Category Archives: Science

Anna’s Hummingbird

This morning I spent some time photographing a Anna’s hummingbird ( Calypte anna ). They are the most common hummingbird along the Pacific coast. The males have iridescent emerald feathers and a sparkling rose-pink throat patch called a gorget. In their thrilling courtship displays, they climb to a height of 40 m and then swoop to the ground with a curious burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers. The display dive takes about 12 seconds. I have read that the heart of an Anna’s hummingbird beats at 1260 beats per minute and they eat more insects than any other North American hummingbird.

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Animalscape

When I first started to take pictures of wildlife I used my telephoto lens to create a closeup image of an animal. Lately, I’ve been learning to take photos of animals that shows them in their natural environment, which is often referred to as an animalscape. These images are more challenging, the composition requires more thought and work on the part of the photographer. The image below shows a juvenile bald eagle in its natural habitat which includes the wetlands, ocean and mountains.

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Super Blood Wolf Moon

We were treated to a spectacular total lunar eclipse this evening. The moon was at its closest point to the Earth so it was a super moon. Since it was a total lunar eclipse it was a blood moon. Because it was the year’s first full moon it was also a wolf moon. I took this photo during the total lunar eclipse with a telephoto lens.

Posted in British Columbia, Night Photography, Science, West Coast, Winter | 2 Comments

Northern Saw-whet Owl

This morning I spotted a Northern Saw-whet Owl ( Aegolius acadicus ) sleeping in a conifer tree. Owls are generally nocturnal predators, with hooked bills, needle-sharp talons, large eyes and facial discs. The Northern Saw-whet Owl can be found year round in this area and they hunt rodents from perches. It’s one of the smallest owl species in North America.

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Majestic Bird of Prey

In late November Bald Eagle’s gather near certain rivers to feed on salmon that die after spawning. I was fortunate to experience some beautiful light when taking these images. Click on any photo to open the gallery and then use the navigation arrows. Comments are always welcome.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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