GRUMPY

I found two bears tonight. This was the first one. A older male. Unfortunately he was a 100 meters feet from shore. Tide was coming up, no chance of getting stuck,so I tied the boat up and walked around. The trick to doing this is to hold the camera right up to your face and look down so you can walk on anything that won’t make noise! You can only move when the bear isn’t looking at you. If it see’s you moving it might get spooked and take off?

Then as your approaching If he looks at you, stop and shoot. I watch for tell tale signs that the bear is getting nervous……the ears. This guy seemed fine with me hanging around but had a grumpy look on his face. See how the forehead muscles are drawn tight. First sign of a bear feeling uncomfortable. I got a few shots of grumpy and left.

THE DAREDEVIL

I was surprised to find that The Daredevil/Delilah had built a new nest on another island! About the only reason why that happens is because the old nest fell down. Probably during a windstorm?

The good news is that If it did fall down It didn’t happen while they were nesting! I saw the Daredevil take a fish up to the nest. Which means he has hungry mouths to feed! I could just barley see where the nest is.

He seemed very animated,very active! He hasn’t had eaglets for several years,so he must be excited!

FACES OF CHESTY

Tofino’s premier beach is Chesterman’s beach. If you’ve been here,you most likely have walked along it. From the air it looks like a huge “L”. The length of the “L” is about a mile. It has a rocky island at the bend of the “L” called Frank island. You can walk out to this private island during low tide but not at high tide. The connecting sand bar is called a Trombolo. A trombolo is defined as a bar of sand or shingle joining an island to the mainland.

I’ve heard stories of old timers landing their planes on this beach way back when. The beach provided a great opportunity for a plane to land. The military constructed large wooden crosses along this beach during WWII to stop a Japanese invasion! You can still see a few of them at low tide.

I like to go to the south end of Chesty and climb up on top of the rocks there. Better vantage point. I’ve shot this beach thousands of times in different weather! So much so I’ve come to the conclusion that each sunset is unique! If you could some how of had a sunset picture taken from the same spot each day of your life,you would find like snow flakes,no two are the same. Some may be alike,but they would defiantly not be the same.

I have now expanded that theory to include everything! For instance, no two grains of sand on this beach are the same. They may look like there are at a distance but close up you would see slight differences! This “uniqueness” applies to absolutely everything in this Universe and I suspect this uniqueness goes right down to the atoms?

So rejoice in knowing that there never has been,nor is there,nor will there ever be anybody like you ever again! We are all grains of sand in this BIG beautifully beach we call the Universe!!

STANDING TALL

At sunset the Hummers always go into a feeding frenzy! They are like feathered piranha!

I placed my finger by the feeding port and a male Rufous promptly perched on it and began to sip away merrily! (It’s like last call at a bar!) A female Rufous then decided that she wanted that spot to sip away merrily herself, but I imagined the male said “GET LOST”! So her response was to perch on top of HIM! GIRL POWER RULES!

When I saw her do that I laughed away merrily myself!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufous_hummingbird#:~:text=Some%20males%20have%20some%20green,slightly%20larger%20than%20the%20male.

TOO EARLY

When the moon rises in the east it’s always pale or faint. It will continue to rise and to get brighter and brighter. It will be it’s brightest when night has fallen. To take a good picture of the moon the brightness and contrast must be in the ball park. It’s too faint when it just rises and too bright when it’s dark out. So I’ve found there is about(?) a 30 minute time window when the moon is just perfect for shooting! The Goldi Loks time,not too little and not too much.

I took this shot (of a eagle I do not know) because the eagle was perched just right but my timing was off. I was too early. I tried to shoot two other eagle friends but couldn’t because of the angle. Trees got in the way with both of them! Rats! Good thing I got this safety shot!

A HUMMINGBIRDS APRIL FOOLS

I never intended to write this post up but something very unusual happened to one of my Hummingbird friends yesterday, April 1st!

It was near sunset and the Hummers were coming by for their last drink of the night.( Sort of like humans at last call). So I see this one female Anna’s perch and take a few sips. It straightened up…..and then promptly fell backwards! It was still holding onto the perching bar so it was hanging totally upside down like a bat! It held on for a few seconds and then dropped to the concrete below! (6′)

I was obviously very alarmed to see one of my feathered friends fall,so I instantly got up and slide the balcony door open. Sure enough there she was laying on her back not moving and just looking up to me. I very gently picked her up and began talking to her asking “what was wrong”? I could feel her little heart beating very fast but thats normal for Hummers. We looked into each others eyes for a few seconds and then I gently turned her over to right her and as soon as I did that she flew away!

(I swear I heard her laughing! I think my fine feathered friend had pulled a April Fools joke on me!)

I told a friend of mine who is a birding expert (Adrian Dorst) and he said he had never heard of anything like this ever happening before? I read up on this a bit and the closest thing I could find was that Hummers do drop from their perches because of cold weather/ and not having enough energy.

It wasn’t that cold out,maybe 8 C at worse and I know It had been coming all day for drinks so It wasn’t a lack of sugar water.

I think my little friend was playing a big joke on me but I do hope there isn’t anything serious!

I sometimes slide the balcony open and just lean against the frame to watch them coming around for last drink. The feeder is only a few feet away. If I had been doing that at the time I bet I could of done the Hollywood Superman save by quickly catching my friend in mid air!

It happened so fast that there was no way for me to get pictures of this.

Btw,the header and this shot are from my archives.

Update : I did find this article but it basically refutes another person’s assertions that Perch Hypothermia (PH) is the culprit. Still a interesting read https://fieldguidetohummingbirds.com/hummingbirds/perch-hypothermia-threat/

E BOW

My fine feathered friend looked like he was playing with the rainbow!

I’ve always loved rainbows………..who doesn’t? They always seem to happen rather suddenly. So the statistical odds that your in the right place at the right time to take a “good” picture is slim to none …….and Slim just left the building! Basically you need two elements to make a rainbow,light and water. That water needs to be in droplet form. Then just add sunshine, shake vigorously and enjoy the show!. This scenario usually happens when I rainstorm has a well defined rear end and has just passed overhead. The rain cloud has billions of rain drops in it that act as tiny little prisms. This rain cloud is moving away from you. A rainbow as you all know is fleeting.

We all remember the local Drive In’s…..I hope? We’d watch the latest flick up on a huge screen!

A rainbow is kind of the same thing. The screen Mother Nature uses to show us a beautiful rainbow is made up of billions upon billions of tiny rain drops! Which of course is very mobile making rainbows short in duration.

We’ve each seen the cover design to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon album. It shows a prism breaking up light into it’s individual colours. The colours are separated because of different wavelengths. The order from longer to shorter is ROYGBIV. Red,Orange,Yellow,Green,Blue,Indigo and Violet. I made up my own saying to remember the sequence.

My saying is “Roy Goes Ballistic In Violence”. It screams out loud enough that you won’t forget it!

Btw,when you see a double rainbow the water droplets have to be 1/2 the size and the colour sequence is reversed of the first rainbow.

A SNOW MOON aka “EAGLE MOON”

This months full moon is called a “Snow” moon but is also called a Bear and Eagle moon. I’m leaning towards the latter.

This is my friend the Daredevil! Each eagle has it’s own favorite perching spots. Over time I’ve noticed where he prefers to perch. If the wind is coming from the west,he likes one spot over another for instance. I maneuver my boat so that the full moon is directly behind this spot and then I simply call him! (and hope he lands right in front of the moon…..but he rarely listens to me and never does) The header shot and the one above were taken at different moons. My goal was to get him directly in front of the moon but because of wind and tide and him choosing different spots on that perch tree I never seem to get what I want!

WHERE EAGLES DARE

I went to visit my feathered friend Romeo. We have a routine. When I come around the corner in my boat I always look at Beck island (nest island) to watch for when he see’s me? When he does he immediately flies over to me and does several circles around.He then glides (his gliding is faster than my boat) to our meeting spot,a rocky islet I call his throne.

However……..on this occasion he came out from the north catching me off guard! Silly eagle. I wonder what he was doing over there and that’s not his territory? At any rate it was good to see him. I chatted with him for a while and then noticed that Juliette came over to do a fly by! I always like it when she perches here as well because she almost always sings me a song! She may have a egg and just wanted a excuse to get some exercise?

The mountains had a beautiful snowy appearance to them! A great background only enhances the subject!

DISAPPOINTMENT

I set up a remote trail camera to record the Trumpeters back in December. This group is called K-18/19. They fly down from the Yukon each Fall to spend their winters in Tofino. There were 5 last year but only three this year. I do hope they simply took off elsewhere and were not killed?

I went to swap the card and put fresh batteries in but was disheartened to find the unit wasn’t turning on? I brought it home and put it on top of a warm spot. Sometimes moisture can get in as vapour? Electronics and moisture…….not good bed fellows! At any rate it turns out the unit ain’t going to be turning back on any time soon! I kept it in a protected housing but moisture can always find a way in! I do have a extra one THAT DOES STILL WORK and will put it back out in a day or so. I’ve since ordered another one. It did record 109 videos but no Trumpeters…..or anything for that matter! It appears water movement was the main triggering reason? I will have to adjust the sensor level.

Sometimes things just don’t go as you want. It’s a tough environment out there!

UPDATE : Feb 18 – It appears that the unit is working now! Bringing it back in in the warmth must of evaporated the vapour creating the problem. I found some sand on the weather seal. That’s all vapour needs to get inside!

So very happy that I didn’t lose a second unit!

A RAVEN’S VALENTINE GIFT

Tofino got a rare dump of snow! I love to get snow shots but hardly am able to. So when It snowed I grabbed my gear and headed out for a snow shoot! While getting the boat ready (my boat is out of water,I have to haul it down to the shore by hand. It has wheels on the rear end) I noticed my two Raven friends Robbie and Rita had flown over to say hello! Of course they came over because I normally toss them a few crackers. Once I was eating a cinny bun when Robbie wanted some! How did I know he wanted some……he left the cracker on the ground and gently cawed to me! If you have ever heard a Raven’s call it is a very distinctive sound. So I shared my cinny with him….which was a mistake because now he wants just sweet treats!

So while getting my gear together I realized I hadn’t anything for them? But then I realized I had brought “for me” a sweet treat! A lemon flavoured Danish! I said what the hell and tore off half and threw it to him! What I didn’t realize was that there was a Gull close by watching as well! Once I threw it onto the snow that Gull was on it immediately! Robbie saw this and grabbed that Gull and fought for the Danish! He kicked the crap out of that Gull! He always does,Rita is far less aggressive.

With his hard fought prize in his mouth I was amazed to hear Rita very gently cawing in short bursts. She hopped over (due to the snow depth) to Robbie and he promptly placed it in her bill!

I found the moment very touching to be honest! I rewarded Robbie with the other half of the Danish and you can bet your last dollar not a Gull stirred! Robbie rewarded me with some gently soft cawing as well!

Raven’s hold a very special place in my heart! True I love Eagles but a Raven is something almost mystical to me! When they look at you It feels like they are seeing with human like eyes! I enjoy talking to them but rarely do they talk back.

A WOLF EAGLE MOON

This month the full moon is called a Wolf moon. I walked Long Beach with a friend and being the ever diligent photographer I took along one of my cameras………just in case?

As we walked towards Greenpoint (Park campground) I noticed the moon was at a perfect angle and contrast to do a eagle/moon shot! I only get a handful of these moments each year! So as we walked and chatted I kept a close eye on the tree line for a perching eagle! We walked for over a hour and never saw a single one. Than as we reached Greenpoint I noticed one drying it’s wings out! An eagle will open it’s wing downward to allow the air to dry the wings underside. Being wet means it’s heavier. Being heavier means the eagle will have to expend more energy. Which in turn means they’ll need to eat more often.

So they dry themselves off to be lighter. The feathers are more responsive to the air currents when they are dry.

YOUNG BALDIE

While shooting the eagle/moon this Immature showed up! It’s a one year old. Obviously it’s the adults offspring or it would have been chased away! They have such black eyes in the first year. The iris doesn’t start to yellow until 2 to 3 years old. Looks like a female.

You can always tell when a eagle is about to “jump”(fly off). I always say “they blow the ballast tanks”just before taking off! They lift the tail feathers and lettur rip. When you see that you know they’re getting close to jumping!

A TOFINO EAGLE SUNSET

This is one of my favorite studies! I stand around by the main road coming into Tofino with my tripod looking lost. I can see the tourists straining their necks as they go by to try and see what I’m taking pictures of? (some even stop and try to take the same shot with their I-Phones)

This tree spire is on Strawberry island and those mountains are 22 miles away in Strathcona Park. The tallest mountain is Mt Mariner.

This eagle is either Ernie or Ethel? Never can tell at this distance? I like to go here when I know there won’t be any clouds on the western horizon. That way the rich pink’s come out to play!

So……. basically I stand around with my camera/tripod perfectly composed and focused waiting. I have a remote control to trip the shutter at a distance. I need to always keep a eye on that spire! Either of the eagles can come up from behind the island and catch me off guard! It only takes a second! If they fly over to Strawberry island from the left or right,I can see them coming.

As you can imagine It’s usually cold when I do this,so to keep warm I pace back and forth. I am constantly watching that spire! Occasionally my eagle friends come to perch on that tree spire when the lighting is perfect! Most times I go home with nothing.

Notice the micro glacier in Strathcona? It’s the spot in the misty area. Underneath that mist is a small glacier. The ocean air is warmer and moist. It rises,and chills over top of that small glacier. Because that glacier stays put the mist stays put.

OH……….the eagles in the header shot are Romeo and Juliette. Romeo always looks at me in such a questioning manner?

WALTER FISHING

I set up a trail camera station for Trumpeter Swans. Fingers crossed that they’ll do the Tofino two step for me!

This is Walter. I disturbed him while he was searching for dinner. He tolerates me.

We all know about 2020,so no need to flog a dead horse. I find we are such an optimistic species! With each coming year we hope it will be better than the last………….having said that…..It won’t take much to beat this year! So HAPPY NEW YEAR!

THE TRUMPETERS ARE BACK!

I was so happy to find my big feathered friends back in their normal spot! I’ve watched this group grow from 2 to 9 over the years! I know they lost one of them to a predator 2 years ago. (probably a Wolf or Cougar) I found the carcass or what was left of it. They spend their summers up in the Yukon and their winter’s in Tofino! Like a lot of people these days.

SEARCHING FOR DINNER

As some of you already know I placed a trail camera up river during salmon spawning season to record the wildlife. I have had a trail camera up for over 5 weeks this fall. I must admit that I am disappointed with the results. I expected more bears or hoped there would be more than there was.

I have pondered why for sometime now? I truly do not know exactly why to be honest. My theory is that last years run was a poor run. So this year the bears migrated to other valleys for better streams. Nature self regulates it’s self. Animals will spread out naturally.

Plus I suspect that many bears did not put on enough body fat and so died in their dens during last winter.

In these two videos you will see a bear searching for a salmon and in the other a bear has found one. During normal times the river would have more bears around. So If you grabbed a salmon you hurried off into the forest quickly! WHY? Because if one of those other bears saw you get a salmon most times this would cause them to chase you until you dropped your prize! So when you grabbed a salmon you would always hurry off into the forest where you could eat it in peace! But in the second video thats not what is happening! The bear has grabbed a salmon and begins to eat it out in the open! The only reason why a bear would do something like this is If they felt like they were the only bear around! It felt comfortable enough to do this. Which points to the fact that very few bears were around this fall!

Also,notice in the first video the bear walks across to a pool. A salmon realizes a bear is coming and takes off.

POOR CANOEING WEATHER

With the Fall comes the inevitable wind storms! Power normal goes out,the only question is………. for how long? Wind is something I’m always mindful of! I go out in my 10 foot Zodiac (20Hp) so It doesn’t take much of a wave to make for a bumpy ride! So on windy days I keep my feet on solid ground and go out to the beach.

The West coast just had one of those big wind storms. It’s really easy to know when the surf is huge………everyone can hear the roar in town! Normally we can’t hear anything but after the storm noise is gone and the ocean is in motion….. the roar permeates the air!

That’s Mother Nature calling. I’ve always asked her to give me a call when the waves are huge!

I’m not sure if you are aware of this but all these huge waves here in Tofino and all around the Earth are created by the sun.

Energy blasts out from the sun,enters our atmosphere and begins to heat it up. The warm air rises,cools and then descends. This is convective turbulence. You ever see one of those Lava lamps? Lava lamps are a excellent example of convective forces. The wax gets warm,rises,cools and descends.

So this warm air rising,cooling and descending creates the wind we experience here on the surface. The only difference is the speed at which these air currents move. Most times gentle, but sometimes with great force!

The west coast is a perfect spot to watch storms! Thousands flock here each winter to marvel at the shear power of a raging storm! The only problem is …………timing!

If you come here and theres no storm happening, your not going to be very impressed. We get a lot of tourists here in Tofino. I always ask where people come from? If I hear they are from Vancouver or the west coast I tell them to watch the news each night. Specifically the weather. If they hear of a BIG low pressure system moving in, I tell them to get their asses over here ASAP! Make quick plans! Thats Mother Nature calling you. She wants you to get a great seat for the “really big show”! The key is to watch/ listen to the weather all the time!

Of course If you live far from the coast…….your SOL!