Showing posts from 2022

Christmas Eve....1 Year since I lost my mom

Mom, my sister Meghan and I on Vancouver Island. I will always remember her laughing this way. I can't believe we are here already... On Christmas Eve it will be a year since my beloved mother Valerie died from breast cancer. I recently did a " Writing for Grief " course through the Lumara Society . It has helped me process my grief in a cathartic way.  In that course a man shared this quote by Washington Irving " T here is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love . ” Christmas used to be such a special time for my family and I. My mom made Christmas so very special. I still don't remember how we made it through Christmas Day 2021. The day after she died the last thing we wanted to do was celebrate… frankly it was hell. I remember Ilya forcing me to get out of bed and get some air. Somehow he held me up and got me to the  Richmond Nature Park  and we sat together watching

I will be a judge for the 2023 Audubon Photography Awards!

I am honoured to be chosen as a judge for a second year for the 2023 Audubon Photography Awards. You can read about the full panel of judges  HERE . You can read about the  prizes  to be won and how to enter the contest which runs from Jan 11, 2023 to March 1, 2023  HERE . It is open to anyone 13 and over in Canada and the USA. The award categories are for best professional,  amateur, youth, video and native plants for birds category.  You can watch a video about the 2023 Audubon Awards  HERE We have a page that answers all your questions about the contest  HERE Thank you to the National Audubon Society for asking me to be part of this awesome contest. It was a lot of fun last year and I look forward to reviewing your entries! My fave part of judging is viewing the Young Birder Category because the youth are so talented! This photography contest is only open to ethical photographers, practicing ethical photography (no stressed, flashed or nesting birds) and of course there is  no baiti

Getting inspired at Lost Lagoon through mindful birding

Bufflehead taking off at Lost Lagoon - Photo: Melissa Hafting I haven’t really been inspired to paint again since 2016 when I completed a Whimbrel for Ilya after our first trip to California together. "Whimbrel in a California Sunset" (India Ink and Acrylic Paint on wood 18 x 24) I needed to de-stress and was missing my mom so recently went down to Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park alone to see if I would be inspired to paint some of the birds. I completed a painting here for my sister’s wedding present back in 2014 “The Geese at Lost Lagoon.”  "The Geese at Lost Lagoon" (oil on wood 18x24) - Melissa Hafting I put on my headphones and listened to Ella Fitzgerald and brought my paints and materials. I brought my camera as well and found a few beautiful ducks that did give me some inspiration. It was beautiful to watch them swim and some of them came close to me with Ella’s beautiful music in my ears. A lovely Short-billed Gull flew by at sunset as well. A peaceful magic mo


Yesterday, Peggy Mersereau emailed me to ask me what I thought of this strange yellow bird she saw while visiting a friend's house. I immediately told her a Prothonotary Warbler and then she got on the phone and we chatted a long while just sharing in her excitement over finding such a great and beautiful bird. She discussed the situation that the bird can't be made public as it was at a private home and the owner did not want multiple lenses pointed at their home as they are in condos and didn't want their  neighbours upset or the parking situation to get out of control. The next morning the bird went into a public park (Riverfront Park) and stayed viewable from the public area allowing many happy birders to come and see it. To not upset neighbours I have asked birders not to point their cameras at home windows and not to linger long at the site and only to park in marked public parking spots. A few neighbours were still upset but the bird is on public property so we will


**UPDATED-Event is now FULL** If you are a young birder between the ages of 12-18 and want to join me on the annual Christmas Bird Count for Youth at Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta, please register  HERE Note the event begins at 9 am on Jan 1st and is  free for all youth attending  but if parents want to join they must pay Reifel's entrance fee of 8$.  This event is BIPOC and LGBTQ+ inclusive. Looking forward to seeing you all soon and ringing in the New Year together!  You can read our report about the 2021/2022 coun t  HERE See you soon! Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all that celebrate!

BC Permanently BANS Rodenticides!

Again this proves that activism REALLY DOES work! After lots of hard work of getting cities to ban rodenticides by multiple people; the province has listened and turned their temporary ban into a permanent one. It still isn't perfect because there are still too many exceptions but it is a HUGE step forward to help protect wildlife and raptors. If you follow my blog you will remember how long it took for the City of Richmond and Port Moody and all the other cities who followed suit to get this change. All the cities who banned the use in their cities asked the provincial government to make a province-wide ban. It was a lot of hard work but it was worth it because we are now here today. We can't stop fighting until there is a federal ban and the province removes or heavily restricts more of these exceptions. For now though, the province has permanently banned rodenticides effective Jan 21, 2023.  The ban applies to all sale and use of SGARs by members of the public, and most com