I just returned from a ten day trip to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. This is an archipelago isolated from the mainland. It has many unique plants and animals. I look forward to sharing my photos of its richness and beauty. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
The Osprey ( Pandion haliaetus ) have returned for another summer season. They’ve built their huge nest of sticks on an artificial platform. These birds are one of my favourite raptors to photograph. They’re unusual among hawks because they possess a reversible outer toe that allows them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind. This helps them to grip slippery fish. Click on either of the photos below to see a larger and sharper version.
On Friday I went for a bike ride in the cool of the evening. I saw a large bird sitting on a fencepost and it flew right in front of me before landing on the branch of a tree. I was amazed to see it was a Barred Owl (Strix varia) and was disappointed that I didn’t have my camera and telephoto lens with me. For the next few days I returned to the same location at dawn and dusk and was thrilled to get some images of this nocturnal predator. The Barred Owl has a distinct hooting call which sounds like “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?”. Click on any one of the three images below to see sharper and larger versions.
This morning I visited a family of River Otters ( Lutra canadensis ) I had photographed earlier this year. I spotted two River Otters, down one from the last time, when I saw three. They were relaxing on a riverbank grooming their well-oiled and dense fur. It was rare to see them resting, usually they are very active, constantly in motion, swimming, foraging along the shore, and climbing out for only brief periods of time to eat fish or shellfish. It was quiet, peaceful, with no other people around, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with these wild River Otters. Click on either image to see a larger version.
Known for their dancing skills. Sandhill Cranes ( Antigone canadensis ) stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance. Their call is a loud, rolling, trumpeting sound. I was fortunate to watch a family of three Sandhill Cranes looking for larval insects by probing the grass with their long bills. Click on the photo to see a larger version of the image.
In British Columbia there are two species of Otters. They are commonly confused, but Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris) live at sea and swim on their back. The River Otter (Lutra canadensis) is semi-aquatic and swims on its belly. The River Otter has a pointed head and a thick tail which is 2/3 of its total body length. The Sea Otter has a blunt head and a flattened tail which is 1/3 of its total body length. I spent some time photographing three River Otters. When they catch prey like fish, shellfish, birds, and small animals, they bring it ashore to eat. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
There was a break in the rainy weather and I was able to get out and take some images. In the Northern Hemisphere in the winter sunrise and sunset appear farther south along the horizon. I find it creates this beautiful golden light at the start and end of each day. Click on a photo to see a larger size.
This is probably the most common hawk in North America. The Red-tailed hawk ( Buteo jamaicensis ) eats small animals like rabbits, squirrels, and voles. You’ll most likely see Red-tailed Hawks soaring in wide circles high over a field. When I was taking this photo the sun was low on the horizon and the sunlight was coming from directly behind me, which beautifully lit this bird of prey. You can see the catchlight or specular highlight in its eye. Click on either one of the images to see a larger size.
The lower mainland received about 30 centimeters of snow this week. This created chaos for drivers on the streets and travellers at the airport. I took advantage of the opportunity to get outside and explore with my camera. Click on any photo in the gallery to see a larger image size.