Odd Cormorant

Click on image for full size version See below for update Last Sunday I took these pictures of cormorants on a rock at the junction between Krestof Sound, Nakwasina Passage, and Olga and Neva Straits. At the time I didn’t notice anything particularly unusual, just thought I would grab photos to take a closer look … Read more

Snowy Day at Totem Park

I got an e-mail this morning from someone who reported seeing a dozen or so geese off the point at Totem Park this morning. She said it was dim and she didn’t have binoculars so couldn’t see them too well, but it looked like they might not have white cheeks, and might be worth checking out. I took this as motivation to get out of the house – something I might not have done otherwise.

By the time I headed out, skies were getting darker and snow was starting to fall. When I reached the park snow was falling heavily. Between the wind, snow, and moderately low tide, I couldn’t see the water at the end of the park, and I didn’t really want to wander out into the stiff breeze with blowing snow. Instead, I spent a little more time on the trail, gave some attention to the two species of alder, then walked over to the river mouth, and finally to the point, by which time the snow was starting to let up.

I walked out on the flats and was able to approach some of the 100 or more crows fairly closely. They seemed to be foraging for invertebrates and eating snow. It was fun to watch (and try to photograph) them flying up with mussels (I think) and dropping them to crack them open. I got pictures of several different individuals, but not a good full sequence for any particular time. I sorted the gallery pictures below so it’s in order, even though the pictures are from 2 or 3 different birds. One particular crow allowed me to approach quite closely as it was eating snow. I was interested in this, since Rowan had just told me a couple of days ago that she was able to see the crows eating snow at the park.

After heading back to the trail, I stopped to take pictures of 5 different alder trees. I like to try and notice differences between the species of alder (Alnus rubra and Alnus viridis) – and I think I found another one today. It seemed to work pretty well for the trees I could find at the park today, anyway.

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Lost in Luzulas

Small-flowered Woodrush (Luzula parviflora) along Indian River I was going to post some pictures from last weekend and write a note about the record snows we had in November, but ended up getting distracted by Luzulas on the wiki. In particular, I was looking at collections of Luzula piperi and Luzula wahlenbergii. Noticed a couple … Read more

Hunting Trip

A heron watched as we loaded up to leave

Today Connor, Rowan and I went out with my dad and a friend to see if we could find a deer at Deep Inlet. Connor was quite enthusiastic and hopeful that he would get to shoot his first deer, or at least be able to see one cleaned/prepared for packing out. It was a sunny pleasant day with little wind, a little chilly in the shade, but not like a day I remember when I was a kid.

After hiking up the hill together, Rowan and I split off from the others. We saw plenty of tracks, but no deer. The last time I was up there was probably when I was around Connor’s age, so though it wasn’t too familiar, I was kind of surprised that I recognized as much as I did. (One thing is for sure, the hike up the hill wasn’t nearly as bad as I remember.) We joined back up after a bit and hiked back.

Along the way back, we followed a bear trail that had some relatively fresh tracks (probably from the day before). I was also interested to see a spot where the trail led up to a sign tree and the vegetation in the trail was distinctly different than that on either side of the trail (or even further away from the tree along the trail).

We checked out where the dead Gray Whale had been hauled last spring. I was a little surprised to see how little of it remained. I guess people came out and salvaged the bones, as there were none of those left that we could see. All we were able to find was a patch of what appeared to be skin/blubber. It seemed odd that bears hadn’t eat it down, but perhaps it wasn’t so good for eating for some reason.

It was a pleasant trip back in the boat – the kids each got a turn at driving. It took Rowan a while to figure out how to keep things going in the direction she wanted to go. We ended up turning circles for long enough that I started to get dizzy, but she finally started to get the hang of it. At the green can out off Galankin Island we saw a lone Steller’s Sea Lion laying out in the sun. It raised its head briefly to look at us before relaxing again.

We ended up making it home by early afternoon.

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Chromophyton (Golden Glow Mystery Revisited)

Over three years ago, I reported on a “Golden Glow Mystery” that was puzzling me. My brother and I had been hiking along Mosquito Cove Trail and I noticed a yellow something covering the surface of a muddy depression under a stump. First thinking it was pollen or spores, we determined that it was neither … Read more