Author Archives: geocbcfo

Cover image of Steller’s Jay needed for 2018 Checklist of BC Birds

BCFO’s Bird Records Committee (BRC) is presently finalizing details of its soon to be published 2018 Checklist of BC Birds.

July is the target date for publication, and we are looking for a cover photograph or image for this completely revised and newly formatted checklist. With the work of the BRC continuing apace, many new birds have been added to the database since the last checklist was published in 2007.

Given that the Steller’s Jay is BC’s provincial bird, and also the featured bird in our BCFO logo, it can’t be a surprise that we’re looking for a Steller’s Jay photograph or graphic image suitable for the cover of the checklist booklet.

Only BCFO members are eligible to submit photographs or images and all members are encouraged to do so. The final decision will rest with the BRC, which will work with a small committee of members to make the final recommendation.

There are no prizes on offer here, just the chance for fame, international recognition, and kudos from all around if your image is selected.

Please submit photos or images at 1000 pixels in the longest dimension. A larger file size may be requested for final printing, which will be in colour.

The deadline for submissions is 07 July 2018 and submissions should be emailed as an attachment to: bcbrc.chair AT gmail.com (replace AT with @; no spaces) under the subject Steller’s Jay.

 

 

Hope AGM 2018 – A Great Success

Last weekend’s (June 1 – 3) Annual General Meeting held in Hope featured many highlights. There was not only excellent birding, but efficient and effective meetings, lots of friendly socializing, a wonderful facility with delicious food supplied by the Hope Golf and Country Club, and outstanding field trips.

Intimating the good times ahead, sights and sounds of nesting Merlins, right outside the conference centre, greeted delegates as they arrived.

Important business was conducted, including the adoption of a new constitution and by-laws. BCFO is now fully compliant with the new BC Societies Act. Our new President is Marian Porter from Saltspring and new Vice-President is Gary Davidson from Nakusp. Otherwise, the Board of Directors remains unchanged.

Our Saturday afternoon talk was a highly engaging look at the nesting behaviour of Turkey Vultures as filmed and described by David Manning in his presentation “The Old Man and the Vultures”. Our banquet speakers Kelly Pearce and Scott Denkers entertained the crowd with a talk entitled “The Bird Blitz Legacy” which covered both the history of and data collected during the Manning Park and Skagit Valley Bird Blitzes.

A total of 105 species of birds were seen over the weekend, with highlights including a Black-chinned Hummingbird in Hope and Northern Waterthrushes at Silver Lake and Manning.

Look for more detailed reports on the conference, the field trips, and the outstanding pre-conference two-day trip to Princeton in the next issue of BC Birding.

Chipping Sparrow – Princeton Two-day Trip. Photo: George Clulow

Win a free membership to BCFO

Looking for rare birds? Well, the BCFO Bird Records Committee certainly is. Or, to be more accurate , the BRC is looking for reports of rare British Columbia birds that you may have seen, or know about, but just haven’t got around to reporting to the committee yet.

As an incentive, BCFO is announcing today a contest to win free memberships in the organization. Open to everyone, details of the contest are linked here, or you can follow the drop-down under BRC above. On the contest page you’ll also find a sample completed Rare Bird Report Form, and a handy set of guidelines to support your documentation of rare bird sightings.

Start digging out those notes and photos!

 

Bird Records Committee latest news

There are a number of significant announcements this week from the Bird Records Committee.

Photo: Krista Kaptein

Firstly, BCFO is pleased to welcome to the committee its newest member, Catherine Craig from Revelstoke.

Catherine fills the vacancy on the committee created when Jeremy Gatten completed his terms as a committee member. Thank you, Jeremy, for all your hard work and contributions to the committee’s operation and effective functioning.

For more information about the committee and its make-up follow the link here.

As suggested by the lead photograph above, the latest round of accepted records is also now available. You can navigate via the drop down menu above, or link here for Round 22 Accepted Records

Now available for your rare bird records submissions to the committee is a revised Rare Bird Report Form that enables easy, on-line submissions directly to the BRC.

Also on the same page you will find the latest Review List (with minor revisions), which outlines birds that the committee would like to receive reports on. Of course, in addition to the Review List species, potential new birds for the Provincial List are most welcome.

The BRC Sightings Database has also been updated with both a taxonomically-sorted, and record-number-sorted lists.

Photo: Jeremy Gatten

 

BCFO Young Birder Awards 2018

The BCFO Young Birder Program welcomes talented young birders into the BC birding community, and provides them with opportunity, encouragement, and mentoring.

As part of the program, we present Young Birder Awards to youth who meet certain qualifications. To be selected for a BCFO Young Birder Award, recipients must be between 11 and 18 years of age, and have:

• exceptional observational and birding skills well beyond the ‘novice’ level;
• shown substantive engagement in the activities of the birding community through their accomplishments, participation, and contributions;
• been nominated and sponsored by a BCFO member and approved by the Executive Committee.

The Awards Program, now in its fifth year and totalling 27 awardees, continues to grow as we find many young, keen, committed birders from around BC. Each recipient receives a free membership to BCFO until age 18, a memorial plaque, and a stylish BCFO ball cap.

Here are the BCFO Young Birder Award recipients for 2018, presented in alphabetical order:

 

Daniel Beeke, Agassiz

Daniel first distinguished himself when he managed to see all three species of Ptarmigan: Rock, Willow, and White-tailed during a family vacation in Northern BC. Daniel has gone birding in several locations, including China, where he got fifty lifers in one day with his Uncle Tom. His favourite places to bird are Tuyttens Road and Cheam Wetlands Regional Park in Agassiz. He has volunteered at the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival in Harrison Mills, and at Cheam Wetlands where he has helped clean the park after an ice storm, and helped in building the south entrance to the park. Every year he participates in the Chilliwack and the Abbotsford Christmas Bird Counts. His uncles Jim and Dave Beeke mentor him and help him with bird identification questions. He has been birding for six years and participates in the Fraser Valley Birding forum and enjoys posting photos to his Flickr acct. He uses eBird every time he birds, and is passionate about citizen science. His favourite type of birding is to scan a large flock of birds to find which species is different. He loves that challenge. His entire family are birders and have helped to inspire him to be the birder he is today.

Check out his Flickr account at: <https://www.flickr.com/photos/139279299@N04>

Zachary Fedder, Vancouver

Zac has long been an enthusiast birder and been eager to learn about the natural world. Zac has developed and advanced his understanding of wildlife in his travel adventures, and his more local recreational pursuits. Zac is a promising and already talented young naturalist and birder, and he’s following a fulfilling path that will benefit himself and ensure the conservation of nature in general. This award will encourage him to continue on this path.

Zac says about himself:
I recently gave a lecture to a grade seven class to introduce them to birding, and I organized a one hour activity about birds with them. I am also returning to Costa Rica this summer for six weeks to do some research, hopefully on birds. As an active member of the global birding community, I have also been birding around the world (Costa Rica, Portugal, France, Spain, Israel, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Canada, the U.S., etc.), and have participated in birding tours in most of these places. As well, I have participated in Christmas Bird Counts, and in eBird’s Global Big Day. I have emailed sightings to Melissa Hafting for BC Rare Bird Alert. I have introduced birding to my family (close and extended), and to friends. All these things advance the birding community as I contribute to the global knowledge of birds and help spread this knowledge to others. By making connections and participating in birding around the world, I am also bringing the birding community closer together.

<https://jerichobirdingtours.wordpress.com>

Cedar Forest, Tofino

Cedar on left

Cedar first demonstrated her enthusiasm and knowledge of birds on the September 2017 Ucluelet Pelagic trip when she was quick enough to spot the Manx Shearwater that hardly any adults were able to get on. She is a very intelligent, sharp birder with an engaging and humorous personality. Very good at species identification, she loves to bird with her best friend Toby Theriault (2017 Young Birder Award winner). However, she is also a fantastic solo birder, having found a Tropical Kingbird this year in her hometown of Tofino, and has a BC list that many adults could only dream of. She has done several pelagic trips with her friend Adrian Dorst and has seen many Black-footed and Laysan Albatrosses. Living in Tofino, a great migrant trap, she has spotted many of the rarities that frequently show up there. Cedar also loves to bird with her friend and mentor Ian Cruickshank, who has taught her a lot about birds. Cedar went on a trip to Manning Provincial Park with the Delta Naturalists in August 2017. President Tom Bearss commented that she was so good she became the leader for the group of 10 adult birders on the tour. She spotted all the birds and plants, and explained them well to everyone. Truly impressive at 13 years old. She is another young birder in the province who will make us proud for many years to come.

Kalin Ocana, Kelowna

Kalin is a generous and helpful young birder. The nominator first met him while twitching a Little Gull in Penticton. As soon as she got to the lake to open up her scope, Kalin came running to show her where the bird was. He had also found an American Dipper there as well. As they looked at the Little Gull together, the knowledge he showed about the species and about all the birds present on Okanagan Lake was impressive. He knew the migration routes and nesting behaviours and other fun facts about the Little Gull. He loves to bird the ABA area and recently went to Baffin Island and Florida. He is an amazing photographer and his website is here: https://www.instagram.com/BIRDZ.OKANAGAN/ Kalin birds almost daily near his home in Kelowna and he is very passionate about bird conservation. Under every photo he posts to Instagram, he educates the reader about the bird’s plight and issues the species is facing. He also provides little known informative facts. He definitely is a future conservation leader and nature steward for the Okanagan and Province of BC.

Jason Roos, Chilliwack

Jason, whose favourite type of birding is owling, has a vast knowledge of birds. His volunteer work includes the Chilliwack Christmas Bird Count in which he has participated for 5 years. He has also volunteered with the Eagle Festival in Harrison Mills. Jason uses eBird every time he goes birding, and is passionate about citizen science. He loves to bird with his cousin Daniel (also nominated in 2018). His uncle, Dave Beeke, is his birding mentor, and has taught him a lot about birds and identification. His whole family loves to bird and is very supportive of his hobby. Jason will be a valuable contributor in the future to BC’s birding community.

Marnix Vandereyk, Langley

Marnix loves to count birds and particularly loves to come on hiking field trips in the mountains. He volunteers to do trail clearing with the Langley Field Naturalists. A polite, helpful and respectful birder, Marnix knows a lot not only about birds and their identification but he is also proficient in the identification and habits of amphibians and mammals, usually the first one to spot a Pika or Hoary Marmot on hikes to spot ptarmigan. Marnix enjoys working on the farm at home where he raises calves, sheep and rabbits. He has found many uncommon birds on his property such as Townsend’s Solitaires, House Wrens and White-winged Crossbills. As a well rounded nature enthusiast, Marnix will no doubt continue to add to the understanding of BC’s wildlife and birdlife.

Congratulations all.

<2017 Young Birders>

<2016 Young Birders>

<2015 Young Birders>

<2014 Young Birders>

 

BCFO Featured Photographer #16

BCFO Featured Photographer #16 – Liron Gertsman

Liron was one of the recipients of our inaugural round of ‘Young Birder Awards’ and is the first of them to present his images as a ‘Featured Photographer’. Liron is a classic example of the new breed of avian-oriented naturalists who have developed their birding and camera skills hand-in-hand. His photographic achievements to date include: two personal showings of his work at Vancouver galleries; providing instructional photo sessions in the field at Boundary Bay; and two of his photos were selected in the ‘Top 100’ submissions for the 2015 National Audubon Photographic Awards – all this before he was old enough to get his driver’s licence. View some of his best images here.

11 - Concealed_Short-eared Owl

Announcing AGM 2018, June 1st to 3rd – Valleys and Mountains

The 2018 Annual General Meeting and Conference will be held in Hope on the weekend of June 1-3. The conference will take place in the banquet room of the Hope Golf & Country Club located right beside the Coquihalla River in Hope.

Hope is nestled at the base of the Coast Mountains Range with easy access to the North Cascades at Manning Park. The area offers great birding in the lowlands, adjacent valleys, and nearby alpine areas. We plan to explore them all. Field trips are planned for the Cheam Wetlands, Thacker Marsh, Silver Lake, Hope Airpark, and Manning Provincial Park.

Mark your calendars. On-line registration opens on April 1, 2018 and will remain open until the cut-off date of May 20.

Full details about registration will be published here, and in the Events section.

We look forward to seeing everyone there.

Cheam wetlands

The pre-conference trip will visit the Princeton area, while the post conference extension trip will go to the Williams Lake area to explore some of the great birding locations found there. Details of the three events will be in the March issue of BC Birding as well as on the web site.

Cheam Wetlands waterfowl

BCFO Bird Records Committee Vacancy

Membership Vacancy – BCFO Bird Records Committee

Needed – One (1) individual to serve as a participating member of the Bird Records Committee (BRC).

Duration – We are seeking an individual who is willing to commit to a three-year term, beginning March 1, 2018. As per BRC operating guidelines, up to two consecutive terms may be served, for a total of six years. Renewal for a second term is optional and subject to BRC approval. Members may not sit for more than two-consecutive terms before taking a mandatory one-year absence. Following this absence, individuals may be re-nominated for additional terms, and placed in the candidate pool for available positions. Monthly time commitments vary, but candidates should be willing to put in approximately ten (non-consecutive) hours.

Qualifications – Candidates should be knowledgeable on bird identification and distribution of all bird species in the province, as well as familiar with the identification and distribution of avian taxa from the remainder of North America including Mexico, and East Asia. Preferred candidates will have first-hand experience with the majority of species that may be reported (see the current Review List). In addition to field experience, candidates should have access to sufficient resources (e.g., books, web resources) to provide critical, independent commentary and evaluations of bird records by set deadlines. Knowledge of aging and sexing of birds is a plus.

Candidates must be courteous and respectful of fellow committee members and to individuals whose records are being reviewed, including confidentiality of observer names and committee discussions. Previous experience with committees is beneficial, but not mandatory; however, candidates must be able to work effectively in a committee operating on a consensus framework.
In addition to birding experience, candidates must be able to reliably communicate electronically. This includes frequent and reliable access to the internet and the ability to email, Skype, and send/receive files in MS Word and MS Excel formats.

Prior membership to BCFO is not a requirement, but non-members are expected to join the organization upon appointment to the committee. All BRC members are expected to maintain their membership to BCFO in good standing for the duration of their tenure. Candidates should reside in British Columbia for the majority of each calendar year for which they are serving.

Selection: The committee strives to maintain representation of the entire provincial birding community by selecting members from varied regions of the province. While all candidates will be considered for the current position, preference will be given to birders from areas outside of the south coast (Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland). To further ensure that the committee is representative of the provincial birding community, women are strongly encouraged to apply.

The BRC is a committee of the BCFO. Applicants, or a short-list of applicants, will be discussed by the current BRC membership for nomination to the committee. Final appointments are made by the BCFO Board of Directors.

How to apply: You may nominate yourself or someone else who you believe is qualified. All nominations should be sent electronically to Nathan Hentze, Chairperson of the BRC, at bcbrc.chair@gmail.com. In the email include a brief description of your qualifications, or, if nominating someone else, highlight why you think that person would fit well on the committee. Make sure to include your full name and contact information (email address and/or phone number), or the full name and contact information of the nominee. All information should appear in the body of the email; formal cover letters, CVs, etc., are not required.
Please apply as soon as possible, and no later than February 15. The position will remain open until filled.

 

 

 

 

Bird Records Committee – November/December 2017 Accepted Records, Rounds 18, 19, 20, & 21

The BCFO Bird Records Committee is pleased to report the latest 36 records accepted to the Main Provincial List, including one provincial first record.

You will also find the BCFO Rare Bird Report Form and the Provincial Review List under the BRC drop-down menu above or via the link here. Submissions of rare bird sightings in British Columbia are invited and encouraged.

Photo: Ilya Povalyaev

Dr. Martin K. McNicholl

It is with great sadness that we report that Martin McNicholl passed away on Friday, December 15th. It is great loss to the birding community.

Martin was known as an ornithologist who made contributions both nationally and internationally. He joined the BCFO board in the early 90’s and was a long time editor of our journal, BC Birds, as well as a regular contributor to BC Birding. As a result of Martin’s contributions to ornithology, he was awarded the Steve Cannings Award at the BCFO AGM held in Pemberton in 2014.

The citation for Martin’s award presentation at the Pemberton AGM was published in the September 2014 issue of BC Birding. The citation appears below.

MARTIN K. MCNICHOLL
STEVE CANNINGS AWARD WINNER FOR 2014

The Steve Cannings Award is presented annually by the British Columbia Field Ornithologists. It honours the memory of Stephen R. Cannings (1914-2003) of Penticton, BC, who was a much-loved and admired ornithologist, naturalist, nature photographer,conservationist, and mentor to many young and beginning
naturalists. The Cannings Award recognizes achievement in any or all of three areas: (1) research on bird biology or ecology, or detailed documentation of the birdlife of any part of BC; (2) conservation of birds or bird habitats in BC;
and (3) public education about birds in BC.

It should be noted that the Cannings award is mainly for contributions to ornithology in BC. Many of Martin‟s accomplishments have taken place in other provinces, and he is well-known as an ornithologist at the national and even international level. However, as he has made his home in BC for more than 20 years, and as many of his contributions were made in BC, we consider him to be a most worthy recipient of this award, and we have cited many of his accomplishments from other provinces as well.

Martin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on April 16, 1946, and grew up in the Winnipeg area. He became interested in birds at a very early age, and says that his first memory of a bird, at age 3, was a Common Loon yodeling as it flew
over a rowboat containing Martin, his father, and his grandfather. His interest in birds was encouraged and fostered by his aunt, Gertrude McNicholl, and a second cousin, Grace Keith, both of whom were keen birdwatchers. In addition to the immediate vicinity of Winnipeg, much of his early birding was done during the summers near Gimli, Manitoba (on Lake Winnipeg) and in the lake country near Ingolf, Ontario (west of Kenora), around property owned by his relatives.

Martin enrolled in a Zoology program at the University of Manitoba, and earned a bachelor‟s degree (Honours Zoology) in 1968. While an undergraduate, he met Dr. Roger Evans, who employed him one summer to do surveys of waterbirds and Sharp-tailed Grouse. He then embarked on a M.Sc. program under Dr. Evans, and completed his Master‟s thesis on Forster‟s Tern biology in 1971. For his Ph.D. work, Martin moved to Edmonton and studied Blue Grouse (now called Sooty Grouse) biology under Dr. Fred Zwickel. However, his study area, where he did research for four summers, was in the Comox Burn on Vancouver Island. Martin‟s Ph.D. dissertation, which he completed in 1978, was entitled Behavioural and Social Organization in a Population of Blue Grouse on Vancouver Island.

After completing his Ph.D., Martin worked for several environmental consulting firms between B.C. and Ontario. From 1984 to 1987, he served as General Manager and Executive Director of the Long Point Bird Observatory, now part of Bird Studies Canada. Since moving to B.C., and until recently, he has worked mainly at the Vancouver International Airport, first for LGL Environmental Research Associates and then with Airport Wildlife Management International, with the objective of managing birds on the airport and reducing bird hazards to aircraft.

Martin is widely known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the scientific literature of ornithology, and for his strong abilities as a writer and editor. He has published dozens of articles and short notes in scientific journals. He edited
Manitoba Bird Studies: a Bibliography of Manitoba Ornithology (1975), and was senior editor of A Bibliography of Alberta Ornithology (1981), as well as
Ornithology in Ontario (1994), a 400-page historical review of ornithology and ornithologists in Ontario. He also authored 45 entries in the Canadian Encyclopedia, mainly dealing with birds and natural history. Finally, for more than 30 years, he was in charge of the “Recent Literature” section of the North American Bird Bander.

Martin has served in many volunteer capacities, and has always been willing to donate his time to worthwhile projects and activities. Over the years, he has served on more than 30 boards and committees from B.C. to Ontario.

For BCFO, he was the editor of our journal, British Columbia Birds, from 1994 to 2002, a time-consuming and exacting task. He has also been the compiler or co-compiler of the “Upcoming Meetings and Events” column in our newsmagazine for much of its history, and a valued member of the Awards Committee since its inception. In addition, he has served for many years on the Birding Section Committee of Nature Vancouver, and as the Program Chairman of the Langley Field Naturalists.

Given his many accomplishments and his generosity with his time, it will not surprise you that Martin has been the recipient of several previous awards. These include the Loran L. Goulden Award (1983) for contributions to the natural history of Alberta; being named an Elective Member of the American Ornithologists Union (1986); the Ernest Thompson Seton medal for contributions to Manitoba‟s natural history (1995); and being named an Honorary Life Member of both the Langley Field Naturalists (2001) and B.C. Field Ornithologists (2002).

In this brief citation, we have had to omit many of Martin McNicholl‟s accomplishments, particularly those that took place outside B.C. Nevertheless, we think it should be obvious to everyone that Martin is a most deserving
recipient of the Steve Cannings Award, and we take great pleasure in presenting it to him.