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.

Summer wildlife and nature photos in and around Kitimat

Summer photography in Kitimat and down Douglas Channel.

Images from walking around Kitimat, hikes, and from North West Photo Fest at Minette Bay Lodge and down Douglas Channel.

The most amazing event was when we were off Coste Rocks and witnessed three humpbacks up Amos Channel. One did not dive, but floated on the ocean, asleep. The currents slowly sent the whale toward us while the winds pushed the boat toward the whale.

A sleeping humpback floats in Douglas Channel near Coste Rocks Provincial Park on August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

Watch the encounter on Youtube.

 

 

A newly fledged American robin hides in the undergrowth in Kitimat, August 4, 2018. It was just beside the sidewalk as I walked by. About 10 minutes later as I walked back to the location it finally flew away. (Robin Rowland)

Another fledgling American robin munches on #berries in the undergrowth of Kitimat, August 4m 2018. (Robin Rowland)

A female surf scoter at Pine Lake, near Terrace, BC, August 6, 2018. (Robin Rowland)


A lesser yellow leg flies over seagrass at Minette Bay Kitimat BC during a North West Photo Fest photowalk, August 10, 2018. (Robin Rowland)



Two lesser yellow legs perch in the tidal streams of Minette Bay, August 10, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

A light in the forest.  Light on a tree during a photo walk at Minette Bay Lodge, August 11, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

The largest Coste Rock on August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

A flock of juvenile surf scoters fly over Douglas Channel south of Kitimat. (Robin Rowland)

Harbour seals look out from Coste Rocks, August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

Two marbled murrelets take off near Coste Rocks in Douglas Channel south of Kitimat, August 13. (Robin Rowland)

A marbled murrelet swims in Douglas Channel south of Kitimat, August 13. (Robin Rowland)

 

A barn swallow feeds its young under the rafters of the Tookus Inn floating lodge anchored in Clio Bay, south of Kitimat. (Robin Rowland)

A rufous humming bird coming in to flowers at Minette Bay Lodge Kitimat, BC, August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

 A rufous humming bird coming in to flowers at Minette Bay Lodge Kitimat, BC, August 13, 2018. (Robin Rowland)

Moon, Mars and a meteor over Minette Bay (plus other celestial wonders)

The moon and Mars rise over Minette Bay, Kitimat, BC, as a meteor streaks over head. You can see Saturn on the far right (Robin Rowland)

This week is a stargazer’s delight. Mars is at its closest approach to Earth, and that means the Red Planet is the brightest it will be from July 27 to July 31 (the latter date is when Mars is actually the closest). Although North America missed the solar eclipse earlier this week, the moon is actually at its smallest, sometimes called a Buck Moon. The giant planets Saturn and Jupiter are high in the southern sky this week. Earlier in the month, Venus was visible as the Evening Star and for those with the proper gear it was possible to get a glance of Mercury.

Kitimat is in the midst of the summer heat wave that is gripping most of North America. Nights are mostly clear although there is some high haze from smoke in the atmosphere stemming from the forest fires in both Siberia and North America.

With all that I drove out to the Kitimat Viewpoint late Saturday July 28,  to capture it all.

Gear
Apps (for Android)
The Photographer’s Emphemeris
– told me when the moon will rise and the angle of location. Note: TPE gives moonrise at sea level. That means moonrise in Kitimat is usually between 50 and 70 minutes later depending on where it comes up over the mountains.
A compass app. To check the compass direction of the moonrise as predicted by TPE.
Sky Map. Android app originally developed by Google. Hold up you phone and see location of stars, planets, nebulae, satellite etc.

Camera
Heavy duty Manfrotto tripod
with
Sony Alpha 77, Minolta 17 to 35mm wide angle lens
Mounted with Cokin P121L Neutral density filter (to reduce the glare from the moon)

Handheld
Sony RX10iii

Jupiter and Saturn over Douglas Channel

Jupiter over the Rio Tinto aluminum plant (right) and Saturn (left)  over the mountains above Kitamaat Village, about an hour after sunset (Robin Rowland)

The late summer dusk lingers for more than hour after sunset, so even the distant mountains of Douglas Channel can be seen.  Jupiter is bright over the Rio Tinto plant at 10:50:33

Sony Alpha 77 ISO 4000 F2.8  1/2.5 of a second

Moonrise

Moonrise over Minette Bay. (Robin Rowland)

 

The moon is about to rise above the mountain (Robin Rowland)

 

The first arc of the moon peeked over the mountaintop at about 10:57:40.

The first image in the photoblog was taken at 11:00:23 and the second at 11::02:27

Sony RX10iii, handheld, ISO 4000 f4 1/1000 of a second

The RX1oiii is a high-end carry everywhere point and shoot. Moon was shot at 600mm on manual focus.

 

The moon reaches for the zenith. (Robin Rowland)

Same settings on the RX10iii at 11:06:50.

 

Mars rises

 

Mars rose to the west of the moon at 11:17:08 This image showing the moon, Mars and Minette Bay Lodge was taken 11:18:35.

Sony Alpha 77, manual focus,  ISO 2500, f5 at 2.5 seconds

At 11:23:31 same settings

 

 

I was bracketing shots, working with different shutter speeds and other settings, still on manual focus.  The meteor streak is in just two frames. This was taken at 11:37:05. (The other at 11:36:58 by 11:37:00 the next frame it was gone. I did not notice the meteor streak until I got home.

Alpha 77 ISO 1600, f3.2 at 2.5 seconds

A last look at Jupiter

Jupiter over the Kitimat mountains and the Rio Tinto plant. (Robin Rowland)

At 11:34:02 Jupiter is setting over the mountains behind the Rio Tinto aluminum plant.

Sony Alpha 77  ISO 1600  f2.8 2.5 seconds

 

Bald eagles battle over a duck

Two bald eagles battle over a duck at Kitimat harbour. Images taken off the shoreline of Kitamaat Village.

A bald eagle flies over Kitimat harbour (Robin Rowland)

(Robin Rowland)

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)

New Year’s Day at Minette Bay

Photos from the annual local photographers’ walk around Minette Bay. The deepest cold passed, leaving ice everywhere. There was a heavy overcast and occasional fog.

A female bufflehead duck in the tidal flats of Minette Bay. (Robin Rowland)

Previous New Year’s walks

January 1, 2017
January 1, 2016

Cackling Geese at Whatl Creek and more

Cackling geese skim over the mouth of Whatl Creek, MK Bay, Kitimat, BC (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.

 

A cackling goose. smaller than a Canada goose, hides in the grass along Whatl Creek. (Robin Rowland)

 

A bald eagle keeps an eye on the flock of cackling geese at Whatl Creek (Robin Rowland)

The bald eagle at Whatl Creek. (Robin Rowland)

 

A raven flies over Kitimat harbour (Robin Rowland)

A flock of about 50 mallards along the waterfront of Kitamaat Village. (Robin Rowland)