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 his leg to gangrene from a "Fer-de-lance" snake! Eeek! Peter,  the non-alarmist (haha!), on the other hand, told me about some good strategies on how to study birds and carry only plates when I travel. I only kid I appreciated both of their tips!

We killed the time chatting and checking in with the Toochins who had taken the Fraser Canyon. We arrived at 10 :15 am after a few coffee breaks and gas. My friend Chris Charlesworth had texted me that all present had not seen the bird... well just as we pulled up Chris appeared to be on the bird he looked excited. We jumped out the car barely giving time for Brian to stop haha and ran over to them. We all got good views of the bird and began taking some shots he was constantly obscured by branches or berries for photos but we were so happy to see him! He disappeared within 15 minutes flying high over the willows and soon many people left. I was happy to see my friend Gary Davidson from Nakusp and gave him a big hug. Also was so glad to finally meet Matthias Bieber and Jesse Hannebauer from Kelowna. The Toochins who had taken the Fraser Canyon weren't there yet so we waited an hour till they got there as we wanted to help them refind the bird. We were getting a bit nervous when the bird did not reappear. I figured it would be back as the bushes still had berries despite having mostly been stripped by the Bohemian Waxwings (about 100 of them) and Robins.

Well Mike and Sharon pulled up an hour later and still no bird another 1.5 hours and guess who flew in?! The FIELDFARE!!! I was so happy that my friends got to see it after the long drive and we could all relax.

Not only was this bird a lifer for me.. it was also BC Bird #425 for me and ABA bird #696!

This bird is one that most BC twitchers and Birders want because not only is it an ABA Code 4 bird and a mega rarity but everyone missed the bird that here in 2003 that my friend Larry Cowan found in Port Coquitlam.

I was struck by the beauty of this elegant thrush. It was larger than the American Robins and prettier. It was cool to see it perched and in flight. In flight you could really appreciate how white it looked from below and how large it was. While perched you could see it's detailed beauty markings. I just loved it's elegant colouring. This was definitely one of my fave twitches I have ever been on. It was nice and sunny weather and all the roads were clear except for a bit of snow on the Coquihalla summit.

A great day with 2 of my fave friends that I love to twitch with and always great to see my friends from the Interior. Plus when I got home my friend Brian Stech gave me some delicious fresh Salmon and my friend Peter lent me his ecuador field guide bird plates! Peter was smart because “The Birds of Ecuador” book is so heavy and filled with maybe too much info (when you want to travel with it). So for travelling ease, Peter took the large field guide and got the identification pictures professionally taken out and bound and made into its own professional book! Very smart and much lighter to travel with. I am blessed for such great friends!

I urge anyone who wants to see this bird to go as soon as possible as the Mountain Ash Trees are being stripped of their berries very very fast. In a few days the birds can very well move on when their food source runs dry. Many of my friends from BC and WA are heading up tomorrow I sure hope they get it!!

A really nice early Christmas present for us all in BC!

Congrats again to Roger and Nan Beardmore and Peter and Sharon Lawless on their incredible find you made my year!

I hope it sticks for everyone who wants to see it!

Fieldfare in Salmon Arm - Dec 17, 2018 - Photo: Melissa Hafting


  1. After a drive like that glad you three got the bird so quickly. Stunning pix too Mel, the light,berries, and background make for such neat shots. Congrats to you all.

    1. thanks so much peter. There is something about thrushes or any birds for that fact in a bright red berry tree at that reminds me of christmas which is fitting now :) thanks my friend. merry christmas and happy new year to you and yours

  2. Congrats on finding the rare bird! Beautiful photos!!

  3. Congratulations on seeing the Fieldfare! Such a beautiful bird and great rarity to see in our home province.

    1. thanks it really was such an elegant beauty glad you got to see it too!

  4. Wow, congrats on this beautiful songbird and those stunning shots, Mel! I also have Larry C. to thank for identifying a vaux's swift for me (which we saw this summer at Blakeburn Lagoons!) :)

    1. thank you so much hui and yes larry is a great guy!

  5. Replies
    1. thank you bryony! i just love your beautiful name :)


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