birds are suffering steep declines across their range and are impacted by agriculture, development, pesticides, climate change and fires. 60% of grassland birds in Canada have disappeared since the 1970’s. We must do all we can to conserve and save our grassland habitats so that grassland birds and these grouse in particular can dance on and thrive.  One of my most treasured memories was viewing these birds with my dad, whom I miss so terribly much, every single day. Seeing them made me think of the moment I saw them with him. It uplifted my very sad spirit as I approach the first Father’s Day without him.  Male Sharp-tailed Grouse dancing - a special moment with my dad  These photos were taken from a blind to pre

WINGSPAN FEATURE

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I was honoured to be featured in The Wild Bird Trust of BC's Spring/Summer 2023 issue of their magazine "Wingspan." The article deals with The National Audubon Society's recent decision to retain their name and barriers BIPOC people face right here in BC's very own birding community. You can see a digital issue of the feature below it is now in print and is available for download in full at their website . Thank you to the Wild Bird Trust for not shying away from these important issues and having the courage to acknowledge and talk about them. Thank you to talented young birder program graduate Ian Harland for taking my photo!

Come join me on FREE BIPOC birding walks for youth and adults!

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I am leading 2 walks this June for the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) birding community. These walks are part of a series called   " Birding with Me "   focused on the inclusion of minority and marginalized communities such as   LGBTQ2SIA+   and people of colour in Metro Vancouver's birding community. They will run from May through Sept 2023. My two walks are open to both  youth and adults !  We hope to make birding more accessible to all with these walks, where birders feel safe and comfortable. These FREE  accessible walks are organized by the Stanley Park Ecology Society, The Canadian Wildlife Service, The BC Bird Trail and Birds Canada.  You can register for my walks June 9th at Jericho HERE   and my June 25th walk at Reifel Bird Sanctuary HERE There are also BIPOC walks happening May 21st led by my friend Yousif Attia. You can register for his walk HERE   and there will be one as well Sept 10th . To read a full list of ALL of the  "Birding With

BC Young Birder Boat Trip and Overnight! July 22-23 - Register NOW! (SOLD OUT)

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Tufted Puffins are so lovely to look at when at Cleland Island - Photo: Melissa Hafting **UPDATE- THIS EVENT IS NOW FULL/SOLD OUT** I am leading a Young Birder Overnight Trip to Tofino on July 22-23rd and we will do a boat trip with the Whale Centre out to Cleland Island. We have done this trip before on an overnight and had a great time seeing Tufted Puffins, Tattlers and other good birds. Click HERE to read and see our photos from our previous trip report! On my pelagics I have run, we always stop at Cleland Island and we have seen some great and rare species there like all 3 species of Jaegers, Manx Shearwater, Pink-footed, Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters, Cassin's and Rhino Auklets, Heermann's Gulls, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Marbled and Ancient Murrelets, Ruddy Turnstones, Tattlers,Murres, Guillemots and of course Tufted Puffins. We have also seen Killer, Humpback and Grey Whales, Sea Otters and Sea Lions. Some lucky birders have also seen Horned Puffin here! Thi

Installation of my new Purple Martin Colony in Richmond! Plus Tree Swallow Heat Shield Update

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You may remember my recent post, where I talked about the new heat shields for Tree Swallows and the new Purple Martin colony I am starting. If not, you can read the back story HERE . Thanks to the City of Richmond, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment and Climate Change Canada, we have installed the Purple Martin nest boxes on Federal Lands off Garry Point Park in Richmond on March 26th, 2023. It took me three years to get all the necessary approvals and permits from the federal government, Richmond city council and port authority. It felt really rewarding to finally get these boxes up for the birds. With the only other colony in Richmond virtually collapsed at Iona, we really hope this one will work. We put metal baffles on to prevent mink and other land predators from climbing up the poles to get to the birds. The pole in the water did not have a baffle of course. As we were installing them we had Tree and Violet Green Swallows chirping overhead. It will be so nice to

I lost my dad and my heart is broken in two

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It has taken me several days to gather myself to write this post. I never thought I would have to go through this again so soon. My mom died Dec 24, 2021 and now I lost my dad on Feb 23, 2023. Losing both parents just over a year apart is too much. It feels cruel and unfair. Feb 23rd was also my mother's birthday, so when he died on her birthday it was very, very hard. I recently shared news that I am writing a book and sadly now, none of my parents will be around to read it. I will dedicate it to them but it is not the same. I lost half of my heart when my mother passed away and now have lost the other half now that my dad has passed. My dad in the Okanagan  My dad was a LOVELY, GENEROUS and KIND man. He is the first person who got me into birding. He took me out and taught me about birds and bought me my first field guide. He also bought me my first set of binoculars and first camera. We loved to feed birds together from Chickadees to Canada Jays. He loved watching Snow Geese wh