Friday, November 17, 2017

RBA: LITTLE GULL in Penticton - Nov 17-18th

At 9am on November 17-2017, Chris Charlesworth and Jesse Hannebauer found a First-winter Little Gull in Penticton. The bird is actively feeding 150m offshore off of Lakeshore Drive W, between the "Peach" on the beach and the "SS Sicamous" Boat on Okanagan Lake in Penticton. Photographs were obtained.

Map to location HERE

The Gull continues as of 4:30pm on Nov 18th. It is staying mostly off the end of the old Lakeshore Hotel and Casino Pier and has been viewed by multiple observers. The bird is best viewed with a scope.

Map to location of pier and Gull HERE

One observer reported seeing the gull at 8:30am but despite multiple observers looking, it has not been relocated by anyone else on Nov 19th or 20th.

This is the 98th record for the province of BC and the first record for the Okanagan.

Imm. Little Gull. Penticton, BC. Nov 17, 2017. Photo: Don Cecile.
Imm. Little Gull. Penticton, BC. Nov 17, 2017. Photo: Don Cecile.
Imm. Little Gull. Penticton, BC. Nov 17, 2017. Photo: Don Cecile.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

RBA: NORTHERN CARDINAL in Cranbrook - Nov 7-22nd

A female Northern Cardinal was found by Katrin Powell and Greg Ross at 9:50am on November 7th-2017. The bird was in the front yard of their home at 213-17th Ave N., as it visited her feeder with black-oil sunflower seeds. It was present for 40 mins.

If accepted by the BC Bird Records Committee, this would represent a first confirmed record for British Columbia. Provenance will have to be considered, as cardinals are kept as cage birds in some areas. However, they have been reported in Alberta and confirmed by the Alberta Bird Records Committee as vagrants. Northern Cardinals have also bred successfully in Alberta and the first confirmed breeding record there was 2009. BC has a hypothetical record from Prince George in 1994 that was never confirmed and a carcass of one was found in March 2014 in Nanaimo.

The time of year and the part of the province where it showed up bodes well for a vagrant. Also, this is the time of year (late fall/winter) when many eastern vagrants show up out west. The other thing that lends credence for this bird being of wild origin is that it is a female. Most (but not all) caged birds from collectors (not breeders) are male.

The public is allowed to look at the bird as it visits the feeder in the yard from the sidewalk. Please respect other homeowners in the area by not blocking driveways and not pointing binoculars at homes. Please do not trespass on the homeowner's property or yard. 

The bird has been viewed by multiple observers coming to the feeder at their yard. It has also been seen across the street, sitting in the brush adjacent to Joseph Creek.

The bird continues in the same location as of Nov 22nd.

Female Northern Cardinal in Cranbrook - Photos: Ilya Povalyaev
A Northern Cardinal, a rare treat in a Cranbrook yard! - Photo: Katrin Powell

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


At 1:50pm on October 24th-2017, Krista Kaptein found a White Wagtail at Point Holmes in Comox. The bird was with Golden-crowned and Savannah Sparrows on the upper beach, 500m east of the boat launch. It made a few chip notes and short flights but always returned to the same spot. She left the bird actively foraging on the beach at 2:10pm.

Point Holmes is located at 348 Lazo Rd in Comox.

Map to location HERE.

The bird has not been relocated on October 25th, despite multiple observers looking.

This is the 13th record for the province of BC.

White Wagtail in Comox - Photos: Krista Kaptein

RBA: KING EIDER in Delta - Oct 24-25th

At 9:15 am on October 24th-2017, Michael Klotz found an adult male King Eider at the end of the steel piling at Berth # 5 at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. The bird was associating with a flock of Surf Scoters. This area is only open to paid passengers walking on or boarding a ferry by car. It is not open to the unpaid public. A walk on passenger fee is 17.20$ each way.

A scope is imperative to view this bird.  You are not allowed to stay at the Swartz Bay Departure passenger waiting room at the terminal and view the bird. You must board the ferry or will be asked to leave without a refund.

*BC Ferries has made it clear that birders are not allowed to view this bird from the base of Berth # 4. If you scope from here, you will be asked to leave *

The bird was last seen between Berth #4 and #5 at 6pm on October 25th.

It was not relocated on October 26th.

Map to location of bird HERE.

A discount parking lot, priced at 11$ a day with free shuttle, is located nearby HERE. Short and Long-term parking are also available at the ferry terminal.

This is the 35th record for the province of BC.

Adult Male King Eider in Tsawwassen - Photo: Cos Van Wermeskerken

Adult Male King Eider in Tsawwassen - Photos: Michael Klotz

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

RBA: BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER in Sechelt - Oct 17-19th

At 2:40pm on October 17th-2017, John Hodges found a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Wilson Creek Estuary in Sechelt. The bird was in the bushes between the big sand pile and the estuary. It called briefly and posed on top of a bush that was 4 metres in front of him. John was able to view the bird for brief periods on and off for about 5 minutes but was unable to get a photo. He lost the bird soon after and it was not relocated as of posting time.

A map to where the bird was found at the Estuary is HERE

A map to where to park at Wilson Creek Estuary can be found HERE.

Wilson Creek Estuary is located at 1580 Field Rd, Sechelt.

The bird was last seen in the same location on Oct 19th. It has not been relocated since.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

RBA: COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD in Powell River - Sept 6-Nov 18th

On Sept 6th-2017, Ken and Kathleen Pritchard found an adult male Costa's Hummingbird at a window feeder on their property "SeaSide Escape Retreat." The bird was first dismissed as an Anna's Hummingbird, hence the delay in them getting the word out. This property is located at 2102 Donkersley Rd in Powell River and is open to the public. Please call them first at (six, zero, four) - (three, four, four-one, two, three, five) before going to view this bird as a courtesy to them and per their request. Please be respectful of all guests and the homeowners private property as this is a resort.

The bird has been viewed by multiple observers and continues as of Nov 18th.

Map to location HERE.

This is the second Costa's Hummingbird occurring in the province right now. The other is in Abbotsford, please see HERE. 

Adult Male Costa's Hummingbird in Powell River - Photos: Kathleen Pritchard

Monday, October 2, 2017

RBA: BROOWN BOOBY in Richmond - October 2nd

At 12:30pm on October 2-2017, Mark Hamel found an adult Brown Booby. The bird flew onto his fishing vessel as he passed by active pass near Mayne Island. The bird remained perched on the vessel as he traveled the Strait of Georgia until he came to Sand Heads in Richmond. The bird flew off the ship as he came into the mouth of the Fraser River and perched on the lighthouse in the water. He then watched it fly off as he continued on into Steveston Harbour.

Exact location of where he last saw the Booby HERE.

This location is at the end of Steveston Jetty and is only accessible by boat.

Adult Brown Booby in Richmond - Photo: Mark Hamel

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

(ESCAPEE) BLACK VULTURE in Metchosin - Sep 27- Oct 14th

UPDATE: This bird appears to be an escapee. It was deemed non-releaseable from the state of Georgia (believed to be hit by a car) and was rehabbed at The Raptor Rescue Society in Duncan. It got loose in June when a tree fell on its aviary, as it was only one of three birds that apparently could still fly. BC Government officials were notified in June when it was seen soaring with Turkey Vultures. This bird was not banded by the facility before it escaped. This is not considered a wild Black Vulture for this reason, as it was held in captivity. It and the other 2 Black Vultures were considered unreleasable--i.e. unable to fly. They were made available for education purposes. The birds were brought to Canada with necessary permits and that is why the BC Government was notified when it flew away. As this bird and the Balaklava Island bird are both adults, we can assume (but can't prove) they are the same bird.

At noon on September 27-2017, Avery Bartels watched a Black Vulture soar over the RPBO Pedder Bay banding station and Glenrosa Farm Restaurant in Metchosin. The bird was soaring with twenty Turkey Vultures and it was viewed for ten minutes by multiple observers. The Black Vulture soared about 500m from where they were hawk watching. The bird circled and then came closer before it drifted away. It was seen 30 mins later by other observers off Rocky Point Rd just before the junction with Pedder Bay Rd.

This is most likely the same bird first found on September 5th by Ivan Dubinsky on Balaklava Island, see HERE.

For reference the Glenrosa Restaurant is located at 5447 Rocky Point Rd in Metchosin. The Pedder Bay Banding Station is open to the public and has the best vantage point for Vulture viewing. A map to the banding station is located HERE.

Parking is in the grassy area adjacent to the marina parking lot. Park against the log behind the check-in kiosk to avoid inadvertently trapping boat trailers in the lot. If, for any reason, you are unable to park behind the kiosk then please be careful where you park. If you park too close to the boat trailers fishermen may not be able to get out. Leave at least 2 or 3 car lengths distance between the trailer hitch and your car.

As of 2:15pm the bird was still being seen off of Rocky Point Rd just before the Matheson Lake Rd turnoff.

* Other than the spots mentioned above, people may want to look for this bird at the hawk watch site at Beechy Head at East Sooke Regional Park in Sooke.

The bird was never relocated on Sept 29th, despite mulitple observers looking.

On Oct 3rd-2017, the bird was relocated at 6:30pm by Taylor Mar, as it was feeding on a deer carcass on his property on Lisandra Rd off Arden Rd in Metchosin. He photographed the bird as it perched on a nearby tree with Turkey Vulture.

The bird continues as of Oct 14th at 10:30 am at Pedder Bay.

Birders are welcome on the road near 4760 Lisandra Rd but please do not trespass on the property and be respectful of neighbours as well.

Map to location HERE

A video of the Black Vulture eating the deer carcass on their property can be seen below. Video Credit to Taylor Mar.

This bird was deemed unreleasable in Georgia and is a presumed escapee from the Raptor Rehab Society's facility in Duncan. 

Black Vulture perched to the left of a Turkey Vulture - Photo: Taylor Mar

Black Vulture in Metchosin - Photos: Blair Dudeck

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

RBA: COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD in Abbotsford - April 2-Nov 18th

On April 2nd, Michael Dossett found an adult male Costa's Hummingbird as it came to his backyard feeder.

The bird continues as of Nov 18th.

This home is not open to the public.

Male Costa's Hummingbird in Abbotsford - Photo: Michael Dossett

Saturday, September 16, 2017

RBA: CURLEW SANDPIPER in Point Roberts and Delta - Sept 10-17th

At 11:30am on Sept 10th - 2017, Mary Taitt, Hank Tseng, Anne Murray and Julian Skes found and photographed an adult Curlew Sandpiper. The bird was in the SW end of the West Field at Reifel Bird Sanctuary and was viewed by multiple observers. It was associating with a flock of Western Sandpipers. The flock with the bird in it was soon flushed after 15 mins of viewing by a Peregrine Falcon and was not relocated that day. This bird is most likely tidal driven, so plan your visits around high tide.

Reifel is located at 5191 Robertson Rd in Delta and is open from 9am-4pm. The admission cost for adults is 5$. 

Map to Reifel HERE 

Map to where bird was seen in the park HERE.

The bird was not relocated in BC from Sept 11-16th.

At 5:30pm on Sept 16-2017, Mario Lam relocated the adult Curlew Sandpiper at Lighthouse Marine Park in Point Roberts, WA. 

Point Roberts is 5 mins from Tsawwassen, BC and accessed through Canada. It is birded primarily by British Columbians, hence why I am posting about it here.

The Washington Bird Records Committee has been notified. This is the 12th record for Washington State.

The bird was with a flock of Sanderlings on the beach, half way between the light beacon and the end of the park boundary (where the private beach and homes begin). He viewed the bird for 30 mins, photographed it and left it roosting there on the beach at 6pm.

Map to exact location of where bird was found HERE.

A valid passport/enhanced driver's license is required to enter the United States.

Lighthouse Marine Park is located at 811 Marine Drive in Point Roberts, WA.

Map to parking lot HERE.

At 5:30pm on Sept 17th, the Curlew Sandpiper was relocated by multiple observers at the foot of 96th St at Boundary Bay in Delta, BC - Canada. The bird was with a flock of Western Sandpipers and flew at 6:19pm and could not be relocated.

Map to where bird last seen on Sept 17th HERE.

This is the 12th record for the province of BC. The last Curlew Sandpiper was found at Sandspit in 2013 in Haida Gwaii.

The bird was not relocated on Sept 18th.

This adult Curlew Sandpiper was relocated in Point Roberts before it flew back to Canada - Photos: Mario Lam
Adult Curlew Sandpiper in flight showing its distinctive white rump in Delta - Photos: Devon Yu