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)

Humpback whales in Bishop Bay

A humpback whale that apparently survived a ship strike feeds in Bishop Bay, BC, Monday August 28, 2017. The whale is missing part of its back close to the dorsal fin. (Robin Rowland)

I went down “the Channel” (the collective name for the waters of Douglas Channel and the surrounding passages, channels and canals) with friends on Monday, August 28.

We were first heading down Ursula Channel toward Monkey Beach where I was going to shoot some portraits of my friends,  Before we got to Monkey Beach we saw humpbacks breaching far, far down Ursula Channel.

After we finished shooting the portraits, we went into nearby Bishop Bay for supper.  We never made it to the famed Bishop Bay hotsprings.   There was a pod of perhaps seven humpbacks hugging the shore, feeding.  So we had supper on board and spent a couple of hours watching and photographing the humbacks.

Four humpbacks feed along the shore of Bishop Bay. (Robin Rowland)

As well the whale  missing a chunk from its back, at least two others showed scarring from probable past ship or boat encounters.

Two humpback’s one missing part of its back, feed in Bishop Bay. (Robin Rowland)

A humpback with a scarred back and dorsal fin in Bishop Bay (Robin Rowland)


Another view of the scarred humpback. (Robin Rowland)


The scarred humpback dives showing its fluke (Robin Rowland)

Another humpback showing its scars. (Robin Rowland)


A whale blows in Bishop Bay. (Robin Rowland)

A humpback fluke with what looks like chewed edges. (Robin Rowland)


Another view of the humpback with the strange flukes (Robin Rowland)

Another humpback fluke. Fluke are a different as fingerprints which is how scientists identify them. (Robin Rowland)

A third fluke (Robin Rowland)

And perhaps a fourth (Robin Rowland)

And finally a jellyfish that floated past our boat. (Robin Rowland)

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Unit 63 exercises in Kitimat harbour

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Unit 63 alpha and bravo vessels, the “Snowflake Responders” exercise in Kitimat harbour on Sunday, August 13, 2017. (Robin Rowland)

On Sunday morning, we held a North West Photo Fest long lens photo workshop/photo walk on the seawall at the Kitamaat Village, mostly shooting birds, when the search and rescue boats came out for a training session.


(Robin Rowland)

(Robin Rowland)

(Robin Rowland)

(Robin Rowland)

Related: Kitimat christens new SAR 63 rescue vessel, Snowflake Responder III October 25, 2014.

Jay Gough of Nikon and the participants in the Kitamaat Village photo walk (Robin Rowland)


And around the same time we caught a rainbow over the harbour,  putting the legendary “pot of gold” at its end right in the Rio Tinto aluminum smelter. (Robin Rowland)

A Merlin flies along the Kitamaat Village waterfront

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.