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 moment I wish I could of shared with my mom. In a way though, I knew she was there.

Male and Female Buffleheads at Lost Lagoon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Male Lesser Scaup at Stanley Park in Vancouver - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Male Bufflehead at Lost Lagoon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Common Goldeneye at Stanley Park - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Female Bufflehead in flight at Lost Lagoon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Bufflehead Drake in Vancouver - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Drake Mallard at Lost Lagoon in Vancouver - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Male American Wigeon at Stanley Park - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Lesser Scaup smiling on a golden pond at Lost Lagoon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Short-billed Gull at Stanley Park - Photo: Melissa Hafting


  1. Absolutely stunning photography Melissa and your paintings are beautiful. You are an artist and never cease to amaze me with your talents!

  2. I love this Melissa! Beautiful all of it! Thank you for the painting you gave me of the pelicans. Looking forward to see what you painted when it is all said and done. Mom would be proud. The bufflehead shot with the water droplets is one of your very best. Lovely lighting on these ducks especially the normally looked over Mallard.

  3. These are wonderful, Mel! The painting of the geese is stunning! It’s special to return to this satisfying pastime of painting, which brings you comfort and which has a reciprocal outcome for you in the joy it produces beyond you. Your mother is with you.

  4. Wonderful to see both the paintings and photos Melissa. You have so much talent as both a birder and artist!


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