A TOFINO DRIVE BY

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I went out today looking for any of my furry friends? I went up into Fortune Channel but couldn’t find a one out & about.I wasn’t shocked as it was high tide.Bears come out during low tide so they can overturn the rocks & get at the baby crabs.I usually find one out during high tide,but not tonight.

I always go out about three hours before sunset.Yes,I could go out earlier for the low tide but the colour & temperature (light) would be cooler.So I stick to a few hours before sunset.I find the setting & colour far more appealing!

DRYING OUT ONES WINGS

20150128-IMG_7624I headed out today as per normal. Went down to Cannery Bay to see if the Lions were around?
They weren’t & the bay is in sunshine now too! I was thinking that they were staying away from the float in the bay because it was in the shade & cold? Now that the sun is high enough to fill the bay,they should be there but alas……..are not! I’m pretty sure they are simply not going to show up this year. The food fish they follow are else where I suppose?
Decided to head further down Tofino inlet to Deer bay. Deer bay is very remote. I’ve never seen anyone else down there when I’ve been there.
It was calm out so the waters reflection was perfect!
I knew that there would be Trumpeters down in Deer bay. They like these quiet inlets. Sure enough,as I was getting closer I could see them down at the end with my binoculars! Because it was quiet,they heard me coming several kicks away & took off. I took a few shots as they went by. I started heading out of Deer bay when I decided to turn around & just have a quiet moment. I like to shut the motor off, just listen & enjoy sometimes.
Good thing I did! As I was slowly coming into the shallows,I noticed a eagle sitting in the water! I wondered why? As I approached carefully I could see that it was standing in about 6 inches of water. It wasn’t moving or even taking notice of me? Thats just plain weird! Normally a eagle will look at you & start to move away from you. I watched for 15 minutes or so wondering if it was injured? Than it decided to flap/walk to a nearby tree stump. As it was moving I could see that it had something in it’s talons under the water! At first I thought It must have a fish but soon saw a thin head flopping about as it walked. I realized that it had caught a bird! No wonder it didn’t take off from me! It had food & was not about to give it up!
I watched it start to eat this bird (Hooded Merganser). It plucked the feathers out & dug into it’s prize meal with zest!

It could of flew away at any time or for that matter,waded into shore away from me when I first arrived. For some strange reason it felt very comfortable with me being close. Normally a animal will go away with it’s meal & eat it by it’s self. This guy decided to eat it while I was watching! I thought that was remarkable! Animals simply do not do that!
After eating for several minutes it started into a very loud song! I assumed it was it’s victory song? When I first arrived,for 20 minutes it never once looked over at me but now that it was singing,it was looking at me! It was almost as if it was saying “Look at me,I have killed & eaten. I am a great eagle”! The sound of it’s very loud chirping resounded off of the valley walls all around me! It was a remarkable moment for me personally!
I of course was taking shots all the while & decided to change the lens. I looked down to change the lens & heard a loud WHOOOOSH! It had taken off down the inlet away from me with it’s prize in tow. I yelled “Thank You” as it flew away.
About 3 or 4 minutes later I was busy checking my shots when I heard a powerful flapping getting closer! I looked up to see my new friend flying right past me all the while chirping merrily away! He was flying into Tofino Creek to finish his prize.
He could of flew anywhere in that big bay but decided to fly right in front of me! I’m taking that as a compliment!
Remember that the only I can get close to the eagles I take pictures of is because they have become familiar with me over the years. I’ve never seen this eagle before ever! So, for it to allow me to get that close & watch it eating was an incredible honour! Thats not going to happen again!
I watched my new friend,whom I’m calling “Braveheart” fly into the darkness of Tofino creek silently. I’m calling him “Braveheart” because of the way he acted while I was close to him!
I than noticed a Immature eagle following close behind Braveheart. Obviously It had to be Braveheart’s & no doubt wanted Daddy to feed it.
I yelled out THANK YOU & headed out of Deer bay for town.

It took me about 80 minutes to get down to Deer bay btw. Because the sun was getting low in the west,I had no time to stop at Tsapee Narrows.So I headed straight to Maggie’s territory on Morpheus island. Sure enough she was there & flew out to greet me!
She’s always such a breath of fresh air to see flying out to greet me! She just chirps away merrily circling ever so gracefully!
Spent some quality time with her. She seemed to like going over to the exposed mudflats to eat. I could see the sun was getting low,so I said goodnight to her & headed over to visit with Romeo & Juliette.
Romeo came out to greet me as well! I felt popular tonight! Took some silhouette shots of both Romeo & Juliette. Juliette came over to say hi as well.
By this time the sun had gone in behind a offshore cloud bank. The light was gone,so I said goodnight to both my friends & called it a night.

Coming across that eagle down in Deer bay today made my day! I’ve never had that happen or heard of something like that happening! A very rare moment indeed!
I have a new friend!

CORMORANT CONGREGATION

20140228-IMG_588520140228-IMG_5894Today was a much better day for getting out! No fog bank chasing me away!
I went down into Tranquil to see what was shaking? Found some Trumpeters & just a beautiful silence! I went into the cove down there & shut the motor off. I stood up in the boat looking at the northern wall of rock in the cove. I use to be a Geologist & am always fascinated with how a glacier can carve rocks like butter so uniformly! One can clearly see the striations the glacier left! A glacier will pick up large hard rocks under it’s nose. These rocks act as cutting bits as the glacier advances.If you’ve ever seen a large drilling bit,you’ll know what I mean.
I just stood there wondering? I am always amazed at how Nature works her magic!
This cove is where I would love to put a floathouse! I even know the exact spot!
I had my sweet treat for the day & decided I had better start on my way back. I stopped off at Rankin Rocks to take some shots of the Dunlin’s.
I had heard of some Orca’s being around & was mindful of that. I was watching for “blows”,but never saw any unfortunately.
I stopped at Tsapee Narrows to visit with the Daredevil.Both he & Delilah were active today. I did see Logan as well. He was on his normal perching tree just east of the Daredevil’s territory. I found some Dunlin’s on the point there as well.
Continued on my way. I went over to Morpheus island to see if Maggie was around today? She wasn’t yesterday. Sure enough she was & she flew out to greet me. Because the sun is still low in the sky,I have to go further north of Morpheus island than normal. At this time of day there is some shadow creeping too close for comfort. I’m always mindful of where the best light is.
Maggie circles me many times & is easy pickens for close up shots! She loves to pose for me & why I call her my girlfriend!
She went back to Morpheus & I started to take off. She saw me leaving & flew out quickly to chase me! She does this all the time! She’s such a pretty girl!
Had to say goodnight & continued on to visit with Romeo & Juliette. The light was PERFECT! I was surprised that Romeo didn’t pay me any attention? It was very foggy yesterday,so I didn’t & couldn’t stop to take any shots of him. He did fly out of the fog to greet me,proving eagles do have a “eagle eye” when it comes to seeing things!
Romeo couldn’t be bothered with me tonight! If I didn’t know better I’d say he was pissed off at me for not stopping yesterday! He’s never acted this way before? I hope he gets over it.
I left them both & looked around for some harbour shots. I went to watch the sunset & was hoping to see a “Green Flash”,but alas it didn’t happen. The sun did deform as it set however. There was (as per normal with the ocean) a cold layer of air just above the ocean. This air is denser because of being colder. When the light enters this cold layer it bends (refracts) slightly. Thus deforming the sun’s shape.

All in all another outstanding days shoot in paradise folks!

DRYING OUT

20140227-IMG_574720140227-IMG_5752One of the most significant factors affecting the light for my photography are clouds. The clouds block the light & everything looks so drab! No light,no pictures basically!
So I began to pay attention to the weather. I started using real time satellite sites to see what was coming my way. So I inadvertently became a arm chair meteorologist. I’m not a expert on weather by any means but do pay attention to what is going on around me. I Twitter the weather every morning for Tofino & have 200 or so signed up.
I wake up every morning, look at various sites & make my prediction for that day.I’d like to think I’m fairly accurate but the truth is I’m way off base sometimes!
That’s what happened today! I thought it was going to stay cloudy with a chance of some precip? There was a large cloud system moving up from the Sates & I thought it was going to hug the coast & stick around?
Turns out a mini-high pressure system developed right around Tofino! It was clear north,south & west of Tofino for many miles!
So I corrected my mistake on Twitter & headed out in my boat. I had no sooner gotten out & was fueling up when I noticed a fog bank moving in!
I call these moments “Sucker” moments! Mother Nature had just suckered me! I couldn’t do anything but try to make the most of it.It takes a lot of effort to haul my boat/gear down to the water & I wasn’t about to return so quickly empty handed! I looked across the harbour & saw the fog was already putting the harbour into darkness. I knew instantly that I wouldn’t be visiting Romeo & Juliette today! So I turned around & headed over to visit Maggie & Moe before the light was gone there too! It would only take 10 minutes before the darkness eclipsed the entire harbour!
Unfortunately Maggie was nowhere to be found (i suspect she might of been on the nest?). I had to keep moving eastward to stay out of the fogs shadow. So I headed down to Tsapee Narrows to visit with the Daredevil. I got a few shots of him doing his thing & continued eastward.I went up into Fortune Channel & thought I might look for some bears? Normally I wouldn’t of done this because it’s still too early but I had no choice today. Couldn’t see any bruins anywhere & decided to continue northward around Meares island! I heard that a pod of 12 Orca’s had been spotted less than 24 hours earlier on the north side of Meares & thought maybe I could get lucky if they were still in the area?
They weren’t around but I did take a few shots around Matlset Narrows. I continued around Meares & could see the fog had moved around the NW corner of Meares. It was thick & cold! I couldn’t see the land but continued forward feeling my way around. I finally worked my way back into the harbour. I had to go right by Deadmans island where Romeo & Juliette live. I couldn’t stop for a visit because the light was totally gone!
I did see Romeo coming out of the fog to greet me however & yelled to him sorry for not stopping!
The entire area was draped in a dull drab cold pale! I was glad to come in out of that stuff & get home where it was warm.
Mother Nature cut my shoot short today & my subject matter was sparse at best,but I still had fun & hey,thats what it’s all about………..right!

THE GATHERING

The weather broke today & I didn’t need to be asked twice!
The tide was high,so I headed down to Tranquil Creek. You can only get inside the creek if it’s a high tide. I knew there would be a good chance that the salmon would be gone & the run finished for the year……………….& that’s exactly what I found!
I only saw two fish moving about in the fast flowing stream! I tied the boat up & took my chest waders me. Came across two bears as well! The first one didn’t see me,but I could tell it was injured! Most likely from a recent fight. Coming into the winter season,this bear could die from a wound like that?
It saw the second bear & retreated into the forest. The second bear saw me & looked like it was trying to hide behind a spindly bush! It was kind of funny to see this large bear thinking it was able to hide from me!
I returned to where I had tied up the boat. The tide had dropped & grounded me. I took the motor off & put the wheels down. The boat is designed to be very mobile!
Once I got the boat back into the stream,I decided to just drift. I realized that this was going to be the last trip into Tranquil for 10 months or so! It was kind of sad to think that actually! I’ve been coming up into Tranquil for 2 1/2 months now. I saw the entire spawning season from start to finish!
Thousands upon thousands of salmon had entered into the system to spawn & die. I saw many dead salmon littering the bottom of the stream & estuary! Many bears,birds feasted upon the salmon!
Another cycle has come & gone.
I headed out of the system & started my trip back to Tofino. It’s a long trip for me! It takes about a hour to get down to Tranquil!
On the way back I saw some Harbour Seals hanging out on Rankin Rocks. Found hundreds of Dunlin’s as well on Rankin!
Ran into a friend of mine on the way back with motor troubles. Started towing him back,but he managed to get it started anyways. Said goodnight to them both & headed to Deadman Island for a visit with my favorite eagle friend,Romeo!
He greeted me well & was receptive,but because of me stopping to help out my friend with his boat,It delayed me & I missed the sunset! I did get a bit of it,but the sunset’s peak had come & gone!
Didn’t find any salmon today & missed the sunset,but I still had a much better day than 99.99% of the Earth’s population I bet!!

The Cormorants are back for the winter & have started to hang around on their favorite haunts.

Cormorants


I managed to get out today. The light & weather was great! I went straight down to Cannery to see If I could find our injured friend? Sure enough,he was hauled out on the walkway to the float by it’s self. I noticed it doesn’t go too close to the others. I think it must be in pain & instinctively wants to stay apart? Continue reading “Cormorants”

Cormorants

Managed to get out for a second day in a row! Feels weird to do that after sitting on the sidelines for 3 weeks!
I went straight down to Cannery again today. The Lions were in fine form!
I also saw the Tug boat “Regent” towing the barge “Makah” when I was down there. It was just leaving Rankin Cove and heading across the inlet to Berryman point when I came upon the scene. I found out that Coulson (logging company) was taking their heavy equipment out. Rankin is only accessible by boat.
The Tug/Barge than came back from Berryman Point and went back over to Rankin. It will start loading up the logs on the barge. It will most likely be full tomorrow and be heading out.
I did visit a few of my fine feathered friends as well. Romeo & Juliette are the favs at the moment.
BTW,their 2nd nest(original) doesn’t show any signs of being built any further than what they’ve already done. I’m not sure what is going on there??
They were happy to see me and I them.
Another day in paradise folks!

Brandt’s Cormorants

It’s been 3 weeks since I last went out in my boat! I don’t think I have ever spent a longer 3 weeks either!
It was sunny sky’s today & about bloody time!
I went straight down to Cannery bay to check out the Lions. As soon as I was close enough to glass them,I saw what I suspected. Their numbers have grown tremendously! They were in their normal haul outs along the shore and not just on those two rocky islets. The tide was too high anyways,so they weren’t even on those rocks anyways. They have moved into Cannery Bay finally. They were even back onto the slide float. The float was weighed down so much from their weight,that the deck was below the waters surface!
I’m going to guess around 3 hundred so far! There seems to be more Stellers this year as well.
After visiting with my furry friends,I went over to Rankin rocks to check out the Dunlin’s. They seem to love that rock. With it being a rocky island it’s a perfect home base. Very protected from ground predators.
I than headed west towards town again. As I was coming up to Tsapee Narrows & noticed Logan on the point. I stopped to take a few shots.
I continued on to see the Daredevil and Delilah,but only Delilah was home and she wasn’t being very sociable today.
So I moved on to Deadman Island to visit with Romeo & Juliette. They were both home and very active tonight.
Great way to end a even better day out!

Strathcona And Cormorants

For those that visit my site often ,you will recognize this spot! I always shoot it when I find birds on this rock. It’s located just in behind (to the north) Strawberry Island. It has no name but I call it “Strawberry Islet”.
Notice how the birds always point into the wind!
I was looking north,so they basically were pointing to the West/NW.