Journal 232 - Nov. 28, 2007
Overall, it's the quiet season for photography, and with sunny days few and far between. Two out of the past three years I've spent the winter designing and writing my two books. I don't have a book on the go for this winter so I'm just grateful to get out occasionally, and it's a bonus when a few interesting birding and photo opportunities pop up. However, an acquaintance just published an excellent children's book "Elf the Eagle." That gives me an idea ...
Where's the best place for Double-crested Cormorant photos? My favorite is French Creek Marina. At this time of year you can often find them sunning themselves on the lamp posts or masts of the fishing boats and swimming around in the marina. Sometimes they even cling precariously to the wires, wavering in the wind black shirts on a clothesline. (Does anyone still use a clothesline?) My favorite photo was when I caught them in a feeding frenzy. They were diving a coming up with fish regularly and after about 50 tries, I finally got a shot of one with a fish. That was close to the perfect shot - maybe next time.
If you're slow and deliberate, you can sometimes walk right under them. With the morning sun peeking out, the cormorant is a colourful bird.
Want to know why Qualicum Beach is one of my favorite stops? Last week I got some pretty good scoter photos, and I saw my first Red-throated Loon. Yesterday a pair of Bald Eagles were chattering away on two pilings. During the summer I found the Caspian Terns, and last spring there was a Slaty-backed Gull. Need I say more?
The two pilings just south of the Shady rest often host a pair of Bald Eagles. They are just a little too far out for full-frame shots, but at least they are eye-level. Regardless, it's always worth stopping and admiring the eagles.
It's surprising how vocal the eagles can be.
The adult here was rebuking a careless juvenile for violating its airspace.
French Creek is another of my favorite haunts. I've taken many pictures there, and I'm sure I'll take a lot more in the furure. Today I was just stopping to see if the Eurasian Wigeon was home.
I often see the Northern Flickers here but never bothered with a photo. Photo opportunities seem scarce these days so I grabbed the camera. This was from the car window, handheld at 1/20th of a second. By the way, the King was also home and posing perfectly right in front of me. Unfortunately, I was parked too close to get a picture.
He's back! I check for the French Creek Eurasian every fall and he is usually one of the latest ducks to return. This year was no exception as he arrived last week. It's a long ways from Siberia.
These are my best ever shots of the Eurasian. Colour is relative. It changes with the lighting and the environment. The head colour and feather detail is the best I've ever achieved. The conditions were idea with the filtered sunlight at my back, an eye-level vantage point, proximity about 15 meters, and very neutral background and foreground colours.
The male American Wigeon is also a very handsome bird. The quality of this photo is inferior because of the poor shooting angle and the dark and cluttered background.
Conditions for the female American Wigeon were just as confining, but there was no way to make any changes. Sometimes you're just lucky to get a photo opportunity.
There's always an eagle parked on the tree at McFeely and Surfside to catch the morning sunshine. I usually drive right by on the way to the Little Qualicum, but today I decided to stop for the picture.
It was sunny but quiet at the Little Qualicum except for the constant squabbling of gulls. After a half hour I still hadn't taken a picture so I focussed on a distant Common Goldeneye.
The Goldeneye was too far away for good picture detail, but I could tell it was eating a crab.
Oh! another photo chance. A handsome Western Gull landed close by.
There were a lot of sealions in the area, but they weren't catching any fish close in. Occasionally, a frenzy of gulls would signal a sealion catch, but these were always much to far out. It was interesting to watch as the frenzy of gulls invariable attracted an eagle or two. I'm not sure if the eagles were after some fish scraps or a gull. I think it would take whatever it could get.
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS Comments, questions, or book orders? email email@example.com
SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
CAMPBELL RIVER - SAVE-ON FOODS
DUNCAN - VOLUME 1 BOOKSTORE
CHEMAINUS - Willow's Wild Bird Store
LADYSMITH - SALAMANDER BOOKS
NANOOSE - SCHOONER COVE MARINA
LAKE COWICHAN - GALLOPING MOON GALLERY
TOFINO - BOTANICAL GARDENS
Quadra Island - EXPLORE & BOOK BONANZA
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE
COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS
BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS
DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE
VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's
UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS
Comments, questions, or book orders? email firstname.lastname@example.org