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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
This is Delilah. She’s the Daredevil’s mate. I should say this is Delilah #2. Delilah #1 disappeared over a year ago. She just didn’t come back from the salmon grounds. I haven’t a clue what happened?
When this female showed up months later I was thrilled to see who I thought was Delilah but soon realized it wasn’t my old friend but a stranger. I felt a shadow cross my heart when I realized my friend was gone!
You can see that frontal system moving in. Snuffed the light BIG time! Before I left tonight I checked the satellite feed. I saw it coming but went anyways! I needed to go see my friend and just get out and breath the fresh air!
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 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!
Because the salmon are beginning to run the eagles are leaving their territories to flock to the streams! I was disappointed to find both Romeo and Juliette gone but my good buddy the Daredevil was home!
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.