Archive For The “wetland” Category
On December 16, 2023 Kitimat Valley Naturalists took part in the worldwide Christmas Bird Count, with special permission and guidance to view the natural areas of the Kitimat River estuary in both the RIo Tinto and LNG Canada industrial sites.
The weather was cool and overcast, but unlike earlier years no snow or heavy rain which allowed us to count the birds and get some great photographs.
Trumpeter swans hang out at the Kitimat River Oxbow, an area of the river which appeaers dark brown due to heavy iron content in the water.
Just as we arrived on site a flock Canada geese flew over head.
Early summer is often a great time to photograph birds in the Kitimat Valley.
Photos from the annual local photographers’ walk around Minette Bay. The deepest cold passed, leaving ice everywhere. There was a heavy overcast and occasional fog.
Previous New Year’s walks
A couple of Kitimat scenes in black and white
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.”
Not all the shots worked out, the lens did “hunt” as the birds got higher.
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.
Some more views of the Kitimat River estuary that I took during the Christmas bird count.
A juvenile bald eagle surveys the Kitimat River from a log on a sandbar. (Robin Rowland)
Once again this year I joined the Kitimat Christmas Bird Count, helping out the Kitimat Valley Naturalists. Here are some of the best shots from that day, Wednesday December 16. 2015.
Gulls huddle together on the shore of MK Bay at low tide. (Robin Rowland)
A great blue heron watches from an old stump in the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland)
A female mallard duck in flight over MK Bay at low tide. (Robin Rowland)
A scaup (duck) in intermediate plumage on a mound of reeds in the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland) (Corrected caption, duck was identified in the field as a ringed-neck but on further review of the photograph, the consensus of the naturalists was scaup)
A red-tailed hawk surveys Haisla Boulevard at the LNG Canada turnoff just as the light fades in the late afternoon. (Robin Rowland)
The next day, on my morning walk, the neighborhood’s resident ravens followed me through the bush. Ravens are intelligent and I almost think they are posing for the camera, for this is the third time that they’ve gone to the same trees, in the same sequence, when I was there with my camera.
One of the ravens directly overhead. (Robin Rowland)
And flying from branch to branch of bare alders. (Robin Rowland)
And perched on a conifer (Robin Rowland)