A murder of crows mob a juvenile bald eagle

There were more crows than usual Sunday morning at the Kitamaat Village waterfront.  Crows perching on old driftwood roots….


…or in the air along the shore line.

Suddenly all the crows took to the air….that murder of crows (or as one of the other birders said “it looks like two murders”).

It was soon clear that they were mobbing a juvenile bald eagle.


The eagle escaped the crows.  And we saw it about 20 minutes later, a little further away over the mouth of Whatl Creek at MK Bay, flying over some gulls skimming the water.

Birds in the fog on a sunny morning in Kitamaat Village

Fly past. A bald eagle passes some mallard ducks in flight over Kitimat harbour. (Robin Rowland)


A flock of mallards fly over Kitimat harbour. (Robin Rowland)

A “murder of crows” fly toward Kitamaat Village from the Kitimat harbour. (Robin Rowland)


A crow comes in for landing on the shores of Kitamaat Village. (Robin Rowland)


The beach at Kitamaat Village as the tide begins to recede with the sun shining on the fog in Kitmat harbour. (Robin Rowland)

A pair of bald eagles find perches on a old snag on the Kitamaat Village waterfront. (Robin Rowland)


A sparrow hides in the long grass and wildflowers in the Kitamaat Village seawall (Robin Rowland)

Birds and water: shots from my trip to England

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,


The River Avon (the famous one in Warwickshire) with its swans and the town of Stratford-upon-Avon. (Robin Rowland)


A raven perching in a weeping willow on the banks of the River Avon. (Robin Rowland)


A pair of rooks perch on a bare branch overlooking the River Avon. (Robin Rowland)


A grey heron in a park on the banks of the River Avon. I usually photograph their cousins the great blue herons in our much wilder Kitimat River estuary. The grey heron resembles the great blue but is a bit smaller, with no brown feathers and more grey than blue. (Robin Rowland)


A moorhen among the reeds of the River Avon. (Robin Rowland)

Oxfordshire  Upper Thames River

The upper Thames River near King’s Lock, Oxfordshire, one of the 45 locks on the Thames from London to the river mouth. (Robin Rowland)


A common tern flies over the Thames. (Robin Rowland)

A wood pigeon in flight in one of the upper Thames’ locks. (Robin Rowland)


A pied wagtail (also known as a white wagtail) looking for opportunities at one of the Thames’ locks. (Robin Rowland)


A flock of greylag geese on the Thames. (Robin Rowland)


A greylag goose looks out from the shore grass. (Robin Rowland)


A narrow boat moored on the banks of the Thames–they have to fit through the narrowest locks. (Robin Rowland)


A hooded crow flies over the Thames. (Robin Rowland)

A red kite high above the fields of Oxfordshire. (Robin Rowland)


A magnificent crested grebe. (Robin Rowland)


A black-necked grebe on the River Thames. (Robin Rowland)


A family of greylag geese. (Robin Rowland)


A coot in Farmoor  Reservoir. (Robin Rowland)


A carrion crow flying over Farmoor reservoir. (Robin Rowland)


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.

Tangled trunks in Wythams Wood, Oxfordshire (Robin Rowland)


My namesake, an English robin, perches on a branch in Wytham Wood, Oxfordshire. (Robin Rowland)


The Serpentine –  London

The Serpentine is a small lake between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens in London.

A moorhen on a take off run in London’s Serpentine pond. (Robin Rowland)

Aerial combat II: Crow versus buzzard

I was able to photograph my second sequence of aerial bird combat in a few weeks on June 15, on a boat trip on the upper Thames River in Oxfordshire, in England, above me a carrion crow (Corvus Corone) was taking on what in Britain is called a buzzard and internationally the common buzzard (Buteo buteo)

The buzzard is a hunting raptor, and although it does eat carrion, its main diet consists of rabbits, voles, other small mammals, small birds, including young pigeons and crows. It may be that the crow was defending its young. (Robin Rowland)


I first spotted the two high up over the fields of the English countryside along the Thames. (Robin Rowland)

It was just a couple of weeks earlier that I photographed a red winged blackbird taking on a hawk over Topley, British Columbia.

Here’s the approximate route we took on the Thames River, with the track from my Garmin Extrex 20x uploaded to Google Earth. (The straight line is where the GPS jumped from where I was staying to when we began the boat trip). Oxford is in the lower right corner.


The persistent crow mobs the buzzard over this and the next few images. (Robin Rowland)

(Robin Rowland)


(Robin Rowland)

(Robin Rowland)

(Robin Rowland)


All images were taken from my cousin Bob Timm’s boat, the Miss Moffatt II, with my Sony Alpha6000 and the Sony G 70-300mm lens with ISO 1250 and shutter priority at 1/2500 at f8/

Saturday morning at Wahtl Creek

A pair of bald eagles perch on an old log at Wahtl Creek overlooking Douglas Channel as mallards fly by. Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 (Robin Rowland)

Wahtl Creek flows past Kitamaat Village, home of the Haisla Nation, into MK Bay on Douglas Channel, across from Kitimat’s Rio Tinto BC Operations aluminum smelter.

You wouldn’t know it’s the end of February, except for nip in the morning air. After fellow photographer Doug Keech posted on Facebook that on Saturday morning, low tide would coincide with sunrise, I decided to go out with my gear. One thing you have to realize is that the Photographers’ Ephemeris gives sunrise at sea level, so it takes (depending on the season) about 45 minutes to an hour for the sun to rise above the mountains. That meant when I arrived 8:30 am, the tide was already rising and a (minor) snow storm was being blown by inflow winds up Douglas Channel.  There were lots of birds doing their Saturday morning grocery shopping (probably for herring)

Looking across Wahtl Creek down Douglas Channel, Feb. 25, 2017 (Robin Rowland)

Crows on ice… the seaweed and seagrass are fed by the fresh water of Wahtl Creek, hence the thin layer of ice. (Robin Rowland)



Mallards in Douglas Channel. (Robin Rowland)


A female Barrow’s Goldeneye hunts for food in Wahtl Creek. (Robin Rowland)


Water drips from the bill of the Barrow’s Goldeneye after it grabbed a meal from Wahtl Creek (Robin Rowland)

A bald eagle skims just above the surface of Douglas Channel in Kitimat harbour (Robin Rowland)

The eagle has landed. (Robin Rowland)


The bald eagle perches on the old stump  (Robin Rowland)


The mallards head out into the Channel as the tide comes in (Robin Rowland)

Christmas bird count, Kitimat river, estuary and harbour Dec. 17, 2011

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 view of the Kitimat river estuary on the day of the annual Christmas bird count, Saturday Dec. 17, 2011.  It had started snowing on Thursday. By noon Friday, that had changed to freezing rain which continued over night.  At midafternoon Saturday,the rain had stopped but it was still a gloomy day.


A crow flies over Kitimat harbour.


A heron in flight over the Kitimat River estuary.


A tundra swan, among the reeds of the Kitimat River estuary.


Another view of the tundra swan in the Kitimat River estuary.

A juvenile bald eagle perches over one of the ponds in the estuary, looking for a meal.


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.

(Update Dec. 18, 2011 1730. The identity of the second swan has been corrected after local experts reviewed my pictures and my guide’s notes)