Went up to Kamloops today to see a Snowy Egret that Andrew Klassen found yesterday at Overlander's Park.

The bird was walking around and foraging on the Thompson River right up close. I took my 8 month old pup "Pipit" with me. When we got there not a soul was there. There were no birders or anything except a lone elderly gentleman drinking some coffee with his walker. I am not sure how he got down the steep embankment but there he was. He was real friendly and we got to chatting. He loved my dog and you could see the joy the dog was bringing him. He told me that he recently lost his dog to cancer.  He asked if he could hold and play with "Pip" while I photographed the Egret. I said "sure!" The Snowy Egret was very tame, allowing me to approach it quite close, as it happily fed along the river bank.

It was a real special moment. This was the 450th bird species I had seen in the province of BC. Two days prior I had been fortunate enough to see a White-tailed Kite in Langley (BC Bird #449). I felt really happy and really sad all at once. I wanted to phone up and tell my dad that I had seen a Snowy Egret in Kamloops and that it was my 450th BC bird but sadly I remembered he was dead :(. I started to cry on the beach there and the older gentleman asked me what was wrong. I explained I just lost my dad Feb 23rd (my mother's bday who I lost just over a year before) and he began to try and comfort me. We sat there awhile all 3 of us on the sand. The dog, him and I. His name was John by the way. I don't think I will ever forget him.

Anyways, on my way home I got a message from my friend Brian Stech congratulating me on 450 and that meant a lot. We have done many twitches together in the past. Then I started to get texts from friends congratulating me on my 450th bird too which was sweet.

So it was really nice to see this bird and reach this milestone but it was certainly bittersweet, because the one person I REALLY wanted to tell was no longer there to pick up my call. How I wish he was still here with me and to hear his voice once more. He always would hug me and look at my photos all excitedly whenever I would get a new BC bird. Now I feel alone and empty. Dad this Egret is for you. I LOVE YOU.

Snowy Egret in Kamloops, BC - Photo: Melissa Hafting


  1. PacificnorthwestkateMay 10, 2023 at 7:48 AM

    Melissa!! Congratulations!! Bird 450! A very moving post about your experience - thank you for sharing! And what an awesome experience - I’m so glad John was there and that he loved Pipit (who doesn’t! Lol I know I love him!) - and I’m sure your dad was there too!!! What a beautiful bird!! Well done my friend!!

    1. Thanks Kate I am really devastated without my parents. I am still in shock my dad now too is gone. :( I hate this new reality that I am forced to accept. It has completely hit me like an earthquake losing them both. It is hard for people to experience this type of grief that the majority of society just doesn't understand this level of deep seated pain.

  2. Congratulations on 450!! I wonder what #500 will be:) Francesca

  3. congrats Mel as you say you rock!


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