Birders from near and far are able to cross an item off their bucket list after viewing a wee bird that lost its way.
A red-flanked bluetail that would normally be in Southeast Asia at this time of year has been causing quite a stir in Queen’s Park. Birders armed with binoculars and photographers equipped with fancy cameras descended on the park in recent days to view the visitor.
“There were a lot of bird watchers – 35 or 40,” New Westminster resident Rob Butler said about the crowd on Wednesday afternoon. “If it hangs around, there would be people coming from across North America – it’s so rare.”
The arrival of the red-flanked bluetail in New Westminster is the first time the bird has been reported in Canada.
“It was pretty neat,” Butler said about seeing the bird. “I have been over to Asia birding. I didn’t see it in Asia.”
A report on the B.C. Rare Bird Alert website stated that the red-flanked bluetail was found Feb. 13 by Colin McKenzie, and later confirmed by George Clulow and Mike Toochin. Both Clulow and Toochin have previously seen the red-flanked blu-etail in Asia.
“People spend their money and fly all over,” Butler said. “People have these lists. It’s pretty esoteric stuff. This is the first in Canada. For George, he was the first person to identify it.”
Butler said some bird watchers set goals of seeing how many species of birds they can view in a year. He noted that was the premise of the 2011 film, The Big Year.
“A lot of bird watchers, they have their life lists,” Butler said. “People have their own lists, they have their North American lists.”