During this period of self isolation I was looking at some of my older images. In this photo of a Great Horned Owl ( Bubo virginianus ) you can clearly see its ear tufts or ‘horns’. Roughly a third of owl species worldwide have ear tufts and these appendages are mainly used for display and visual communication. It’s also thought to play a role in camouflage, breaking up the bird’s outline against its background. The tufts are made up of feathers.
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.
On Saturday it was a beautiful sunny day with a blue sky. I hiked to the top of the third summit or peak of the Stawamus Chief. It’s a steep climb, with an elevation gain of 627 metres. The Stawamus Chief is the second largest granite monolith in the world. At the top, I enjoyed the breeze, my lunch and the company of a few chipmunks. There is wonderful views of Howe Sound, the Squamish estuary, Mount Garibaldi and Sky Pilot mountain, which many hikers mistakenly refer to as ‘one of the Lions’. It was getting late, so I started my descent. After hiking down and stepping from rock to rock and over roots for two hours my legs are still sore.
This adult male ( Tachycineta bicolor ) is a small streamlined songbird with a tiny bill, long, pointed wings and a short, squared or slightly notched tail. Tree Swallows feed on small, aerial insects that they catch in their mouths during acrobatic flight. During the winter they survive by eating berries. They are about the size of a sparrow and live in open habitats like fields and wetlands.
In a farmer’s field this adult Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) was perched on a wheel line irrigation system. I like this image because I used a shallow depth of field and focused on the eye of the Bald Eagle. As a result, the wheel line irrigation system is out of focus or soft, creating an interesting bokeh and photo.
It was a beautiful Spring morning, I was enjoying the sunshine and I guess I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings, because I almost walked right past this juvenile Cooper’s Hawk ( Accipiter cooperii ) perched on the end of a log. At least, I think it’s a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, because they’re similar to the Northern Goshawk and the Sharp-shinned Hawk. The Cooper’s Hawk is very agile in pursuing small birds through trees and bushes. I’m happy this young raptor let me spend some time with it.
The Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) is the most aerial of all the owls. It’s sometimes confused with the Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus). They are found in any open expanse (marshes, fields, prairie, tundra), coursing in search of rodents. Most owls are nocturnal, but the Short-eared owl is sometimes seen flying in daylight. To open the gallery click on any of the images below. Scroll through the gallery by using your left and right computer keyboard keys.
Earlier this week I came across an adult Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) perched on a dead tree. There was strong sidelight early in the morning. The first image shows an adult Bald Eagle and the second and third images are of juvenile Bald Eagles. Comments are always welcome.
This time of year the Bald Eagles ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) are chasing one another as part of their courtship. Early this morning, I was watching a male chasing a female and they were continuously circling, climbing and diving. In this photo, I like the silhouettes of the Bald Eagles who are flying in sync and the simplicity of the background which conveys a sense of peacefulness and freedom.
When I took the photos shown below this Short-eared owl ( Asio flammeus ) was far away. At home, when I looked at the images on my computer, I could see in the first photo that it was looking right at me. This owl must have very good vision. They’re about the size of a crow and unlike most owls, they hunt during the daylight. Short-eared owls flap with stiff beats of their rounded wings, giving their flight a buoyant, mothlike quality. They use acute hearing to hunt small mammals and birds.