Sunday, July 14, 2019

RBA: COMMON RINGED PLOVER in Tsawwassen - July 14-16th

At 7:30pm on July 14-2019, Ilya Povalyaev, Melissa Hafting, Mike Toochin, Sharon Toochin and Richard Swanston found a SY male Common Ringed Plover in breeding plumage at Beach Grove lagoon at Boundary Bay Regional Park.

The bird flew in on the mudflats at high tide and joined a small flock of Western Sandpipers. The bird was present for 30 minutes at a distance of 20m. The bird was photographed and then flew off and was not relocated before dark.

Multiple observers saw and photographed the bird on July 15th.

Map to exact location of bird HERE

Map to parking lot HERE

This is the second record for the province of BC.

***The bird was last seen in the same location on July 16th at 10:15 am. It was not seen on the evening of the 16th despite multiple observers looking.***

The bird was NOT seen on July 17th, despite multiple observers looking.

Common Ringed Plover in Delta - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Common Ringed Plover in Delta  - Photo: Peter Candido

Defined white wing stripe in flight unlike SEPL - Photo: John Gordon

Diagnostic lack of webbing between toes unlike in SEPL - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

RBA: BLACK PHOEBE in Coquitlam - July 9-10th

At 11:40am on July 9-2019, Hank Tseng found and photographed an immature Black Phoebe at Colony Farm. The bird was west of the duck pond by the intersection of the Wilson Farm Dyke Trail and Pumphouse trail.

Map to location HERE

This is the 26th record for the province of BC.

The bird was last seen in the same location on July 10th and was viewed by multiple observers.

The bird was not relocated on July 11th, despite multiple observers looking.

Black Phoebe in Coquitlam - Photos: Hank Tseng

Friday, July 5, 2019

Two new breeding species for BC!

Two new species have been added to the list of breeding birds in BC this year!

Finally a long overdue and suspected species was confirmed - The Lesser Goldfinch!

On July 5-2019, David Bell (the original finder of the species at this location), photographed an adult female Lesser Goldfinch feeding a barely fledged fledgling. The young bird still couldn’t fly. No nest has ever been found but this is enough to confirm breeding. The birds were 100m uphill from the Kruger Mountain/Old Richter Pass Rd intersection in Osoyoos.

This is also the first breeding record for all of Canada.

You can see the photos below:

Lesser Goldfinch fledgling with adult female - Photos: David Bell

You can read more about these Lesser Goldfinches HERE

Since breeding is now confirmed I will no longer be featuring them on the main page of the bird alert as a provincial rarity.

The other new BC breeding species this year was Whimbrel. On June 20-2019, Syd Cannings, Jean-François Jetté and Logan McLeod discovered and photographed a nest with 4 eggs at the Haines Summit, near the Yukon border. They were found in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park while looking for Hudsonian Godwits during a bird survey.

You can see the photos below:

Whimbrel nest with 4 eggs in Haines Summit, BC - Photo: Jean-François Jetté 

Whimbrel in Haines Summit, BC - Photo: Syd Cannings

Here is a write up that Syd generously wrote up on their discovery:

Whimbrel nesting in the Haines Triangle—a new breeding species to British Columbia

Syd Cannings, Jean-François Jetté, and Logan McLeod
Canadian Wildlife Service, Whitehorse

“On 20 June 2019, we were doing bird surveys along the British Columbia portion of the Haines Highway in the far northwestern corner of the province. Despite being a bit weary after our early morning work, we were all eager to stroll through the big fens west of the highway (in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park) to search for Hudsonian Godwits. These magnificent shorebirds have been occasionally recorded as breeding in the region as far back as the 1960s, but we wanted to update that information since the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) had recently assessed the species as Threatened.
Off we went through the thick willows and birch scrub, killing mosquitoes as we went. Except for the mountains and the nearby forests, the landscape was reminiscent of the wetlands we had surveyed for godwits on the northwestern corner of the Mackenzie Delta in 2018. There, Whimbrels swirled noisily overhead as the lone Hudsonian Godwit sat quietly below. So as we battled our way through the bushes, I (Syd) said “Wouldn’t it be really cool if we found Whimbrels here?” To my shock, as we entered the large fen and spread out on our godwit search, loud curlew-like calls rang out and J.-F. shouted, “Whimbrels!” A pair of the birds, obviously upset with us, were soon joined by another pair to the south. J.-F. walked around a small copse of White Spruce and came across a nest with four eggs! We didn’twant to disturb them further so kept going through the fen complex to the south, obviously passing through the territory of the second pair. We saw no godwits, although we recalled the advice of a shorebird expert who that they prefer to nest amongWhimbrels and Mew Gulls. The gulls were present here, too, although not in large numbers.
There is one summer record for the region: a single bird was seen at Mosquito Flats on 17 June 1980 (see account in Birds of British Columbia, vol. 3); but this is the first documented breeding record for the province. 
The Haines Highway corridor is well known to biologists as a place where arctic and subarctic species have small, disjunct populations. Birds such as Smith’s Longspur and Hudsonian Godwit immediately come to mind, but there are also mammals such as the Tundra Shrew in the region. A special place indeed!The valley of the headwaters of the Tatshenshini River, and the Mosquito Flats area contain extensive peatlands that appear to be great habitat for Whimbrels and Hudsonian Godwits, so there are plenty of opportunities for more discoveries.”

- Syd Cannings

This is definitely exciting news for British Columbia.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

RBA: ACORN WOODPECKER in Saanich - July 4th

At 4 pm on July 4-2019, Robert Fraser found a female Acorn Woodpecker at Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. He watched the bird for 30 mins as it foraged in some Garry Oaks where the path forks about 150 m north of the north end of Rainbow St. The bird was still present when he left.

Map to where he last saw the bird HERE

Female Acorn Woodpecker in Saanich - Photos: Robert Fraser

Monday, July 1, 2019

RBA: NORTHERN PARULA in Port Hardy - June 29- July 1st

On the evening of June 29-2019, Charles Francis found a male Northern Parula. He first identified the bird by song but didn't see or photograph it. The bird was singing and located 320m from the foot bridge along the Estuary Trail near the mouth of the Quatsesee River. At 2:30pm on July 1-2019, he returned to the same location and relocated the bird singing in the trees in front of him. He was able to photograph the bird as it gave good views for 5 mins, before it flew off. He was unable to determine which way it flew.

He returned on the evening of July 2nd to look for the bird but could not relocate it.

Map to the exact location of where the bird was last seen HERE

Male Northern Parula in Port Hardy - Photos: Charles Francis

This is the 21st record for the province of BC.

Monday, June 24, 2019

RBA: LESSER GOLDFINCH in Kelowna - June 24th

At 3:30pm on June 24-2019, Chris Charlesworth found a male Lesser Goldfinch singing at Rose Valley Regional Park. The bird was along Mcdougal Road, which is a trail at the end of Rosewood Rd. He was 200 meters along the trail from the end of Rosewood Rd. in West Kelowna.

Map to location of bird HERE

This is the 27th record for the province of BC

Sunday, June 16, 2019

RBA: SEDGE WREN near Fort St. John - June 16-19th

At 11pm on June 16-2019, Ilya Povalyaev found a singing Sedge Wren near Watson Slough. Watson Slough is about 30 minutes from Fort St. John on Highway 29 towards Hudson's Hope. The bird is singing from the north side of Watson Rd right at the intersection with Hwy 29. It is behind a fence on private land so viewing the bird could be difficult. Please do not trespass.

A recording of the Sedge Wren can be found HERE

Exact map to location of Sedge Wren HERE

On June 19-2019, Ilya returned to the same location and the bird was still singing in the same spot. Multiple observers saw the bird on June 19th as well.

This is the 5th record for the province of BC.

Friday, June 14, 2019

RBA: LESSER GOLDFINCH in Agassiz - June 14-July 11th

On June 14th-2019, Kevin Jones photographed a male Lesser Goldfinch at a sock feeder at his private home in Agassiz. He believes the bird has been present for a week but was only able to photograph the bird today.  There are still Lesser Goldfinches present in Osoyoos as well; who may possibly be breeding there.
Male Lesser Goldfinch in Agassiz - Photo: Kevin Jones

The bird continues at the same location on July 11th.

This is the 26th record for the province of BC.

RBA: LARK BUNTING in Sparwood - June 14th

At 6:15 am on June 14-2019, Connor Charchuk found a male Lark Bunting while doing a point count. The bird was singing and he had good views of it but did not have his camera. The observer is extremely experienced with this species. He will return tomorrow to try and obtain a photo or recording.

Exact location of the bird HERE.

This area is not publicly accessible as it is an active mine.

This is the 39th record for BC.

Thursday, June 13, 2019


At 9:30 am on June 13-2019, John Hodges found an Ash-throated Flycatcher at Wilson Creek Estuary. The bird was in the most easterly man-made pond. John viewed it until 11 am when he and his fellow birder Jim McFarland left.The bird was very active moving around constantly when they left there. This is the second Ash-throated Flycatcher found today in BC. The first being in North Vancouver.

Map to where bird was seen HERE

The bird was not relocated on June 14th.

Ash-throated Flycatcher in Sechelt - Photo: John Hodges