A collection of amateur photography and travel

  • Copper River
  • Juvenile Barred Owl
  • Starry False Solomon's Seal
  • Red Fox
  • Soggy Western Tanager
  • Great Horned Owl chicks
  • Young Grizzly Bear
  • Spitzkoppe Sunset
  • Maturing Bald Eagle
  • HaidaGwaiiStream

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Pleasant Surprise

It’s one of those rivers that make flyfishermen drool; multiple deep dark pools surrounded by lush temperate rainforest in a place away from the masses.  Located on the east side of Moresby Island in the Haida Gwaii archipelago, the Copper River is a place that poets speak of with words that come easy in a place of such beauty.  Having a taste of the north island in October of 2012, a return this August was just as beautiful and paved the way to a future trip to this incredible place.

After deciding between the multitude of pools to drop a fly, it was down to the river with flyrod in hand with hopes of catching a Cutthroat Trout or Dolly Varden.  Upon reaching the edge of the river, a chaos of splashes revealed I was not alone but in the company of a family of River Otters.  Known for their playfulness and curiousity, hopes of an afternoon of catching fish became secondary and sprint up the bank to swap the flyrod for camera took place.  Thankfully nobody was around to watch the unscheduled cardio workout in flipflops; not exactly the most graceful of sights.

Upon returning to the river, all but one of the otters had swam off into a nearby logjam.  After checking out the 2 legged intruder, the brave adult joined the rest of the family.  After waiting a few minutes, curiuosity got the better of the family as eventually they came out one by one to see/smell me before swimming downstream to the next pool.   River Otter

Barred Owl

Until recently, the Barred Owl was just another critter in the forest that was more often heard than seen due to it’s nocturnal nature.  After succesfully reproducing it’s way across north America over the last century, the Barred Owl waded into controversy as it now shares habitat with the endangered Spotted Owl.  The overlap has created a turf-war and being a bit larger and more aggressive, the Barred Owl has started to push the smaller/more timid Spotted Owl out of the remaining old growth forest in Oregon, Washington and southwest British Columbia.  After a large campaign to protect Spotted Owls in the 1990’s, the Spotted Owl has a healthier population on the south side of the border but only 10-20 Spotted Owls remain in southwest British Columbia.  Although a captive breeding program was put in place in British Columbia, this new threat to the Spotted Owl has caught the attention of wildlife managers and brought forth some controversial management practices in both Canada and the USA.  Although the Barred Owl has a detrimental effect on the Spotted Owl, seeing a family of Barred Owls in Abbotsford BC this past week was still a rewarding experience that won’t be soon forgotten.  Although one encounter was sans camera, the following morning the curiousity of this juvenile kept it around long enough to obtain a photo.  Juvenile Barred Owl

Looking Closely Among the Ordinary

It was a short walk last week to check on some Great Horned Owls on county land just outside west Calgary.  After seeing the young owls were doing fine, a walk through what looked like your average field of grass/shrubs revealed on closer inspection to contain a gorgeous small flower called Starry False Solomon’s Seal.      Starry False Solomon's Seal

Ginger Fox

Over the years the Red Fox has been one of a few critters that have been a challenge for me to find and obtain decent photos. On top of personal efforts, reminding friends and colleagues to keep their eyes and ears open about den sites eventually paid off this spring with a den site being located not too far from my home in west Calgary. The landowners at the site were very welcoming, shared their experiences and were quite willing to put up with some strange guy laying in their horse pasture for a few hours at a time.  Now being there when the foxes were out exploring their surroundings was all that needed to happen.  After a few visits, the wind was on my side yesterday and after laying in the field watching Swainson’s Hawks fly overhead and photographing a few spring flowers, 2 of this years young ventured from the den for a few moments.  While one was cautious and held back at the entrance to the den, the other made its way through the grass and stopped briefly allowing this photo.Red Fox

Western Tanager

It was a soggy day but beyond the rather unorthodox hair-do, this Western Tanager didn’t miss a beat as it flew around this cedar tree in south central British Columbia.  Soggy Western Tanager

A few signs

Managed to capture a few signs of spring today.  This male Mountain Bluebird sat on a rusty fence wire which made its striking blue color stand out even more than usual.  The day also included some Great Horned Owl chicks and one very nervous Canadian Goose hunkered down on a nest.  A brief sighting of a Red Fox today will hopefully become the subject of a future post, fingers crossed on obtaining good pics in the near future.         
Mountain Bluebird

Spring?

Spring hasn’t yet arrived in the rockies but Grizzly Bears have already been making an appearance on the landscape in Banff National Park.  I haven’t seen any grizzlies yet this year but wanted to share this image captured in June of 2012.   Young Grizzly Bear

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