This morning I spent some time photographing a Anna’s Hummingbird ( Calypte anna ). I watched it perform this elaborate swooping or diving aerial display. The male hummingbirds usually do these displays for females. The Anna’s Hummingbird does a steep, J-shaped dive, curling around at the bottom. It also produces a distinctive sound at the bottom of the dive, which I heard. Very cool.
The Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) builds one of the largest nests of any bird. It can be 1.3 to 3 metres wide. Sticks are weaved together and they fill in the cracks with softer material like grass and moss. Both the male and the female bring materials to the nest, but the female does most of the placement. A nest can take up to 3 months to build and may be reused year after year. After laying the eggs the incubation period is 34 to 36 days. Both the male and the female take turns sitting on the eggs, but this is mostly done by the female. During this time, the other Bald Eagle is hunting for food or is perched close by to guard the nest, like in the photo. When I took this image it was windy and challenging for the Bald Eagle perched on the branch to maintain its balance.
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.