Archive For The “birds” Category
It was forty years ago, in August, 1980, that a friend and I drove from Vancouver, BC, where I was living at the time, to spend a weekend at Florence, Oregon, which inspired Frank Herbert to write the famous novel Dune.
Like many at the time, I was entranced by Dune as soon as I picked it off a drug store bookshelf probably in 1965. It was sometime later that I read someplace that it was Florence that first inspired Frank Herbert to write about ecology when he originally visited back in 1953 when he was trying to write an article about a US Forest Service project to use dune grass to keep the sand in check. After all that research, as Herbert said in the collection of his essays, Frank Herbert, the Maker of Dune (1987): “Before long I had far too much for an article and far too much for a short story.. But I had an enormous amount of data, with angles shooting off at angles to gather more.” The result, of course, was the blockbuster novel, then more novels, then spinoffs by his son, a movie concept that was never made, an awful movie that was made, a pretty good miniseries and a new movie that we hope to see this Christmas (if there are movies in theatres).
That trip has been a wonderful memory for years, so to mark the anniversary, I found some of the old slides, taken on Kodak Ectachrome, with my old Minolta SRT101 and scanned them. For a some where the colour did not survive four decades, I converted to black and white.
Sand dunes are like waves in a large body of water; they are just slower. (Frank Herbert, “The Sparks Have Flown” in Frank Herbert The Maker of Dune).
The decade of the 2020s came in like a mountain lion on January 3, 2020 here in Kitimat, with (up until now) 75 centimetres or 30 inches of snow.
I came inside after digging out the first time (I would dig out twice more today) and sat down for lunch only to see at least a dozen juncos at my feeder in the midst of the wind and blowing snow. I have an older camera on the table so I can photograph any birds that might come to the feeder. A varied thrush flew down, scattering the juncos. The varied thrush was too big for the feeder (or at least it thought it was) so it waited while the juncos gorged themselves and picked up and seeds that dropped from the feeder.
About an hour later a steller’s jay joined the group. The thrush and the steller’s jay seemed to get along at first but later this was a confrontation between the two while the juncos watched. The steller’s jay, being a smarter bird (like all corvids) did find a away to get at the feeder.
Most of the juncos and the varied thrush were still there a few hours later as it began to get dark.
For the Christmas Bird Count in Kitimat, there’s usually a lot of ground to cover in a very short period of time–that’s because here in the northwest daylight hours are limited as we get closer to the Winter Solstice. So we started before dawn, which is OK for those who are counting but not so good for photography.
The highlight of my day came at what is known as the Maggie Point trail to a gazebo overlooking Kitmat harbour built by members of the Haisla Nation. The problem is as you get older, hiking a trail in icy weather can be quite dicey, especially for me who has had minor hip problems since I was a kid. So with ice on the trail, I decided to stay by the cars and wait while the rest of the gang went to see what they could see from the gazebo. Then a swift flying bird landed on the branch not far from the parking area. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I began shooting with my SonyRX10iii which is 24 to 600 mm 35mm equivalent.
I wasn’t sure what the bird was, but I guessed it was a raptor since it sat there for almost ten minutes, surveying the area. At one point a crow flew by and the raptor didn’t budge. Then it swooped down over my head and into the bush. It was only then I checked the display to see the yellow rimmed eyes. The birders debated whether the raptor was a merlin or a sharp-shinned hawk and then came to the conclusion looking at the eyes that it was a dark red-tailed hawk.
And here are some other views from the Christmas Bird Count 2019.
All the images were taken in the morning up until about 11 a.m. I went home for lunch, ingested the morning images and then we went out again. But with heavy cloud cover, fading light and fewer birds, the afternoon session was a bust. No photos worth posting.
I usually take a morning walk through a forest park near my house. We had the first major frost this morning, and so the resident birds, steller’s jays, American robins and juncos were very active.
A crow mobs a bald eagle at the mouth of Wahtl Creek, MK Bay marina, Kitimat, BC. I was out shooting for fun along the Kitimat/Kitamaat Village waterfront when I captured the story of a fiesty crow that demanded a bald eagle get off an old log in the Wahtl Creek estuary. The crow apparently thought it was its perch, not the eagle’s.
Cameras, Sony RX10iii and Sony Alpha 77 with Minolta 500mm mirror lens.
Today is the first day the snow has melted enough that I could go for a walk in the play bush near my home. An American robin was on a tree branch and kept stretching its neck to try to get berries that were just beyond reach. After numerous tries, it finally realized it was a futile effort and flew off another branch where the picking was easier.