Archive For The “nature” Category
A visitor to my backyard mountain ash tree the past couple of days (February 9 and 10, 2023) a Townsend’s Solitaire (myadestes townsendi). It is a thrush, usually found further inland along the Pacific Northwest but rare on the coast, especially in winter.
UPDATE: February 13, 2023. The Townsend’s solitaire back on Monday afternoon.
And two bald eagles over MK Bay on February 11.
A great blue heron stalks the Kitimat waterfront at MK Bay in a stormy fall rain squall.
The weather in Kitimat has been awful during most of the fall, cold, windy, rainy, foggy and generally miserable. Not unexpected in a La Nina year.
I went down to Kitamaat Village for the monthly bird count in a rain squall. So the visibility was pretty bad. As I was about to leave, a half dozen northwestern crows landed right beside me, in the pouring rain and stayed long enough for me to shoot their portraits.
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).
A few morning shots of bees harvesting nectar from mountain cornflowers (centaurea montana) in my front garden.
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.