Archive For The “wetland” Category
A great blue heron sits on some debris in Kitimat harbour, during my annual visit to the estuary for the Christmas bird count, Dec. 14, 2014. (Robin Rowland).
There was more late afternoon light than last year . On the other hand, while my birdwatching colleagues did list lots of species around the area, the photographic opportunities this year were mostly limited to great blue herons and Canada geese.
Trumpeter swans in the oxbow of the Kitimat River. (Robin Rowland)
Kitimat’s iconic Mt. Elizabeth seen from a lagoon in the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland)
A Canada goose in a lagoon in the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland)
A duck in the estuary. (Robin Rowland)
A great blue heron comes in for a landing in the Kitimat River estuary, with some Canada geese watching. (Robin Rowland)
A great blue heron contemplates the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland)
Canada geese grazing in the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland)
Another view of the lagoon in the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland)
A Great Blue Heron perches on a tree overlooking the Kitimat River during the Christmas Bird Count, December 15, 2012.
The bird count photo op wasn’t as good this year as it was last year. It was just as overcast with low late December light, but this time it was high tide with wind gusts making for chop on the ocean, estuary and river and that meant not as many birds in view.
As we were starting out, we spotted a merlin, a falcon, (marco columbarius) on a bare branch overlooking the Kitimat River, devouring prey, a smaller bird.
There wasn’t a bird to be seen at the Kitimat River estuary.
Although we could see a bald eagle on a telephone pole far off at the other end of the estuary.
As we were finishing the tour of the estuary, we spotted an American dipper grabbing a salmon egg out a rocky creek. The American dipper (cinclus americanus) has a special ecological niche, a fast moving stream. (The American dipper was also known as the “Water Ouzel”).
Although the estuary bird count wasn’t that successful, I did get some interesting visitors to my feeder.
On Saturday, July 7, 2012, Kitimat landscape photographer Doug Keech taught a photoworkshop, called Photoecllipse 2012, along with Prince Rupert photographer Pam Mullins (Pam’s Wild Images) and myself.
At the end of the day instructors and students went on a photo walk along the Clearwater Lakes Trail off Onion Lake on Highway 37.
There was heavy overcast and the walk was late in the day, after supper, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
A beaver swims across the first Clearwater Lake.
Ferns and other plants by the side of the lake.,
Moss on this stump looked to me like an old beard clinging to a skull. What do you think?
This stump made me think of a charging grizzly bear.
A stream that feeds the lake comes down from the rainforest hills.
Another interesting rainforest tree stump
A trumpeter swan feeds in the Kitimat River Oxbow, during the world wide annual Christmas bird count, Dec. 17, 2011. The reddish neck comes as the white feathers are stained by high levels of iron oxides in this part of the river as the swan dips into the river to feed.
A heron in flight over the Kitimat River estuary.
Another view of the tundra swan in the Kitimat River estuary.
A pair of mallard ducks fly over the Kitimat River estuary.
Trumpeter swans, seagulls. Canada geese and ducks live in the estuary.
The sun sets over the mountains and the estuary.
Look closely and you will see a pair of bald eagles on the transmission tower.
One of the reasons I decided to return to northwestern British Columbia is that this area is an untapped photographic paradise.
This week I came across a small wetlands bird refuge, that as far as I can find out, is not listed on any birding guide to the province of British Columbia. Of course, the big, brash Houston down in Texas may unknowingly be responsible, overshadowing the small town of the same name along the Yellowhead Highway in northwest British Columbia.
This week I drove from my base in Kitimat to Prince George, to see the premiere of the stage adaptation of Robert Sawyer’s novel, Rollback. I also arranged some business meetings in Prince George and planned to do some location scouting for my planned photographic workshops on the way back.
Houston was not on my location list.
As a little kid, when my parents drove south to the Lower Mainlaind for vacation, it was a town we just drove through, between Smithers and Burns Lake. My plans called for me to do the location scouting on the second day of my drive and since I wanted to take it fairly easy and stop in the afternoon of the first day, Houston was a convenient location. So I booked into a bed and breakfast called the Bear’s Claw Inn. A small guide to Houston I picked up earlier mentioned the local Duck Pond walking trail as a place to see birds right in the heart of town,
I settled into the B&B and my ears soon told me Houston is a place for birds, you could here the birds songs from the nearby Duck Pond.
The Duck Pond is the grey brown circle in the green in the middle of town, just northeast of the high school running track. As the sun set, Canada geese landed in the fields by my B&B (just to the west of the track).
The early morning was cloudy with drizzle. Got up anyway and by the time I had finished breakfast, the sun had broken through. Took a side trail through the woods to the pond and was immediately rewarded when I came across some mule deer looking for food. Spring always comes late in the high country of the BC interior and so food is scarce, the first green shoots are just starting.
I found the Duck Pond. The viewing platform is on the west side of the pond, so not the best location for morning shooting, but I was late enough, it was getting on for nine when I arrived, that the sun was shining, sidelighting, not back lighting, the northwest corner of the pond. There are benches on the east side and at some clear spots, so there are number of shooting locations.
For this shoot, I didn’t have much time, just 90 minutes, before I had to get back on the road. It was a very rewarding 90 minutes, where I photographed Canada Geese, mallards, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Lincoln’s Sparrow, ravens, crows, my namesake bird, the robin and just as I was about to leave, this Common Yellowthroat popped up among the reeds and marsh grass in the northwest corner of the pond, nicely let by that mid-morning sun.
The guide promised, and this time I didn’t get, Common Goldeneye, Pintail and Blue-winged Teals, not to mention reptiles and amphibians (probably a little early for the latter)
So that just means, to quote an old phrase, “I’ll be back.”
I checked my BC birding books when I got home and found none of them mention Houston (and all are generally weak on the northwest in any case), Future customers can be assured, the Houston Duck Pond will be one of the stops when I get my workshops up and running,