Tag Archives: birds

Spring at East Point

Photo above: Boiling Reef, near the point, is still an encampment for Steller sea lions, harbour seals, eagles, ducks and more.

On a grey day in spring, it’s a quiet place. Few people, plenty of birds. A rare daytime low tide, too. Great for bird watching…

East Point, Saturna Island, at low tide. Photo © Andrée Fredette

Above: the long nose of East Point, and in the distance, Boiling Reef to the right (the rocks where the big critters lounge), and the tip of Tumbo Island on the left.

There is quite a bit of wildlife at East Point, on Saturna Island… Lots of birds are finishing their winter residence and will soon depart for other locations in BC and Northward.

Harlequin drake (Histrionicus histrionicus) Photo © Andrée Fredette
A Harlequin drake (Histrionicus histrionicus), handsome fellow, at the water’s edge. Waiting for the tide to come back in.

Harlequin hen (Histrionicus Histrionicus). Photo © Andrée Fredette
Not far away, his girlfriend, the female Harlequin. 

Harlequin duck female. Photo © Andrée Fredette
Above: another Harlequin female, standing right where the buffet is happening, as the tide is rising. They seemed to like spots where the returning water was flipping over the sea weeds…

Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica). Photo by Andrée Fredette
And this handsome one is a male Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica). Caught him just after he surfaced, water still beading on his plumage.

Steller sea lions, Harbour seals, Bald eagle, gulls and ducks on Boiling Reef. Photo © Andrée Fredette
Above, a view of Boiling Reef, where the Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) are still lounging. They will soon leave to go to their rookery, that party place where all the mating occurs during the summer. To get that shot, I used a long lens because they are far away. The males can reach 7 to 9 feet long, and weigh 1.2 tons… 

Which is why I am all the more impressed by the sang-froid of this diver: 

 

Fresh air and The Birds

Photo above: participants in the “Round the County Sailing Race”, rounding the Lighthouse Point, Patos Island, WA. Photo taken from East Point, Saturna Island, BC, roughly 6 km away…

On Sunday afternoon, I decided to go to East Point, to get some fresh air (and oh yes, the air certainly was fresh…). Although rain was threatening, I went because someone pointed out that a major sailing race was underway in the Orcas islands. The header photo above is the best shot I could get, from 6km away…

The straggler, in the Orcas sailing race. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: a straggler, way behind the rest of the participants…

A good breeze was flowing through and I found a large gathering of gulls, all over the rocks.

Masses of gulls at East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Gulls everywhere, resting while facing the wind.

Immature herring gulls at East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: I think these are junior (not quite mature) herring gulls…

Gull convention at East Point, Saturna island. Photo by Andrée Fredette

It was like a gull convention. Or the prelude to The Birds (you know, the Hitchcock movie…).

And more coming…

Gull in flight at East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And these caught my eye, because of their red beaks…

Heerman's gulls, East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I had to look them up today: they are Heerman’s gulls, and these waters are probably their northernmost habitat on the Pacific Northwest.

Harlequin ducks, East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There were all kinds of Harlequin ducks, fishing around the point. Above, a lovely couple. The gulls kept trying to fly close, land next to the ducks after they surfaced, to steal whatever they had caught…

Oops, the hen dove and the drake gets to pose for the camera…

Harlequin drake, East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Here is a harlequin hen, at the shore…

Harlequin hen, East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And then there were the little ones, the sandpipers, scurrying between the gulls. They are so tiny and quick, and their camouflage colours are so efficient that they are hard to spot…

Sandpiper, East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Snack time…

Sandpiper finding a snack. East Point, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

After a couple of hours, my fingers started to feel frozen (note to self: bring gloves, next time), so I decided to head home.

I leave you with a shot from the night before, a Saturday evening sunset minuet:

Silhouette sunset. Photo by Andrée Fredette

 

Weekend Report

Above: close-up of a flowering tree on East Point Road, Saturna Island, BC. Roadside poetry…

What follows is a visual report of my weekend. It involved a little commute on the ferry, a little road trip on Vancouver Island, and a little excursion to Winter Cove park on Saturna Island.

From the back of the ferry, fog between Saturna and Pender Islands, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

On Friday morning, we left on the mid-morning ferry and I got to admire the fog that was caught between islands, hanging on before the sun could do its thing and burn it out…

Islet in the fog, Southern Gulf Islands, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

This is the cute islet that lies just off North Pender Island. I don’t know its name, but it stands out in a lovely silhouette, against a fog backdrop.

While on Vancouver Island, I got to admire the greenery in bloom, including this tall Oregon grape…

Tall Oregon grape, in bloom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And while walking in a meadow, I caught a glance of a hawk overhead. I was a little slow on the photo op, and got him a little bit “fuzzy”.

 

Hawk overhead

Patrolling the fields for mice and other goodies, no doubt.

Back on Saturna after a pleasant road trip and a return ferry commute, we all headed to the pub for sundown.

Pub sundown, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The sky and water had a dramatic moment…

Sunset on April 2nd, from the Pub on Saturna. Photo by Andrée Fredette

You have to keep a watch on the sky and water, at sunset. It pays off handsomely.

 

And this morning, I headed to Winter Cove with a friend, and looked for spring wildflowers.

Fawn Lily season at the Cove. Photo by Andrée Fredette

We were rewarded. Lots of Fawn lilies (Erythronium oregonum) and what looks like soon-to-open chocolate lilies (maybe).

 

Fawn lily single. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There is always one that stands out. This was the pinky one:

 

Fawn lily with a pink shading. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There were masses of them, right up to the edge of the rocky shore.

Fawn lilies by the ocean. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And there were also daisies here and there.

Daisy at Winter Cove. Photo by Andrée Fredette

At the water’s edge, a solitary heron was watching the shallows.

Heron silhouette. Photo by Andrée Fredette

It is good to get out and breathe some fresh air.

Birds, big and small

Above: “What are you looking at?”  This bald eagle spent a good hour on that branch, in a brisk wind, drying out after fishing. He spotted me, when I decided to take his photo. Had a bit of an insulted look…

At low tide, I returned to Winter Cove, determined to get some bird close-ups.

Through the bushes, I spotted this Great blue heron (Ardea herodias)...

 

Great blue heron, on the shoreline at Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Very slowly, I crawled through the bushes, on hands and knees(it was not a graceful maneuver). Close enough to get a clear shot through a long lens, but far enough to avoid disturbing him (or her).

 

Great blue heron, hunting. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There was a snack to catch, so he turned his attention to the work of getting some vittles.

 

Great blue heron, snacking. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And success. Bon appétit.

Here is the setting, Winter Cove.

Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A lovely afternoon, a sunny Friday.

Male Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica), at Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There were lots of ducks, like this gorgeous male Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica).

Barrow's Goldeneye pair at Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And some went around with their girlfriends…

And back home, later in the afternoon, I refilled the bird feeders.

We have feeders for big birds, like this Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus)…

Pileated woodpecker. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And feeders for little birds.

Rufous hummingbird male. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Here is another shot of a little Rufous hummingbird male (Selasphorus rufus), in flight (camera shutter not fast enough!).

 

Rufous hummingbird male, in flight. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And to conclude, I offer you a flower: a Fawn Lily.

Fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum), blooming on Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

 

Gulls have attitude – Photo Wednesday

Above: a gull conference on a fishing vessel at the Steveston docks, south of Vancouver, BC.

Last weekend, I got off the island for a while. Felt nice. Took lots of pictures, which will feed this blog for a  couple of weeks, at least.

First up: the gulls of Steveston (a fishing port south of Vancouver, BC).

It’s a fishing sort of place, so you can expect gulls. Tons of gulls.

Gull gangs at the dock, Steveston, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Every boat, every piling, every roof: crowned with gulls. Notice the white roof in the background? Yep.

Gull poses with heavy metal. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I just thought the broken railing, above, made it more interesting… A frame, so to speak.

Old boat, new boat. Didn’t matter. What mattered was the fish smell emanating from the nets and the holds.

Gull Trio at Steveston Dock, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Hello, attitude dude!

Seagull with attitude, up close. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Yeah, that was the tough guy. And he had his buds with him, including the other tough guy, the “wingman” (ha) to his right. See below…

 

Seagull with Attitude. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Then, there was the choir on top of the cannery building…

All lined-up for an argument. Photo by Andrée Frededtte

I suddlenly started thinking of “The Birds”, the Hitchcock movie, you know… But I am no Tippi Hedren. I was safe.