Archive For The “spring” Category
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.
On Thursday, April 19, was a soggy, to say the least, with wind-driven, cold, pouring rain when I went down to Kitamaat Village and Kitimat harbour to photograph the spring bird migration. The highlight were the snow geese I saw both at MK Bay (above) and at the Kitamaat Village soccer field. (Robin Rowland)
A bald eagle, drenched in the pouring rain, at the mouth of Whatl Creek near MK Bay Marina. (Robin Rowland)
A crow takes off from the sea grass in pouring rain near Kitamaat Village. (Robin Rowland)
Snow geese feed at the Kitamaat Village soccer field (Robin Rowland)
A snow goose at the Kitamaat Village soccer field. (Robin Rowland)
Snow geese fly past MK Bay. (Robin Rowland)
An Oregon junco on the waterfront. (Robin Rowland)
Mallards take to the wing as a bald eagle passes overhead (Robin Rowland)
A gull passes two bald eagles in the low tide puddles of Whatl Creek near Kitimat Harbour (Robin Rowland)
Two bald eagles in the low tide puddles of Whatl Creek near Kitimat Harbour (Robin Rowland)
Raindrops fall on the head of an American robin who posed on a log beside my car just as I was getting ready to leave. (Robin Rowland)
Driving back to Kitimat from Prince George on May 20, I stopped at the Topley rest area. Not only is Topley a good place to break up the drive, there is a small marsh that if the time and season is correct provides an opportunity for great bird and landscape photography. Moments after I got out of the car, out of my eye I saw something high above, tiny in fact, a small bird chasing a larger one, probably a raptor of some kind, in a weaving dancing movement, reminiscent of a aerial fighter dogfight (or if you prefer, since today is the 40th anniversary of Star Wars A New Hope, a chase between an X-wing and a Tie fighter.)
No time to get back to the car to get my 500mm, just point at the sky and shoot using my Sony Alpha 7ii with the 70-300mm zoom G lens.
The first shot above is from the full frame from the 7ii, below it is cropped and enlarged and but for this shot I still couldn’t identify the smaller bird that appeared to be the aggressor and the much bigger raptor, the bird that was being pursued. Actually the G zoom performed quite well as I followed as the small bird chased the bigger hawk across the sky.
The two birds wheeled, the smaller one pushing at the larger hawk.
It was only with the second shot that I could identify the unique red and yellow wing patches of a male red-winged blackbird as you can see in the closer cropped image of the blackbird.
The bird books say that a male red-winged blackbird will aggressively defend its nest, although usually against similar size birds such as other males, yellow-headed blackbirds and marsh wrens.
The hawk climbs higher into the sky, with the red-winged blackbird still following, and below a smaller bird (bottom right just left and above the watermark) prudently stays well away from the “dogfight.”
You can see the smaller bird in this close crop.
Not all the shots worked out, the lens did “hunt” as the birds got higher.
But then the hawk circles around, with the red-winged blackbird still riding his tail feathers.
Finally, it seems,the red-winged blackbird had made his point and the hawk heads away in clear skies.
So what kind of hawk was it? I asked my birder friends. Two votes said a possible Swainson’s hawk, although the Hazelton and Bulkley Ranges are at the far north of the Swainson’s hawk’s range. One vote was “I don’t know.” If you have a better idea add a note in the comments.
A spotted satyr comma butterfly (also known as a satyr anglewing) polygonia satyrus satyrus settled on spotted log in the bush near my house. The first satyr commas emerge in April, so they’re a sign of spring.
It’s a beautiful sunny,late spring morning in Kitimat, BC. But look out at Kitimat harbour and Douglas Channel and you see its socked in with fog.
There’s beauty in the forests of the Kitimat Valley, even if you’re a plant with the Latin name horridus. It’s also called the Devil’s Club and has very nasty spines on both the stem and the leaves. It’s related to the ginseng family and was used by coastal First Nations as a medicine for arthritis and dozens of other ailments.
The other appropriately ill-named plant that is common in wetter areas is the skunk cabbage (Lysichiton Americanum) because it stinks. Here the skunk cabbage is pictured alongside the Devil’s Club near Minette Bay.(Robin Rowland)
Found frequently in swampy, boggy areas and on stream beds. First Nations used it as “wax paper” to line baskets and steaming pits. Can be eaten if steamed or roasted–but only in early spring in time of famine.
Young horsetails (Equiseteum arvense) emerging in the late spring evoke a primeval world during my morning walk in Kitimat. (Robin Rowland)