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.
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’.
Early in the morning I noticed this lone surfer further down the beach coming out of the surf. I like this photo because of its simplicity and it conveys summer in the Pacific Northwest. The trees and mountains in the distance are barely visible through the mist. Click on the image to see a larger version.
On the west coast of Vancouver Island I was walking on the beach early one morning, keeping an eye out for bears and wolves, when I noticed a large number of strange markings in the sand. There were thick lines, spirals, curves and even circles. The Purple Olive Snail (Olivella biplicata) are beautiful little creatures that create these markings. Close to the dynamic edge of the ocean they plow through the sand looking for animal and plant matter to eat. Males find females for mating by following their tracks.
Looking at their tracks reminded me of the movie Arrival where a linguistics professor and her team tries to find a way to communicate with extraterrestrial visitors who use a written language consisting of complicated circular symbols. The Purple Olive Snails may have been just looking for food to eat or perhaps they were trying to tell me something…
The daily rhythm of coastal minks depends on the tide cycle. I was photographing this mink while it was exploring the intertidal zone during a low tide. It was very shy, elusive and I had to stand very still while it became comfortable with my presence. This small mammal never stops moving which made it difficult to capture a good photograph. The mink was foraging in a bay where there was lots of boulders, rocky crevices, and marine plants, which provides cover for prey. The coastal mink eats shellfish ( mainly crabs ) and small fish. After the mink disappeared into the trees, I felt fortunate that I was able to spend some time with this solitary and efficient hunter.
It’s July 1st today and this year is Canada’s 151st birthday. It’s also a time to celebrate living in a peaceful nation that is at peace with many countries. Canada has nice cities that lead the world in quality of life. An abundance of clean water, universal healthcare and universities that are world renowned for quality education. Click on the image to see a larger version.
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.
A rainy day is a great time to look at images I’ve taken a few years ago. Recently, I came across this image I took early one morning at Moraine Lake. On my computer I spent some time post processing the image. Perhaps, some clouds in the sky would have created a stronger image, but still a nice photo of an iconic mountain location.
I designed a new watermark to add to my photos. In the image of the swimming grizzly bear I’ve enlarged it. It will usually be displayed smaller in the left or right bottom corner of the photo. Click on the image to see a larger version.
The New Democratic Party followed through on one of its campaign promises and announced that they are banning grizzly bear trophy hunting in British Columbia, which will take effect on November 30, 2017. Individuals will still be able to hunt grizzly bears for their meat and environmental groups are concerned about this loophole.
I recently spent a week photographing grizzly bears. They are beautiful animals and it was a humbling experience. There is a strong argument for stopping the hunt:
1.) Bears are vulnerable – nine of the province’s fifty seven grizzly population units are listed as threatened.
2.) Sound science says the hunt can’t be maintained – more bears are being killed than government quotas allow.
3.) Living Bears are worth more – bear viewing companies directly employed an estimated 510 people in 2012, in contrast to hunting guide outfitters, who created a mere 11 jobs.
4.) Grizzly bears are an integral part of the ecosystems where they live
5.) The vast majority support a ban – eighty seven percent of British Columbians want the trophy hunt banned in the Great Bear Rainforest. Eighty per cent of residents want the ban extended to the entire province.
You can see my grizzly bear images and purchase prints here.