Showing posts from October, 2017

When one door closes, another opens.

Today I finally had time to do some local birding. I went to Brydon Lagoon in Langley to see the Clay-colored Sparrow that was present for 2 days and found by Cos van Wermeskerken. I was also hoping to see the White-winged Crossbills seen the day before. I found it funny that at Reifel a day before there was a Clay-coloured Sparrow followed by a flock of White-winged Crossbills! I ended up dipping on both in Langley but it was not a wasted trip! As soon as I got to the lagoon on this gorgeous sunny Halloween day I saw 2 Cackling Geese one appeared to be Minima and one Travener's.The differences were quite noticeable one with a stubby short neck and small body and another larger bird looking more like a mini Canada Goose. Cacckling Geese at Brydon Lagoon - Photos: Melissa Hafting They were the odd couple but a pleasure to photograph as I don't get too close to them normally. There are quite a few around town right now at Burnaby Lake and Reifel as well

A visit to Point Roberts, fun facts about Chickadees and eBird is now hiding sensitive species from public view and a cool new way to conserve shorebirds!

I went to Point Roberts on the weekend and had a great time. You could tell it was winter as all the wintering birds were back. I had Pacific Loons, Long-tailed Ducks, Harlequins, Red-breasted Mergansers, all species of Scoters (including Black), Sanderling, Dunlin, Black Turnstones. I also hada  Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Western Meadowlarks, Northern Harrier, Savannah, Golden-crowned, Song and White-crowned Sparrows and Spotted Towhees. Bewick's Wrens, Gulls and some Bonaparte's. I missed the Ancient Murrelets that my friend Ken Klimko had there a few days earlier. It's strange to me that I saw Ancient Murrelets at the White Rock Pier already this year but haven't yet in Point Roberts!That never happens! I don't think Ancient Murrelets did so well this year during the breeding season as the return numbers so far are low. Usually by now you would have much more reports. Soon it will be time to look for a Rock Sandpiper to show up there again and mayb

The Hawk and the Kingfisher

On Tuesday, I went for a walk in one of my favourite places, Beaver Lake in Stanley Park which is located in Vancouver. I love going here to feed the birds and enjoy the beauty of the place. I have been coming here since I was a little girl. My dad would take me here to feed the chickadees. I have got all sorts of birds to eat from my hand here, including a Song Sparrow. Tues was no different. It was a gorgeous sunny day and going there just makes me happy. When I'm looking at, interacting with and feeding the birds I just feel at peace and lucky to be alive. The little Chickadees (both Black-capped and Chestnut-backed) surround me, land on my head, hands, shoulders and even camera and legs. Having a Chestnut-backed land on your hand is always so cute, they really are much lighter than the chubbier Black-cappeds but both have their unique charms. Chestnuts may be a little cuter to me, since I see them less where I live. Here is one I photographed that day. The fall colours of

Birds in the News

Scientists think the Brits are making birds beaks longer. Greater-Sage Grouse captive breeding conservation program in Canada produces 50 chicks. Birds haven't changed much. They preened just like they do today, 48 millions years ago. Manitoba Bird Atlas's first results are out. More birds are flying into windows in Vancouver this October due to wildfires. Red-headed Woodpeckers are declining. Whooping Cranes, yet another bird affected by Climate Change. More news on how Carribean Birds are fairing post Hurricane Irma and Maria. What Pollution has done to our birds. How Birding Tourism helps those in developing countries and what it does for Conservation. Another species Trump could make go extinct, The Greater Sage-Grouse. Tools to help you predict bird migration patterns. Ever wonder how a Turkey Vulture rides the thermals? How Wildfires affect Birds, the good and the bad. More reasons why city night lights are bad for birds. What we can learn f

Recent Research Publications on Birds and Project Feederwatch

1. Abstract - " Atmospheric black carbon has long been recognized as a public health and environmental concern. More recently, black carbon has been identified as a major, ongoing contributor to anthropogenic climate change, thus making historical emission inventories of black carbon an essential tool for assessing past climate sensitivity and modeling future climate scenarios. Current estimates of black carbon emissions for the early industrial era have high uncertainty, however, because direct environmental sampling is sparse before the mid-1950s. Using photometric reflectance data of >1,300 bird specimens drawn from natural history collections, we track relative ambient concentrations of atmospheric black carbon between 1880 and 2015 within the US Manufacturing Belt, a region historically reliant on coal and dense with industry. Our data show that black carbon levels within the region peaked during the first decade of the 20th century. Following this peak, black carbon leve

Orange-bellied Parrots are now basically extinct

No females have returned to their Tasmanian breeding grounds this year and without that they are functionally extinct. The total known population is only about 20 birds, so with such low numbers to being with, it's dire for the species. Read the sad news HERE

Thousands of Penguins die in Antarctica...

Climate change is impacting these Adelie Penguins terribly; with only 2 chicks surviving the breeding season. The shifting sea ice is reducing their habitat and warming seas have affected their prey which is krill. If the area isn't protected soon and krill fisheries are allowed to fish in the area, it may be yet another species we may lose forever. Read about it HERE .

The 2017 issue of Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy is out now! 2 interesting podcasts and please donate to help birds affected by the hurricane.

If you aren't an ABA member and don't get a mailed copy, you can read it all online HERE Have fun updating your list totals! 2 podcasts that you might find interesting are posted below. I have said how photography has made me a better birder and enriched my life. 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 review them on your computer when you get home. It definitely enhances a birding experience. I only started taking bird photos in 2014 before that I took record shots with a point and shoot camera. I never ever thought

2017 Bufflehead Festival - Oct 13th-15th

The 2017 Bufflehead Festival takes place in Sidney and Victoria, BC on Oct 13-15th.     On Saturday there will also be a Boat Tour of the Victoria Migratory Bird Sanctuary & the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary from 9 am to 2 pm   The cruise aboard Eagle Wings tours will depart from Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria and follow the coast through the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, then northwards along the east shore of the Saanich Peninsula to Sidney and the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary before returning to Victoria Harbour. The cost for that is $55.00 per person. ** Book through e-mail  or by telephone 250 896 8080** Note: there are contingency plans in place in case of poor weather. For more information, please see the FOSH website: All other events (including an unveiling of a new painting by Robert Bateman and a young birder nature sketching session, photo exhibits and receptions) on Oct 13, 14

Don't miss the local Bald Eagles Festivals!

Summer is already long gone. I still can't believe how fast the season went. It's almost November and start of the Bald Eagle season. I am happy about it because I have truly missed seeing the amount of Bald Eagles around the lower mainland. This summer it felt particularly less birds around than usual. The numbers always deplete by the summer time as the eagles travel north for food but this year seemed different. Let's hope the returns this year in both the Harrison, Brackendale and Boundary Bay will be plentiful. There are 2 festivals worth noting. The first is the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival that begins Nov 18th and ends on Nov 19th (but viewing is best in December and boat tours are offered after the festival all through November and December. You can read more info and where to view the eagles from land and the schedule of events HERE . Bald Eagle expert and biologit David Hancock offers a few talks as well which you can read about HERE . You can book boa

Meet Eowyn one of the VI Marmots I saw last month and donate to help this critically endangered species!

Last month I was blessed to see 2 Vancouver Island Marmots on Mount Washington. One of them was ear-tagged the other not. Meaning one was born in the wild and one in captivity and released. These animals are the most endangered animal in Canada and due to the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation we have a chance not to lose them forever. This program helped bring the wild population from 23 to 200 in 14 years. The marmots are in such dire straits due to predation, habitat loss and climate change. I decided to write the foundation with her ear-tag number and provided my photos. They replied that it was Eowyn a 1 year old female that they hope will breed soon. She's now in hibernation as are all the Marmots. They went to sleep the first week of October. There is snow already on Mt. Washington as well. If you would like to read about Eowyn and see my photos of her, click HERE . If you can adopt one or donate even 5$ to help save this mammal, please do so by clicking HER

A deadly parasite is killing Canadian birds and what you can do to help! Plus Ravens plan ahead like we do!

Caroline Ladanowski,  Director of Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs from the Canadian Wildlife Service and  Environment and Climate Change Canada sent out an advisory today to  inform the public of a parasite, trichomonas gallinae, which is currently affecting migratory birds in Canada, and of preventative measures which may be taken to help minimize the spread of the parasite. Please read below and do what you can to help out if you feed the birds in your own yard. "Trichomonas gallinae is  a microscopic parasite most often affecting pigeons and doves that can also affect other birds, such as finches, wild turkeys and raptors . Incidents of the parasite have been recently reported in the Maritimes and Quebec . While the parasite does not pose a health threat to humans or other mammals such as dogs or cats, captive poultry and pet birds could be infected. Measures can be taken to help prevent the spreading of the parasite.  Regular cleaning and disinfecting  o

Can you believe one of the world's rarest songbirds never existed?

Well if not, read it all HERE . Mel