Brambling in Revelstoke

Brambling in Revelstoke - Photo: Melissa Hafting

After my mom's passing and organizing the funeral and such, I needed a break away. We decided to drive up to Revelstoke on Dec 29th to see my friend Darlene's rare birds that she had in her yard. Darlene Cancelliere had her second Brambling over the years and I had never seen one in BC or anywhere, so off we went!. The only highway open after the flooding was Highway 3, so we had to go the long way to get there. We drove to Princeton, then to Merritt through Kamloops and up to Salmon Arm to Revy. Some of the roads were dicey with ice and compact snow. We counted 16 cars between Vancouver and Revelstoke that were off the road due to ice and a few semis. Luckily we did not run into any problems. The road up was pretty devoid of birds except for a Magpie, Ravens and some Eagles but we did see a Moose.

When we got into Revelstoke it was like a winter wonderland. We spent the night at the Swiss Chalet Hotel after a delicious dinner at Paramjit's  Kitchen and got up in the morning and headed over to Darlene's. Her yard is always birdy and she's had great rarities in her yard. For instance, I've seen a Hooded Warbler at her place and she's had Harris's Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Black-throated Blue Warbler and Blackburnian Warblers plus a Dickcissel, just to name a few.

Today, she had a Taiga Merlin, a rare female Lesser Goldfinch, a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (Interior subspecies), Northern Shrike, Steller's Jays, Ravens and many other birds I don't see often in Vancouver. There were Common Redpolls, Evening Grosbeaks. Bohemian Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks. The temp with the wind chill was -27 C. It was bloody cold, we had to take breaks in the car with the heater on periodically. We had full winter gear on and long johns too!. It was brutally cold at times but we were always in the company of good birds. That day after 8 hours of watching we did not  see the Brambling. The Brambling apparently traveled with House Finches but we saw the House Finches and American Goldfinches but no Brambling.

Female Lesser Goldfinch in Revelstoke - Photos: Melissa Hafting

A large flock of Evening Grosbeaks was present in Revelstoke - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Taiga Merlin (not eating a Brambling) in Revelstoke - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Interior Steller's Jay in Revelstoke - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Luckily this Northern Shrike didn't eat the Brambling! - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Pine Grosbeaks in Revelstoke sang their beautiful songs - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We went back to our hotel to warm up. The next morning we got up and went to Darlene's. It was -19C  but very little wind and lots of sun.We chatted with a few friendly neighbours wondering what we were looking for. It was cold but way more bearable. The yard had all the same birds today but more of them. There was also a Sharp-shinned Hawk and I was worried that maybe one of these raptors or the Shrike had eaten it. We walked around the neighbourhood as we did the day before checking the other feeders at 5th St and Downie,  where the Brambling had been seen by others over its stay since Nov 19th, but no luck.

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch in Revelstoke - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Bohemian Waxwings in Revelstoke - Photos: Melissa Hafting

We went back to Darlene's and after almost 5 hours a large group of House Finches flew in but still no Brambling. As I turned my head I saw a flock of about 10 House Finches flying in towards me. When they landed I had to do a double take! There was a beautiful orange bird with yellow bill! My lifer Brambling!! Finally! I was so happy. I called Ilya with my frozen hands as he was down the street and he came running and also got on it. The bird stayed around for 10-15 mins and we got some nice photos of it, before it flew off. We were pretty darn cold but HAPPY as we got back in our car and headed home. This 3 day mini-trip was successful and a nice distraction while I grieved my loss. Thanks to Darlene for being so accommodating to me during my visit and for feeding all these birds eating her out of house and home.

Female Brambling in Revelstoke - Photos: Melissa Hafting


  1. +1 for Paramjit's Kitchen! We almost always eat there when we're in Revelstoke. Mmmm.... butter chicken....

    1. thanks Paul! it was some of the best east indian food I ever had! we loved the curry coconut prawns!

  2. Congratulations on getting the brambling melissa! Glad you enjoyed your visit with so many beautiful photos.

    1. thank you so much darlene! it was wonderful there what a special place you live in and was so happy to see that brambling. wish you were in town those days <3


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