Monday, December 30, 2013

Patagonia Picnic Table In Effect: DICKCISSEL in Port McNeill - Decc 28- Feb 5th

On December 28, Alex Grey made a trip up to see the Hooded Oriole in Port McNeill.  While enjoying views of the oriole (yes, it's still around), he noticed a Dickcissel among the House Sparrows.

Dickcissel seen in the same yard as the Hooded Oriole in Port McNeill on December 28 - amazing example of the Patagonia Picnic Table Effect! (Photo: Alex Gray)

The Dickcissel can be tacked on to increasing list of interesting birds seen in this neighborhood since the Hooded Oriole was reported in early December.  Last week, Christopher Stephens made the journey up for the oriole and had a Harris' Sparrow as a bonus.  What will be the next rarity to show up in the same area?  How long would it take a Painted Bunting to take the scenic route from Bowser to Port McNeill?

*Last seen on Feb 23rd, 2014.*

This is the 23rd record for BC.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Late Report: PAINTED BUNTING in Bowser

This female Painted Bunting was present at a feeder in Bowser, BC (Vancouver Island) from November 25th to December 3rd. Apparently it disappeared when the cold snap hit. Penny Marshall, who took this photo, says this is actually the second time a female Painted Bunting has visited her feeder in late fall--the last one occurring about 6 years ago. That bird was photographed as well so apparently lightning can strike twice!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Black Phoebe Chilliwack Dec 14-15

Dave Beeke and his CBC team spotted a Black Phoebe in Chilliwack. It was seen on Kitchen Road. For more details and updates click Here

Thursday, December 5, 2013


UPDATE: The Hooded Oriole has been putting in frequent appearances and was reported most recently February 18th.  Feeders have been set up and seem to be visited often.  If you are keen to brave the roads, please refer to the B.C. Highway Cams website and check the conditions between Campbell River and Port McNeill to ensure you have a safe journey.  The bird can be searched for along Broughton Blvd. in the section between Cedar St. and McNeill Rd.  The bird seems to have a circuit more on the south/west side of the road, so efforts can be focused there.  There is a fair chance this bird will stick around, so keep an eye out for periodic updates here.

A report was received of a Hooded Oriole from today (December 5th) at a private residence in Port McNeill.  The observer of this rare oriole from the south will keep an eye out for it tomorrow and more details might become available for those hoping to make the trip up/over to see this bird.  For now, enjoy the absolutely stunning shot of this vagrant!

The Hooded Oriole, as the caption states, is thought to be an adult male, but further thoughts on the age and sex of rare birds are always appreciated!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Word has now spilled across the internet that a very intriguing-looking vireo was sighted in Vancouver on the 18th of September, 2013. Well here's what I have collected so far. Please check out the photos and comment if you have any strong feelings to suggest that this is not a YG Vireo.

If accepted, this would be a first record for British Columbia and  the second record for Canada (the first being a specimen collected in Quebec back in 1899!). While at face-value this might seem like an outlandish vagrant, the species is close to annual in September in California now a days and this year saw 12 confirmed sightings including a couple in the San Francisco area. 

  • Thank you to Andy Birch for helping to get the word out on this!
This from the photographer:

"There aren't really too much in the way of field observations. All i can say is, i saw the bird moving around in a tree, not sure if you can ID the tree from the photos? The bird seemed to stay in under the foliage, not coming out to the front of the tree at all. Which was why the photos are not my best! It stayed in the same tree for maybe 10 minutes, before disappearing into some thick bushes. I spent half of that time photographing the bird, the other half trying to get the attention of my birder friend. Sadly, he believed it to be a Red-eyed Vireo, as you can imagine, as Yellow-green has not been found this far North before. So, we didn't pursue it too much, bad move as it turns out, but sure you understand why?"

----Gary Thoburn (All photos are his).

*Remember that you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them*

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nov 12/13--One more BROWN BOOBY for BC

Robbie Heggelund, a commercial fisherman, snapped this photo of an adult BROWN BOOBY that landed on his boat yesterday (Nov 12) off the coast of BC near Ucluelet. Likely disoriented and starving. The bird was quite tame and readily ate sardines out of the crews hands. The bird flew before the vessel returned to port in Sooke. Keep an eye-out in the Juan de Fuca and beyond.                                                  The booby invasion ain't over yet!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nov 1-2--Ash-throated Flycatcher in Prince George!

Well it's been a good week for Myiarchus flycatchers! On Nov 2, Nancy Krueger found this Ash-throated Flycatcher along the Nechako River Trail near Brinks Forest Products in Prince George. Today (Nov 3), it was relocated by several birders closer to Cottonwood Island Park (but still along the Nechako River Trail). *This, I believe is the 2nd most northerly record in BC, the other was caught at the banding station in Mackenzie a few years back.
In comparison to the Great Crested Flycatcher below, note the pale-grayish wash to the breast (weak lemony colour to belly as opposed to rich yellow), and the dark tip to the orangy tail-feathers. The bill is also smaller and lacks the obvious pale base to the lower mandible. (Photo: Nancy Krueger)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

*Great Crested Flycatcher October 29

Gord Gadsden found this Great Crested Flycatcher at Island 22 regional park in Chilliwack in the late afternoon. This is potentially the 3rd record for BC. The bird was last seen on Nov 1st. Gord Gadsden first misidentified this bird as an Ash-throated Flycatcher and the correct ID was made by Russ Cannings.

Great Crested Flycatcher in Chilliwack - Photo: Gord Gadsden/Macaulay Library 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


For the last decade or so this has become an annual visitor to the Okanagan. Multiple individuals have been involved but it's still unclear just how many actually occur. In some cases, individuals have been suspected of commuting from Penticton to Vernon in the same day, then Kelowna the next!

Regardless, it's still a great bird for BC and one that many have yet to see. Dick Cannings found this adult bird (Oct 26)on the walking pier in front of the Penticton Lakeside Resort (Okanagan Lake).
As usual, local nature photographer Laure Neish was able to get a great shot!
*Oct 27 UPDATE: Reported from SW corner of Okanagan Lake near the S.S. Sicamous where the lake flows into the Okanagan River in NW Penticton--corner of Riverside Drive & Lakeshore Drive (Darcie Arcand)

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Aziza Cooper found and photographed this Chestnut-collared Longspur at Cattle Point, Victoria.
Primary projection and call support ID. More photos HERE. Please leave a comment if you have any input on ID/age/sex of bird. 
*Not seen on Oct 26

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Red-throated Pipit photographed near Sandspit, BC

Meant to post this earlier sorry folks! On October 12th, Andrew Keaveney was finally successful in snapping a photo of a RED-THROATED PIPIT near Sandspit, Haida Gwaii. It's been a good fall for them with 2 recorded on Vancouver Island and at least 4 on Haida Gwaii though I'll have to check with the Haida Gwaii birders to confirm.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oct 17--BROWN THRASHER near Tofino

From Adrian Dorst: "This afternoon I found a Brown Thrasher at Long Beach (Pacific Rim National Park). It was at the Lovekin Rock parking lot on the lawn between the beach and the pavement."
Photo: Adrian Dorst

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Oct 16--YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO at Vaseux Lake

Chris Siddle found a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO at the Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory--located on the west side of Hwy 97, 1 km north of the lake itself. Look for a wide shoulder near a gate in a barbed-wire fence, roughly opposite a hwy speed sign.

It was most recently seen (Dick Cannings & Doug Brown) at the old banding trailer that's at the bottom of the short track that leads down from the highway. It flew northeast across the oxbow that parallels the highway and is presently 'missing' but obviously still in that area somewhere (riparian thickets along the highway).

Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oct 12--YELLOW WAGTAIL in Royston, Vancouver Island

On the morning of October 12th, Adrian Boyle, a visiting birder from Australia, and a friend observed a YELLOW WAGTAIL as it flew past them calling at the Royston estuary (location posted below). Having seen them on the breeding grounds in Alaska and not being from here, Adrian assumed this was not an unusual sighting. Upon consulting some range-maps a little later he realized his mistake. In the afternoon of the same day he returned to the area and re-found the bird foraging along the tide-line. It flew and he managed some record shots that were unfortunately quite back-lit (see below). 

As a resident of Broome, Western Australia, Adrian sees around 100 Yellow Wagtails a year and he's travelled extensively in Asia (as a bird guide) so knows all the wagtails by call and sight. He sounds confident on the ID and I believe the photos help his case. "Eastern Yellow Wagtail" is of course the most likely type to occur in BC so I'll try and get more info on him to see if we can shore that up. For those trying for it, please let me know via email ( or cell: 778-886-3200 if you have any updates.

Location of the wagtail in Royston (Just north of Qualicum)
Shape consistent with wagtail/pipit but facial pattern much more wagtail-like.
Appears to be missing inner rectrices (tail feathers)
*October 13th + 14th--Two solid efforts to re-find the wagtail have been unsuccessful. Stay tuned for any further updates.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 12--ORCHARD ORIOLE in Tofino

Adrian Dorst photographed this ORCHARD ORIOLE near Tofino (Oct 12).
There are less than 10 records for BC.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Yet another RED-THROATED PIPIT (Sooke area)

From Ian Cruickshank--

"I lucked onto another Red-throated Pipit this morning at Rocky Point.  This one flew in and landed out of sight in a short grass field; it soon took flight again and I managed a brief view in flight as it gained altitude and headed northwest.  I whipped out the camera, pressed the video button and managed to get a recording of two flight calls; the recording is at the link below.  Comments on these calls from anyone experienced with Asian pipits are welcome!  They do appear to be a good match for Red-throated and lack the pronounced buzzy quality of the flight calls of other somewhat similar-sounding species such as Olive-backed Pipit" 


Monday, October 7, 2013

*DOVEKIE*--First record for British Columbia!

August 21--Luke Halpin & Megan Willie observed this DOVEKIE near Campania Island at 6:45am, while conducting seabird surveys in the area. Campania is just SE of the large Banks Island, which is essentially due east of Sandspit, Haida Gwaii. This constitutes the first record of Dovekie for British Columbia, and the southernmost record of this species in the NE Pacific. Presumably, it is a member of the tiny breeding population in the Bering Sea. While there are no records off the North American (Pacific) coast south of the Aleutians, there are at least 3 records for Japan. An official write-up on the sighting is in the process of being reviewed by several experts and should be made public in the coming months.

For more information, contact Luke: (

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oct 4-7--TROPICAL KINGBIRD at Swan Lake, Victoria

Photo: Heather Trondsen
*Oct 8 Update--"I found the Kingbird (in all its splendour!) this morning on Centerbury west of Rainbow near Swan Lake  on the wire in the opening in the middle of the block - easy to find - great way to start he day!" ---Patti Sullivan

*Oct 7 update--"I saw the kingbird at 1:40 at the south end of the boardwalk at Swan Lake and then lost it. I stopped at the corner of Rainbow and Canterbury when I left and it was perched on a wire around 2:15 and flew off in the direction of Swan Lake at 2:30." --Heather Trondson

*Oct 6--Another Tropical Kingbird was at Wickaninnish Beach, near the B-entrance picnic shelter (Guy & Donna Monty)

From Chris Saunders: (Oct 4) "The bird made close to a complete loop around the lake from the willow tops. It was last seen flying east toward Saanich Rd."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

DICKCISSEL near Victoria

Oct 2 (morning)--Ian Cruickshank just found a Dickcissel at the end of Swanwick Road in Metchosin (W of Victoria). It was seen feeding in the think bush near the end of the road where seed has been placed under the bushes.

This is the 22nd record for BC.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

RBA: CURLEW SANDPIPER at Sandspit, Haida Gwaii

Sep 28--Andrew Keaveney photographed this apparent CURLEW SANDPIPER just SE of Sandspit on Moresby Island (Haida Gwaii). *A different photo shows a better angle on the rump (which looks fully white). If accepted this would be the first BC record since 1993! Andrew's been hot lately (not surprising on HG), with 2 RED-THROATED PIPITS and 2 SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS also seen yesterday at the Sandspit Airport. 

Sep 29--AK joined forces with local birders Margo Hearne and Peter Hamel. I understand they had a RED-THROATED PIPIT in the dune-grass just east of Dixon Entrance Golf Course (SW of Tow Hill), and 2 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers at Delkatla Slough. I hope I have the details correct.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sep 26-27--ORIENTAL TURTLE-DOVE near Tofino

From Adrian Dorst who made this observation on Stubbs island:

"First observed flying past, then landing on the beach about 100 meters away. It caught my attention immediately by being so much darker than the Eurasian Collared Doves also in the area. What was striking was the large amount of rust or rufous on the back in a pattern very similar to the Oriental Turtle Dove I saw in Tofino in 1992. But this bird looked darker overall and I suspect it is a juvenile. Head and neck appeared grey. I could not see any markings on the neck, but at the closest point it was still perhaps 80 meters (yards) away. A very shy bird. I suspect it may be joining collared doves at a feeder."

***This is on private land, so in the event that the bird stays around, permission will first need to be confirmed by landowners. Follow the blog for updates***

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sep 25--RED-THROATED PIPIT on Vancouver Island

From Ian Cruickshank:

"This morning at Rocky Point I had a flyover small passerine giving flight calls I didn't recognize - a single very high, completely clear "tseeew" with no buzzy quality, fairly long, and slightly descending/thinning gradually at the end.  I immediately thought it may be a wagtail sp. based on the calls, and though I remembered that Red-throated Pipit calls were distinctive, I've never heard one and couldn't remember the specifics.  Well, I just listened to flight calls of all the east Asian wagtails and pipits, and none of them fit, except Red-throated: a perfect match.  It was heading south across the strait on its own, and while I heard the flight call several times, I only got a visual on it once it was a little speck against the sky heading away from me.  The size/structure/flight style of this speck did look consistent with a pipit..."

BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY off Stubbs Island

A Blue-footed Booby was photographed off Stubbs Island, north of Telegraph Cove on Sept 24 (Kyle Howard).  Details to follow as available.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sep 22-HOODED ORIOLE in Jordan River

From Jeremy Kimm: "At around 9am this morning my wife and I found a female/immature HOODED ORIOLE at Jordan River, in the small clump of trees across from the gravel parking area.  I had a brief glimpse of the bird that threw me for a loop, then after more searching, the bird sat up in the open for 5 minutes before flying east across the bay."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sep 13--Ruff at Pantage Lake

Add caption
And they're doing it again. Rod Sargent & Adrian Leather found yet another Ruff/Reeve (this one--a juvenile) at Pantage Lake on Sep 13. Possibly their *3rd of the year at this location!* This hard-to-access spot is NW of Quesnel. Comments on sexing this bird are welcome.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sep 15--Chestnut-sided Warbler found 20+km off Ucluelet

This hatch-year female CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER was first seen circling a boat well off Ucluelet (20-40km offshore). More specific info to come. It eventually landed on the boat that was quickly captured. Once back on land it was released at a local park in Ucluelet and seemed to be foraging happily. Hopefully this bird recorrects its route!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


On Sept 8, Mike Sheehan photographed a CRESTED AUKLET 100m south of Discovery Island in Victoria.

Photo by Mike Sheehan

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sep 11--*3* Laysan Albatross seen off Tofino

Artie Ahier captured this image of a LAYSAN ALBATROSS approximately 25
miles off Tofino while fishing for tuna. There were apparently 3 in the area.
Hopefully this bodes well for the big WildResearch Pelagic happening Sunday!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Great Shearwater(s), Crested Auklet, and more cool birds in BC waters

This GREAT SHEARWATER was photographed by Jared Towers on Sep 5 in the Hecate Strait. Jared says he saw *2 more Great Shearwaters* the following day but was unable to attain photos. He also mentioned that a colleague of his doing cetacean surveys, has recorded no less than 4 in BC waters since June!
Jared also captured this COOL BIRD! A leucistic Rhinoceros Auklet

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sep 4--BROWN BOOBY near Nootka Island

Near the end of the day (~7:30pm) Mike & Sharon Toochin and Meg Brown observed this apparent adult female fishing alongside their cruise ship. This was approximately 20 nautical miles west of the southern tip of Nootka Island. It was present for around 30 minutes and Sharon managed a few great shots including this one.

The other highlight of the trip was a pair of FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS near the mouth of the Juan de Fuca Strait on September 5th.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Aug 23-24: BROWN BOOBY in Hecate Strait

This Brown Booby rested on a commercial fishing vessel in the Hecate Strait (NW BC coast) from Aug 23 to 24 and was photographed by Steve Fitzpatrick. Thanks Steven Roais for passing along the sighting!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Aug 23--PRAIRIE WARBLER in Revelstoke!

After a rainy southerly front pushed through the Columbia Valley in Revelstoke, this PRAIRIE WARBLER was found in a mixed flock of warblers by Devon Anderson on Aug 23. Four other people were able to see it on the same day including James Bradley who took this photograph. This was near the Revelstoke Airport; the bird has not been seen since. At this stage, age/sex is unconfirmed (adult female or hatch-year male seem most likely). Please leave a comment if you have any opinions on the age/sex of this bird.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Aug 18--REEVE near Quesnel

Pantage Lake is at it again!!! After last year's flocks of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, not to mention the plethora of other highlights from this hidden gem in recent years, Rod Sargent and Adrian Leather scored again--this time with a REEVE! To make matters even more interesting, they believe there were two reeves present, as 2 identical-looking shorebirds flew in with some Baird's Sandpipers but only one stay long enough for distant record-shots.

A "Reeve" is the female version of "Ruff." Typically we see juvenile birds in BC (if at all) but this bird appears much duller overall with black mottling on the flanks (which points to adult female). Summer/fall males (Ruffs) typically show much whiter chests, throats, and lores.

Pantage Lake is located up the Nazko Hwy, NW of Quesnel, and unfortunately is only accessible via private land and canoes/kayaks are required. Still---we can all marvel at the great birds these guys have turned up in only 3 fall seasons! Both golden plovers, White-rumped Sandpiper, 20+ Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Red Phalarope, Arctic Tern....and so on!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Aug 11--Ferruginous Hawk near Golden

On Aug 11, Carleen Irmen photographed this FERRUGINOUS HAWK along Hwy 95 "about 10 or 15 minutes south of Golden." Will try and get more info and post here. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 6--Indigo Bunting (W of Kamloops)

On the morning of August 6, Ryan Cathers observed a male INDIGO BUNTING at the following site:

"When you arrive in Tunkwa Provincial Park head down to Leighton Lake Campground (not Leighton north). When you enter the campground follow the road until it forks left and right. On the right side of the fork is that wetland space. The bird was in there and followed back a bit onto some fences that are between Leighton and Leighton North campground."

*There was also a female bunting present but whether it was a Lazuli or Indigo was not confirmed.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Yet again, Paul Lehman and Co. have observed some great birds off BC by taking advantage of some California--Alaska cruises.

On July 31, they observed a "Scipps's-type" Murrelet (i.e. Xantus's complex) approximately 120 miles SW of Vancouver Island--apparently still in Canadian waters.

On the way back south, they ran into some large concentrations of seabirds near Triangle Island, including a mass of FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS numbering close to 10,000 individuals. The species highlight in that area however was a GREAT SHEARWATER that was photographed 111km NNW of Triangle Island on August 5th. This is the second photographed record for BC, and probably the 3rd record all-time (first being one with good supporting fieldnotes).
Great Shearwater (Owen Schmidt)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Aug 4--RED-NECKED STINT at Boundary Bay

Photo: Mike Tabak
Found by John Chandler on Aug 4.

*AUG 5 UPDATE: Most recently seen at 5:45pm near the pilings west of 104th St, Boundary Bay (Ryan Johnson et al.)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

RBA: CRESTED AUKLET photographed near Tofino!!! (July 30+Aug 1)

July 30th--Jay Feaver photographed this CRESTED AUKLET near Cleland Island (Tofino area). Thanks to Adrian Dorst for getting the word out.
*UPDATE: The bird was NOT seen on the Friday search-mission. Stay tuned for more updates...

Back-Story: (From Adrian Dorst)--"The auklet, an adult, was found by another whale-watching boat driver, Orin Lawson. While he is not a birder, he noticed it was different from any other
water bird he had ever seen. It was subsequently photographed by Jason Feaver. I got permission to post it so check it out in my photo section. The bird was a bit far away but fortunately the photo was very high resolution so that it could be blown up, leaving no doubt about the bird's identity. I'm told it was right in the gap at Cleland. It has not been spotted today, which is not surprising, as whalers don't spend a lot of time looking at birds."

Friday, July 12, 2013


Courtesy of Barbara L. Carlson:

"Paul E. Lehman, Steve Ritt, and group were aboard a non-stop cruise ship from San Francisco to SW Alaska. This was the same route Paul was on late May/early June when he saw several rare birds off BC.

The clear highlight off BC on this northbound leg was HAWAIIAN (dark-rumped) PETREL! It was seen on Thursday, July 11, 220 km SW of the tip of the Brooks Peninsula on Vancouver island.

They started at dawn 240 km SW of Vancouver Island. By dusk they were 45 km west of Haida Gwaii. Other birds of interest during that day included 4 South Polar Skua, 10 Long-tailed Jaeger, 5 Parasitic Jaeger, 4 Sabine's Gull and 1 Arctic Tern."

--There are less than 5 records for Canada. It's all about coverage!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Black-throated Blue Warbler (Princeton)

From Rhys Harrison:

"On Tuesday July 9 around noon I saw a male Black-throated Blue Warbler on the
TransCanada Trail pathway in Princeton town centre. The bird was in a small
stand of deciduous trees alongside the asphalt path on the main road, north,
side and alongside a new development of 4 or 5 town houses. It would be approx
600m east of the tunnel." (No photograph obtained)

Stay tuned for updates.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Possible SUMMER TANAGER in Prince George

July 4--Heather Sapergia & Suzanne Bahr were birding in "Forests for the World" near UNBC in Prince George, and saw an unfamiliar bird. They suspect it to be a female SUMMER TANAGER. Here are some of their comments:


"We were about half way  from Shane Lake and the parking lot, on the lower trail..  This bird's bill was large and yellow color and it's wings blended more into the body unlike the female Western which has the white barring on the median & greater coverts. Also somewhat larger that the Western."


"The colour was yellow to olive and not much variation between body and wing.  We both got a good look at it but no pics and no sound that we could hear."

Stay tuned for updates...

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21--Another Lark Bunting!

Getting kind of "old news" now, but I still desperately need one at least!

This morning Mike Bentley had a male LARK BUNTING in his backyard in Fernie, BC.

*No subsequent reports. Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 13-15: Brown Thrasher--North Coast

"1 individual at the Hakai Beach Institute site [CALVERT ISLAND, NE of Port Hardy].  Feeds around grass clippings and compost pile during periods when few people around (when relatively easy to observe; shy when many people around).  Has been present since at least 13/06/2013" ---Brian Starzomski (photos)
*First found by Keith Jordan.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Isn't June supposed to be the worst month for shorebirds? Well today Daniele Mitchell photographed this
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Robert Lake in Kelowna. It was present from 4:30pm to around 8:30pm when it disappeared.  It has not been seen since. This is the first photographed WR for the Okanagan and
is probably the second all time for the area. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

LEAST AUKLET and more off BC!

From Barbara Carlson:

[Reporting for Paul Lehman]

Yesterday, 6 June, Paul Lehman and Larry Peavler were cruising south in BC waters on their way back to San Francisco. They saw an adult LEAST AUKLET paralleling the boat for three minutes! It was flying with Cassin's Auklets. This was 97 km northwest of the northwest tip of Vancouver Island.

They also saw an adult Thick-billed Murre approximately 55 km east of the south end of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Late in the day, they had a MANX SHEARWATER behind a trawler approximately 50 km west off central Vancouver Island.

Earlier in the day, traveling through Hecate Strait, they saw a mass of dark shearwaters, some 80,000 Sooty/Short-tailed Shearwaters. A large number of these were molting Short-tailed, which is unusual for BC waters at this time of year.

Throughout the day, large numbers of Leach's Storm-Petrels (2,600) were seen. Also were some 700 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, 700 Ancient Murrelets, and 11,000 Cassin Auklets. There were 180 total number of Black-footed Albatross, with 125 of these being behind the same trawler where they beheld the Manx Shearwater.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6--Another Lark Bunting!

Well, here's the third male LARK BUNTING of the spring for the Kootenays! Cam Gillies photographed one in Brisco (North of Invermere) today while conducting is annual Breeding Bird Survey (See MAP).

Sunday, June 2, 2013


June 1---Just heard from Paul Lehman, who just passed through BC waters on a cruise bound for Alaska. Among the regulars he reports a single MURPHY'S PETREL off Vancouver Island (Heck Seamount), as well as 7 PARAKEET AUKLETS and 1 SOUTH POLAR SKUA off the west coast of Haida Gwaii.

Friday, May 31, 2013

White-faced Ibis on Mandarte Island

On May 31, Ryan Germain saw and photographed a White-faced Ibis on Mandarte Island, off of Sidney.  See the Vancouver Island page for more details, and updates if the bird is relocated.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Black-throated Sparrow at Osoyoos (May 30)

Photo: Dick Cannings
I discovered a singing Black-throated Sparrow  on the west bench of Osoyoos this morning (30 May 2013) at 7 a.m.; it was still present as of 9:45 a.m.  To reach the site, drive south on Hwy. 97 from the Hwy. 3 intersection on the west side of Osoyoos, then turn right (west) following signs for the Osoyoos golf course.  As you reach the golf course, watch for Fairwinds Drive on your left.  Turn on to Fairwinds and drive up the hill until it ends and turns into a gravel road and you cross a cattle-guard.  There are a myriad of rough gravel roads from here on, but one way to reach the site is to take the road on the left side and follow it over the hill until you see a a flat grassy clearinh with a couple of pieces of wood and a plastic pop bottle on the right. Vehicles with low clearance should probably park here. Continue up the hill on the main track past those two pieces of wood. You'll eventually come to an open meadow with several Russian Olives, and some couches, chairs and an obvious firepit--where someone has had a bush party.  The bird was on the large rocky hill directly to the west (the one behind the central Russian olive tree as you approach the grassy flat for the first time). I've placed some pink flagging-tape at the base of the hill. Continue to the south slope of the hill (instead of going right, past the couches). The bird was moving around a little but in general stayed on the south side of that rocky hill, singing sporadically.  GPS coordinates approximately 317917E 5430686N.

**PLEASE REFRAIN FROM USING PLAYBACK.** If the bird is still present, it should be findable with patience, as it was exhibiting all the characters of a territorial bird. After several years of sightings at this location, it is possible that they may one day be confirmed as breeders. Birders should do their best to avoid harassing it/them. Obviously morning is best! Tip: In addition to learning this sparrow's song, familiarize yourself with the songs/calls of Vesper, Brewer's, and Lark Sparrow, as well as Lazuli Bunting and Rock Wren, as all are present and common in this area, and can sound similar.

Good luck!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Revelstoke Lark Bunting

Well this hurts me as much (or more) as it does most of you. While I was turning up a few nice birds south of Revelstoke, my good friend Jennifer Greenwood caught this beauty up by the Revelstoke Dam! (May 26). This was an incidental catch, as the intended target(s) were Savannah Sparrows (Which Jen is studying for her PhD). Could it be the same bird seen by Jeremy G further south a week ago, or are there several in the Columbias this spring?

Photo Credit: Becca Ferguson

Sunday, May 26, 2013

White-headed Woodpecker near Osoyoos

From Doug Brown:

"I just got a report of a White-headed Woodpecker that was seen yesterday on Deerfoot Road on Anarchist Mountain east of Osoyoos. Caroline, who runs the Villa Blanca Bed and Breakfast there, is a very competent observer familiar with all the local species so I have no doubt the sighting is genuine. The bird was last seen flying east towards Long Joe Road, an area where the species has been seen in the past."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ash-throated Flycatcher, Agassiz

Kevin Jones saw and photographed an Ash-throated Flycatcher in Agassiz around 5:00pm on May 23rd. It was seen on Whorely Rd. This is the third sighting for Kevin at this location in the last few years so it makes one wonder if this is the same individual?


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

RBA: Male Lark Bunting in Edgewood, BC

This male Lark Bunting was found and photographed by Jeremy Gatten on May 21.  It was possibly associating with nearby Bobolinks along Ferret S Rd just north of Edgewood (Arrow Lakes area south of Nakusp).
Click HERE for a map of the area.
***May 26---Male LARK BUNTING caught in a mist-net in Revelstoke!***
Could this be the same bird? On the morning of the 26th, some sparrow biologist accidentally caught a male Lark Bunting while studying Savannah Sparrows near the Revelstoke Dam!

Friday, May 10, 2013

WHITE-FACED IBIS near Cranbrook!

May 10--Dean Nicholson reports finding a White-faced Ibis at Wasa Lake while leading a field trip for the WINGS OVER THE ROCKIES festival. Wasa Lake is located between Cranbrook and Invermere (signed off the highway).

[Photo credit: Brent Wellander]

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Help Support the Spoon-billed Sandpiper!

Do you ever feel frustrated that you weren't birding in Vancouver in 1978, thus blowing your chance to see...


Well here's an opportunity to make a difference!

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper project Birds Korea is doing with Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology is the making of a science-driven mini-documentary on the Spoon-billed Sandpiper aimed at a national audience.  Filming is set to begin this year and is to be concluded in May 2014.  The documentary will focus on the birds and key sites in the Republic of Korea, such as the Geum Estuary, Saemangeum reclamation area, Gomso Bay and the Nakdong Estuary in Busan, as well as leading figures in society. This project is happening at the same time as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force works on its captive breeding project in Eastern Russia and other smaller projects at South Korean schools aim to raise public awareness of the plight of this enigmatic shorebird and about what actions are needed to save this species from extinction.

So in summary: Enhanced Public Awareness->Habitat Conservation-->More Spoonies-->Possibly leading to one popping up on our fair shores one day!

How can you help?

On May 7th, Geoff Styles and Russell Cannings will be conducting a high-paced 24-hour birdathon near their homes in the Okanagan/Shuswap. They will be collecting pledges with all proceeds going to this important Spoon-billed Sandpiper project. You can pledge a flat rate, or make it interesting and pledge "per species." Although it's still early in the spring we plan to get over 100 species!

To make a pledge or inquire more about the project, contact Geoff 

OR, you can challenge us and try your own birdathon in the coast and/or interior!

Monday, April 29, 2013

*(Reported) BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER in Kelowna

Apr 29--A male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER has been reported from the Kelowna area where it was apparently visiting a suet feeder in the riparian wooded area near the intersection of Cook St and Lakeshore Drive.

Several birders scoured the area this morning but were unable to find the bird. The landowner was contacted around 8am and she said that she had a brief glimpse at the bird around 7:15am. Unfortunately no photographs have been obtained yet, but this seems to be a credible report. If the bird returns I will post more details on the blog and inquire with the landowner about visitors. "Keeners" can contact me privately if they want to have a go themselves but at this point it seems the bird may have left the area once the sun came out. My email is provided at the top of the main page.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

RBA: Black Phoebe - Tofino April 24th

April 24th--[Comber's Beach, Pacific Rim National Park] From Adrian Dorst:
"At Comber's Beach we had a big surprise with the appearance of a Black Phoebe. At first we had only glimpses, but eventually we had long, thorough looks at it through our spotting scopes and we were both thrilled to add it to our respective BC lists. I had only see this bird before in Mexico. As far as I know, this is the first record for the west coast of the island. With this weather, it could still be there tomorrow. It was hanging out between the fallen Sitka spruce on thebeach and the broken down bridge."

RBA - Tufted Duck in Kootenays -April 23-28th

A male TUFTED DUCK was found by Dianne Cooper & Greg Ross on Reade Lk between Kimberley and Cranbrook in the Kootenays on April 23. The pond itself is on the private Pine Butte Ranch. The pond can be seen, although at a distance and with a scope, from a public easement road. For more details email Dianne Cooper at

                                           Male Tufted Duck with Lesser Scaup.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dickcissel in Ladner - Apr 20-Apr 26

A Dickcissel was seen and photographed at a Ladner feeder this afternoon. On the north corner of Elliott St. and Chisholm (Douglas Bamford). The bird was relocated in the afternoon of April 21st and 22nd at Chisholm and Georgia around two blocks away at a feeder on the West side of the street and in the trees surrounding the feeder and across the street from the feeder as well. It is still associating with House Sparrows. 

April 25/26--Apparently the bird has moved some distance away from the original sighting, where it is frequenting a private residence, not accessible to the public. Will update if any more info arises.

This is the 20th record for BC.

Photo: Douglas Bamford

April 13--HOODED ORIOLE in Powell River

April 13--Make HOODED ORIOLE seen at a private residence in Powell River. At this time we are not aware of any subsequent sightings. Will update if more info arises.
[Photo: Bob & Rita Valine]