A lucky shot of a pair of Northern Flickers. (Colaptes auratus). They flew into the tree as I was walking by. Grabbed one shot as they perched, then one took off swooping toward me. Lucky shot.
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)
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)
Two bald eagles battle over a duck at Kitimat harbour. Images taken off the shoreline of Kitamaat Village.
Another bald eagle watching from above. (Robin Rowland)
Splash! The first eagle swoops down and grabs a duck (hard to see in this image) (Robin Rowland)
The second eagle heads skyward with its eye on the first (Robin Rowland)
The first eagle is heading away with his catch (Robin Rowland)
The second eagle swoops down to attack. (Robin Rowland)
But the attack is unsuccessful and the first eagle escapes with its meal still in its talons. (Robin Rowland)
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.
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 am (semi) retired, so 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,
Oxfordshire Upper Thames River
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 – Oxfordshire
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 – London
The Serpentine is a small lake between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens in London.