Showing posts from December, 2018

270 Bird Species This Year In Metro Vancouver and Happy New Year!

On Jan 1st, 2018 I decided that I would set out and try and get 270 birds in Metro Vancouver in one calendar year. Well I was able to achieve it today! It was so much work and I dipped on a common bird a "Horned Lark." I missed 2 Vancouver rarities including one mega that was Rob Lyske's "Loggerhead Shrike" because I arrived too late and I missed Kevin Louth's  Bar-tailed Godwit because I was gravely ill. The toughest bird this year for me to track down was a Northern Pygmy-Owl because I didn't join the crowds in 2018 to see the one at Maplewood. What a mistake that was! Well I never searched harder for a little Pygmy-Owl but today my hard work paid off when I found one in West Vancouver. My 270th bird in Metro Vancouver - Photo: Melissa Hafting A big thanks to all my friends and family who helped me achieve my goal. Today I thought I was going to end at 269 until I heard the little owl and then saw him "tooting" at me. I beat the pre

Young Women are changing the face of Birding everywhere!

It is so nice to see more and more young women (and women in general) getting into birding. It is a male dominated hobby, so the more women the better. Even better yet, it's great to see more racially diverse women getting into the hobby as it has traditionally been a Caucasian based hobby as well. You should read about this incredible young woman from Uganda, who is changing the face of birding in her community in a very positive way  HERE . You can also read about the incredible movement of female millennial birders in America HERE . We can see right here in BC how many young women are improving birding for us all with their sheer presence. Just think of Bridget Spencer, Toby Theriault, Cedar Forest, Rebecca and Emma Reader-Lee, Katya Kondratyuk , Alice Sun, Sasha Fairbairn and Willa Crowley just to name a few! All these women are truly inspirational! Here's to more GIRL POWER in Birding Everywhere! We should make sure to support and lift up young women birders an

There is hope for the world's rarest bird... Also how will the new Sewage Treatment Plant at Iona affect birders?

The Madagascar Pochard was thought to be extinct after no one seeing it for 15 years but a small population was rediscovered and now captive birds are being released and there is renewed hope. Read the full story and watch the video about the birds and the incredible people who are helping them  HERE . There is a new Wastewater Treatment Plant being built at Iona. There is a public information session being held Wednesday, January 9, 2019 from 6 to 8:30 pm in the Auditorium at the Pacific Autism Family Network at 3688 Cessna Drive, Richmond. As us birders like to access this site it might be worth attending if you have any questions on how the new plant and land expansion will affect the birds and wildlife and any access to it. All info HERE

Read an interview I did with The Richmond News and Christmas Greetings!

I recently did an interview with the Richmond News about winter birding; you can read it HERE . Also, I want to wish every one of my blog readers and followers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I wish you many good birds, peace, love, happiness and all good things in 2019! Merry Christmas from this Common Redpoll and Me! - Photo: Melissa Hafting


Yes, I got a Fieldfare today!! Let me back up. Yesterday, Roger Beardmore emailed me about a Fieldfare that he and his wife Nan and his friends Peter and Sharon Lawless had found on their local Christmas Bird Count in Salmon Arm. My jaw dropped at his stunning photos see them HERE . I was so excited I told Roger I would be up the next morning and I rallied some friends to go. Brian Stech said he would drive and my friend Peter Candido said he wanted to go. First of all we thought 6 am would be fine but then Brian thought better of it and we decided to meet at 5 am. I am sure glad we did. We promptly departed at  5 am. I was surprised how non-tired I was. I got little sleep excited about this bird. It was a lifer for me and one I have always wanted to see in BC!... But Brian's friendly chatter kept me awake and I was glad for it. We talked a lot about my upcoming trip to Ecuador. Brian scared me about pickpockets and venemous deadly snakes. I even saw a photo of a man who lost hi

More Owls are dying in North Vancouver due to rat poison

.....and this is not just occuring in North Van but everywhere! Read more about this problem HERE . Things you can do to help is to please stop using Rat Poison and tell all you know to stop using it as well. Many bird and animal lives will be saved if only the gov't would deregulalte the use and people would stop using it. Also this is not about birds directly but more salmon means more Eagles .... but great news about the closure of several (17!) salmon farms in Vancouver Island. I hope this leads to more closures of open net fish farms and a transition to land based farming. We need to do all we can including closing the commercial fishery to help save endangered Salmon which benefit so many birds, animals like Orcas and ourselves! A big thank you to the  Namgis, Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis and Mamalilikulla people for fighting for this change. To read about the closures click HERE . To see my friend John Reynolds speaking about the plight of Chinook Salmon click

Scientists in WA have proven that Northwestern and American Crows are not distinct species

Read the full scientific study  HERE 2 Crows in Point Roberts, WA but what should we call them now? - Photo: Melissa Hafting

A Winter Wren and a Baby - 2 Gifts in one day!

Two days ago Ian Cruickshank found a Winter Wren at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site in Colwood. He detected it by call of course as they really are not truly distinguishable by looks alone. Ian Cruickshank is one of the best audiophiles in BC so when he first reported a "probable Winter Wren" I knew it would be legit. Even though the bird was not relocated by those who looked on Sunday I decided I would try the next day. I figured the bird would stick around just like the Winter Wren that Chris Charlesworth found a couple years ago in Kelowna. When a bird turns up in December it usually stays unless there is a major weather change.  Fort Rodd Hill doesn't open until 10:30 am so there was no point getting on the 7 am ferry from Vancouver so we hopped on the 11 am ferry. We were surprised to see no one looking for the bird. I mean it was raining and the admission is 4$ but it is a frigging Winter Wren in Southern BC! It was also the first record for Vancouver Island!

A Wild Goose Chase with some Eastern Bluebirds mixed in.

Young Birder Cole Gaerber texted me on Nov 25th to tell me that a Tundra Bean Goose was photographed in Corvallis. He knew that was one of my most wanted ABA birds having missed the bird in Oregon in 2014. So I readied myself to go if the bird was seen the next day (it's a long drive!), but it was never seen. In fact it was not seen again until Dec 1st. Until that sighting I thought it had left. So when it was still seen Dec 2nd I felt I better get my butt down there. My friend Blair Bernson had good looks at it on Dec 2nd with some big year birders. He also told me he had it flying off the water just after sunrise. So I drove all the way down there it took over 6 hours. When I got there a feeling of dread came over me . There was over 4000 Cackling Geese feeding in the fields, some were really distant some were too distant even for my high quality scope. Some were hidden behind rolling hills and ridges. Thousands were flying over my head in every which direction. It was a night

Getting the perfect Bald Eagle flight shot.... is not easy!

I have tried many years unsuccessfully to get the perfect Bald Eagle flight shot. They are common birds and seemingly everywhere on the Pacific Northwest but they have white heads and tails and dark bodies. It is easy to overexpose them. You also need to think about background, light and composition. They can be skittish and always fly in the opposite direction it seems too haha. Anyways, I think flight photography is something that takes a fair amount of time to master, especially when you shoot manual as I do. I still have so much to learn. This weekend I went to Harrison Mills and Squamish and here are some of my efforts. I visited Brackendale and the water levels were too high washing away many of the carcasses. I saw some seals and Barrow's Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers and a few Bald Eagles and got to eat lunch at the "Water Shed Grill" (which  is my fave place to eat in Squamish). Again it was on a beautiful sunny day so couldn't complain. Last year I went