Showing posts from January, 2018

A walk around Reifel with a Hutton's Vireo

This weekend I went to Reifel and had a pleasant walk. I first came across the resident Great Horned Owl after Jim Martin had found it, on a nice open perch. I also had a nice encounter with a Ring-necked Duck. I have been trying to work on my duck photography. It is much harder than it looks and Ring-neckeds have been one on my "to photograph" list. I got the chance today and even got the neck ring to show on film! They usually are more skittish in my experience. I hand fed the Sandhill Cranes. It is amazing how gentle they can be with their long beaks. I saw many brown-creepers, common redpolls and chickadees. I also got a photograph of a bird I have been wanting to photograph for years, a Hutton's Vireo. I have seen many of course, as they live in the lower mainland year round but photographing one is another story. Although, they move slower than their confusing cousins, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, they have always moved too fast for me. On Sunday, one gave me a n

The hidden world of BC Birders

My friend Murray Brown just did a newspaper interview about BC Birders and how nuts they are. He also talked about what is  happening sadly to so many parts of our community; habitat destruction and loss of wildlife, due to urban development. Read the article from the Agassiz-Harrison Observer HERE

One of the most amazing bird stories you will ever hear..

If you are feeling sad or down today watch this video... The animal human bond is amazing and this story about a wild penguin will touch your heart and make you even more in awe about nature than ever before.

The Steller's Eider Twitch

I went down to Oregon to see the Steller's Eider. I wanted to go the day Adrian Hinkle found it on Jan 13th but couldn't. It was the last Eider species I needed, having seen Spectacled, King and Common in Nome, AK. I was glad to have Nexus this time. I am not sure why I waited so long to get Nexus. It costs 50$ for 5 years and saves you no line ups. It is definitely worth it. I had planned to do a few days of birding in the Pacific Northwest but the weather had other plans for me. Traffic was awful as usual through Seattle and Tacoma. It is simply awful driving through that in rush hour, in a standard. It eased at Olympia and then was smooth sailing. I stayed at the Motel 6 in Seaside, it was only 50$ and very clean and quiet and 2 mins from the Eider. I went to bed with dreams of Steller's Eiders. When I woke up I checked the Oregon Listserve and saw someone had seen it at 8:20 am. I get there about 9 am (I was tired as I got in at midnight the night before) and do not

Rodenticide affects Northern Spotted Owls too it's no longer just a city problem

Yesterday I posted an article about a local Pygmy-Owl that died from rat poison. We tend to associate  raptor deaths caused by rodenticide to be affecting only owls or Raptors close to cities or farmland (human activity). Well new research has proven that rodenticide had wide reaching effects as Northern Spotted Owls are now dying from it. Northern Spotted Owls live in old growth forests usually quits removed from human activity. This is an endangered bird and now has one more thing to fight against. It's very sad and we need to stop using and ban rodenticide now before it's really too late. Read the full research paper HERE . Thanks to biologist Paul Levesque for sharing that research paper with me. Northern Spotted Owl in Washington - Photo: Melissa Hafting

BC's First Northern Cardinal hits the papers and airwaves!

It seems this little lady is famous now! I took part in a short interview with the "Cranbrook Daily Townsman" newspaper. Read the news story HERE . Also CBC did a radio interview on it with the lady who found it Katrin Powell. You can listen to that HERE

Another owl dead and for what? Rat Poison

It's no secret that a Northern Pygmy-Owl had been frequenting Maplewood Flats. The bird was unfortunately plastered over eBird. It's unfortunate as it draws more people to view the bird and in turn puts more pressure on it and subjects it to harassment. There were daily photographers there but everyone seemed to behave responsibly. This is not a story about bad photographers, no it's about rat poison. Too many pest companies and people use this to get rid of rodents. They fail to realize though, that it doesn't kill the rodent instantly. They die a slow painful death and then an owl who sees a sluggish looking rodent on the ground takes the easy prey. The owl ingests that prey and then they too in turn die a slow painful death. Well the little Pygmy-Owl in North Van succumbed to the same fate. You can read the sad story in the North Shore News HERE . There have been countless news stories in the lower mainland about this problem with owls. Recently, Barred and Barn

Martin Luther King Jr Day.. We need his words now more than ever..

Recently as you have probably heard Donald Trump said he doesn't want immigrants from sh%^$%# countries like Haiti, Africa and El Salvador, and only wants blond-blue eyed Norwegians like my father immigrating to the US. He is a full out racist and white supremacist preaching ideology like Hitler did against the Jews. People did not take Hitler and even the genocide seriously until it was too late. Let's hope people heed his words now. It is simply laughable that he would think Norwegians from one of the most socially progressive, wealthy and racially accepting nations with the best health care would want to enter Trump's America and become a US citizen. Well we can't give up hope, we have to never give up. We must never become bitter or hostile  It is not easy to do especially when you are a person of colour. However, people like Martin Luther King Jr. bring hope back to our hearts. How sad is it that we have gone back to such a racially divided time once again. He f

A day of birding with the youngin's

There's a Glaucous Gull behind us I swear! - Photo: Joshua Glant 17 year old Joshua Glant, from Seattle, WA has been asking me for the longest time to take him out birding. Our schedules finally gelled and his parents drove him up. I hadn't seen Josh since he was up here looking for the Godwit trio. It was great to see him again. I called young birders Bridget and Liron and asked them to join us. Bridget's Targets aligned with Josh's so we were all set to go. I had seen all these birds several times this year and last but always love seeing them again and there was potential to find more goodies along the way. I was just happy to be with the kids we always have so much fun. We went to Brunswick Point to see if we could find the reported American Tree Sparrow but no luck, we did see some beautiful Northern Harriers, Black-bellied Plovers, Double-crested Cormorants, Trumpeters and plenty of Wilson Snipes and Dunlin though!. We drove by to check if the Bohemian W

Recommended Books (Updated* New Books Added*)

I love to read about birds. Go figure right? Here are some recommendations: I have a few photos in these books but it is not why I am recommending them. They are really great books and I am not getting paid to plug them. First off is my # 1 go to Field Guide. 1. The Stokes Field Guide To The Birds Of North America by Donald Stokes and Lillian Stokes. I love this book because of all the excellent photos of each species and subspecies in juvenile to adult plumages in flight and perched. He also has so many interesting quick ID tips for each species and subspecies, fun facts and behaviors of each bird. I have learned so much through his books. You can buy it HERE 2. David Sibley's Field Guides These books are great. He is an amazing illustrator and a very nice man. His field guides are the most popular with birders. However, I prefer field guides with actual photos rather than an artists interpretation of the bird. The colours can sometimes be off to me with illustrated

Searching for Black Swift Nests in BC

Biologists' Paul Levesque and Christine Rock's Oct 2017 research paper; "Searching for Black Swift (Cypseloides niger) Nests in Southern British Columbia" was recently published in "The Canadian Field-Naturalist." This follows a research paper that Paul wrote, for the "Northwestern Naturalist" on the same topic in 2015. It is extremely interesting to read about one of our most secretive breeders and sadly endangered species in the province. Paul and Christine ended up finding a couple of active nests in Whistler and Squamish. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) lists Black Swifts as endangered due to large population declines but the federal government has no plans to list them. Recently the Barn Owls have been scheduled to be uplisted to threatened. Let's hope Black Swifts will be listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act (SARA),  so that they can have a recovery and action plan and some hope t

Finally some good news for Barn Owls in BC

The Federal Government through Environment Canada has published their intention to uplist Barn Owls after a final 30-day consultation, which closes on January 18th.  This means the official uplisting is going to happen very soon. The switch from the current listing of "Special Concern" to "Threatened" would bring the complete and full protections granted by SARA. The Western population would also received a Recovery Plan and Action Plan.   This is much needed and welcome news that many have been fighting for. Biologist Sofi Hindmarch wrote a recent research paper I previously posted on this site; where she predicted this population to become sadly extirpated. They went through a huge population decrease due to some bad winters and just locally at least 69 carcasses were picked up by OWL. This gravely impacted the local population, as they are in the northern limit of their range already. This is why it is imperative not to disrupt Barn Owls hunting in the dayti

Vancouver Big Year

Well, 2018 is here and I finished 2017 with seeing 264 birds in the Metro Vancouver Checklist. I saw one bird in Point Roberts WA which was a Heermann's Gull. Nature Vancouver counts Point Roberts, WA in the Metro Vancouver Checklist; eBird does not. Therefore, according to eBird I ended the year with 263. I don't use eBird so I go by Nature Vancouver. Regardless what checklist you use I have officially beaten the previously held record of 258 (according to eBird, 260 according to Nature Vancouver) by Ilya Povalyaev in 2015. I am the first woman to do so too, which is kinda cool. I never set out to do a big year it just happened as I like to see as many birds and I chase everything that shows up in the Metro Vancouver Area. This isn't for listing purposes I just find it fun and I truly enjoy seeing these birds over and over again I don't tire of them. Anyways some big misses for me were mostly due to laziness as I didn't chase them right away. If you don't