A Brown Pelican displaying breeding colours while in flight over the ocean waters of Los Ayala beach in Nayarit, Mexico. While Brown Pelicans are somewhat awkward and homely in appearance when seen on land; they are magnificent birds in flight. A plain and somewhat comical bird is transformed, suddenly elegant in appearance. Their immense Pterodactyl-like wings span two and a half meters and bring to mind dinosaurs. And indeed, birds with throat pouches such as pelicans are descendants of dinosaurs.
For those interested in the technical details I captured this image with a Nikon D7100 at a focal length of 185 mm, an aperture of F8, shutter speed 1/1600, and an ISO of 800.
A Humpback Whale breaching in the Salish Sea, Vancouver Island, B.C..
Seeing a humpback whale breach is an extraordinary experience! The sight of an enormous whale leaping from the sea while twisting and turning before landing with an enormous crash while feeling the ocean spray and thunder of the crash is spectacular. While breaching is not an uncommon behaviour in humpback whales, witnessing the event feels very fortunate indeed. It is thought that whales flap their flukes and tales, and breach as a means to communicate with other whales. As you can imagine breaching takes an enormous amount of energy. The larger the splash the further the sound travels. It is also thought that whales breach to check out their surroundings and cleanse themselves of parasites. I myself like to think that whales also breach for fun and to say hello!
I captured these images while on a four hour wildlife and whale watching tour with Ocean Eco Adventures a Vancouver Island Green Business who support local wildlife and whale researchers. They offer tours departing from French Creek, Parksville, B.C..
A flock of American Flamingos taking flight from the shallow blue-green waters off the coast of Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Flamingos run on water by propelling themselves along with their webbed feet while flapping their wings to gather speed before taking off in flight. The island of Holbox is a very special place providing a protected sanctuary for a wide variety of birds including American Flamingos. Flamingos migrate here during the spring and summer months taking shelter and feeding on small crustaceans and algae found in the shallow waters offshore. The tiny red crabs found in the waters here are said to give the flamingos their brilliant pink plumage.
I captured this image with a Nikon 850 at a focal length of 500 mm, an aperture of F8, shutter speed of 1/1600, and an ISO of 1200.
Warm summer days bring to mind one of my favourite insects; dragonflies! The first image is of a male Blue-eyed Darner in flight on a sunny morning over the lake waters of Long Lake, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, B.C.. The second dragonfly image is also of a male Blue-eyed Darner in flight that I photographed at Rice Lake in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, B.C. As is often seen with birds the male of the species is more colourful than the female. Male Blue-eyed Darners have big blue eyes, a bright blue face and blue markings on their torsos. Female Darners are also beautiful but their colouring is less striking being primarily brown with green markings.
Dragonflies in flight are always a challenge to photograph. The trick is to wait for one to hover like a helicopter! Both images were photographed with a Nikon D7100 at a focal length of 300 mm. The first image with an aperture of F4, shutter speed 1/1600 and an ISO of 400, and the second image at an aperture of F4, shutter speed 1/400 and an ISO of 1600.
A Great Blue Heron in flight while carrying a branch to contribute to a nest being built in a tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C.. The male heron collects nesting material which includes twigs and oftentimes large branches as seen in this particular image, and presents it to the female who will accept or reject the branch as suitable nesting material.
I captured this image in Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C. where a colony of Great Blue Herons nest in the maple, red oak, and London plane trees found in this area which is in close proximity to a the Vancouver’s West End, a high-density area of the city, every year. The herons typically arrive in late February and early March and remain until late July or early August. It is a special place where one can observe the courtship rituals and mating of herons, the building of their nests, and the parents caring for their fledglings. One quickly learns to appreciate how important preserving our environment is to wildlife. It is as much of a delight to sit back and observe these birds as it is to capture their beauty in action. For more information see Stanley Park Herons
I captured this image with a Nikon D7100 at a focal length of 300 mm, F4 with a shutter speed of 1/1250 sec and an ISO of 250. I am delighted to share that this image was published and awarded on the fine art photography website 1X.
A high key image of a Great White Heron inundated with flies while wading in the shallow ocean waters off the island of Holbox in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Great White Herons are not common and typically only seen in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. When I first sighted this bird, I thought it was a Great Egret. However, I later identified this beauty as a White Heron because its legs are yellow as compared to the legs of a Great Egret which are black. Other small but notable differences are that Great White Herons are larger overall and their bills are hefty in appearance as compared to the elegant slim bill of an egret.
Frankly, bird identification can be quite difficult, and at times can prove to be as challenging as photographing them! However, knowing that egrets are a type of heron but that herons are not egrets, that Red-bellied woodpeckers do not have red bellies, and that black birds are not necessarily black birds, the complexity of identifying birds does not come as too much of a surprise.
A young Harbour Seal peeking out at the world beyond from the ocean waters of Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, B.C..
On this particular day while I was photographing birds I spotted a mother seal with her young pup navigating the ocean waters. Seals are curious creatures and I was delighted when this seal pup peeked out at the world beyond with those big sad eyes. Truly a precious moment in nature, and a most memorable moment for me. I captured this image with a Nikon D7100 at a focal length of 300 mm, F4 with a shutter speed of 1/1250 sec and an ISO of 2500.
I am delighted to share that this image was published and awarded on the fine art photography website 1X. It was also featured on Global BC as photo of the week. It remains one of my all time favourite images, and that may be because of the memory of a truly precious moment in nature!
Brant Geese are handsome birds with blackish-brown and white plumage, short necks and stubby black bills. They are easily identifiable by the white necklace of feathers at the top of their necks and a delightfully distinct cackle.
Brant Geese arrive in flocks on the east coast of central Vancouver Island each Spring. They are seen in abundance on the shorelines of Parksville, Rathtrevor and Qualicum where they stop to rest and feed on eel-grass and other aquatic vegetation before continuing their migration from Mexico and California to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic and Alaska. The months of March and April are the best months to visit for prime viewing opportunities.
For those interested in the technical details, I captured this image
with a Nikon D8500 at focal length of 500 mm, aperture of 8, shutter
speed of 1/800 second, and an ISO of 180.
March brings the Herring Run to Vancouver Island, B.C. Therefore the featured image is a portrait of a California sea lion, photographed at the French Creek Marina in Parksville, Vancouver Island, B.C.. She looks like a Little Darling to me! French Creek is a great spot to view both Stellar and California sea lions which are found in abundance on the east coast of Vancouver Island during the annual Herring Run which typically begins in mid-March. California sea lions are smaller and darker in colour than Steller sea lions. Their vocalization resembles a dog barking which awakens me most every morning during the season! I have come to love watching and listening to sea lions, who are naturally inquisitive and seemingly playful. It is not uncommon for a sea lion to swim closer to shore seemingly in a quest to check you out.
For those interested in the technical details, I captured this image with a Nikon D8500 at focal length of 500 mm, aperture of 9, shutter speed of 1/250 second, and an ISO of 800.
February is the month of love so it is only fitting that the featured image is one I have titled “Mating Dance,” featuring a pair of Pigeon Guillemots in breeding colours engaging in flirtatious play over the ocean waters of Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, B.C..
Pigeon Guillemots are seabirds that can dive to depths of forty-five meters! They use their wings to propel themselves through the water in search of aquatic prey. I adore observing these birds for their bright red feet and especially for their acrobatics while in flight and at play.
For those interested in the technical details, I captured this image with a Nikon D7100 at focal length of 300mm, aperture of 4, shutter speed of 1/1600 second, and an ISO of 720.