Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ravens chasing snowies and snowies being sneaks!

Chris and I went out for a few...okay several hours today.  We left at around 8 am, had an adventurous time at the gas station consisting of an overflowing gas tank, washing windows with a faulty squeegee, giving up and getting a car wash and a panic attack over a possibly forgotten camera battery.  Once that was all sorted out we headed northwest of Toronto in search of wildlife. 

We knew there were snowy owls in one area and it was my time to prove that I was no longer wildlife repellent.  The pressure was on, but since we had a lot of time on our hands I had a feeling good things would happen.  Click on any photo to enlarge:



Could he be cuter?  See ya!


Check out the nails!


Their wingspan is 4.5 to 5.5 feet wide. 


We started to drive around and were happy to see snow.  We haven't had much snow at all this winter and this field was pristine:


We couldn't figure out what this machine was doing.  I thought he was getting a jump on spring planting but he was ploughing a snowmobile trail:


Ugh, the hay is STILL in the barn:


Snow buntings were next but we couldn't get too close:


And another snowy!


As we were admiring the snowy we heard croaking.  We turned around and saw a Common Raven chasing a white bird...which turned out to be another snowy!!


That was so exciting!  We didn't expect to see a raven, let alone one that brought us another snowy!  And even better, a few minutes later we saw a second raven!


We thought it was an eagle initially but weren't disappointed that it was a raven. 


Our final snowy took off and flew across the field:


But wait!  After I got home and was checking out my pictures, look at who was on the top, right corner:


Snowy number 7!!!  Actually it was #5 because we saw #6 perched on a pole and #7 in a field after we started heading back.  But without the picture we would never have noticed.  I had him in a couple of pictures and Chris did as well. 

What a fun day!  This was my first full weekend off in years, I rarely get a day off let alone a full weekend so it was nice of the birds to co-operate!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Last day and the flight home!

It was raining again but I've had no complaints about the weather.  Every time I go to Vancouver I end up with spectacular weather so a bit of rain won't hurt.  I took my DSLR for one final walk along the sea wall and another trip to Stanley Park, followed by a trip to Vanier Park to see the eagles one last time.

The boats and ships were out on the water:


My eagle friend made one final appearance but was unsuccessful in catching any birds while I was there.  They scattered and chased it away:



The sun rose and the fog started to burn off:


The great blue heron decided to show off its flying skills:


Watch out, gull!


And a final trip to see my eagles at Vanier Park.  Ms Vanier, you are gorgeous!


As we were walking over to Granville Island, a crow was chasing the male back to his nest:



And that's it!  Now, a few pictures from the air:





Bye Vancouver, see you next time!

Rainy morning with lots of wildlife!

It was raining from night to morning but I wanted to take a walk. The hotel provides nice, big umbrellas so I was ready to go. I didn't take my DSLR with me, just my point and shoot, so the pictures aren't all that clear. The one thing my point and shoot has is video, and it came in handy.  You'll hear the rain falling in each of the videos.

The ships look different when they're lit up:


I was walking along the sea wall, hoping to see my eagle friend and curious to see where his lookout was now that the big tree was cut down. As I was thinking this, an adult eagle flew past me, very low and out onto the rocks by the water. Of course I was excited because I'd never seen an eagle on the rocks before and hoped I could get closer. While watching the eagle, I noticed some other animals in the water swimming in a group of 5 or 6 so I started to shoot. As I was shooting them, the eagle took off. What I didn't realize at the time was the bird in its talons! I only noticed this when I went back to the hotel and watched it on my laptop.

video

The swimmers were otters. They came up to the shore and then ran back down to the water again:

video

They were SO cute!  I decided to try and follow them because I'm a stupid human who eventually realised they were going further out into the water.  I never saw them again, but I did see a very rude great blue heron who wouldn't share his fish with crows:

video




Remember the eagle's lookout tree?  It was cut down because it was dead and now it's been turned into a lovely piece of furniture:


Yes, a loveseat!  Now think of the size of trees in Ontario that you thought were big.  Could any of them be as big as this one?  I thought this was great, the tree has had its purpose for decades and maybe centuries and now it has a new job.

I had one day to go and I was really missing my dogs and cats, then I saw this lucky dog walker.  How cool would it be to be able to walk around Stanley Park every day?  And with such well mannered dogs?


Just before I went back to my hotel, this group of Canada Geese walked across the street and onto the beach.  We had to stop for them and they weren't in a hurry: