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‘.
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.
Autumn is a time of unparalleled beauty on the west coast of Canada. The mixed forests of deciduous and coniferous trees become a patchwork of red, yellow, orange and green. I was fortunate to be out with my camera on a day that also included a dusting of snow in the mountains. I thoroughly enjoyed chasing the light and Fall colours. Click on a photo to see a larger version and use the left and right keys to scroll through the gallery.
Joffre Lakes is a beautiful hike that passes three lakes with turquoise blue water. The colour is caused by ‘rockflour’ or glacial silt that is suspended in the water and reflects blue and green wavelengths of sunlight. At the upper lake you get an impressive view of the Matier glacier and Slalok mountain which is 8704 feet high. Hikers need to obtain a day use pass and will be turned away if they don’t have one. Click on each of the photos below to see a larger version. If you click on the square in the top right hand corner of the image, the photo is displayed on a dark black background.
Today I hiked to the top of the 2nd Peak of the Stawamus Chief in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. All hikers must obtain a day use pass, which is an attempt by BC Parks to manage visitation levels in the more popular parks. The granite cliffs are world famous for their climbing and also a nesting area for Peregrine Falcons. After climbing a steep trail, chains and a ladder, which felt like two hours on a StairMaster, I was rewarded with incredible views of Howe Sound, the Squamish area, and Garibaldi Provincial Park. I shared my lunch with a chipmunk and a Steller’s Jay. On the top of the peak pine trees grow on the granite and it’s a very fragile ecosystem. Due to the fact that we’ve received very little rainfall for the last forty days the pine trees didn’t look very healthy. Thankfully, there is some rain in the weather forecast for this weekend. Click on a photo in the gallery to see a larger version.