Showing posts from October, 2019

An incredible encounter with Hooded Mergansers

It was nice to get out and do some birding today in the fall sunshine. I went out today with the intention of a photography day. I ended up finding 12 Hooded Mergansers and 5 males were out displaying. It seemed early to be displaying since it is not the breeding season. However, I know ducks seem to be constantly amorous. Usually Hoodies are very skittish but these guys were so in the groove they didn't notice my presence. I lay down on the bank and watched the show.  The fall leaves lit up the water making it a golden colored pond. They really are handsome drakes! I've never got a decent photo of the male of this species so I was quite thrilled. Hooded Mergansers displaying in Vancouver - Photos: Melissa Hafting   I realized after I left that I should have taken some video. I love the funny sounds they make as they cock back their heads. If you have never seen this display you can watch a video of it below: I als

I lost the little dog who stole my heart

Everyone may remember that I lost my dog Sammy unexpectedly almost to the date a year ago in October. Well last night I lost my other dog Pancakes. It was also very sudden. I've had her since 2008. I adopted her when she was 3 years old from the SPCA. She was 14 years old when she died in my arms tonight. After Sammy's passing I never thought I'd feel this grief all over again so quickly. I never thought I would lose Pancakes this quickly. Life can really feel unfair and throw you curve balls. I miss Pancakes so much already; even though she's only been gone a few hours. I am just heartbroken. She went into respiratory distress and they discovered her trachea was completely collapsed. She was literally suffocating, unable to breathe adequately and in great discomfort. They gave me no choice but to put her down. I was with her when she passed holding her. I hope she knew just how much I loved her. She liked to go walking with me while I birded. She never found

My photo is in the new BSC Calendar!

I was honoured to have my photo of a Laysan Albatross featured in this year's Bird Studies Canada 2019-2020 Calendar. Young Birder Liron Gertsman is also featured with a beautiful photo of a Short-eared Owl. Laysan Albatross featured in the new BSC 2020 Calendar for the month of September - Photo: Mel Hafting

More bad news for Iona's birds...

A new proposal is calling for BC Ferries to build a terminal at Iona Island. This would decimate critical bird habitat. With the filling in of the sewage ponds, the proposal for a new runway to run through the south jetty and now this, it's all just too much. You can read my previous post about what will happen to Iona HERE There is way too much pressure on these birds. This is one of the best green spaces and wildlife habitats left in Richmond. I live in Richmond and the development never seems to stop. It's heartbreaking. There will be public consultations soon on this and I'll post them when they become available. This is definitely something we as birders need to fight as we have been doing so for the Roberts Bank terminal expansion. To read about and watch the video on the CTV News story about the BC Ferries terminal proposal at Iona click HERE To read the full proposal commissioned by the provincial ministry of transportation click HERE


Today I got my 11th new BC Bird this year and it was a bird I never dreamt of seeing in BC. It was a Yellow-browed Warbler!!. The first record for Canada and of course BC!. Today Global News   by radio,  Chek News  , Victoria News and The Times Colonist interviewed me as well.  This bird was big. It attracted birders from across the ABA including WA and CA!. It is listed as an ABA Code 4 Bird and this is the first mainland North American Record. The only other records were in Alaska in St Paul and Gambell and one record in Mexico. It was nice to see my friends from WA there Blair Bernson and Ann Marie Wood. Plus tons of friends from Vancouver Island and Vancouver. I was especially happy to see that young birders Liam and Rebecca not only got on the bird but also got decent photos of it!. We went over the night before and stayed at a hotel so we could be there for dawn. We got there at 7:30 am just before sunrise and found the bird quickly at 7:45 am. It was down low at eye leve

If you love wolves, you must watch this!

I love wolves they are one of my favorite animals. I have yet to photograph one... it is on my bucket list. There are coastal wolves in Vancouver Island but there is a special wolf that lives alone on Discovery Island off Victoria. This wolf has lived on the island for 7 years. It hunts seals and river otters and lives a solitary life with no pack, so it is highly unusual. The Nature of Things with David Suzuki recently did a documentary on this special wolf. Click HERE to watch this incredible documentary called "TAKAYA: LONE WOLF"

The Beautiful Bald Eagle...

I went to Brunswick Point today and had an incredible encounter with a Bald Eagle. They hardly ever let you walk right up to them but this one did, allowing me to get some beautiful shots of this striking bird. It was a privilege to be so close to this powerful raptor. Magical moment with a Bald Eagle in Ladner - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Birding helps youth of all backgrounds and struggles

You should read about these inspirational young birders. They discuss how birding helped them cope with bullying at school; gave them a reprieve from their mental health issues and for some it also helped with their autism and dyslexia. Some young people go through so much trauma in their daily lives and birding is a true reprieve. It can help anyone at any age to feel peace, calm and wellness. Birds never judge us and give us so very many physical health and emotional benefits by getting out in bathe to view them. If you want to be inspired read about these youth HERE 

A whole mix of good birds to be thankful for!

Northern Pygmy-Owl - North Shore Mountains - Photo: Melissa Hafting  October has been a great month for rarities. The gift that just keeps on giving it seems.  There was a Brown Booby and Common Crane which I was lucky enough to see. BC also had a Brown Shrike, Red-shouldered Hawk, Green-tailed Towhee and Red-throated Pipit. There have also been some good local rarities like a Clay-colored Sparrow at Iona (Metro Vancouver bird #254) that I twitched. It was found by Harold Eyster and was feeding constantly at marker 59 at the beginning of the south jetty. It is so nice when birds are not a 4 km walk out to the end of the long south jetty --that's where they typically like to be. Clay-colored Sparrow in Richmond - Photos: Melissa Hafting Also I was lucky enough to see 2 Northern Pygmy-Owls in the local North Shore Mountains. They are such a treat and sometimes not that easy to find. They are so small and hard to see but their cute little "toots" give