Polar vortex photos in Kitimat harbour

Went out for the monthly shore bird count this morning in the midst of the Polar Vortex hitting the west coast.About -8 C with a cold wind off Douglas Channel which probably made it even colder than airport windchill of -15.  Even the birds, it seems, were huddling some place hidden for warmth.

 

A bald eagle hovers over Douglas Channel at sunrise. (Robin Rowland)

 

Ice on a snag (an old log) at the Kitamaat Village waterfront looks like alien invaders. (Robin Rowland)

Sunrise over Douglas Channel on an icy Sunday morning. (Robin Rowland)

Christmas bird count 2018 in a snow storm

Trumpeter swans, signets and canvasback ducks in the Kitimat River estuary, Dec.15, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

 

My portion of the Christmas Bird Count in the Kitimat River Estuary (courtesy Rio Tinto) was in an afternoon blizzard which cut visibility by up to about 80 per cent at times and was no help to the cameras, whether or on auto focus or manual.

A killdeer hunts for food on a patch of wetland grass as the tide rises (Robin Rowland)

 

A rare sighting of a Wilson’s snipe out in the open on the river estuary. (Robin Rowland)

 

A bald eagle overhead. (Robin Rowland)

 

Another shot of the killdeer. (Robin Rowland)

 

Another shot of the Wilson’s snipe. (Robin Rowland)

 

The Wilson’s snipe getting a last shot at a meal as the tide rises. (Robin Rowland)

 

The trumpeter swans, signets, canvasbacks and mallards. (Robin Rowland)

A great blue heron huddles against the snow storm. (Robin Rowland)

Another great blue heron. (Robin Rowland)

A loon in the choppy waves of Kitimat harbour. (Robin Rowland)

Shore birds in Kitimat; Gulls in feeding frenzy

Shots from the November shore bird survey.

A Western grebe off the Maggie Point gazebo. (Robin Rowland)

Common mergansers off Maggie Point. (Robin Rowland)

We spotted gulls in a feeding frenzy off the Kitamaat Village soccer field. (Robin Rowland)

Another shot of the feeding frenzy. (Robin Rowland)

Detail of the feeding frenzy in the above shot. (Robin Rowland)

 

Common loons off Kitamaat Village (Robin Rowland)

A flock of starlings off Kitamaat Village. (Robin Rowland)

A song sparrow off at Kitamaat Village. (Robin Rowland)

A red neck grebe off Maggie Point (Robin Rowland)

A raven, the rain and some berries

The weather here in Kitimat on Saturday, November 3, 2018, was miserable, with heavy rain. I don’t often get ravens in my backyard but on Saturday morning, one landed in the mountain ash tree in my backyard to sample the berries. You can tell just how wet it was from the drips on the berries.

The raven gulps down two mountain ash berries.

Sony Alpha 55 (the camera I always keep by my backdeck) with a Tamron 70- 300.

A song sparrow in sea grass

Shortly after I shot the crows chasing the juvenile bald eagle, on the drive home, I stopped at an old dock. I clearly could hear a bird, probably a sparrow, but wasn’t sure where it was. It was low tide and then I spotted the bird in a small “cave” created in the sea grass when the tide went out.

It’s a large song sparrow. The blue/grey tones are what I was with my eyes and the images are correctly white balanced. It may be the large, grey Alaska variant of the song sparrow which are more common farther north than the north coast of British Columbia, but the expert opinion I consulted was divided, with some saying it was the “merilli/montana”  subspecies that is also found in the BC and US interior.  Problem is that in most, there is a lot more brown than grey.

A murder of crows mob a juvenile bald eagle

There were more crows than usual Sunday morning at the Kitamaat Village waterfront.  Crows perching on old driftwood roots….

 

…or in the air along the shore line.

Suddenly all the crows took to the air….that murder of crows (or as one of the other birders said “it looks like two murders”).

It was soon clear that they were mobbing a juvenile bald eagle.

 

The eagle escaped the crows.  And we saw it about 20 minutes later, a little further away over the mouth of Whatl Creek at MK Bay, flying over some gulls skimming the water.

Summer wildlife and nature photos in and around Kitimat

Summer photography in Kitimat and down Douglas Channel.

Images from walking around Kitimat, hikes, and from North West Photo Fest at Minette Bay Lodge and down Douglas Channel.

The most amazing event was when we were off Coste Rocks and witnessed three humpbacks up Amos Channel. One did not dive, but floated on the ocean, asleep. The currents slowly sent the whale toward us while the winds pushed the boat toward the whale.

A sleeping humpback floats in Douglas Channel near Coste Rocks Provincial Park on August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

Watch the encounter on Youtube.

 

 

A newly fledged American robin hides in the undergrowth in Kitimat, August 4, 2018. It was just beside the sidewalk as I walked by. About 10 minutes later as I walked back to the location it finally flew away. (Robin Rowland)

Another fledgling American robin munches on #berries in the undergrowth of Kitimat, August 4m 2018. (Robin Rowland)

A female surf scoter at Pine Lake, near Terrace, BC, August 6, 2018. (Robin Rowland)


A lesser yellow leg flies over seagrass at Minette Bay Kitimat BC during a North West Photo Fest photowalk, August 10, 2018. (Robin Rowland)



Two lesser yellow legs perch in the tidal streams of Minette Bay, August 10, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

A light in the forest.  Light on a tree during a photo walk at Minette Bay Lodge, August 11, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

The largest Coste Rock on August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

A flock of juvenile surf scoters fly over Douglas Channel south of Kitimat. (Robin Rowland)

Harbour seals look out from Coste Rocks, August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

Two marbled murrelets take off near Coste Rocks in Douglas Channel south of Kitimat, August 13. (Robin Rowland)

A marbled murrelet swims in Douglas Channel south of Kitimat, August 13. (Robin Rowland)

 

A barn swallow feeds its young under the rafters of the Tookus Inn floating lodge anchored in Clio Bay, south of Kitimat. (Robin Rowland)

A rufous humming bird coming in to flowers at Minette Bay Lodge Kitimat, BC, August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

 A rufous humming bird coming in to flowers at Minette Bay Lodge Kitimat, BC, August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)