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 murder of crows along the Kitamaat Village waterfront

A murder of crows flies along the Kitamaat Village waterfront, Sunday, August 13, 2017, during the North West Photo Fest photo walk on the village seawall. Sony A77 with Minolta 500mm f/8 RF mirror lens(Robin Rowland)

Wahtl Creek and Maggie Point in black and white

A belted kingfisher perches on the root of an upturned tree at the mouth of Whatl Creek after days of heavy rain. (Robin Rowland)

Harlequin Ducks gather on the shore of MK Bay by Whatl Creek. (Robin Rowland)

Harlequin ducks fly past MK Bay (Robin Rowland)

A crow flies past Maggie Point. (Robin Rowland)

A Bonaparte gull flies past a red-necked grebe at Maggie Point (Robin Rowland)

A pair of red-necked grebes at Maggie Point. (Robin Rowland)

North West Photo Fest Douglas Channel tour

The early morning sun shines down on Coste Rocks, a small provincial park in Douglas Channel near Kitimat, August 7, 2016. (Robin Rowland)

The early morning sun shines down on Coste Rocks, a small provincial park in Douglas Channel near Kitimat, August 7, 2016. (Robin Rowland)

 

On the morning of August 7, North West Photo Fest took out our out-of-town special guests, Andy Clark, Paul Colangelo and Ali Ledgerwood on a tour of upper Douglas Channel, including the Kitimat Arm, Coste Rocks, Jesse Falls and the Kildala Arm, including the Dala and Kildala estuaries.

Our host was Rick Thompson, proprietor of the floating Tookus Inn.

A seal crawls on to one of the smaller Coste Rocks with the mountains and Douglas Channel in the background. (Robin Rowland)

A seal crawls on to one of the smaller Coste Rocks with the mountains and Douglas Channel in the background. (Robin Rowland)

A bald eagle skims over the tangled roots of driftwood in the Kildala River estuary. (Robin Rowland)

A bald eagle skims over the tangled roots of driftwood in the Kildala River estuary. (Robin Rowland)

 

Photographer Andy Clark on board the North West Photo Fest Douglas Channel tour. (Robin Rowland)

Photographer Andy Clark  on board Rick Thompson’s Hourston 26 foot sportsfisher, The Only Way,  during the North West Photo Fest Douglas Channel tour. (Robin Rowland)

 

Andy Clark watches as Paul Colangelo shoots as we approach Jesse Falls. (Robin Rowland)

Andy Clark watches as Paul Colangelo shoots as we approach Jesse Falls. (Robin Rowland)

 

Ali Ledgerwood enjoys the view as we leave Coste Rocks for Jesse Falls. (Robin Rowland)

Ali Ledgerwood enjoys the view from The Only Way as we leave Coste Rocks for Jesse Falls. (Robin Rowland)

Paul Colangelo on board the xxxxx (Robin Rowland)

Paul Colangelo on board The Only Way. (Robin Rowland)

 

Andy Clark, Paul Colangelo, Robin Rowland and Ali Ledgerwood at Jesse Falls. (Rick Thompson)

Andy Clark, Paul Colangelo, Robin Rowland and Ali Ledgerwood at Jesse Falls. (Rick Thompson)

 

A black bear mother and her cub on the shores of the Kildala estuary, (Robin Rowland)

A black bear mother and her cub on the shores of the Kildala estuary, (Robin Rowland)

 

A loon in the waters of the Kildala Arm (Robin Rowland)

A loon in the waters of the Kildala Arm (Robin Rowland)

 

A great blue heron lands on a tree near the Kildala estuary. (Robin Rowland)

A great blue heron lands on a tree near the Kildala estuary. (Robin Rowland)

 

Pigeon Guillemots line the top of Coste Rocks. (Robin Rowland)

Pigeon Guillemots line the top of Coste Rocks. (Robin Rowland)

Harbour seals regard a passing boat from the edge of Coste Rocks. (Robin Rowland)

Harbour seals regard a passing boat from the edge of Coste Rocks. (Robin Rowland)

A New Year’s photography party on the mudflats of Minette Bay, Kitimat

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As the tide goes out, the ice  covering a briny tidal creek collapses, leaving  patterned cracks. Minette Bay, Kitimat January 1. 2016. (Robin Rowland)

I spent New Year’s Day on the mudflats of Minette Bay, near Kitimat, with other local photographers.   At low tide,  of course.   Ruth and Howard Mills who run the luxury B&B the Minette Bay Lodge invited us for the photo walk on the ice and mud followed by  hot soup and great New Year’s snacks.

Most of my images look best in black and white.  There are few in colour at the end of the blog.

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Looking across Minette Bay with Kitimat’s iconic Mt. Elizabeth in the background.  Just after noon the water was just a couple  of centimetres deep, covered in thin layers of ice.  The cold made the mud solid enough so that it wouldn’t be boot grabbing ooze you experience in the summer. January 1, 2016 (Robin Rowland)

minettebeach_1bwThe beach, covered in seaweed, snow and old logs looking west from the trail,  January 1, 2016. (Robin Rowland)

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Looking west toward Douglas Channel, and the Rio Tinto aluminum plant with the winter sun low over the hills to the south. January 1, 2016. (Robin Rowland)
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The twisted roots of a dead tree lying on the beach in some ways reminded me of the Iron Throne. Game of Stumps, anyone? (Robin Rowland)

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Walking back to the lodge along the creek trail. January 1, 2016. (Robin Rowland)

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Another angle on the creek from a bridge a little further along the trail. (Robin Rowland)


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Ice on a chunk of rotten log on the mudflats. January 1, 2016. (Robin Rowland)

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An ice crystal floats on the thin layer of water on top of the frozen mud. (Robin Rowland)

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The winter sun shines through the rain forest. January 1, 2016. (Robin Rowland)

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Happy New Year! Kitimat’s photographers celebrate in the middle of a day on the ice. (Robin Rowland)

Christmas bird count (and more) Kitimat 2015

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A juvenile bald eagle surveys the Kitimat River from a log on a sandbar. (Robin Rowland)

Once again this year I joined the Kitimat Christmas Bird Count, helping out the Kitimat Valley Naturalists. Here are some of the best shots from that day, Wednesday December 16. 2015.

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Gulls huddle together on the shore of MK Bay at low tide. (Robin Rowland)

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A great blue heron watches from an old stump in the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland)

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A female mallard duck in flight over MK Bay at low tide. (Robin Rowland)

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A scaup (duck) in intermediate plumage on a mound of reeds in the Kitimat River estuary. (Robin Rowland) (Corrected caption, duck was identified in the field as a ringed-neck but on further review of the photograph, the consensus of the naturalists was scaup)

 

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A red-tailed hawk surveys Haisla Boulevard at the LNG Canada turnoff just as the light fades in the late afternoon. (Robin Rowland)


The next day, on my morning walk, the neighborhood’s resident ravens followed me through the bush. Ravens are intelligent and I almost think they are posing for the camera, for this is the third time that they’ve gone to the same trees, in the same sequence, when I was there with my camera.

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One of the ravens directly overhead. (Robin Rowland)

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And flying from branch to branch of bare alders. (Robin Rowland)

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And perched on a conifer (Robin Rowland)