My most treasured moments in birding have been when I have been up close and personal with some of nature's feathered wonders. It's an undescribable feeling of intimate admiration, privilege, and communion with nature. Perhaps, the best way to sum it up is to say it's "magical." My latest incident was with the Short-eared Owl at the Nanaimo Estuary. I think Shorty had just finished his feeding circuit and was ready to siesta. I was nervously ecstatic to quietly approach within full-frame camera range of about 8 meters. It only took a couple of minutes to get my shots, and then I simply stood in admiration and enjoyed the moment. I silently marvelled at the beautiful earthy colours of its feathers; I wondered why it had chosen to winter so much further north than some of its cousins in warmer climates like South America; I wished I knew where it was born and raised; and as I finally departed, I whispered a silent thanks for enriching my day.
Owls always seem to have the air of supremacy. They'll only tolerate your presence if they feel like it.
This was my first visit with Shorty this year. I'm glad he was in a receptive mood.
I had a premonition this would be a good day when Shorty flew right in front of me at the parking lot. That would have been a great photo, but I didn't have my camera ready.
I ignored Shorty while I was looking for the Tree Sparrows. Maybe that gave him a chance to get used to me.
There wasn't another soul at the estuary. It was a beautiful, calm, sunny afternoon. It was just Shorty and I - perfect.
What else can I say? Just enjoy the next couple of photos.
Jan. 21 - Sebastion Road
The bird action at the foot of Sebastion Road was magical in another sense. 1000's of seabirds and scores of sea lions had congregated above the huge schools of herring. It was a magnificent sight and a prelude to an even more spectacular event - the annual mid-island herring spawn extravaganza.
Large numbers of Pacific Loons dominated the congregation of seabirds.
Meanwhile, the Sebastion Spotted Sandpiper was quietly trying to sneak a few rays of sun.
The Surf Scoter was happy that the large school of herring was out there, but it was still clam time.
In just over a month all the scoters will be enjoying herring roe instead of shellfish.
Forget about the herring. It's still clam chowder time.
As the male White-winged Scoter will tell you, the clamming was excellent.
The female White-winged Scoter was busy with a clam of her own.
I don't think the male Common Goldeneye is interested in clams.
There's more beneath the surface than clams.
Nothing like a little crab for lunch.
Got to watch out for those pinchers.
"DC" and a bunch of his Double-crested Cormorant buddies were lounging at the parking lot this morning at Art Mann Park. I was able to drive close to them to take a few pictures. I was too close for full-bird shots so all I got were a few faces.
The cormorants were comical little critters. I wonder why no one has made a stuffed toy like them.
They have interesting faces and necks that are like swivels.
Here's looking at you while I scratch.
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