Showing posts from March, 2018

Great new bird books and how to help the birds of Kauai!

With climate change the birds of Hawaii are doing worse than ever and the island hardest hit is Kauai. Please donate what you can to help the endangered birds of Hawaii fight back against Avian Malaria through the campaign by Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project Hawaii HERE . 1. Also, here is an amazing Hawaiian Birds reference, in the form of a website, that my friend Dennis Paulson said should be made into a book (and he's so right): "The Birds of The Hawaiian Islands" by Robert and Peter Pyle. It's so nice however that it is available to all online for free HERE 2. There are very few non-White birders out there and few prominent women birders but things are slowly changing in this Caucasian male dominant field as it is getting integrated with many different races, ages and women and all genders. Here is a new book called "Broken Wing" by David Budbill, which is a NY times bestseller dealing with the issues that a male (minority) black birder


I chartered a boat the "Miss B Haven" from Ocean Outfitters in Tofino with 12 other people to go look for Parakeet Auklets. It was March and the right time of year. Mike Toochin and Roger Foxall saw them in March/April and so has other people like Ryan Merrill. We went out 43 miles from shore and were on Clayquot Canyon and the water was around 2000 feet deep. We searched in vain for Parakeet Auklet but found a fishing boat (a trawler) and behind it were huge amounts of birds. We ended up counting at least 400 Black-footed Albatross and 200 Northern Fulmars. All of a sudden Mike Toochin screams "SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSS!", we asked the captain to slow down and we ran out to the back of the boat and there it was that huge pink bill!  It was a massive bird...way bigger than the nearby Black-footed. We kept driving  along slowly towards the huge raft of birds and all of sudden a second bird appears and they both land on the water and start eating a rockfish head. Then a

Bird in the News

Well a lot of the news isn't too good. You probably saw the last male Northern White Rhino is gone.. no more left. They saved some of his sperm but AI in this species and surrogacy has never been done before. I sure hope it will but it's just another wake up call for us all, to stop destroying our planet. As the climate warms, we will have more and more species extinctions and extirpation. We need to think about the big picture, because it's really too late. The sad thing is that we are fully informed and have been since the 1950's about the detrimental effects of a warming climate. If we continue down this self centered greedy non-renewable source of energy path, we aren't going to like what our oceans and planet will look like. It could look truly apocalyptic. I mean today, BC biologist Luke Halpin said he found a Swordfish and Loggerhead Turtle off Vancouver Island! As the climate warms more species will extend their range north and places like the Boreal Fore

Young Birder Field Trip Itinerary - 2018

Hi All,  I had to change some dates but also added more trips! So here is the revised list. Please register ASAP to avoid disappointment. If you are between 12-18 years old and want to register and for further details on where to meet for each trip, please contact me at BCBIRDERGIRL@GMAIL.COM TOFINO CLELAND ISLAND (OVERNIGHT TRIP) - MAY 11-12TH, 2018 - SOLD OUT! PRINCETON TRIP ( AUGUST AND SWAN LAKE)  - July 14, 2018 - FULL (WAITING LIST) PEMBERTON PTARMIGAN HIKE - ILLAL PEAK -  Aug 19,  2018 - FULL (WAITING LIST) BOWEN ISLAND - bird by kayak - August 22, 2018 PELAGIC OVERNIGHT TRIP - Sept 8-9, 2018 FULL (WAITING LIST) SOOKE HAWK WATCH - Sept 22, 2018 -  FINAL TRIP OF THE YEAR Looking forward to seeing you all for a super great year! Will be the last year for many of you turning 19, so let's go out with a bang!

The Barrow's Project

Since December 2017 I have made a goal for myself to get a decent Barrow's Goldeneye photo. I have gone to several places in the Lower Mainland to photograph them. I have never got the photos I desired they never came close enough or the light was wrong and they were close and in shade... or close but the sun was in the wrong position for photography. Yesterday, on my day off, I went to Lions Bay in West Vancouver and found a raft of over 100 birds. I walked on the beach and they swam far out as predicted. I had brought a yoga and beach mat and lay down on it with my radio and lunch and just waited. Eventually they swam right in front of me to feed on mussels. They didn't even care I was there I was perfectly still. My arm started to ache after a few hours and my neck pained. A few Buffleheads, Green-winged Teals and Surf Scoters were in  the large raft as well. You know how everyone talks about getting "warbler neck" ? No one ever talks about "duck ne

A trip to the Falkland Islands with King Penguins!

Wait no I didn't go... I wish I did and it still is on my bucket list but my friend Peter Candido and his wife Gloria went to the Falkland Islands. They went from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aries, Argentina via Cape Horn on a cruise and got these stunning photos of King Penguins with chicks and Gentoo Penguins, not to mention the other gorgeous birds like the huge flightless Steamer Duck and stunning Inca Tern! King Penguin and chick in the Falkland Islands - Photo: Peter Candido (used with permission) Take a gander at his full fantastic collection HERE I don't know about you but I'm saving up my money already...

A study on Northern Pintails

I love to take portraits and explore the different textures and details of birds' faces. As in humans the face tells us so much. We go by ducks sometimes much too quickly, here is a facial study on a Northern Pintail Drake. Watch how the right side shines with pink iridescence and the left with green. Note the subtle differences on both sides of the bill shape. In art and photography, a perfectly symmetrical face is boring but something a little asymmetrical is unique and beautiful. In photography we are taught to bring out the "good side" in a portrait of a person. I honestly could not decide on this drake both were beautiful and unique. I love looking for subtle differences in beautiful birds, bringing out the fine textures and details. I like getting portraits by getting as close as possible by being as still and usually as uncomfortable as possible but the results are worth it. This was taken on my belly as the majority of my portrait shots are. Nort

How did we miss all these penguins?! But wait it's not all good news....

Mega-colonies' of 1.5 million Adélie penguins discovered in Antarctica "The discovery shows the remote area in the Danger Islands  is a vital refuge for wildlife from climate change and overfishing and should be protected by a new reserve, say scientists" Read the article HERE How did they not appear on satellite earlier? Makes you wonder what else is out there? Gives us hope that we may still have time to do something about the climate change crisis. It gives us an incentive to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and to switch to greener more renewable sources of clean energy. Oh and if that is not enough to inspire you to change your lifestyle maybe this will: "On Monday, researchers warned that king penguins could almost disappear from Antarctica by the end of the century unless climate change is curbed."  - The Guardian To read the full study about the current plight of the King Penguins click HERE Another interesting scientific disc

A proud moment for Canada

This is a birding blog but as a woman of colour myself I had to post about this historic moment. Canada has a very racist past including hundreds of years of slavery of Black and First Nations Peoples that gets hidden under the rug. However, today a Black Woman who resisted racist segregation laws wouldn't give up her seat in a white section of a theatre in NS was honoured. She did this 9 years before Rosa Parks in the US wouldn't give up her seat on a bus to a white person in Alabama. Viola was kicked out and thrown into jail for this act of refusing to leave from a white only section. It was only 65 years later that the government apologized and pardoned her. Well she replace John A, Macdonald who was a racist Prime Minister who effectively committed genocide on the Metis people of Manitoba before it became a province and cultural genocide on all First Nations by initiating the Residential School System the Government of Canada has officially apologized for but the horri

2018 Bird Photographer of the Year Shortlist

You can see some of the incredible photographers and their photographs who made the shortlist for the 2018 Bird Photographer of the Year contest and BC photographer Jess Findlay (whom I saw a lot around town this winter :)) is of course in there with his beautiful Ruddy Duck shot. A winner will be announced in August by the British Trust For Ornithology. A link to see all the stunning pics HERE

A New Book On Gulls

Well love 'em or hate 'em Gulls are complicated. They are also fascinating, especially when you get into the different plumages, ages and hybrids. They take lots of work and are super frustrating to ID but when you get the identification right you sure feel rewarded. I am constantly learning when it comes to Gulls and since it is not my forte, I am constantly trying to improve my Gull ID skills. Gull experts study Gulls to the point of exhaustion... to the point that they don't really look at any other birds because Gulls are that complicated. It takes dedication and amazing ability. I know when I first got into birding I hated gulls. I thought they were boring and uninteresting, but that is far from the truth; especially when you get into the stunning Hooded Gulls. There is a young birder in Victoria named Liam Singh who I think one day could grow up to be one of these Gull Experts. His skill at identifying them is better than most adult birders. Anyways, if you want

Just another day in the park...

I went to Stanley Park yesterday and had a great time. It has been one of my favourite places since childhood. So many beautiful birds abounded on that sunny first day of March. I photographed Barrow's Goldeneyes off the Seawall, went to Beaver Lake where I got to feed my Chickadees. There I saw a Red-breasted Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpeckers, Brown Creepers, Spotted Towhees. The Chestnut-backed and Black-capped Chickadees would not stop begging for food in their cute manner.They flew on my leg, camera, head, hand and lens. I am so at peace at this place. I got to see some River Otters, a Bald Eagle and several Wilson's Snipe and a Virginia Rail running across the path. Pacific Wrens, Golden-crowned Kinglets and Red-breasted Nuthatches filled the forest with song. In the pond there was Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Buffleheads, Hooded-Mergansers and those handsome Mallards. I was most happy yesterday, getting a decent Red-naped Sapsucker shot! Woodpeckers are n

Congratulations to the 2018 BCFO Young Birder Award Recipients!

Read all about these 6 incredible young birders HERE Congratulations to Cedar, Daniel, Jason, Marnix, Kalin and Zac for winning the 2018 British Columbia Field Ornithologist's Association Award!