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 level and then quickly flew out high to the cottonwoods where it stayed high for most of the day against a grey backlit sky. The bird is tiny - small like a Kinglet and never stops moving. It was calling just like a Pacific-slope Flycatcher. I had EXTREME difficulty trying to get a photograph. I followed the bird until it was last seen at 10:40 am and got 3 record shots. I stayed an hour after this but it was never seen again.

The bird was found the day before Oct 18, 2019 at Panama Flats by Jeff Gaskin and Geoffrey Newell. The bird was first misidentified as a Tennessee Warbler but when Geoffrey sent me the photo he took I guessed it was a Yellow-browed Warbler. Geoffrey thought it was an old world warbler too. When he got home and emailed me the photos I knew it was a Yellow-browed Warbler. I also got my friend and expert birder Paul Lehman to look at the photos. He has seen them before in AK and he confirmed the id of the bird.

It was a magic bird to see in BC. It was BC Bird # 435 for me, ABA bird #714 and a Lifer!. Lifers are my most important list. Successfully twitching a lifer is just the best feeling!. However, I am very sad for many of my friends and all the other people who traveled from afar and paid a lot of money for ferries, planes, gas etc to chase this bird and never got to see it. Sadly after 2 Cooper's Hawks came in the bird was never seen again from 10:40 am until dark. 

Hopefully it is seen again tomorrow but one thing I know it is always in your best interest to twitch a bird right away. For one you don't know if the bird has been there for 1 day or 2 weeks and it can leave at any minute. I have learned this the hard way so now always go immediately.

Anyways, it was a great twitch shared again with many good friends. What an incredible fall it has been with many Asian vagrants in beautiful British Columbia.

You can watch a video on this by CTV News HERE

Mega Rare Yellow-browed Warbler in Victoria - Photos: Melissa Hafting


  1. Such a great bird!! Not the greatest of views but who cares - even got a so-so photo. Thanks so much for the early notice. Great to see you and Ilya there. You ahve had a great year and B.C. has really delivered!!

    1. Sure was great to see you not easy to view with constant movements thanks again!

  2. Congrats on finding such a rare bird! Hopefully he finds his way home safely.

    1. Thanks so much the bird continued today and many people got to see it some came as far away as tn but yes I hope he flies south before the winter hits

  3. Congrats on finding such a rare bird! Hopefully he finds his way home safely.


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