British Columbia, 2016

A female grizzly bear keeps a lookout while her cub feeds on salmon.

In October 2016, we drove north to Vancouver Island from Seattle to spend a week hiking around the national parks there. The highlight of the trip was a trip up Toba Inlet, in the southern reaches of the Great Bear Rainforest. In the fall, salmon return up the river to spawn inland, and brown bears gather along waterways to take advantage of the bounty before winter. This was our first time seeing wild brown bears.

A big boar foraging.

Sows and yearlings. When they encounter large boars like the male above, they carefully avoid him.

A young bear with a fresh caught salmon.

We had one lucky sighting of a shy black bear, which quickly made itself scarce again when it laid eyes on the crowd of brown bears.

A somewhat scruffy Great Blue Heron. Among the birds spotted feeding on the leftover fish were crows, gulls, and ravens, but this heron seems to prefer live prey.

Hiking through Strathcona National Park, most of what I stopped to photograph had chitinous cell walls.

In the late afternoon, we met a researcher banding Gray Jays, a gregarious, bold, and extremely cute bird of higher elevations. Funnily enough, on this day we also met the guy who’d reserved the license plate GRAYJAY, which we’d been trying to get. Even more coincidentally, it was the same person.

Driving south towards Victoria, we stopped at Goldstream Provincial Park, where I got very entranced with watching a juvenile American Dipper energetically hunting in the fast-flowing water. These were all shot with relatively slow shutter speed for such a fast moving bird, producing some somewhat interesting blurred water effects on the brief occasions the dipper held still a moment.

A juvenile American Dipper, pulling up everything from tiny snails, to fish, to insects.

A bald eagle flying against some typically dreary Pacific Northwest fall colors.

On our last days, we drove up the southwestern edge of the island, wandering around Sooke and north to Jordan River.

A Male Belted Kingfisher. These birds are extraordinarily shy; even from this great a distance, it was an incredibly huge privilege to watch him hunt for a little while on this dark, rainy day.

A first-winter gull terrorizing a Greater Yellowlegs. It chased a couple of these foraging shorebirds out of the water several times to no obvious purpose.

Greater Yellowlegs

Brewer’s Blackbird and a Herring Gull

This was my first real Pacific Northwest autumn and it rained almost all week, most days never getting brighter than dusk. The rain was still sheeting down as we drove back to Seattle.

Brewer’s Blackbird, and a Columbia Black-Tailed Deer stag.

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *