Showing posts from September, 2017

Delta's moving forward with Bird Strategy

The Delta Naturalists' Society led by President Tom Bearss wanted the city of Delta to adopt a Bird and Biodiversity Conservation Strateg y that would identify, protect and enhance the area's biodiversity and birds and thanks to them and all their hard work, this will actually happen.  You can watch a video about how the Delta Nats brought about this bird strategy, including making some beautiful pamphlets HERE .    2 days ago the Delta Optimist publicized the following: "Civic councilors approved a staff recommendation earlier this month to execute a contribution agreement with Environment and Climate Change Canada that provides $40,000 to Delta projects related to birds and biodiversity. Delta also pledged to support the 2018 Ornithological Congress events held in the community through its social media communications and field trip logistics support." You can read the full article in the Delta Optimist HERE  The City of Vancouver has had a bird

New birding and wildife 5-part "Wild Canadian Year" documentary on CBC and "Blue Planet II" on BBC Earth!

I just finished watching episode one of "The Wild Canadian Year" by the Nature of Things on CBC. This program began on September 24, 2017 and  it airs Sundays at 8pm on CBC. You can also find this on demand or online. This is a new five-part legacy series, which will view Canada’s extraordinary wildlife through the lens of its four distinct seasons. This program is so well done and narrated by David Suzuki. Feel free to watch the trailer below: The first episode named Spring is online now. They discuss many mammals like Sea Otters, Wolves, Grizzly Bears and Cariboo and many birds including Great Gray Owls, Snow Geese, American White Pelicans, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds. You can watch the full first episode of the program online HERE and you can read more about this documentary series HERE This show is as CBC puts it "a dazzling cinematic journey across the country revealing remarkable never-before-filmed wildlife be

Birds in the News

1. This story hits me hard because I just saw these critically endangered birds in April. Hurricane Harvey has basically wiped out the Attwater's Prairie Chicken in Texas with only 5 wild birds left. 2. How sad! Hurricane Irma wiped out 44 nests of the endangered Snail Kite in Florida. 3. In France, the Ortolan Bunting may soon be off the menu FINALLY! 4. Plastic is killing all animals not just those in the sea! Ospreys are now afflicted. 5. We all know birds are indicator species but did you know that they can tell us a lot about air pollution? 6. A new nest tracking app is out for biologists. 7. Youth birders are so valuable and cool. 8. Can the Hawaiian 'I'iwi ever recover even with a new federal listing? 9. The most endangered bird in North America (the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow) may soon be lost from Florida 10. This man makes incredible bird sculptures out of wood that not only help conserve these birds but allows blind people to see them through

Young Birder Hawk Watch Trip to Sooke!

On Sunday Sept 24th, we had the final Young Birder Trip of the year. 8 kids and I went to Sooke for a hawk watch. We left Vancouver on the 7am ferry to Swartz Bay, we had nothing notable on the ride across. Last year I asked the kids what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go and Liron suggested a Hawk Watch for Broad-wingeds out of Sooke. Well great suggestion Liron, as everyone loved the trip. I asked my friend Guy Monty to help me during the hawk watch, as he is proficient in hawk watches, loves them and most importantly gets along with and treats the kids well. He answered all of their questions and provided some really interesting info on the hawks and vultures we were looking at and searching for. My friend Ren Ferguson from Salt Spring Island also joined us which was great. The weather was not ideal for a hawk watch since it was very foggy and windy. Hawks prefer warmer thermals and at times it was quite cold. We still did very well though! On the 40 minute hike up to

A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and my new scope!

I just bought a new scope and I highly recommend it. Ilya and I compared his Swarovski ATS 80 HD 20-60X Angled Spotting Scope with my new Kowa and the glass and views on some powers were actually clearer and brighter on my Kowa scope. The scope I bought is a top of the line Kowa TSN-883 88mm Angled Prominar Spotting Scope . You can buy it in Canada HERE . This scope does not come with the eyepiece. The Kowa 25-60x eyepiece for TNS-880 Series is a good chunk of change at just over 770$ Canadian. I bought the eyepiece HERE . You cannot put a cheaper eyepiece on because it won't be compatible and the quality of the eyepiece is essential to excellent viewing. The eyepiece has a locking mechanism with the scope, so there is no danger of it falling out. The scope is made in Japan and has pure fluorite crystal which is the optimum optical material for reducing chromatic aberration, providing an amazing viewing experience. It is also waterproof and fog proof, since it is filled with

A couple of days of photography in the lower mainland

My friend Maxime and I went on a photo tour of Vancouver over two days. I showed him my favourite spots as he visited from Quebec. We got along great and shared tips, we got down and dirty and went all over town. Our first day was shorebird heavy with an American Avocet, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Stilt Sandpipers, Pectorals, Long and Short-billed Dowitchers etc. It was nice to just do pure photography for a few days. I find that photography can actually make you a better birder. You get to study that bird for much more than the average birder because you sit there and sometimes spend a few hours with your subject. You learn its movements, foraging behavior and try to bring out its beauty on camera. Digital Cameras now make all the difference if a bird is accepted by a record committee or not. In BC a provincial first cannot be accepted without a photo. The good thing about digital images is that first it is cheaper than film and you notice key field marks and can r

The BC Bird Records Committee's Database is finally here and buy some "Birds of Canada" Stamps!

The BC Bird Records Committee has finally made a database available to all who are interested in it. This is a much overdue thing that was needed as it was really hard to look up records before this. You would have to look at multiple sources and you didnt know which records were accepted or not. My friend, Michael Force worked especially hard on this so thank you Mike! Right now it is just a draft so you won't see the name of the observer/finder of the accepted records but that will come in the final version. Having the name of the observer is essential in my opinion so I'm glad that feature will be added. The database will take many years to be fully complete and accurate as there are so few records they have actually reviewed on so the number of accepted records right now are much fewer than the actual amount of accurate records. You can access the draft database HERE The BC Bird Records Committee consists of the following men: Guy Monty, Mike Toochin, Nathan Hentze,

Chasing the Curlew Sandpiper!

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 Pl

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

Mountain Quail and Olympic Marmots Oh My!

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 about how the birds are affected in the Carribean, post Irma right now HERE You can read an article that


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 Vancouver Island Marmot (ear-tagged) - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Tofino Pelagic Trip, Sept 3, 2017

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 T