20161010-Lippy's Pano





Things have been a tad wet over our way,so I thought I’d repost some shots. I took these originally on 2016 October 10. The spot is Rankin rocks which is east of Tofino about 5 miles or so down Tofino inlet. Tranquil’s valley can be seen in the background.

There are two types of Sea Lions we get here,Californians and Stellar’s . Cali’s are around 1/2 ton while their bigger cousins the Stellar’s  are twice as large at 1 ton. Cali’s are generally darker than the Stellar’s and of course smaller. Stellar’s always like to be King of the hill on any rocky haul outs. The Californians will be down lower close to the waters edge while the big Stellar boys rest further up.

For some strange reason this fellow was all by himself. Usually they hang out in groups,sunning away with their noses pointing to the sky.

This fellow and I spent some time together. I called him “Lippy” because his left lower lip is damaged. You can clearly see how there is a tear in the upper lip. I wondered why? At first I thought of a boats prop but decided that wasn’t the reason.  Propellar wounds have symmetry and repeat in pattern. Than I thought of a Fish farms predator net!

I’ve seen these guys get stuck in those nets before. They breath air like you and I and If they become entangled in the netting they can drown. The Lions charge the salmon nets hoping to grab a unsuspecting salmon! They push against the heavy nets trying to corral a bunch of salmon. Of course they cannot pull the much larger fish through the net squares,so they suck the internal organs of the fish right through the net holes. The salmon than sinks to the bottom of the pen net.

DIvers go into each pen every three days or so to see If there are any dead salmon. When they bring up perfectly healthy salmon with no guts you know there was a predator attack and it was a Lion.

Surrounding the fish farm site is another much larger net called a “Predator Net”(pred net). It engulfs the entire site and is about 10 feet away from the inside fish nets. Its designed to stop Lion attacks but Lions are always trying to get at those tasty fish! Sometimes a Lion will push the pred net in quickly to get at the salmon but get snagged. It looks like thats exactly what happened here to”Lippy” but he was lucky enough to escape with only face wounding.





I went camping last week. I like to camp in Tranquil valley. Each Winter a ballet of Trumpeters stays in Tranquil. They are not like their city cousins who allow people to get close.Just the opposite,they never allow anyone to get close to them!

Forget about your “Punxsutawney Phil’s” and alike for predicting when Spring is going to arrive! Its all Hollywood show and just entertainment. If you really want to know when Spring is around the corner just watch when the Trumpeters leave!

Animals are far more in tune with Mother Natures cycles than we clueless humans are! With the Trumpeters gone from Tranquil Spring is close……..maybe 3 weeks away folks! (for this area)

Now………having said that,the Trumpeters near Tsapee Narrows (K-18/19) are still around. There are 8 in their ballet. I stopped to glass them and was around 1/2 mile away from them. They know me well! I have a distinctive white coloured boat. Even being 1/2 mile away they began to raise the alarm! They have a small spot of land they like. They began to waddle into the water and soon took to flight!20190310-IMG_8901

They’ll be leaving soon,I suspect this week. Next Winter I am going to put a trail camera down there to record their daily activities. I did go to this spot to collect some feathers however. They never seem to leave me any large feathers,just small  ones.







I counted 8 today.Four adults & 4 cygnets.These are the hardest birds to get close shots of! Next time I go camping I have a plan! When I know they are inside the river system (only at high tide) I make a few noises.They’ll get nervous & begin to exit the river system.I know their normal exit route, so I’ll simply hide & wait for them to swim past.Once I start shooting the sound from the mirror reflex will spook them for sure,but by then its too late……I’ll will have gotten the shots! Busted!





These are Surfbirds resting.They are migrating right now southward.Rankin rocks provides them with a safe place to rest.No ground predators about. Migratory birds use these places in the same way you would use a hotel on your vacation.

Many birds tuck their beaks into their feathers while they are sleeping.


20171223-Tranquil Tree Pano



I went up in Tranquil valley for some winter/Christmas camping.Decided to decorate a “wild” tree. A wild tree is anything that hasn’t been planted by a human.

I found this big old stump out on the flood area in the estuary. It looks like it may of been cut many a moon ago,leaving just the stump behind.Over the course of time the wood has decayed enough to produce a viable soil for plants & trees to find purchase.

Not sure what kind of tree this was but suspect a spruce as the needles pricked at my fingers.

A perfect spot to be sure but the light was crappy! It was all in shade.Some cloud came over to ruin my Christmas photo! Mother Nature delivered up a lump of coal,but it still has merit!








I’ve known Leah for almost 4 years now.She keeps to herself over in the meadow in Tranquil.I’ve never had a good opportunity to get some good pictures of her…until today! I could tell she wasn’t impressed.She did a “Blow”.When bears do that that means they are upset.So I left her alone.





Came across a great rainbow today but couldn’t really take advantage of it.I couldn’t find a eagle anywhere?

I couldn’t see Tranquil valley due to the rain. In the second shot you can see a tall Sitka.That dead tree is huge btw.I’m waiting for a wind storm to bring it down.I’ve always thought that It would make a excellent eagle tree,but I’ve never seen one on it.




I went down Tofino inlet to see if I could any shots of the Trumpeters? The swans always hang out at the very end of these deep inlets.Tranquil,Deer Bay & Grice Bay.

I wasn’t shocked to find a ice sheet covering all of Tranquil but I was surprised to find that both inlets (Tranquil & Deer bay) had not only frozen  over completely but had also joined together! From Barryman point to Rankin rocks was all ice straight across & down into each inlet! Thats 6 klicks down to Tranquil & 12 klicks down to Deer bay.

I saw many birds standing out on the ice or should I say “skating about”? I think I even saw a game of shinny break out?

The thickest ice would be down at the very end where the Trumpeters hang out.

I’ve worked down in Tranquil for several years & have never seen it this extensive,so I wondered why?

We have a big strong (cold) High pressure system for almost two weeks.Each night has been below zero.

I suspect our tides have something to do with it as well?

Each day there are 4 cycles of 6 hours each.Two high tides & two low tides. From the high tide to the low tide determines the amount of water coming in & going out the inlet.If there is a huge difference between the high & low tide,the “flush” will be great.If the difference between the high & low is not that much,the flush will be much less.The greatest flush we can have around here 14 feet.

Our tides lately haven’t been that high or that low.This makes a much smaller flush of about 5 or 6 feet.When the water doesn’t move very much,the ice structure can form more easily.

So you need a large fresh water source flowing into the inlet.The density of the salt water & freshwater is different so they do not mix readily.The colder temperatures makes this mixing even harder! So the fresh water can not only lay on top of the oceans surface.It also spreads out for many kilometres!

With this fresh water layer,the colder temperatures & very little movement, large expansive sheets of ice have formed.

It should start to break up as soon as the tides get higher,temperatures rise & the wind picks up.

Than I will be able to get more shots of the Trumpeters!




I “tried” to get down to Tranquil today but couldn’t because of the ice.Many inlets freeze over in cold weather. The fresh water flowing out of these inlets lays on top of the salt water.If there is no wind,the fresh water will begin to freeze.

I noticed a group of Gulls playing a game of shinny!