The Green-tailed Towhee Twitch!

I went to Denman Island yesterday to chase another BC bird. Lately there has been some great birds in the province and most of them have been on the island; including an Orchard Oriole, Summer Tanager and many Pygmy Nuthatches. I had just been to Victoria two weeks prior and successfully twitched the Orchard Oriole my friend Geoffrey Newell found! 

The Lower Mainland has 3 Pygmy Nuthatches (PYNU) as well but they are not publicly accessible sadly. Hopefully with the irruption and the displacement of the species not finding enough food in the interior post the fire season, we will get the chance to see more down in the Vancouver area. This is a highly unusual event with coastal occurrences of both Pygmy and White-breasted Nuthatches all over WA as well. The last PYNU in Vancouver was the 1973! I did get the chance to see a White-breasted Nuthatch at my friend Tom Plath's place not too long ago which was a new Vancouver bird for me and a treat.

Well getting back to the Towhee.... On Wednesday of this week Teresa Bouchard found a Green-tailed Towhee on Gladstone Beach on Denman. This is a bird I've chased before in the province and dipped on. The last one in the province was 2020. This one is the 14th record for BC. 

I got to meet Teresa in person yesterday which was nice and spend time with old friends like Mark Wynja too and young birder program graduate Liam Singh. Teresa found a Brambling before in her hometown of Powell River before so we had been in communication over that at the BC RBA.  She was actually walking her friend's dog Boris when the dog accidentally flushed up the Towhee. If she hadn't been walking on that very isolated beach I am sure this bird would of been left undiscovered!

I hadn't been to Denman Island since high school when my dad would take me their to camp on Denman and Hornby. It is a beautiful spot and I was excited and so happy to go back.

I ended up finding the Towhee on the beach at the exact spot Teresa had first found it. Well Guy Monty, Ed Jordan and Liam and others were on it at my arrival making it quite easy!

This is thee 455th bird species I have been lucky enough to see in the province thus far. 2023 has been a good year for rarities this year as I was able to get 8 new BC birds.

A rare Green-tailed Towhee on Denman Island, BC - Photos: Melissa Hafting


  1. Mel you got the best photo of the bird yet! I have been looking at the nice pics on eBird but yours blows them out of the park especially the log pose.

  2. wow mel these shots are wonderful what a beautiful bird congrats on 455! - Randy

  3. so beautiful Mellie I would love to see this bird one day

    1. Thanks a lot. I really hope you see this species one day.

  4. Beautiful pictures, would have been a nice trip

  5. I saw one today in a neighbourhood tree in Parksville. Never seen one before so I looked it up and found you!


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