Early this morning, as I was driving through the fog and rain, I wondered if I’d made a bad decision and should have stayed at home. However, shortly after sunrise, the clouds started to break up and there was intermittent sunshine. It was a wonderful day to take images with a camera and shoot video with a drone. It just goes to show you, one of the best things you can do in photography is simple, just get out there with your camera. Click on an image to see a larger version.
I spent some time this morning taking images of a Northern Flicker which is a type of woodpecker. You wouldn’t expect to see a woodpecker on the ground, but the Northern Flicker spends a lot of time there digging for ants and beetles with their slightly curved bill. In eastern North America the Flickers flight-feather shafts are lemon yellow and in the west they are rosy red. The Northern Flicker has beautiful plumage and this particular bird with the red moustache stripe is a male. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
This morning I was watching a pair of beavers eating the bark off of water soaked branches with their large orange incisors and preening their fur to remove dirt and straighten matted fur. The beaver is an emblem we’re reminded of every time we fish a nickel out of our pockets. The beaver nearly became extinct as a result of the fur trade, luckily Europeans took a liking to silk hats and the demand for beaver pelts disappeared. They are a keystone species in temperate and boreal forest aquatic ecosystems. 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.
I spent a few evenings taking images of an adult osprey as it was feeding on fish. It would fly just off the shore as the tide was coming in, looking down for fish in the water. The pattern it was flying reminded me of the circuit planes fly around an airport. The osprey would fly downwind over the ocean and then turn upwind as it hunted for fish. By flying into the wind it could fly slower and hover more easily before diving into the water feet-first to grasp its prey. When it caught a fish and began to climb it also shook itself like a dog when it steps out of water. The osprey is the only bird of prey that feeds exclusively on live fish. After catching a fish it carries it headfirst to make it as aerodynamic as possible. I feel truly blessed that this beautiful raptor let me spend some time with it. Click on an image to see a larger version.
Early this morning I was exploring a wetlands area with my camera and I spotted a mink hiding in the grasses and rocks along the edge of the marsh. The mink ( Neovison vision ) has chocolate brown fur which is dense and lustrous and serves as insulation even in water. The mink doesn’t have webbed feet, but it swims and dives well. They eat small fish, crustaceans, amphibians and birds. Click on the image to see a larger version.
In October, drawn by natural forces, the salmon return to the rivers which gave them birth. They fight their way upstream against powerful currents, leap waterfalls and battle their way through rapids. They also face dangers from those who like the taste of salmon: bears, eagles, osprey and people.
Once the salmon reach their spawning grounds, they deposit thousands of fertilized eggs in the gravel. Each female digs a nest with a male in attendance beside her.
By using her tail, the female creates a depression in which she releases her eggs. At the same time, the male releases a cloud of milt. When the female starts to prepare her second nest, she covers the first nest with gravel which protects the eggs from predators. This process is repeated several times until the female has spawned all her eggs.
Their long journey over, the adult salmon die. Their carcasses provide nourishment and winter food for bears, otters, raccoons, mink and provide nutrients to the river for the new generation of salmon, much as dying leaves fertilize the earth. Click on the image to see a larger version.
When I took this image at Jökulsárlón it was cold, windy, cloudy, overcast, dark and the light was very flat. When I looked at the image of the Arctic Terns resting on an iceberg I thought the photo might look better if I converted it from colour to black and white. Click on the image to see a larger version.
These ravens were gliding or hovering in the evening breeze. I enjoyed standing here and watching them. Eventually they would land in the trees and then take off again and continue to play in the wind. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Two resident killer whales or orcas on the move. These are the most commonly sighted of the three populations ( residents, transients and offshores ) in the coastal waters of British Columbia. They are the largest member of the dolphin family. Residents’ diets consist primarily of salmon, and have extremely tight family units called ‘matrilines’ and each matriline has its own distinct calls. You can see the saddle patch behind the dorsal fin which helps in killer whale identification. This was the pioneer work of the late Dr. Michael Bigg. Seeing orcas in the wild is a humbling experience. Click on the image to see a larger version.