Random Photos Volume III

Another quick round of random photos that I wanted to share but don’t quite fit into other blog posts.

Towering Cumulus from Steveston Harbour

towering cumulus clouds drift across the sky above Steveston harbour

Towering Cumulus clouds drift across the evening sky over fishing boats in Steveston Harbour (Purchase)

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Last fall when I visited a few parks in Richmond, BC I ended the day at Steveston Harbour and Garry Point Park. I liked the shapes these Towering Cumulus clouds were making in the background and I thought this phenomenon might have a specific name. It turns out, after asking on Twitter, that these are Towering Cumulus clouds which would normally be mostly vertical, but as there were stronger winds at lower elevations, the bottom sections were blown to the left. An interesting formation, and one I wouldn’t know about if a meteorologist hadn’t answered my question!

Ice on the Fraser River

ice along the fraser river in glen valley

Ice along the Fraser River in Glen Valley (Purchase)

This was not a particularly harsh winter in the Fraser Valley, but we did have a cold stretch that lasted long enough for some ice to come down the Fraser River from colder areas in the interior. Some ice formed along the shore of the river, but there were also chunks floating down from upstream. This spot is at Glen Valley in Abbotsford, BC, and shows the east end of Crescent Island and the ice buildup there. Not that common an occurrence so I do try to get out and photograph it when possible. The mountain showing through the clouds in the background made the photograph worthwhile IMO, or I might have gone for a longer lens and focused just on the ice.

Reflections at Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park

fall foliage reflections at deer lake in sasquatch provincial park

Alder trunks reflecting on the surface of Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park (Purchase)

I have photographed this location (The Point) at Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park (one of my favourite park names) on a few occasions. Strangely I’ve twice had some serious colour issues when processing images from this location. I wrestled with a few of the photos from this evening for a while, but ultimately sent two of them to my friend Alex Kunz who showed how he would develop/process them. Naturally, two photographers will probably never be in complete agreement on what to edit in a photo due to monitor calibration choices, how we individually see colour, choices that are simply a matter of taste, etc. Seeing how others would approach a problem is often useful though, and I did manage to see how Alex works with some of the tools in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)/LR which may influence how I process a few things in the future. ACR has more and more capabilities with recent updates and I need to investigate those more often to see how they rank against the methods I’ve been using in Photoshop. I’ve moved more and more processing to ACR recently including stitching panoramas, graduated neutral density filters, and some colour tweaks as ACR has better results, or is easier to use, than the Photoshop equivalent.

As for the photograph itself, I’m clearly a sucker for reflections. While these Red Alder (Alnus rubra) trees don’t show a lot of fall foliage character, their partially white trunks work well in a reflection. Some of the grasses and shoreline shrubs offer a bit of colour which still gives it an autumn feel.

Alder Trees at Katzie Marsh

sunlight on alder tree branches in pitt meadows

Sunlight touches the moss and lichen covered branches of Red Alder at Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

During a visit to Pitt Lake and the Katzie Marsh in Pitt Meadows, BC a few years ago I made this photograph of the sunlight lighting up a few branches on these Red Alder (A. rubra) trees. As the photograph above shows, Red Alder don’t really do anything interesting in the fall, and are a somewhat generic green deciduous tree during spring and summer. Their bark, however, does have some interesting patterns on it in the winter and in this location had a lot of moss and lichen that adds to the character of the branches.

More of my newer images can be found in my New Images Gallery.

Richmond Nature Park Trails and Wildlife

Blueberry bushes, Labrador Tea, and Salal line the Bog Forest Trail boardwalk at the Richmond Nature Park in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

richmond nature park bog forest trail

Richmond Nature Park Bog Forest Trail (Purchase)

While pondering locations to find and photograph fall foliage last autumn I visited a number of locations that were new to me, and Richmond Nature Park was among them. Fall foliage was rather hit and miss last year, and I thought that perhaps a raised bog ecosystem might offer some birch and blueberry foliage that would be a bit different than the usual Maples etc. Having no experience with Richmond Nature Park I didn’t know which trails to take, and opted for The Time Trail and Bog Forest Trail that looped around the edge of the park, mostly. Some parts of the Bog Forest Trail are raised on a wooden boardwalk as you see above. This first photograph also shows how the Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Blueberry Bushes (Vaccinium sp.) make walking parts of these trails a bit like a journey through a colourful tunnel, with some wildlife mixed in a long the way.

douglas squirrel eating seeds at richmond nature park

Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) eating tree seeds at Richmond Nature Park (Purchase)

The Time Trail was the first trail I walked in the park and went through a portion of forest without much bog species evident. I photographed this Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) eating tree seeds in what was a popular feeding spot. I counted over 6 Douglas Squirrels in the same area at once which was nice to see as they are frequently pushed out by the larger, invasive Eastern Grey Squirrels. Seeds of coniferous trees such as the Douglas Fir (which were common along this part of the trail) are a large part of the Douglas Squirrel’s diet as well as occasional berries and mushrooms. There was some squabbling over the food in this location but it was relatively civilized banquet overall.

bog forest plants on the trail at richmond nature park

Salal and Blueberry bushes line the Bog Forest Trail at Richmond Nature Park (Purchase)

The photograph above shows the Bog Forest Trail on the western side of Richmond Nature Park with a few more open areas giving views of Birch and other tree species. There is also more Salal in these areas, giving a nice green edge to the trail.

bog forest plants on the trail at richmond nature park

A Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) foraging on a tree trunk (Purchase)

Immediately after I photographed the squirrel above I saw this Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) looking for insects and arthropods up and down the tree trunks along the Time Trail. I’ve read about Brown Creepers before, but never had seen one (they are well camouflaged against the tree bark). They don’t show up in the forest like a lot of the other birds I see often – they are climbing up tree trunks for the most part, searching for insects in the bark. Once I saw how this Creeper behaved, I moved a few trees ahead of where it was, and it eventually worked its way up the tree in front of me, and I was able to make this photo. They remind me a bit of trying to photograph Nuthatches – they never seem to sit still and are always on the move up each tree.

You can see more of my photos from Richmond Nature Park and the City of Richmond in my Richmond Gallery.

A few Random Photos from Stanley Park in Vancouver

Fall foliage colors on Maple trees along the Stanley Park Seawall at the west end of Coal Harbour.

fall leaves on the stanley park seawall coal harbour vancouver

Fall Foliage along the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver (Purchase)

Last Fall I made several trips into Burnaby and Vancouver to photograph various areas – and twice I wound up at Vancouver’s Stanley Park as my late afternoon/evening destination. Fall foliage in 2020 was hit and miss, and in some areas just plain bad. In this part of Vancouver, however, it was pretty decent in many places. Stanley Park is always a good spot to look for fall foliage, and even if there isn’t any, I never dislike an evening spent there. Even in the rain! After a walk around Lost Lagoon and a few other park areas, I headed further towards downtown to Devonian Harbour Park and made this photograph of a few people walking along the Seawall with some good fall leaves as a backdrop. This location is next to the Vancouver Rowing Club building at the west end of Coal Harbour.

lights on canada place in vancouver

Colourful lights on the sails of Canada Place (Purchase)

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I have photographed Canada Place many times, but not always at a higher resolution, so I made the above photograph and a few others to change that. Zoomed in at 100% you can’t tell the title of a book someone on one of the benches is reading, but you can tell what colour the cover is! I was going to make some panoramas including Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Centre next door, but the pandemic thwarted those plans. Not only are there not conventions going on at the moment, but some floors of the newer Convention Centre space are still reserved for a makeshift hospital should the pandemic overwhelm local hospitals (which has not happened, luckily). As a consequence all the lights on many of its floors are off. It just doesn’t look great in the evening with the lights off, so I skipped it entirely. Canada Place is my favourite anyway, and I like this colour scheme of lights on the “sails”. Sometimes I don’t like the colours used here, and really do prefer the light projections they had back in 2012. Not sure how often these are changed, but I liked the 2020 version.

Lost Lagoon

sunset light trees along shoreline lost lagoon

Evening light on trees along the shore of Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Purchase)

I have visited Lost Lagoon many times in Stanley Park, but had never walked all the way around it. I fixed that in October and walked the entire loop. There was not much left in the way of fall leaves, but I did like the scene above in the way that the light lit up the edges of the trees (mostly Red Alder, here) even without their leaves. I didn’t photograph the waterfowl around the lagoon much at all, as I knew I had a lot of those kinds of photographs from my earlier trips to Burnaby Lake Regional Park. I did photograph the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) below on the walk though. This one seemed to be having a bit of a dispute with the passing Wood Ducks who swam really close on their way by. This Heron was opening up its beak and making a lot of squawking noises to tell them to keep their distance (I presume). Songbirds they are not!

great blue heron at lost lagoon at stanley park in vancouver

A Mildly Irked Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park (Purchase)

Brockton Point Lighthouse

sunset lights up sky behind the brockton point lighthouse

Sunset Lights Up The Sky Behind the Brockton Point Lighthouse (Purchase)

I enjoy sunset light and while I don’t often sit around and wait for it, I am always happy to use it when available. When I stopped at Brockton Point in Stanley Park to photograph the Brockton Point Lighthouse and various subjects in North Vancouver, I got lucky with some high cloud that turned a nice pink colour. The Brockton Point Lighthouse was built in 1914 and sits along the northeast part of the Stanley Park seawall. The area gives nice views of Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge, as well as downtown and the Port of Vancouver. A bit later in the evening I made this panorama of the view of North Vancouver with Mount Seymour behind it. There are a lot of new towers and construction since I last photographed North Van from across the inlet, but the shipping traffic is omnipresent. While I’d prefer they weren’t in the photograph, I included the large bulk carrier Federal Illinois on the right as that kind of ship is a very frequent presence on the water there. I plan on making this photograph again when I am able to get back to Stanley Park while there is some snow on the mountains.

north vancouver and mount seymour from brockton point in stanley park

North Vancouver and Mount Seymour from Brockton Point in Stanley Park (Purchase)

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Lumberman’s Arch

lumbermans arch at stanley park

Lumberman’s Arch and a path through a double row of London Plane Trees (Platanus x acerifolia) (Purchase)

Originally this area was a village site called Xwáýxway before the Federal Government “claimed it” as their own. The Lumberman’s Arch above was erected in 1952, replacing an older arch called the Bowie Arch which was dismantled in 1947. The gravel path in this photograph winds south through the Lumberman’s Arch picnic area, past the Aquarium (behind the green fence on the left) to the Japanese Canadian War Memorial and beyond. The trees lining this path are called London Plane Trees (Platanus x acerifolia) and this appears to be the only spot they are planted in Stanley Park.

When I was in this same area a week later I photographed the Lions Gate Bridge from the Stanley Park Seawall. I’ve always liked this bridge at night with the reflection off the water of Burrard Inlet and the lights of West Vancouver beyond. This is a scene that I often shoot as a panorama as it fits the shape of the bridge well, and it eliminates a distracting, lighter coloured sky above that can happen during sunsets. There is no sky in the photograph below. The Lions Gate Bridge was opened in 1938 and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2005. The official name of the bridge is actually the First Narrow Bridge, though I rarely hear it actually called that.

lions gate bridge at night from stanley park

Lights illuminate the Lions Gate Bridge and the waters of Burrard Inlet at night (Purchase)

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Painter’s Circle

fall foliage and benches at painters circle in stanley park

Fall Foliage at Painter’s Circle in Stanley Park (Purchase)

Painter’s Circle is one of the areas in Stanley Park where artists (but not photographers) can sell their work with a permit. I liked these 3 park benches in Painter’s Circle lined up with the fall leaves behind them and made this photograph. I am not sure what species of trees these are, and normally that would really bother me but since so many different, non-native species are planted in Stanley Park this isn’t unusual. In some cases I can find mention of them such as the London Plane trees near the Lumbermans’ Arch above, but this is a bit more of an obscure location. These look to be much younger trees and perhaps do not have as well a documented history. I should have tried the app Seek by iNaturalist on them but I didn’t remember to do so at the time. Sometimes I’ll take a closeup of leaves on a plant I can’t identify and that app will ID right off the computer screen too. Even if it doesn’t know the species it quite often points me in the right direction. Really useful app!

More photos from Stanley Park can be found in my Stanley Park Gallery.

Birds at Piper Spit in Burnaby Lake Regional Park

A male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) perched in a tree over Eagle Creek near Piper Spit in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

male wood duck perched in a tree at burnaby lake

Male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) perched in a tree at Burnaby Lake Regional Park (Purchase)

I’m not a “Bird Photographer”, I just seem to photograph a lot of birds! I visited Burnaby Lake Regional Park on three occasions this past fall, and wound up photographing birds (along with other subjects) every time. Owning a longer telephoto lens has not only been great for my landscape photography, but has made some bird photography more successful than it was before. On my first visit to Burnaby Lake last year I went to Piper Spit. I’d driven to this location about 25 years ago but never actually visited when I lived in Burnaby and Coquitlam around that time. So when I was finished photographing at Deer Lake Park one evening, I headed to Burnaby Lake to check out this location at last. It is a nice spot to just be in but it is also a spot with a lot of bird photography potential. There are a lot of bird species at Piper Spit! The fanciest is the off course or escaped Mandarin Duck, but I think the native Wood Ducks like the one in the top photo are my favourite. They are one of the few ducks that will perch in trees, and I was lucky enough to come across a few doing just that just above Eagle Creek runs right out to Piper Spit.

long-billed dowitchers at burnaby lake regional park

Long-Billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus-scolopaceus) at Burnaby Lake (Purchase)

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I also made this panorama of a group of Long-Billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus-scolopaceus) resting around a dead tree trunk and branches in Burnaby Lake. I counted 146 Dowitchers in this photograph, but many others were foraging nearby and running around in the shallow water. This flock of Dowitchers is most likely overwintering at Burnaby Lake before departing to breeding grounds in the spring. The photo below is an individual Long-Billed Dowitcher that was foraging for various foodstuffs (mostly insects and aquatic invertebrates) nearby.

long-billed dowitcher foraging at burnaby lake regional park

A Long-Billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus-scolopaceus) foraging at Burnaby Lake (Purchase)

This Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) was amoung about 5 individuals that stopped to perch for a few minutes in a shrub next to the boardwalk at the spit. There was lots of squaking and they weren’t certainly not quiet, though they made a lot less noise than the 100’s of Mallard Ducks that were also there. The whole place descended into a bit of an unfortunate circus when someone showed up with a box of birdseed and dumped it into the water – just a few feet from a “don’t feed the birds” sign, of course. The ducks went crazy, many different species crowded into the small area, and the blackbirds decided none of this was worthy of their presence and departed.

red-winged blackbird perched in a tree at burnaby lake

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) perched in a tree at Burnaby Lake (Purchase)

This Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) was done with the bird seed bedlam and was walking around on the boardwalk seemingly interested in jumping off the other side. When it stopped in front of me briefly, I made this photograph of just its head. You can see me crouched down in the reflection in its eye. This time of the year Canada Geese are pretty relaxed so there was no hissing or honking at me, it just passed by, posed for a headshot, and carried on. I didn’t crop this photograph – this is the size the camera recorded it at, so the detail at 100% is interesting as I was only 1.24 meters (4 feet) away!

canada goose head up close photo at burnaby lake

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) Up Close! (Purchase)

This Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) also seemed uninterested in the bird seed junk food buffet being offered nearby and just continued wading and foraging in the mud like nothing was happening.

green-winged teal adult at burnaby lake

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) foraging at Burnaby Lake (Purchase)

There are a lot of Great Blue Herons around Burnaby Lake. I saw this individual hunting (and catching!) small fish and other prey in the lily pads along the shore of the lake. I’ve learned that Herons aren’t that particular as to what animals they eat. If it will fit down the esophagus – down it goes! Which reminds me of the one time I saw a Heron take on a bit more than its esophagus could handle – a photo featured at the end of this post: Hogs Back Falls on Ottawa’s Rideau River. I think this moment was a learning experience!

great blue heron hunting in the lily pads at burnaby lake

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) hunting in the Lily Pads at Burnaby Lake Regional Park (Purchase)

You can find more photographs from Burnaby Lake in my Burnaby Gallery.

My Top 10 Photographs from 2020

It is time once again to post my favourite images from the past year. 2020 has not been a typical year by any means, but I can’t really complain overall. I stayed closer to home this year, and photographed more wildlife than usual. Part of this was the limited locations I had at times, avoiding crowds/people, and due to owning a longer lens now. As usual, I started working on this list when I collected images for my 2021 Nature Calendar, though the criteria for that is a bit more limited than a top 10 list (I generally avoid human elements). I let this selection of images sit for a while like I did last year, but only wound up rotating one image in/out this time.

If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to my Image Archive. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images (if available) to provide more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. These photos aren’t in any specific order though I think the first photograph of the fledgling Barred Owls is my favourite. The blog post below the photo outlines some of my luck involved in making the owl image. That was a photo opportunity I never imagined having and can’t really expect to again! I didn’t anticipate photographing a comet this year either, so there are always surprises.

I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites.

My Favourite Photos of 2020:

barred owl babies snuggling on a branch
1. Barred Owl (Strix varia) Owlets Snuggling
(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: Barred Owl (Strix varia) Fledglings in Campbell Valley Park

waterfall on sumas mountain in abbotsford british columbia
2. Waterfall along Poignant Creek on Sumas Mountain

(Abbotsford, British Columbia)

comet neowise in the evening sky above Burnaby
3. Comet NEOWISE in the evening sky above Burnaby Mountain
(Burnaby, British Columbia)
Blog post: Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) And My First Astrophotography

juvenile bald eagle sitting on driftwood with mount baker
4. A juvenile Bald Eagle next to Boundary Bay with Mount Baker (Washington) in the background.
(Delta, British Columbia)
Blog post: Viewing Bald Eagles at Boundary Bay

devon falls in abbotsford british columbia
5. Devon Falls
(Abbotsford, British Columbia)
Blog post: Devon Falls at Bassani Park in Abbotsford British Columbia

greater yellowlegs looking for food at blackie spit
6. Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) foraging at Blackie Spit
(Surrey, British Columbia)
Blog post: Birds at the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area

golden ears mountains sunset at derby reach park
7. Golden Ears and sunset light at Derby Reach Regional Park

(Langley, British Columbia)

short-eared owl asio flammeus at boundary bay
8. Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) flying at Boundary Bay Regional Park
(Delta, British Columbia)
Blog post: Birds at the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area

lummi peak on lummi island from boundary bay
9. Lummi Peak on Lummi Island (in Washington State) – photographed from Boundary Bay

(Delta, British Columbia)

male wood duck on a tree branch
10. Male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) on a tree branch

(Burnaby, British Columbia)

You can view my favourite photographs from 2019 here: My Top 10 Photos of 2019.

2021 Nature Calendar Now Available!

My 2021 Nature Calendars are now available! I have put together some of my favourite recent photographs into a 11″x17″ (28cm x 43cm) calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape, wildlife, and nature scenes from British Columbia. As the purchase website no longer has a preview available, take a look at the index below for a small preview of the images contained in the calendar.

30% OFF! Use the code BFCM30 (case sensitive) for 30% OFF at checkout through November 30th.

cover for 2021 british columbia nature calendar

2021 Nature Calendar Cover – Juvenile Barred Owls

index for 2021 british columbia nature calendar

2021 Calendar Index

A Few Spring and Summer Wildflowers

Spring and Summer Wildflowers – this Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) was found blooming at Williams Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

siberian miners lettuce claytonia sibirica flowers

Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) Flowering (Purchase)

I’ve photographed a few species of wildflowers in parks near where I live this spring and summer, and I thought I’d put them all in one post. The above photograph is a Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) plant I found blooming this spring at Williams Park in Langley, BC. I photographed the Miner’s Lettuce during one of my first tentative trips out to photograph after being mostly at home due to the pandemic. I’ve usually seen Siberian Miner’s Lettuce in closer proximity to each other, but this one was standing almost alone so I could isolate it in the photograph.

Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris)

smooth hawksbeard crepis capillaris flowers

Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris) Flowers (Purchase)

I photographed these Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris) flowers this summer in a field at Campbell Valley Regional Park. I hadn’t explored this particular part of the park before, so I didn’t have any expectations. I had a close encounter with a very healthy looking Coyote while it was hunting in the field, but this came as I had a wide angle lens on my camera (of course). It stayed around long enough for me to switch to a 100-400 but when I slowly stood up again to see if it was there it ran off. However, I kept the 100-400 on for the remaining time I had in the field and photographed these Hawksbeard flowers using that lens. I stay on trails, so the longer focal length (318mm) I was able to use here came in handy. While I bought it for wildlife this lens can make a small subject like wildflowers feel pretty close even though I’m many feet away.

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca)

tufted vetch vicia cracca with bumblebees

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) Flowers Visited by Bumblebees (Purchase)

I photographed this Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) in the same Campbell Valley Park field this spring while it was being visited by a few bumblebees. This was from 2.45 meters (8 feet) away – so I was glad to have the longer lens. I made a few photographs of various Vetch plants in the field, but the bumblebees really seemed to love this one, so I stuck with it and was happy to get some photos with multiple bees at once.

Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum)

I have only seen Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum) blooming in the wild once before – and that was on Vancouver Island near Port Alberni (Stamp River Falls) in 2013. So when I found these flowers in the forest next to a trail early this summer in Aldergrove Regional Park I was glad I had my camera with me. Also known as the Columbia Lily or Oregon Lily – Tiger Lilies were eaten by the Coast Salish people usually as a flavouring or condiment. The very green maple leaves mixed in appear to belong to a young Vine Maple tree.

tiger lilies blooming flowers

Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum) in Aldergrove Regional Park (Purchase)

Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum)

I photographed these Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum) flowers and leaves on the forest floor at Campbell Valley Regional Park while photographing the Barred Owl owlets a few weeks ago. I usually notice Avens when the velcro like hooks on the seeds grab onto my clothing and come home for a ride. This method of seed distribution seems quite effective though I am probably not the target animal for that kind of distribution. This time, however, they were flowering right next to the trail where I was photographing the owls, so I took a break from recording owl screeching sounds to photograph a few flowers near the trail.

large leaved avens flowers geum macrophyllum

Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum) flowers and leaves (Purchase)

You can see these and more photographs of spring and summer wildflowers in my Wildflower Photos Gallery.

Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens) Migration at Fraser River Delta

A flock of Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens) take flight from a farmers field in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, Canada.

snow geese flock flying in delta bc

Snow Geese Taking Flight (Purchase)

Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens) were one species I was interested in photographing with my new Canon 100-400mm lens, and so I made 3 day trips to photograph them. The first one was to Ladner and Tsawwassen in Delta, BC. I didn’t really have a good idea as to where to find them, so I drove around Westham Island first, and saw zero Snow Geese. I then drove around Ladner looking at the various fields and saw zero Snow Geese. I decided to head to Tsawwassen, and when I was on my way down there I didn’t see Snow Geese – I heard them. I got out of the car and a large flock flew out of a field, likely stirred up by a passing bird of prey. They circled their field for a minute and then flew off. This was not a photo opportunity but at least I’d seen some at last! When I reached Tsawwassen I found another field with geese in it, and this time they stayed put for a moment. I made the second photo here at that time. The geese were feeding on the various roots and seeds of the cover crop in the field, and there were many comings and goings. Eventually a Hawk passed by and the entire flock took to the sky – and I made the first photograph above. It seems fairly clear that most of the opportunity to photograph these birds will be either a bunch of fairly relaxed birds in a field, or a bedlam of cacophony as they all vocalize their displeasure at having to leave the same field. They are not quiet when doing so!

snow geese landing in a farmers field

Snow Geese Landing in Farm Field (Purchase)

Snow Geese breed on the Arctic tundra – and many of these migrating down west coast of North America will have come from breeding grounds such as Wrangel Island in Russia. Over 100,000 pairs breed on that island alone – one indicator the Snow Goose population is doing very well. The Fraser River Delta and the farm fields in Delta and Richmond, as well as local wetlands, are a good source of food for the geese as they migrate south. They will also make a stop here on the way back north to breed in the spring.

snow geese flock resting at iona beach

A Flock Rests at Iona Beach (Purchase)

On my second trip to photograph Snow Geese I had little success and saw zero Snow Geese. I drove all around the south Delta area and what was really odd was I didn’t even spot a Great Blue Heron – a fairly common species to see in the farm fields and along the roadside ditches. Just not a good day for birding I guess! The next trip I made I headed to Richmond to visit Iona Beach Regional Park – a place I had never been. There were several hundred Snow Geese along the shoreline of Iona Beach, and they were not disturbed by a human nearby. The photograph above shows a flock of geese resting along the shore. Most of the geese were in a flock, a few looked to be broken off into small family groups of 3-6 geese (like the pair in the photo below), and there were a few that seemed to be relatively independent.

a pair of snow geese at iona beach

Pair of Snow Geese at Iona Beach (Purchase)

From Iona Beach Regional Park I drove south and visited Terra Nova Rural Park and walked along the West Dyke Trail – both places I had not been before. I’d heard there were a lot of geese here, and there were, but not really close enough to photograph. There was a lot of wildlife around though, so I think this will be another good spot to revisit in the future. When I last visited Steveston in Richmond I noticed these odd, wooden contraptions placed periodically along the shoreline. There were more near the north end of the dyke trail, and so I decided to look them up later. Turns out they are old radar reflectors – though I’m not sure if they have any use at this time, or were used by ships or aircraft. Richmond doesn’t really have much in the way of topography to bounce a radar signal off of, so I guess this was a method of getting around that. This one did add a bit of interest to the photograph below as a large flock of geese flew in from the fields nearby (I could hear them coming for many minutes) and landed in the water.

snow geese flying at the fraser river delta in richmond

The Fraser River Delta in Richmond (Purchase)

For more of my photographs of animals visit my Animals and Wildlife Gallery.