Category Archives: Winter

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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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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Perching

Usually found near water (in large numbers where prey is abundant), Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) feed mainly on fish and waterfowl which are captured in pursuit. They are powerful fliers and I enjoy watching them soaring and gliding. They like to perch on tall coniferous trees, like the one in the photo, where they get a wide view of the surroundings.

Juvenile Bald Eagles

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Peregrine Falcon

It wasn’t the best light and the background is kind of dull and uninteresting, but I was really excited to take images of a Peregrine Falcon ( Falco peregrinus ). This falcon is part of the Pacific ( Peale’s ) population. They eat mostly birds, some 450 North American species have been documented as prey. When dropping on their prey with their wings closed they can achieve speeds over 300 km/hr. They will grab a bird or strike it with their feet hard enough to stun or kill it. I felt very fortunate to spend some time with this elite predator.

Formidable Hunter

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Green-winged Teal (American)

I enjoy taking images in the rain, it’s quiet and there are very few people. This morning I came across this male Green-winged Teal ( Anas crecca ). It has a beautiful dark rufous and iridescent green coloured head. The American population differs from the Eurasian by having a distinct white bar, which you can see in the photo. It’s the smallest North American dabbling duck.

Green-winged Teal ( American )

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Hornby Island

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.

Fresh Snow on the Mountains
Icicles
Sand Ripples at Sunrise
Steller Sea Lions and Sea Kayaker

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Anna’s Hummingbird

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.

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Super Blood Wolf Moon

We were treated to a spectacular total lunar eclipse this evening. The moon was at its closest point to the Earth so it was a super moon. Since it was a total lunar eclipse it was a blood moon. Because it was the year’s first full moon it was also a wolf moon. I took this photo during the total lunar eclipse with a telephoto lens.

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Northern Saw-whet Owl

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.

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