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.
Even though there are only 1000 residents, Hornby Island is home to many artists. It’s located in the middle of the Salish Sea. The island has lots of wildlife and interesting sandstone rock formations. I was fortunate to spend a few days exploring the island with my camera.
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.
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.
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.
The province of British Columbia contains so much natural beauty. I used my drone to create this video. In the lower right hand corner is a button that allows you to view the video full screen. There is another icon in the lower right hand corner that looks like a ‘gear’. Here you can select the resolution and 720p seems to work best. There is also music which makes the video more enjoyable to watch. Comments are always welcome.
This morning I was photographing Bald Eagles when I spotted a Mink scurrying between large pieces of driftwood in a wetlands area. Minks are dark brown in colour and they have a long bushy tail. Their fur is dense and lustrous and serves as insulation even in water. Despite not having webbed feet, they swim well. They’re very efficient hunters and will often attack much larger prey. They eat birds, fish, crustaceans, small mammals and amphibians. This Mink ran right up to me and very close to the legs of my tripod. It showed no fear and I was kind of startled by how bold it was as it investigated the human photographer. They are tricky to get a photo of because they are constantly in motion.
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.
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.