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,
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.
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)
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/
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)
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)
Sometimes the most interesting things are happening behind you. A crow flies past my gear bag. I heard the crow’s call and turned from shooting birds at MK Bay to catch this shot.
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.
So I had some interesting visitors at my bird feeders for Thanksgiving Dinner today.
The redwinged blackbird and his mate on my deck beam.
The BC redwinged blackbird is is somewhat different from the birds I photographed in Ontario, that at first I didn’t recognize it. This bird has a yellow tuft and the red isn’t as prominent, so that is why I am not certain (Comments please if I need a correction)
This female does look like the red-winged blackbirds in my bird books.
The stellar jays that live in the cedar trees around my house are regular visitors.
A crow prances on my deck.
Earlier on the weekend
And there were visitors who were also my guests for an earlier dinner.
A northern flicker samples the suet.
Another crow at the suet.
A Savannah sparrow samples the suet.