Posts Tagged “mallard”
For the Christmas Bird Count in Kitimat, there’s usually a lot of ground to cover in a very short period of time–that’s because here in the northwest daylight hours are limited as we get closer to the Winter Solstice. So we started before dawn, which is OK for those who are counting but not so good for photography.
The highlight of my day came at what is known as the Maggie Point trail to a gazebo overlooking Kitmat harbour built by members of the Haisla Nation. The problem is as you get older, hiking a trail in icy weather can be quite dicey, especially for me who has had minor hip problems since I was a kid. So with ice on the trail, I decided to stay by the cars and wait while the rest of the gang went to see what they could see from the gazebo. Then a swift flying bird landed on the branch not far from the parking area. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I began shooting with my SonyRX10iii which is 24 to 600 mm 35mm equivalent.
I wasn’t sure what the bird was, but I guessed it was a raptor since it sat there for almost ten minutes, surveying the area. At one point a crow flew by and the raptor didn’t budge. Then it swooped down over my head and into the bush. It was only then I checked the display to see the yellow rimmed eyes. The birders debated whether the raptor was a merlin or a sharp-shinned hawk and then came to the conclusion looking at the eyes that it was a dark red-tailed hawk.
And here are some other views from the Christmas Bird Count 2019.
All the images were taken in the morning up until about 11 a.m. I went home for lunch, ingested the morning images and then we went out again. But with heavy cloud cover, fading light and fewer birds, the afternoon session was a bust. No photos worth posting.
Trumpeter swans, signets and canvasback ducks in the Kitimat River estuary, Dec.15, 2018. (Robin Rowland)
My portion of the Christmas Bird Count in the Kitimat River Estuary (courtesy Rio Tinto) was in an afternoon blizzard which cut visibility by up to about 80 per cent at times and was no help to the cameras, whether or on auto focus or manual.
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.
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)
One of the at least three families of stellar jays that live in the cedar trees at my house is bolder and smarter than the rest. Or maybe it’s a “point bird.” If I go out with a bag of seeds to refill the feeder, there is the harsh call of the stellar jay and in a few moments, the bird is close by (often on my deck) and watching me pour the seeds into the feeder.
So a couple of days ago, the stellar jay was sitting on my fence, watching, as I filled one feeder. Went back in the house to get a different bag, for a second feeder. Brought my camera along this time and caught the jay as it took off, heading right for me. Bold or what?
Here’s the stellar jay just a few seconds later on my deck.
A yellow-rumped warbler, a “common migrant” along the BC coast, sits on a branch on the new trail to Maggie Point near Kitimat harbour.
Mallards flying over the choppy ocean of Douglas Channel near Maggie Point.
A male Harlequin duck skims the choppy waters.
A Savannah Sparrow another “common migrant” along the BC coast, sits on my neighbor’s roof.
A robin checks out a Robin on my front lawn.
Golden-crowned sparrows are also regular lunch guests at my feeder.
Not sure who this little guy is. He was determined to get seeds and was good at finding the best spots in this feeder.
When I went out with the Kitimat Valley Naturalists, we went to special protected sites at Pine Creek, near Kitimat, to look for salamanders, part of a province-wide salamander count. Taken with a macro lens, but not exactly the best light. Next time I go out I will bring a small reflector.