Tuesday 10 May 2016

Atlas of Breeding Bird of British Columbia Published

May 10/2015
This morning I and many others received a long-awaited announcement. Finally after years of hard work the Atlas of Breeding Birds of British Columbia is published. I was fortunate to be asked to contribute some images and even took part in some of the surveys in the Chilcotins. I am sure it will be a great asset to the birding community.

Posted by: Catherine Jardine
Bird Studies Canada
Delta, BC

We are delighted to announce the completion of the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia, Canada’s first online bird atlas!  We believe it is the most sophisticated bird atlas anywhere on the web, and the only bilingual, web-published atlas.  Please take a moment to explore it at http://www.birdatlas.bc.ca 
Special thanks go to the 30 authors, 20 editors, 45 coordinators, 1,300 dedicated field volunteers, 40 photographers and 150 generous partners and supporters.

More than 1,500 high quality maps and graphs depict precisely where each species occurs, how common they are, and the types of landscapes they choose to breed in.  Packed with innovative, user-friendly features, this entirely free new resource is designed for almost everyone, whether you are an environmental professional, a bird watcher, a nature lover, a guide-outfitter, a researcher, an educator or a student. There is a short site tour on the homepage, and those interested can register for free webinars hosted by Bird Studies Canada starting this June.

With 630,000 records of 320 species, it is now THE go to source of bird information for environmental assessments and is being used widely to inform purchase and management priorities for both conservation and industrially managed lands.  The dataset is ideally suited to academic research and has already been widely applied at undergraduate to post-doctoral levels.

We strongly encourage you to use this new resource in your line of work, and consult it before making field trips for work or pleasure.  This handy site tour will help you get started http://www.birdatlas.bc.ca/site-tour/
Several areas of the province remain poorly known, like the far northwest, where the bird community is similar to the Alaskan Arctic.  Remember that you can use eBird http://www.ebird.ca to enter data from previously non surveyed or under-surveyed regions.  

We hope you enjoy this new resource. 

The British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas partners (Bird Studies Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the BC Ministry of Environment, BC Nature, the BC Field Ornithologists, the Pacific Wildlife Foundation, and Louisiana Pacific Canada Ltd.).

Below I have included some of my images and links used in the atlas and a brief description how they came into being.

Photographed at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve in Chilliwack. The best time is before the cottonwood trees have too much foliage. You'll need a long lens but the action continues all day with the males acrobatic displays being particularly photogenic. While you are there watch out for the resident bobcat and soaring bald eagles

Raymond Ng and I scouted Sumas Prairie for hours/days/weeks looking for signs of a golden eagle. Eventually Raymond spotted one in a tall cottonwood. We couldn't get a clear shot so we asked the landowner if we could approach with the sun on our backs. As Raymond angled for a closer shot I stayed back as I had a 500 mm lens with a 1.4 converter on a 12 megapixel Nikon D300s. Suddenly the bird took off and I rattled off 6 shots of which five were in perfect focus. I had never seen a Golden Eagle before. Those moments are indelibly etched in my mind, one of my favourite birding moments all thanks to my birding buddy Raymond!

I was taking part in a bird studies count in the Chilcotins. It had been a good morning of birding and it was after breakfast when I saw a pair of Evening Grosbeak at a bird feeder. The female was actively showing off to a nearby male. They mated soon after.

Western Scrub Jay
I had been photographing the Maple Ridge western scrub jays and had mentioned to a homeowner the rarity of the birds when he mentioned they had bred the previous year but a racoon had raided the nest. Imagine my surprise when a year later when the phone rang to tell me that there were two fledglings in his back yard. I didn't realizeit  at the time but it was the first record of a breeding pair in BC.

One of the first birds I photographed in Langley. I noticed it when I visited a greenhouse and saw the bird perched on a rusting car. I sat and watched it for a few minutes and I noticed it used the same route to bring food to three fledglings.

I had to drive up to the Okanagan for the Clay-coloured. I remember seeing the bird and in the background a Mountain Bluebird. It was birding heaven.

I owe this shot to Russell Cannings. I was photographing Calliope Hummingbirds near Road22 when he casually mentioned a spot nearby where I might find a Yellow-breasted Chat. Soon after I was looking at the bird, another lifer and all thanks to the generous sharing of information. Thanks Russell, you have been a great inspiration as have many in the birding community, too many to mention here.

This was another marathon photo session spanning two weeks at Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The Swamp Sparrow is a notoriously shy and it took numerous visits to get this shot.

This photograph was taken on Boundary Bay just east of 72nd in a cold winters day. I had made six or seven visits to finally secure a clear shot that I was happy with.

Finally I am happy my images can be put to good use other than tucked away on a hard drive. I would also like to thank all those who reported birds on vanbcbirds, the authors of the Okanagan Birding Guide, the Langley Field Naturalists and the many birders who I have met and have in turn learnt so much from.

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic John congrats on getting your photos in the atlas and yes it's a great resource