Friday, 28 April 2017

Attention Birdlovers! The Big Day is approaching!

Here are some tips to make this big day memorable and useful.
Write down your observations, including where, how many and species. You may self-enter this on e-bird, ( ) or drop off your list at the Botanical Gardens for me to enter. Put your name and phone number on the list and you will be eligible for a prize.

Monday, 3 April 2017

My First Job!

I never would have guessed that my first job would be my dream job. But it is! As of last week I am now the Ornithologist in residence at the Tofino Botanical Gardens! And with the shorebird festival and the International Big Day both coming up in May, I'm going to be busy!

2016 B.C. young birder of the year

This year I was honoured to be given a Young Birder of the Year award by the BC Field Ornithologists. I am one of six birders given this award. The others are:
Willa Crowley
Adam Dhalla
Matyas Gerloczy 
Katya Kondratyuk 
Viktor Vandereyk
I'm looking forward to meeting some of these cool birders on a pelagic trip in May.

Check out these links to learn more about these awesome birders and the award itself.

The Big Year Is Over But Birding Goes On

Welcome back birders and bird lovers alike!
I'm writing this post to catch you up on the events that have taken place since my big year ended.
Spring is here and a lot has happened.

The second Indigo Bunting of my life was spotted in Port Alberni not far from here!
I had the first ever winter sighting of a Townsend Solitaire for Tofino
Lots of Anna's Hummingbirds
And Red-Necked Grebes
Western Screech Owlet Art
Saw-Whet Owlet Art
Art  and Photos by Birdy Mcbirdface

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Ending The Big Year

Dark eyed Junco
The last day of my big year has now past, and what a year it has been! An exciting, fun interesting year full of surprises. I have traveled all across B.C. and all the way to the other side of Canada. I have seen 217 interesting beautiful and incredible species of birds. I am so lucky to be doing this and to not be alone. So many people have helped me along the way and without them I would be nowhere. To all who helped especially Adrian Dorst, Jackie Windh, Artie Ahier, Ian Cruickshank,  Ann Nightingale, Rick Schortinghuis, my loving parents and wonderful bird dog Schooner.

In the last few days of the year I went to Victoria and Delta to bag a few more birds—our goal was to find 5 new ones. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw a short-eared owl, our 7th new bird of the trip. We also saw an American Kestrel a Mute Swan a Long Tailed Duck a Sky Lark a Canvasback and a Ruddy Duck. We also saw some not new birds, (but they're always a joy to see,) like the barred owl, black oystercatcher, brandt goose, common goldeneye and many others.

Black Oystercatcher

American Kestrel
Common Goldeneye
Barred Owl
Brandt goose

 I see new birds all the time, but I always love to see old favourites over and over again,
like Phooey, our resident great blue heron. 
Phooey comes for Christmas dinner!
Phooey gets shooed away due to terrible table manners!
My big year may be over, but birdymcbirdface will continue. ..
Come back soon and visit! Happy New Year!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Last-minute Gifts

After a lovely breakfast at Le Petit Chou, in Nanaimo, we saw a hawk in a tree. We quickly pointed our binoculars skywards and identified it as a Cooper's hawk. While we were staring at this beautiful bird, a passer-by read the universal language (bird in tree + people with binoculars = birders) and gave us a helpful tip about a mountain bluebird at Pipers Lagoon in Nanaimo.
We didn't have much to do that day, but we knew what we were going to do now! A mountain bluebird is a rare surprise on Vancouver Island and I was thrilled to find it before the calendar turns to 2017 and Big Year ends. The clock is ticking and I would very much appreciate help finding Ancient Murrelets and owls. And any other birds that aren't on my list, of course. (See link)
Ancient Murrelets! We spent the whole two-hour ferry ride from Duke Point to Tsawassen, sitting outside in the freezing rain looking for the little buggers, with no luck.


While we were walking on Comber's Beach in Pacific Rim National Park, we saw a Northern Shrike, identifiable from the Loggerhead shrike by the patch of yellow on the bill. Shrikes found their common name as the Butcher bird, because of their habit of killing small birds, mammals and insects and impaling them on barbed wire and twigs.
Shrikes are showy birds and this one flew alongside us for our whole walk.

Funnily enough, after looking for a shrike for all this time and finally finding one (it has been a hard search!) the very next day, Bingo! another shrike at the Nanaimo River Estuary.
And five days later at the Riefel Bird Sanctuary in Delta, there was another one! I guess Northern Shrikes have decided to be my Christmas present this month.

Field sketch, Northern Shrike