Spring in Campbell Valley Park

In Campbell Valley Park, a pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) escort their goslings across McLean Pond.

canada goose family on mclean pond campbell valley park

Canada Geese pair with goslings (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   As warmer, spring weather is finally here – I headed to Campbell Valley Park last week to photograph whatever I could find around McLean pond. Turns out the Dandelion flowers of the week before (see below) were spent, so I used most of my time photographing this Canada Goose family. Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are pretty ubiquitous around here, but I hadn’t before had the opportunity to photograph a family such as this, and not as close as this. While I most often use it for landscapes, my 1.4x extender was purchased for wildlife encounters such as this one, and it performs well on my 70-200mm lens. This allowed me to sit on the bank and let them swim by whenever they wanted – I didn’t disturb them much at all. What did bother this pair was another pair of adults that seemed to take a run at them every 10 minutes or so. The male (I presume) would swim over, get really close to the mother and goslings, and the parental male would chase him away, then chase the female away. There was a lot of squawking, splashing and flapping of wings. I don’t know if this was about territory or what exactly, but they were persistent the entire time I was there (about an hour).

   In the Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley area we don’t have big fields of wildflowers in any form other than that of the Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). While these are considered a weed in lawns and gardens – I do think they make a credible wildflower display in fields such as this one in Campbell Valley Park. Not quite as impactful as some of the alpine and subalpine fields with multiple species such as those found at Mount Rainier, but still worthy of some attention.

sunset at jack point in biggs park nanaimo

A field of Dandelions blooming in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

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See more of my photos from Campbell Valley Park.

Search for Bald Eagles Part III ‐ Harrison River/Chehalis

bald eagle - haliaeetus leucocephalus eating salmon near the harrison river chehalis area
Bald Eagle
(Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
-click to enlarge-

   This is Part III in my series of posts on my search for Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) to photograph in the Fraser Valley this Winter. My first two trips were to the Lower Stave River and surrounding area. Having seen what that area had to offer, I next headed out to the Harrison River/Chehalis area near Harrison Hot Springs. This area is rich with salmon spent after their spawning period, and consequently the Eagles congregate here in large numbers to eat.

bald eagle - haliaeetus leucocephalus in flight near the harrison river chehalis area
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus
) in flight
-click to enlarge-

   The first photo shows an Eagle that has found a salmon carcass to dine on, in the shallows along Morris Valley Road. I managed to spot it from the car, and laying on the side of the road made this photo of it. A large truck went by and it then flew away – and I made the photo on the right while attempting to pan as it flew by. I have never been that successful at this, and this photo is not really any different. I find this sort of photo more frustrating than a complete failure, because it does come close to sharpness. I failed to get enough shutter speed going here, apparently 1/250 was not quite enough. However, when I screw up something I am trying early on – it is a learning experience – and that is why I posted the photographic result.

a flock of canada geese - branta canadensis - flying over the harrison river after feeding in the fields by kilby historic site
Canada Geese
(Branta canadensis)
-click to enlarge-

   After visiting the area around the Chehalis River I visited the beach near the Kilby Historic Site. A ton of Eagles around but often quite distant though I did meet another photographer on the beach. As we were slowly approaching a juvenile Bald Eagle to photograph, we found ourselves in the flight path of multiple flocks of Canada Geese leaving the nearby fields. I managed to make this photograph of a flock flying overhead. You can still see clumps of mud and grasses on the beak of the goose second from the left, though this is more evident at larger sizes. I also managed to avoid being pooped on, though my car was not as lucky! For this photo I increased the shutter speed to make sure I could get the Geese a bit sharper than the Eagle photo. This worked as the photo is nice and sharp – though I did have the benefit of having time to prepare unlike the Eagle photo.