Category Archives: Birds

The Eagle Has Landed

Early this morning I spent some time photographing bald eagles. Just after sunrise, the light was sweet and I captured this image of a bald eagle landing on a gravel sandbar. In the photo, you can clearly see its sharp and powerful talons. Click on the image to view a larger version.

Posted in Autumn, Birds, British Columbia, Science, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Hooded Merganser

The Hooded Merganser ( Lophodytes cucullatus ) is the smallest of the three species of mergansers found in North America. The Hooded Merganser finds its prey underwater by sight, the dictating membrane (third eyelid) is clear and acts to protect the eye during swimming, just like a pair of goggles. They are extremely agile swimmers and divers but awkward on land because their legs are set far back on the body. They can be found year round in British Columbia. The bird in the photo is a male with a crest that shows a large white patch. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Autumn, Birds, British Columbia, Science, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Trumpeter Swan

The Trumpeter Swan ( Cygnus buccinator ) is the largest waterfowl species native to North America. It is entirely white except for its bill, legs and feet. It spends winters in western British Columbia and feeds on aquatic plants. In the 1950’s a large population of these birds were found in Alaska and today their population is estimated at close to 16,000. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Autumn, Birds, British Columbia, Science, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Soggy Bald Eagle

I was looking through some images I took last winter and I came across this photo of a rain soaked bald eagle. I like this image because the bald eagle is making eye contact with me and you can see its sharp and powerful talons. The bald eagle may not look its best due to the rain, but it shows this beautiful bird of prey in its element during harsh conditions. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Birds, British Columbia, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Long-billed Dowitcher

I was fortunate to spend some time this morning with a flock of Long-billed Dowitcher’s ( Limnodromus scolopaceus ). Their bills are full of nerve endings, which are useful for sensing prey. They walk along slowly lifting their heads up and down like a sewing machine.

Posted in Autumn, Birds, British Columbia, Science, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Turkey Vulture

Early one morning, I was out exploring with my camera and telephoto lens, when I spotted the large brown bird in the photo below, which I thought, judging by its size, must be a bird of prey. However, after taking a closer look, I noticed it had a red, featherless head and I said to myself, “What is that?”. It was a turkey vulture which I had previously never seen in this area. Unlike most birds, the turkey vulture finds carrion by using its sense of smell and is protected from disease associated with decaying animals by a very sophisticated immune system. The turkey vulture only comes this far north during the summer months. There was a raven following it around as the turkey vulture flew from tree to tree and it seemed quite comfortable with the raven’s presence. Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Posted in Birds, British Columbia, Science, Summer, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

A Fog bow

I just returned from a week of exploring a remote area of Vancouver Island and came home with a greater appreciation for the natural beauty of British Columbia. There was an abundance of marine life to photograph which included humpback whales, killer whales, minke whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, dall’s porpoise, steller sea lions, harbour seals, sea otters, river otters, bald eagles, black turnstones, pelagic cormorants, common murres, rhinoceros auklets and kingfishers. Each morning there was coastal fog and one morning, as it began to burn off, it created this beautiful fog bow. At first I couldn’t understand the faint vertical line that appears in the middle of the photo shown below, but I think this is the shadow of the mast of the ketch I was on. To see more of my images visit The Salish Sea gallery and click on ‘View Slideshow’.

Posted in Birds, British Columbia, Science, Summer, Travel, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Feathers

The Pacific Great Blue Heron is a patient hunter who often stands perfectly still for several minutes. This morning there was cloudy weather and scientific studies have shown that the clouds make it ideal for herons to look for fish. I watched this heron catching a few sculpin, which it swallowed, even though they were wider than its narrow neck. I like this photo because it shows its beautiful feathers. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Birds, British Columbia, Summer, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Common Yellowthroat

The Common Yellowthroat ( Geothlypis trichas ) is a wood-warbler that lives in marshy or brushy vegetation near water. The bird in the photos is a male, with a bright yellow throat and broad black mask which crosses the forehead. They eat grasshoppers, dragonflies, beetles, butterflies, spiders and sometimes seeds. I sat listening to its beautiful song that sounds like whichity-whichity-whichity.

Posted in Birds, British Columbia, Science, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment

American Bittern

The American Bittern ( Botaurus lentiginosus ) is a medium sized marsh bird with a stout body, neck and relatively short legs. What is really neat about bitterns is that they won’t flush like herons when approached, instead they prefer to freeze and even sway from side to side as if imitating the waving reeds. They have a remarkable, though rarely seen courtship display, where the male arches his back, shortens his neck, dips his breast forward and ‘booms’ at the female. Both birds engage in complicated aerial displays. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Posted in Birds, British Columbia, Spring, West Coast, Wildlife | Leave a comment