I just returned from a twelve day trip to northern Vancouver Island. The nickname ‘Fogust’ is appropriate because there was a lot of fog each morning, which would usually burn off by the middle of the day. There was an abundance of wildlife and I spent time observing and photographing Killer Whales, Humpback Whales, a Minke Whale, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Sea Otters, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Pelagic Cormorants, Black Turnstones, Red-necked Phalaropes, Bonaparte’s Gulls, Marbled Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Oystercatchers, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Surf Scoters, and of course, the bird in the picture below, which is a male Belted Kingfisher ( click on the image to see a larger version ). This area is the traditional lands of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw, Kwakiutl, and Tlatlasikwala First Nations. To see some of my photos from my trip you can click on the ‘News‘ tab or the ‘Galleries’ tab —> ‘The Great Bear Sea‘.
In early July I did some hiking in the Lake Louise area. I started at the Chateau Lake Louise and hiked up to Mirror Lake, then Lake Agnes, and its European-styled tea house. There were too many people so I didn’t stop and hiked around Lake Agnes to the switchbacks that lead to the top of the Big Beehive. Here you’re rewarded with a stunning panorama of Lake Louise. From there I descended on the Highline trail which had lots of big rocks, roots, and stumps. I was glad I had my hiking poles. Eventually you join the Plain of Six Glaciers trail which leads to another tea house. I pressed on to the Plain of Six Glaciers viewpoint and ate my lunch underneath the hanging glacier of Mount Victoria. What a great day. Click on any photo in the gallery to see a larger version.
Lake Louise and Fairview Mountain ( 2744 m ) seen from the top of the Big Beehive. To the right is Haddo Peak ( 3070 m ) and Mount Aberdeen ( 3152 m ). As glaciers shrink the brilliant blues of mountain lakes is changing.
Mount Aberdeen and Mount Lefroy. In between the two mountains is the Lefroy glacier.
Hiking up the switchbacks to the Big Beehive. Looking down on Lake Agnes and some beautiful Larch trees.
The Mitre ( 2850 m ) and Lefroy glacier. The mountain was named in 1893 by Samuel E.S. Allen because it resembles a Bishop's mitre, which is a tall headdress.
The Snowbirds or 431 Air Demonstration Squadron performed over English Bay last night. The light was very harsh and the sky wasn’t very interesting, but I still had fun taking images of this Canadian icon. Usually the Snowbirds use nine CT-114 tutor jets to perform their formations, but last night Snowbird # 6 was missing. I know in the past they have sometimes performed a ‘missing man’ formation, but I can only speculate that one plane had some mechanical issues and was unable to perform. Click on any photo to see a larger version and then scroll through the gallery.
I watched this male Osprey ( Pandion haliaetus ) tearing apart a fish with its hooked bill. Later on I saw it hovering briefly over a marsh before diving feet first to catch a fish. An Osprey will live for about 15 to 20 years. To see a larger version of this image, just click on the photo.
The Ospreys ( Pandion haliaetus ) have returned for another season of nesting. This nesting pair have built their nest on a manmade structure. They are beautiful birds of prey and live fish account for about 99% of their diet. As if they don’t have enough to deal with, this nesting pair has to fend off attacks from seagulls. I hope they are successful in raising their chicks. Click on any one of the photos to see a larger version and then use the left and right keys on your keyboard to move through the gallery.
I almost missed seeing this male Rufous Hummingbird ( Selasphorus rufus ) perched on the end of a branch because it was so tiny. You can only see its iridescent-red gorget ( throat ) if your looking at just the right angle. They are very territorial and will chase away other hummingbirds, even the larger species. When they migrate each year they make a clockwise circuit of western North America. They move up the Pacific coast to British Columbia and Alaska in April. Then they travel down the Rocky mountains in July and continue their migration south to Mexico. Click on a photo to see a larger version.
Ospreys ( Pandion haliaetus ) will soon be migrating back to Canada. They are the only North American raptor that has a diet almost exclusively of live fish. Ospreys makes aerial dives into the water to catch fish. I took this photo last May and I’m looking forward to seeing them again soon. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
Trumpeter Swans ( Cygnus buccinator ) spend the winter on ice-free coastal and inland waters. The weather we are experiencing is an arctic airflow and the temperatures are unusually cold. When I was photographing these Trumpeter Swans the wind chill made the temperature about twenty degrees below zero ( Celsius ). The slough where they usually forage for food is frozen, so they are unable to eat aquatic vegetation. I hope the weather becomes milder, the ice breaks up, and they are able to find something to eat. Click on any one of the photos to see a larger version and then use your left and right keys to scroll through the gallery.
In 2021, the pandemic has dominated our lives. It has been an unusual and difficult year. I would like to wish you a happy new year and I hope 2022 is a much more positive experience for everyone. Take care. Be safe.
This female Belted Kingfisher ( Megaceryle alcyon ) was perched along a river. They are very skittish and usually fly away when you approach them. The Belted Kingfisher is one of the few bird species where the female is more colourful than the male. The female has a broad rusty band on its belly. You can find Belted Kingfishers flying quickly along streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries feeding on small fish. They have very loud rattling calls and I often hear them first, before visually spotting them.