ROMEO’S BACK!

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I was pleasantly surprised to find Romeo around tonight! During September they go to salmon streams further north.Where further north?…………I haven’t a clue! I think they stay on the island?Anywhere else would be too far. They leave their territory alone for weeks. I’ve seen them come back a few days to check on things ……& than take off again. They just make sure no interloper has moved in. Juliette wasn’t around. Not sure If Romeo will hang around or take off?

CRUISING

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I spotted this fellow a long ways off!(3/4 mile) I could see that he was a bear on a mission.A bear is either staying still eating or cruising. This fellow was cruising. I didn’t recognize him but I think he knew me.He hardly ever looked at me.I just hate when they do that! I need to see the eyes for a half decent shot.

He must of been hot because he only stopped in the shaded areas to eat.

ME & MY SHADOW

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I was very surprised to find a bear on this beach! I have never seen a bear here ever! I found this fellow on Ginnard point (aka ¬†Spittle point) on Meares island. Not only was there a bear here but there was a second bear close by.Because this was a male,I’m going to assume the other was a female & he was hanging around in the area looking for a date.

“BRAVEHEART”

This was originally posted on January 28th,2015.

20150128-DEER BAY PANO #1

January 28th was a clear,calm & cold day. So I decided to head down to the very end of Tofino inlet (Deer bay) to search out Trumpeter Swans.They like these quiet areas. It took about 90 minutes for me to get down there.It’s about 30 klicks to the east of Tofino.

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Sure enough there were some Trumpeters down in Deer bay. After getting a few shots I decided to go further into Deer bay to have my treat! I like to bring something sweet with me.I shut the engine off & enjoy my treat.

As I was heading into Deer bay when I noticed something very odd? I saw a Eagle standing in the water!

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I was perplexed as to why a Eagle would be standing in cold water? The only thing I could think of was that it was injured? If It was injured it would surely be just a matter of time until it died.

I shut the engine off & pulled it up.I poled my way in. It was shallow & the tide was coming in.The eagle wasn’t even acknowledging my presence! It just kept staring ahead ignoring me.I talked gently to it for awhile to let it know that I was not a threat. I did this for 15 minutes or so. Obviously animals cannot understand english but they can understand tone,pitch, loudness………& thus intent.

I mentioned at one point that it had better get out of the cold water as the tide was coming in & that it would get hypothermic! As soon as I did that,it opened it’s powerful wings up & began to walk/swim to a near by log! I noticed as it lifted it’s right talon that it had something? I first thought it was a fish but it turned out to be a bird! A female Hooded Merganser to be precise!

It had caught & was drowning it when I stumbled upon it!20150128-IMG_7757

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I was amazed at this sight & also my great luck! Eagles do not have retractable talons like a cat. They have to have something solid to push against to extract them.

It shook off the water & began to pluck the hapless Merganser wildly! Feathers & down were flying everywhere!

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After a few minutes of plucking,it began to feast! It must of ate for 10 minutes!

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By this time I was clicking away madly!

It stopped eating, looked up at me & began to sing! There was no wind so the serenade was echoing off the surrounding mountains! The sound & moment raised the hairs on my neck! I think it was a victory song. Many times a eagle will begin to sing after making a kill.Singing “What a jolly good fellow I am” I’m sure! I would also like to think it was a thank you song to me,for not taking it’s prize!

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Notice in the above shot the nictitating eye lid.It a semi transparent thin membrane that closes from front to back.It protects & cleans the eye.

After singing for a few minutes,It grabbed the leftovers & flew off down the inlet!

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I yelled out “THANK YOU” & began to review the shots.I was busy there for 5 minutes or so when I heard the very distinctive sound of a pair of wings getting closer. I looked up & saw that it was flying back towards me! It went straight past me,chirped & promptly disappeared up Tofino creek!

To me this whole event was remarkable! I see my eagle friends on a daily basis for many years.So they get use to me & understand that I am not a threat! As a result, I can get close to them.

The amazing thing for me was that I’ve never met this eagle before! Because this eagle showed remarkable courage, I am calling it “Braveheart”!

One of my more memorable experiences!

GOING OUT ON A LIMB!

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Tonights shoot was a direct reverse of my last one.With the last one (Tuesday) I got no bears & one eagle.Tonight I got one bear & no eagle!

Realizing that Romeo was gone tonight made me sad.Of course he’ll be back in awhile(?).Once the eaglets are fully fledged & fly off,both of the parents go on a well deserved vacation! They fly further north to the salmon bearing streams.I say “north” because our streams have not yet started but the streams further north have.The streams in Alaska started a month ago & the streams south of Tofino in Washington State start later than ours.There is a natural time progression from the far north to the south. So I “assume” they have flown further north? I would just love to find out where my fine feathered friends actually go,but alas can only speculate.

I now have no eagle friends about.They have all gone to the salmon party to dance & be merry! I shall wait patiently for their return.

This bear (young female) was eating some barnacles at the bottom of this downed tree.In hindsight I shot this poorly.I should of gone to the south & gotten as close to shore as I could & shot northward.By doing this I would of gotten a far better perspective! It would of shown the tree in profile going into the water with the bear at the very end & a great background in behind! Being able to figure these things out in a matter of seconds is perhaps the greatest challenge I face on a regular basis!

BIRDS OF A FEATHER?

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I was able to get out tonight but the tide was conspiring against me as it was high.Whenever the tide is high,the bear numbers are low. I went up into Fortune looking for any of my furry friends,but alas,could not find any.I wasn’t shocked & expected that.One never knows unless one goes & checks! I almost always find at least one roaming about,but not tonight.

There was a persistent cloud stream coming in from the west that partially snuffed the light. The sun did come out right near sunset for about 15 minutes.

I found these birds on a rock on the north side of Strawberry island.