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.

KFC DELIVERS?

I went to see If Romeo was home? I haven’t seen him in almost a month! When I arrived at our meeting spot I found a Gull on Romeo’s perch. I told him he better get out of here as my friend was going to be coming over real soon! Which he promptly did when he saw Romeo flying towards him!

I didn’t know KFC deliveries?

MY FRIEND THE DAREDEVIL

I haven’t been able to get out on a shoot in awhile! I was physically heading down to the boat shed last night but saw some clouds moving in,so I turned around and went back! Which turned out to be a mistake because the sunset ended up being one of those great ones!

So when I saw todays weather was about the same and knew that the next three days were going to be pouring rain….I decided to go out. BUT….that incoming Frontal system came in early and snuffed the sunset!

So great sunset last night,didn’t go out. Poor sunset tonight,I did go out! Trying to be at the right place at the right time can be complicated!

WHAT YOU LOOKIN AT?

I paddled upstream today looking for bears. I found one almost immediately! It was walking upstream on the left and so I paddled upstream on the right. We had rain last night so the stream was flowing faster than normal. We kept pace with each other but when I took out the camera to take this shot I quickly headed back downstream.

The vast majority of salmon a bear will eat are dead. The salmon spawn,die and float downstream. Bears are part of the clean up crew. They walk along the streams edge looking for dead salmon. If you don’t have to work for your dinner why bother?

This bear came across two salmon! It grabbed the first one and promptly dropped it. It than found a second one and walked off into the forest to enjoy but I was surprised to see It come back out 15 seconds later! When I see a bear being “fussy” that means It’s tummy is full! I bet the only fish it would keep would be a fresh squirming one!

I saw three bears on this trip but I still think there should be more! I saw 4 large dead salmon laying very close to the streams bank. Seeing those fresh salmon told me no bears have been around! If just one bear had walked by It would of grabbed one.

This bear was full, most likely because very few bears are around leaving plenty of salmon to eat! Enough salmon that It can afford to be fussy!

I’M CONCERNED!

I camped out at my favorite river so as to get shots of the bears grabbing salmon! Lots of salmon in the river but zero bears? I was there for three days and saw no bears!

I talked to a friend of mine who has the unusual job of swimming down many streams around Tofino. He and his wife count salmon to get a idea on how healthy the run is. He told me that in 17 swims over the last month he and his wife saw only one bear!

No hunter or hunters could possibly wipe out that many bears all over the place. Maybe in one stream but still that’s stretching it! I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on? I’m hoping he and I are both wrong and the bears will show up on mass soon!

PRETTY IN PINK

Most of you are already know, the entire west coast has taken up a bad habit…..smoking!

California,Oregon and Washington State all have major fires burning right now. The smoke from a forest fire once in the Jet stream can travel for thousands of miles! The smoke is composed of tiny pieces of ash. The thickness of a smoke layer varies. Basically the thicker the cloud, the less light will get through. Until its so thick that the sun is totally blocked.

Another thing that happens with forest fire smoke are surreal sunsets! The sun goes to a deep orange, than to a orangey red, than to a reddish pink and finally to a neon pink. The contrast is very muted because of the low light conditions. Exposures can be tricky.

SUNSET VIGIL

I wanted to line up those gorgeous clouds in the background with the Heron in the foreground but this Heron was wise to me!

I had to beach the boat and walk in the shallows. I am constantly taking shots as I walk. I call them “Safety” shots. If the animal takes off before I can get to that “special spot” at least I have something. Ten percent of something is better than one hundred percent of nothing.

So this Heron took off before I could reach that spot unfortunately!

WET AND WILD

This yearling was swimming when I came upon it. It climbed out of the water,shook vigorously like a dog and stared at me.

Bears are very good swimmers. They swim from island to island foraging. Actually just about every animal out there is a great swimmer and island hops as well.

When Bears get mange,they often times go into the ocean. The salt helps kill the parasites.

THE GIFT

August for many birds is molting time. Which makes sense when you think about it. If you were going to undress you’d want to do it in the hottest month!

Romeo dropped a large primary feather tonight!

As a photographer I do something most do not do. I keep both eyes open when I shoot. Watch anyone taking a shot and 99% of them will be closing one eye. My photographic instructor is the only other person I know of that shot with both eyes open. The advantage of doing this is you can see far more on the periphery! (my dominant eye is my right with my left being secondary)

I bring this up because If I had my left eye closed I would never of seen the primary feather drop! As Romeo went past my right eye was tracking/shooting him but my left eye saw that primary feather fall.

A eagle has over 7000 feathers but there are only 5 large feathers on each wing . They are called the “primaries”. There are also 12 large white tail feathers.

I’ve looked at my shots and figure the feather that fell was the second primary on his left wing.

I consider it a honour when one of my eagle friends gives me a feather but of course they do not chose to just get rid of it. It’s just shear fluke to be honest! At any rate I love recieving them!

I also play a game at this time of year. When one of my molting friends zips past there is usually a light fluffy piece of down released! It drifts downwind. The game I talk about is me trying to grab that piece of downy fluff before it hits the water! I missed two of them last night.

THE DAREDEVIL

I was able to get out on a evening shoot tonight. I originally wanted to go looking for bears but it turned out I left too late. I did see a bear on my way out close to town. I normally do not see any bears on Meares island but tonight there was one grazing in the tall grass. It was shallow where it was and the tide was coming up, so I wouldn’t of gotten stuck. Some flat bays empty quickly!

Only time to visit both the Daredevil and Romeo tonight. Juliette did fly over to say hello as well!

BIG BART

I found two bears tonight. I recognized this bear as one I’ve called “Big Bart”. He’s been around for a few years. He’s shy but tolerates me.

Because of there being no Bear Watching boats zipping around, the bears appear to be more skittish.

I think they get accustomed to boats being around when the bear watching boats are out. Because of this virus the boats haven’t been out this year,so the bears have gotten use to silence making it more difficult for me to get close. Fortunately many of them already know me!

LIFES A BEACH!

In this video you’ll see “Fran” standing on top of a Sea Lion carcass. Fran is a teenager about to become an adult. Eagles get their adult colours at 5 years of age. You can still see some streaking in her head feathers.Dead give away she’s around four and a half years old? She’s also the offspring of Frank and Frieda. So she is tolerated. If she was a stranger she would most likely be chased away. If she kept coming back,she probably would be attacked! But because she’s part of the family she has a life long membership to come back any time! Fran see’s her father coming over and backs off. Frank is telling her to EAT and go.

Turn the sound up and listen to the sounds Fran makes.

In this video it shows a immature eagle eating. Its early, (5:38am) so I guess its breakfast. This male eagle looks around 3 to 4 years. Another Immature comes in to attack! I recognize this eagle. Its one I’ve called “Ruffles”. I call him that because of the ruffled feathers on his back. He’s a bully. I’ve seen him do false charges at the Ravens.

In this video it shows Ruffles just a few minutes after attacking the other Immature eagle. I think the other eagle is one I’ve called “Rusty” but am not sure? There are half a dozen Immatures feasting on the carcass. Ruffles takes exception to Rusty(?) hanging around waiting for a bite…..so he chases him off!

I’m not that familiar with Frank and Frieda to be honest. What I do know is If it was Frank or Frieda they wouldn’t walk slowly up to the carcass. This male eagle is taking his time,so that tells me he’s not Frank. I suspect this male is poaching,so he’s very alert!

There is one thing I found odd with this video? This eagle did not trip the cameras motion sensor. The camera began shooting way before this eagle arrived. So what tripped the sensor?

I like the light in this video.