Gaelen Schnare – September 2020

I am Gaelen Schnare, a fourteen year old birder and photographer from Nelson, BC. I first became interested in bird photography at age 7, when I was given a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with a 55-250mm zoom lens for Christmas. Although I have taken photos of other objects, landscapes, and wildlife, birds have always fascinated me and will remain the focus of my photography. I always had an interest in birds and photography, but my passion for photographing and observing birds took off after getting a higher quality camera. Over the past few years I have saved up and acquired new photography equipment, including a 400mm fixed lens, 75mm to 300mm zoom lens, and EOS 7D camera body.


Editor’s note – click on images to enlarge.

Photo #1   Western Tanager, May 28, 2016.  I observed this bird at the Lemon Creek Rail Trail in the Slocan Valley while attempting to photograph a Lazuli Bunting. This was one of the first high quality photographs I had ever taken. I took over 100 photos of this bird and two turned out to be absolutely gorgeous.

Photo #2   Yellow-rumped Warbler, April 30, 2018.  This bird was photographed at the Old Taghum Bridge near my hometown of Nelson during spring migration. Many Yellow-rumped Warblers were flitting about in the surrounding trees and I was lucky enough to have one land in the lower branches, allowing for a great photo.

Photo #3   Swainson’s Hawk, July 1, 2018.  On a trip to Anarchist Pass on the edge of the Kootenays, this bird flew right next to our car. While I managed to take a few photos during the short time it was visible, I did not realize that it was carrying a mouse in its beak until reviewing the photos after the fact.

Photo #4   Great-blue Heron, July 13, 2018.  This was a very lucky photo that I managed to take while visiting my family’s cabin on Kootenay Lake. I was attempting to photograph this bird while it was sitting on the shore, but when it took flight, it flew directly in front of large boulders that perfectly matched its colours and textures.

Photo #5   Baird’s Sandpiper, August 6, 2018.  This Sandpiper was only 3 meters in front of me when I snapped this beautiful shot at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. Although the background is fairly plain, this bird was so close that its textures and details are perfectly focused.

Photo #6   Harris’s Sparrow, October 16, 2018.  During fall migration, this bird was reported in my hometown of Nelson at the waterfront near Duck Bay. After taking many photographs, this bird finally emerged from dense foliage and posed for a beautiful picture.

Photo #7   Trumpeter Swan, January 4, 2019.  On a visit to search for the rare Fieldfare, about which I am sure many of you have heard, in Salmon Arm, I photographed these two swans in a harvested corn field with a thin layer of snow. They posed perfectly for an excellent photo.

Photo #8   Rufous Hummingbird, May 4, 2019.  While looking for a rare bird at a residence in Nakusp, two Rufous Hummingbirds were flying about and landing quite close to me. I took over a hundred photos and this one turned out to be the best. Although we did not find the rare bird, the trip was worthwhile for this beautiful photo.

Photo #9   Canada Geese, May 22, 2019.  These cute goslings were photographed at the Nelson Waterfront at the old transfer station. Multiple small flocks of two adults and five to ten goslings were swimming around in the bay, some of them quite near to shore allowing for interesting photographs

Photo #10   Lesser Yellowlegs, August 26, 2019.  In the fall, the Oxbow at College Trails near Castlegar sees many wading shorebirds like this beautiful Lesser Yellowlegs. There was no wind this day, making the water glassy calm and allowing for this beautiful reflection.

Photo #11 Downy Woodpecker, September 1, 2019.  On my annual shore birding trip to Salmon Arm, this beautiful downy woodpecker landed directly in front of my birding group. The tree where it landed happened to be surrounded by a beautiful, contrasting background.

Photo #12   Semipalmated Sandpiper, July 23, 2018.  In Nelson, a very small number of shorebirds appear during migration, but the ones we do see are concentrated on the few local mudflats. This gorgeous bird was photographed at the Nelson transfer station and walkway during fall migration. The ripples in the background added to the beauty of the bird itself.

More of my work can be viewed in my blog posts on my website at