Cackling geese (Branta hutchnisi) make look like Canada Geese, but they’re a separate species, smaller (close to the size of a mallard duck) with a shorter neck, rounder head and a stubbier bill. The west coast species often spend summers in the Aleutian Islands and then fly south to the Central Valley of California, so these probably stopped in Kitimat on their way south.
A merlin (falco columbarius)a small falcon perches on a driftwood stump near the Kitamaat Village seawall during the North West Photo Fest photo walk on Sunday, August 13, 2017. (Robin Rowland)
Camera is a Sony Alpha 77 with the Minolta 500mm f8 mirror lens, which is light weight, which easily makes up for the lack of flexiblity that might come with a much heavier standard telephoto zoom or prime lens that have more adjustments.
The merlin takes off (Robin Rowland)
The merlin skims across the low tide sea grass. (Robin Rowland)
About 10 minutes earlier, a squirrel scampered along the driftwood log. Lucky the squirrel didn’t stick around.
That shot was taken with my Sony Alpha 7II with the Sony 70 to 300mm G lens, at 91mm. The little fellow came up so fast, I didn’t have time to extend the zoom.
Jay Gough, the Nikon representative who was a speaker at North West Photo Fest, put together a Nikon D500, 400mm f/2.8FL and TC-20III (teleconverter) to get a similar shot during the photo walk.
Went out to Whatl Creek on Wednesday morning as the Kitimat Valley Naturalists conducted the monthly bird count. At Whatl Creek swallows were darting from tree to tree, skimming the surface of the creek and hunting insects across the estuary since it was low tide.
Normally swallows are very difficult to capture, as I have tried a few times both this year and last with little success. At Whatl Creek, however, the photography gods were smiling. With the swallows skimming over the water, it was easier to follow them (than against the sky) and the autofocus was able to keep tracking the birds. Sony Alpha711, Sony 70-300mm G lens, ISO 2000, shutter priority 1/1250.
Walking through London’s Kensington Gardens I saw a crowd of people around some trees and a loud screeching of birds. Then I saw flashes of green as the birds flew between the trees and often landed on people’s hands and even heads, as they were (sometimes) fed.
This was a flock of what is called in Great Britain the ring-necked parakeet and in North America the rose-ringed parakeet. The species originates from both central Africa and India and has long been popular in the pet trade. A population of feral parakeets was first noticed in England in 1969 and there are now thousands in parts of the country. While in most places the feral parakeets thrive in city parks, their range is increasing in rural and wilderness areas. Because their diet includes cultivated fruit they are considered a pest by farmers. It appears that in England, the parakeets have rapidly evolved to survive the winters. As you can see at least in the summer, they are perfectly camouflaged among green leaves. As well as England, there are large numbers of feral parakeets in Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, with smaller populations in southern California and Florida.
So what did I do on my summer “vacation”? I you’re (semi) retired it isn’t a formal vacation, but I did have some relaxing down time on my trip to England in June. After attending a conference in Liverpool, I went to Stratford-upon-Avon to see the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Julius Caesar, then spent some time with cousins in Oxfordshire and finally went to London to see some shows and some friends. I didn’t set out to concentrate on bird photography but that was what the photographic gods provided,
Our route in the Miss Moffat II along the Upper Thames River. King’s Lock is at the beginning of the line following the route of the river and the Farmoor Reservoir is the large body of water in the lower left (where we stopped for lunch). Wytham Woods are the wooded area roughly to the right of the river.
Wytham Woods are an area of ancient semi-natural woodland to the west of Oxford, UK, owned by the University of Oxford and used for environmental research for the past sixty years, including climate change research for the past eighteen. Hiking is permitted by special permit.
The Serpentine is a small lake between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens in London.