Category Archives: West Coast

One From the Vault

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.

Fierce Predator

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Lesser Snow Geese Take Off

The opportunistic Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) looks on as a huge flock of Lesser Snow Geese ( Chen caerulescens ) take off. I was amazed how calm the Bald Eagle remained despite the sudden noise and explosion of feathers.

Lesser Snow Geese Take Off
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The Story Behind the Photo # 1

When I spotted this Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) in the distance, I realized the mountain range in the background, would allow me to create a beautiful animalscape, by combining the Bald Eagle, stump, marsh, ocean and mountains. Unfortunately, I was too far away for a good photo. I considered slowly approaching the Bald Eagle but that involved scrambling over slippery logs and through soggy marsh. I knew as soon as I got closer to the Bald Eagle it would more than likely fly away. Despite the slim chance of getting close enough for a good image, I decided to give it a try and started moving from one slippery log to the next. It took quite awhile to move a short distance and during this time the clouds moved in and obscured some of the distant mountain peaks. Eventually another Bald Eagle flew over top of the Bald Eagle which was perched on the stump. It wasn’t very happy with this intrusion into its space and made a weak sounding call. I quickly took the photo and made my way back through the marsh, my hiking boots and socks were soaked.

Beautiful Animalscape

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Black and Yellow Eyes

This morning I spent some time photographing a few Short-eared Owls ( Asio flammeus ). I watched one skillfully catch a rodent and then a female Northern Harrier ( Circus hudsonius ) immediately swooped in and stole its prey. This male Short-eared Owl perched briefly, allowing me to take a photo, before taking flight. There is something so beautiful, mysterious, magical and elegant about owls. I’ll never tire of taking images of them.

Male Short-eared Owl
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A Windy Day

On the weekend it was nice to be outside during stormy weather and I enjoyed watching birds of prey hovering in the wind. A female Northern Harrier ( Circus hudsonius ) was gliding low in search of prey.

Perching Female Northern Harrier

The female Northern Harrier was flying close to the ground. As you can see in the photo, she was looking down for rodents and would dive quickly to capture prey. This bird of prey has a buoyant, gliding flight and flaps intermittently.

Looking For Rodents

When taking this picture of a female Northern Harrier perched on a log, the autofocus was having difficulty focusing due to the windy conditions, branches, twigs and long grass. What I did in this situation was use the Live View feature on my camera and focused manually on the eye of the Northern Harrier, which created a photo with a unique perspective.

Well Camouflaged
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Exotic Waterfowl

This is a Mandarin Duck ( Aix galericulata ) and it’s not a native species in British Columbia. It’s closely related to the North American Wood Duck, the only other member of the genus Aix. Exotic species frequently escape zoos and private collections. Virtually any of the world’s waterfowl species can be occasionally seen free-flying in North America.

Male Mandarin Duck

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Varied Thrush

Taking images of this bird was a new experience for me. The Varied Thrush ( Ixoreus naevius ) is similar in habits to the American Robin, but more secretive. It has a sweet, echoing and simple song. They live in this area year round.

Hiding in the Damp, Shaded Coniferous Forests of the Pacific Northwest

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My Ten Favourite Images of 2019

# 1 – Short-eared Owl ( Asio flammeus )

Yellow Eyes

# 2 – Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus )

Power and Grace

# 3 – Harbour Seals ( Phoca vitulina )

Mother and Pup

# 4 – Nature Wins

Logger Boot Being Slowly Overgrown By Moss

# 5 – Sanderling ( Calidris alba )

Running Back and Forth

# 6 – Haida Gwaii

Island Bay Reflections

# 7 – Belted Kingfisher ( Ceryle alcyon )

Male Belted Kingfisher

# 8 – Beaver ( Castor canadensis )

National Symbol

# 9 – Great Horned Owl ( Bubo virginianus )

Excellent Camouflage

# 10 – Anna’s Hummingbird ( Calypte anna )

Iridescent Crown
Posted in Inspiring, West Coast, Wildlife | 2 Comments

Hooded Merganser

This is a photo of a female and male Hooded Merganser ( Lophodytes cucullatus ). When I was taking the image, I used a shallow depth of field, which made the female Hooded Merganser in the foreground, nice and sharp. The male Hooded Merganser, in the background, with its crest lowered, is slightly out of focus or soft. When viewing the photo, the emphasis is on the sharper female Hooded Merganser in the foreground. In my bird book, I read that Hooded Mergansers, in the winter, prefer smaller wooded ponds and that’s exactly where I found these two birds.

Female ( Foreground ) and Male ( Background ) Hooded Mergansers

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Double-crested Cormorant

The Double-crested Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax auritus ) can be found near lakes, rivers, swamps, and in the coastal areas seen relaxing on islands and islets. They have an amazing ability to achieve extreme depths beneath the water’s surface when foraging for food. Some records indicate they can dive to depths of 70 metres. After a dive, the Double-crested Cormorant must dry off. I took this image of a Double-crested Cormorant standing on a log with its wings spread.

Drying Off
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