STEALING AWAY

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Low tide was happening as I was heading out,so I thought I’d head up into Fortune Channel to look for any of my furry friends? The odds were against me but I had to check one last time……just in case?

Of course I ended up being correct unfortunately! I won’t be going back up into Fortune until next March.

I went by Tsapee Narrows on the way back but couldn’t see the Daredevil anywhere? I then went to visit Maggie but she was absent as well! By this time the light was being affected by a rather large cloud system moving in. I did see a thin opening near the horizon & decided to wait for the sun to appear.

I was delighted to find some great light when the sun came through.Both Romeo & Juliette had been waiting with me patiently!

The eagle above is one that I do not know.It took off with it’s prize (whatever that was?) after I spooked it.

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SILHOUETTE SUNSET

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JULIETTE

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SUNSET LANDINGS

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SUNSET POSINGS

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LAST LIGHT

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GRICE BAY TRUMPETERS

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Because the Tranquil Trumpeters are back I thought I’d go down to the end of Grice bay  & check to see if those swans were back as well? Sure enough,they were there! There had to be over thirty! Of course nobody ever goes down there,so they can hear anyone coming literally a mile away!They have large wing spans,so it takes a greater amount of time to get into the air.

ROMEO & JULIETTE

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THE TRUMPETERS ARE BACK!

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The Tranquil Trumpeters are BACK! Always so happy to see my fine feathered friends! They tag team with the bears.The bears are going to sleep just as the Trumpeters are arriving!

SOMEONES NOT GOING TO BED!

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I was pleasantly surprised to find one of my furry friends still out & about! A record for me personally! I’ve never seen a bear out so late.I had to stand in the river to get these shots which made me visible.You can see it sniffing the air trying to figure out what I was? Once It spotted me,It stopped walking towards me,retreated & went into the forest.I knew it was going to come out behind me so I backtracked myself,got into my canoe & paddled over to the other side of the river & waited.

Sure enough It came out right were I had parked the canoe. It crossed the river & found a dead salmon! I was shocked that any dead salmon were still around! The heavy rains flush them out to the estuary!

He’ll be going to bed very soon!

A MOUTHFUL!

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I found this “Water Dipper” smacking this small fish against the rock.It kept losing the fish when It did this & had to quickly hop in after it’s prize before the waters took it downstream! I guess they don’t like it wriggling on the way down!

TRANQUIL PERCH

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This is Rankin rocks.Many birds like this spot as it’s isolated & no ground predators are around.I see this eagle here from time to time.I can never get very close as it’s skittish.

Tranquil valley is in behind.

ORCA TIDBITS

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When I shot this I didn’t know that there was a pod of Orcas in the area.You can bet that these guys wouldn’t be relaxing like this if those Orcas were swimming around!

There are two distinct groups of Orcas.One group eats animals like this (warm bloodied) & the other group eats only salmon.The “Transients” eat seals/sea lion while the “Residents” eat the salmon.

“MOVE OVER”!

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Rankin rocks also had other residents resting on it! I believe they are Dunlins,Black Turnstones & a few Black Bellied Plovers.

MURMURATIONS

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A “Murmuration”is a natural formation of birds.The group seems to act as one in turning!

SKY HIGH

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“EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE”

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I had been camping for four days in a remote area.On my way back to Tofino I stumbled upon a pod of Orcas! I couldn’t believe my luck! They made two kills! The light was perfect!

MAKING A KILL

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The adult female was making a kill of a Californian Sea Lion. They weigh in at 1/2 ton. The entire group shared in the meal.It would be like you inviting your poor hungry cousins over for Thanksgiving & watch them devour the Turkey in a few seconds.

The poor thing tried to keep it’s head above water but couldn’t & sank below.

CELEBRATING

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Many times I’ve found Orcas will jump or tail slap after a kill is made!

SUNSET MISTING

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JUMPING FOR JOY!

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SUNSET SURFACING

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THE DAREDEVIL

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“CATCH ME IF YOU CAN”?

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The Daredevil & I like to play a game.I call it “Catch me If you can”? He’s getting much better at it! He chases me.He flies behind me & low.He flies faster than I move so he does overtake me.When he passes over me he’s only a few feet above me.This was taken with a 28mm lens.

Once he overtakes me,he circles back & around only to make his chase run again! Delilah use to do this as well.It was her game.She devised it.She was very good at it as well.The Daredevil was poor at this game but he’s obviously been practicing!

 

MAGGIE GIRL!

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ROMEO & JULIETTE

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The King & Queen were out in style tonight! It’s always such a joy to have them perched together! They do enjoy each others company!

COMINGS & GOINGS

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WINTERS DRESS

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We have a strong high pressure system entrenched along the west coast.This means sunny days & cold nights. This will be the very last week any furry straggler will be about.They almost all have gone to sleep for the winter but If there are any stragglers……..this is there final week!

THE DAREDEVIL IN ACTION

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THE DAREDEVIL

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MOE JOINING MAGGIE

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JULIETTE PERCHING

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ROMEO & JULIETTE

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A LOVERS SUNSET

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SUNSET PROFILE

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ROMEO’S MOON

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I knew that the moon was coming up tonight but didn’t see it until I was heading back in.Once I saw it I had to turn around & go back to Romeo.I asked him to perch at the very top of his tree………..& the little bugger did! I appreciated him doing that but the best perch is a bare tree top.Notice how some of the limbs obscure his body.I always like a complete silhouette but will settle for what I got!

LITTLE OLD ME

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Today is my birthday. It took me over a hour to find these shots.I do not take pictures of myself very often. My birthday wish is for me to go out in my boat & be with my friends…….but that ain’t going to happen as the weather isn’t co-operating! My furry friends are always in bed by the time my birthday comes around. I would love to celebrate my birthday just once with one of my bear friends! Being with “Piglet” would be my first choice.She’s always a happy soul!

Instead,I am going to get a nice hot soup & ride out to Frank island on Chestermans beach.I enjoy eating a nice hot soup while watching the huge waves crash against the rocks of Frank! Best place for a soup I say!

Than tonight I will have a great steak on the BBQ with baked potatoe of course!

I will dream about dancing with my furry friends tonight!

THE TOFINO TWIST

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IT’S ALL DOWN HILL

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CHESTERMANS SUNSET

SUNSET STORM

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Storm season has started here in Tofino. We get more rain than most! Around 16 feet per year,but I always say no such thing as bad weather……only bad clothing!

BUSY HARBOUR

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THE DAREDEVIL

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PRETTY IN PINK

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The first snows have fallen up in the mountains. This is Mt.Mariner in Strathcona park.I keep a eye on this area because I’ve noticed something a bit odd. In the winter time there always seems to be a low level cloud hanging around in this spot. I now have figured out why.During the summer the spot directly below the cloud never melts.Meaning It’s a solid chunk of ice.,a small glacier! So during the winter this spot is much colder than the surrounding air.The air coming off of the ocean contains lots of moisture.When moist air is cooled,dew point is reached  & so fog forms.

I’d love to go & camp in this spot! The photo opportunities look fantastic!

ROMEO & FRIENDS

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STOPPING TO POSE

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She was even nice enough to pose for me! Such a nice girl!

A BIG GIRL!

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On my way back from Tranquil,I came across this female bear.I know it’s female because the rear end is more rounded. I must admit that I have never seen a bear in this location ever! I was very surprised.Certain areas have more food than others & so are more frequented.She was eating the occasional barnacle. Slim pickens. Another good indication that the salmon run is done.

I think the salmon have left the building!

RUNS DONE CHUM

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I went up into Tranquil today.I checked on the run.When I was going into the system I could see lots of white objects all over the bottom.Those white patches were salmon skin.The crabs had eaten all the flesh. As everyone knows,a salmon will die after spawning.After expiring the salmon fall to the bottom of the river.The bears grab what they can from the bank. When all the rains come,the river swells & all those dead salmon are flushed out of the river into the estuary.Where there are many animals (Gulls,eagles,Otters etc ) waiting. ………….not to mention the crabs! Crabs are attracted by scent.Anything that dies produces a scent cloud.Once they smell that scent cloud they scurry towards it.They eat everything they can…..leaving behind just the white skins.

All the Chum salmon are done.Just some Coho hanging around.The bears will wander up & down the river along the banks searching for any salmon that has recently died.The salmon can become snagged by a tree limb (strainers) or simply drift to shore.The bears know these hot spots & check them each day to see If anyone knew has dropped by?

Thats what this bear was doing.It was walking along the river bank checking for dead salmon.When it starts to get cold,that will be the final bed call for my furry friends. In the next few weeks most bears will be going beddy by.Each bear has already scouted out a nice remote,quiet den. Most bear dens are underneath large trees. Another reason why original growth is so important.Large trees that have fallen due to high winds will provide a excellent spot to stay warm & dry while it’s pouring all around!

I’ve seen a few of these dens. A dead giveaway is the ground.It’s all smoothened from the bears weight.I’ve also noticed something odd.All the stray bits & pieces of organic debris on the ground is in a swirl pattern.I think the bears get up & turn occasionally,but the thing is,they keep turning & turning in the same direction.Which over the course of time moves all these debris into a swirl pattern!

SUNSET SURF

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PEGGY & PIGLET

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Peggy looks so beautiful in this shot! I couldn’t of gotten a better pose from her.She actually seemed to be very proud of her new born cub “Piglet”!

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Piglet couldn’t of been more than a month old here.Peggy had Piglet late in the year.The females give birth in their winter den.

On the coast,a den is anyplace that is dry & quiet. Usually a large overturned tree.

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They are born with serious hardware.

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Piglet had just been feed but was still hungry.She was crying for more.

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When she was first born,her nose was more pinkish.The reason why I called her “Piglet”.She looked like a little piggy with her pink nose.

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“who’s that Mummy”?

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When It was time to go,Peggy very gently reached down & picked Piglet up by the scruff.Piglet had been protesting loudly at not being feed fully but when Peggy picked her up,she shut up & looked more stunned.

Peggy walked slowly & carefully up into the forest with Piglet swinging like a large purse!

It was such a adventure & honour to watch Piglet growing up over the summer!

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This is Piglet all grown up as a cub.Notice her distinct chest marking.A thin vertical white mark.

Piglet & Peggy will be going to sleep soon.Bears btw do not hibernate.They actually go into a state of sleep called “Torpor”.Basically the difference between hibernation & torpor is that torpor isn’t as deep a sleep.In torpor the heart rate & respiration is faster.Plus the animal is attentive to sounds around it.A bear can be woke up simply by walking near it’s den. You can walk up to a hibernating animal & not wake it!

They’ve found out from researchers (who put bio monitors on a bear before it went to sleep) that if a bear is disturbed,It takes 2 weeks to get back down to it’s original state of torpor.The researchers had to go swap the cards every month or so from the recorder.The recorder was located several hundred feet away from the den.The data was sent to the recorder wirelessly.They saw in the data that the heart rate increased when someone approached the recorder!

I won’t be seeing them anymore this year.

Sleep well Peggy & Piglet……see you in the Spring my friends & thank you!

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