Posts Tagged “raven”
One of the reasons I decided to return to northwestern British Columbia is that this area is an untapped photographic paradise.
This week I came across a small wetlands bird refuge, that as far as I can find out, is not listed on any birding guide to the province of British Columbia. Of course, the big, brash Houston down in Texas may unknowingly be responsible, overshadowing the small town of the same name along the Yellowhead Highway in northwest British Columbia.
This week I drove from my base in Kitimat to Prince George, to see the premiere of the stage adaptation of Robert Sawyer’s novel, Rollback. I also arranged some business meetings in Prince George and planned to do some location scouting for my planned photographic workshops on the way back.
Houston was not on my location list.
As a little kid, when my parents drove south to the Lower Mainlaind for vacation, it was a town we just drove through, between Smithers and Burns Lake. My plans called for me to do the location scouting on the second day of my drive and since I wanted to take it fairly easy and stop in the afternoon of the first day, Houston was a convenient location. So I booked into a bed and breakfast called the Bear’s Claw Inn. A small guide to Houston I picked up earlier mentioned the local Duck Pond walking trail as a place to see birds right in the heart of town,
I settled into the B&B and my ears soon told me Houston is a place for birds, you could here the birds songs from the nearby Duck Pond.
The Duck Pond is the grey brown circle in the green in the middle of town, just northeast of the high school running track. As the sun set, Canada geese landed in the fields by my B&B (just to the west of the track).
The early morning was cloudy with drizzle. Got up anyway and by the time I had finished breakfast, the sun had broken through. Took a side trail through the woods to the pond and was immediately rewarded when I came across some mule deer looking for food. Spring always comes late in the high country of the BC interior and so food is scarce, the first green shoots are just starting.
I found the Duck Pond. The viewing platform is on the west side of the pond, so not the best location for morning shooting, but I was late enough, it was getting on for nine when I arrived, that the sun was shining, sidelighting, not back lighting, the northwest corner of the pond. There are benches on the east side and at some clear spots, so there are number of shooting locations.
For this shoot, I didn’t have much time, just 90 minutes, before I had to get back on the road. It was a very rewarding 90 minutes, where I photographed Canada Geese, mallards, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Lincoln’s Sparrow, ravens, crows, my namesake bird, the robin and just as I was about to leave, this Common Yellowthroat popped up among the reeds and marsh grass in the northwest corner of the pond, nicely let by that mid-morning sun.
The guide promised, and this time I didn’t get, Common Goldeneye, Pintail and Blue-winged Teals, not to mention reptiles and amphibians (probably a little early for the latter)
So that just means, to quote an old phrase, “I’ll be back.”
I checked my BC birding books when I got home and found none of them mention Houston (and all are generally weak on the northwest in any case), Future customers can be assured, the Houston Duck Pond will be one of the stops when I get my workshops up and running,
Slideshow My personal favourite photographs 2010
How do you photograph wildlife without leaving the house? Live where the wildlife comes to you.
After I took early retirement from my job as Photo Editor for CBC News, some of my friends were wondering why I chose to move back to my home town of Kitimat, British Columbia (on the northwest coast). There were a whole lot of reasons, financial (I could buy a house for cash); I have plans to start a wilderness photo workshop studio here, But most of all I love the outdoors, the wilderness, the clear air.
For the past three weeks, I have pretty much been stuck in the house. (I did get out to shoot one assignment). The movers who gave me an optimal delivery window of August 23 to 24 and who were carrying much of my gear actually arrived on Saturday, September 4. (I am still unpacking). Waiting for the delivery of my new furniture and my new computer. Waiting for the tech to fix my snail speed internet connection to the high speed it is supposed to be. Waiting to get the car.
As I waited, the wildlife came to me.
Last Wednesday, September 1, a hawk was soaring over my front yard.
The hawk then swoops down over the parkette across the street, hunting for prey. the lead photo in this blog.
The next day, Thursday, September 2, the ravens came.
One pair of ravens kept together in a display of tandem, precision flying.
The two reminded me of the close tandem aerobatics I shot at the Toronto International Air Show on previous Labour Day weekends.
Sunday, September 5, was cold, cloudy and rainy.
This bird was busy in the rain, grabbing berries from a bush that grows on my back fence.
This little bird puffed himself up against the cold as he stopped on one of my fence posts.
This bird also took shelter on my fence.
A stellar jay likes to hang out on my the posts of my back deck. Finally managed to grab the shot on Monday, September 6.