Archive For The “winter” Category
It was a cool, over cast Saturday afternoon when I accompanied birders from the Kitimat Valley Naturalists on the monthly shorebird count.
Just after we arrived at our first stop, the Kitamaat Village seawall and beach in Haisla traditional territory, I (and the others) saw something out of the corner of my eye, a flash of black with a tail scampering along a driftwood log on the beach. A few minutes later the animal appeared again, coming up from another log. So while the birders put up their scopes and scanned the shoreline, I walked up on a pile of dirt and kept watch for the mammal.
I kept watch. It was dashing along the logs and under others. Had the camera on high speed burst mode and missed it about twenty or so times.
Then the mink decided to pause (or to do me a favour) and stopped on one log, looked up and I captured this portrait. It looked around and then dashed into a hollow log and disappeared.
Cloudy day. Sony RX10M3, Iso Auto shooting at 2000 ASA. 1/1000 at F4.
A lot of other usual shots, even at low tide the beach is far off so it’s often hard to get good shots.
Then I spotted a bald eagle high over Douglas Channel.
Then I got lucky again, the eagle flew right toward the beach, coming in for a landing.
And then perched on a driftwood stump.
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.
Went out for the monthly shore bird count this morning in the midst of the Polar Vortex hitting the west coast.About -8 C with a cold wind off Douglas Channel which probably made it even colder than airport windchill of -15. Even the birds, it seems, were huddling some place hidden for warmth.
A waxing gibbous moon (91 per cent) rises over Kitimat’s iconic Mt. Elizabeth on a frigid afternoon, Febuary 8, 2017.
The moon begins its climb into the sky near the peak of Mt. Elizabeth. (RobinRowland)
And reaches above the twin peaks. (Robin Rowland)
A wider view of the moon over the twin peaks of Mt. Elizabeth (Robin Rowland)
The moon at 83.4 per cent gibbous on February 7. 2017 (Robin Rowland)
On both days, the moon was rising as the sun was setting over the mountains to the southwest.
Some more views of the Kitimat River estuary that I took during the Christmas bird count.
I made the annual trip with Walter Thorne into the Kitimat River estuary on Saturday, Dec. 17 for that leg of the Kitimat Christmas Bird Count.
We didn’t see as much variety as in previous years because the region had been the grip of an icy -15 C at least cold snap for the previous ten days. That meant many of the creeks and wetlands that were open in previous years were totally or partially frozen over.
So that meant we saw lots of Canada geese and ducks.