Adult Bald Eagles ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) obtain their food by hunting and killing, while younger birds rely more on scavenging and piracy. This morning I was photographing adult and juvenile Bald Eagles feeding on salmon carcasses. It takes four or five years to achieve its distinctive coloration. I hope the juvenile Bald Eagle will be okay because it has less than a 50 percent chance of reaching adulthood.
A Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) shows its two metre wingspan. You can see in the photo that the Bald Eagle is watching me. They have excellent eyesight and can see four to seven times farther than humans.
Four Canada Geese ( Branta canadensis ) glide in for a landing on a marsh. Thousands of ‘honkers’ migrate north and south each year, creating long V-formations. However, more and more of these grassland-adapted birds are staying put in urban and suburban areas year-round.
Early this morning I was taking images of three Lesser Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) in a marsh. An elegant bird, gray in colour, with a distinct red crown. They are known for their dancing skills. Courting cranes stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance.
The weather was cloudy and the light wasn’t great for taking photos. So the photos I was happiest with, were the ones that didn’t have any dull sky in the background. A good tip, when taking photos of wildlife on an overcast day, is to isolate your subject without any sky in your images. Dull light = dull pictures.
The Belted Kingfisher ( Ceryle alcyon ) catches fish by plunge-diving headfirst. My experience with Belted Kingfishers is that they are loud, noisy and skitterish. I was fortunate to find this male Belted Kingfisher perched on a post. In the image, you can clearly see its shaggy crest.
Being outside in the rain taking images is an enjoyable experience if you have good rain gear. The light is soft, it’s quiet and there are very few people. I like this photo of a Pacific Great Blue Heron ( Ardea herodias fannini ) because of the dark water background and the way it was perched on the log.
I couldn’t believe when I saw not one, but three Great Horned Owls ( Bubo virginianus ) this morning. They had the most beautiful yellow eyes and I could see them staring at me through my telephoto lens. When the Great Horned Owls were around all the other birds became silent. If there was a little noise in the bushes or trees the Great Horned Owl in the photos below, immediately snapped its head around to take a closer look. Great Horned Owls will eat birds ranging in size from kinglets to Pacific Great Blue Herons and will even eat other owls. I never thought I would ever see a Great Horned Owl in the wild, but to get the opportunity to photograph one, that was truly special.
Yesterday I spent some time photographing this Killdeer. To me, they look very similar to the Semipalmated Plover, which is smaller and has a single breast band. Killdeer’s exhibit a clever ‘broken wing display’ in which they appear to be struggling with a broken wing while leading the predator away from their babies. Although technically they are shorebirds, they are unusual in this group because they often nest and live far from water. They are ground-nesting birds that are famous for hiding their nests right out in the open. It will use no nesting materials and rely on distraction displays to protect their offspring. Killdeer’s emit a loud cry ‘kill-dee’ or ‘kill-deear’ and ‘kill-deeah-dee-dee’. It also makes a long, trilled ‘trrrrr’ during display or when young are threatened.
P.S. I’m still sorting and processing my images from my Haida Gwaii trip…
You can tell this is an adult male Tree Swallow ( Tachycineta bicolor ) because it’s blue-green above, white below, with blackish flight feathers and a thin black eye mask. I enjoy watching the Tree Swallows chasing after flying insects with acrobatic twists and turns.