Sunday, August 7, 2016

July 2016-Grizzlies, Lava Flow, Hyder AK, Stewart, Garter Snakes, Green Heron, Black Bear, Steve Wolfe, Nass Valley

This blog includes a few pictures I took locally and some from a trip we took to the north west coast of British Columbia.  I have included an incredible chance encounter at the end of the blog. 
I found a young Barn Swallow alone on a bridge.  Anticipating the return of an adult to feed it I set up my camera's speed, iso, focus and waited.  It wasn't long before an adult appeared and I got this picture.  Apparently I did everything but  set the depth of field.
The Goodyear Blimp visited Abbotsford on its last tour before being replaced by a Zeplin next year.

Wilband Ponds have a den of Garter Snakes which appear in the morning to warm up before venturing out.  This snake appears to have 3 heads.  I have counted over 20 at one time.  I contacted the city and they are investigating protecting the site.  

The large size of this snail attracted me to it.  I learned later it is a Pacific Sideband Snail and is BC's largest land snail.
A Green Heron has been fishing at a small beaver dam at Wilband Ponds for a few months now.  Taken in sunlight.
Taken in the shade.
Towards the end of the month Dian and I packed up the trailer and headed to Stewart, BC.  
At Stewart we cross the border into Hyder, Alaska.  A viewing platform there allows one to see spawning salmon and the animals they attract.  
There are always 3 or 4 rangers here to keep the public safe and answer questions. They have 2 way radios and inform each other, and the public, when a bear approaches.
The boardwalk is deceptively high off the ground.
This is the main attraction.  The venue allows one to get within meters of the Grizzlies.
This one is called "Dogface" because he is so scarred up.  Here he strips the fat rich skin of a Chum Salmon.  Dogface is about 15 years old.  The rangers told us he will be immense in a few months and he will have replaced all that shaggy fur with a new coat.
A Varied Thrush was scavenging along the banks. 
Sometimes we had to wait hours for a bear to show up.  This otter helped kill the time.
This Grizzly only showed up for a brief appearance.  Luckily it offered some nice poses.  I may have cropped this a little too tight.
Perhaps it didn't stay around for very long because it was afraid Dogface may show up.  It is eating a leftover salmon that Dogface caught and partially ate.
A White-throated Sparrow showed up somewhere at one of our campsites.
Mew Gulls were common on the stream.
Our next stop was Lava Bed Provincial Park. 
This park is on Nisga Land.  This tribe has negotiated with the province to have all taxes paid by the local citizens go the members of the band instead of the government.  
An immense lava flow occurred here 300 years ago.  It killed over 2000 residents of the valley.
The lava blocked the flow of a stream and it formed this lake.  Hence the name Lava Lake.
This hawk made me bang the brakes.  After observing a few diagnostic traits we determined it to be a leucistic Red-tail Hawk or a pale Harlans Red-tail. The tail was white also.   Unfortunately it wouldn't let us approach for better shots.
An American Redstart was starting to look a little shabby as it moults into its winter feathers.
We saw a few Black Bears but this one gave the best photo opportunities.

A few raindrops enhanced the scene.
About 10 years ago I joined a social media group to share photos.  One photographer impressed me enough to befriend him on Facebook.  His name was Steve Wolfe and he lived in Los Angeles.  Two years ago we visited Portal Arizona for the 3rd time.  There is a road sign there that I always found interesting.  It was indicating a house down the road called Faranuf.  A year ago I was reading Steve's Facebook page when I saw he had purchased that house.  What a coincidence.  Well, on our way back from our recent trip we camped at Beaumont Provincial Park, close to Vanderhoof. Dian and I went for a walk before supper and saw a truck and trailer slowly approaching us.  It had a vanity license plate on the front that read Faranuf. The window was rolled down and the driver was going to ask if we had seen any birds, but before he could I said "Do you live in Portal, Arizona?" Yep, it was Steve.  There are millions of people and destinations in North America.  What are the chances of meeting someone cold like that?  We had a great visit after supper when Steve said he was on his way to Alaska and wouldn't be home until November.  To make it a little more unbelievable, Arizona only issues 1 vanity plate to be installed on the rear of the vehicle but they had mistakingly sent him 2 so he also put one on the front.  Without that plate we would have been  strangers passing in the milieu of life.  

End of this blog.  Scroll down for previous blog.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June 20-24, 2016-Lillooet, Diamonds Ranch, Fountain Lake, Bobolink, Veery, Macgillivray's Warbler

At the beginning of June we visited BC Hydro's Seton Campground close to Lillooet.  We liked the location and the fact it was free camping.  So we headed out there again for 5 days.  The following maps show 2 areas we visited.
The point on the map indicates the Diamond Ranch between Pavillion and Clinton.  This back road is very picturesque and birdy.  I wish we would have gone all the way to Clinton but rain showers were hindering our explorations.

High in the hills above Lillooet are a couple of nice lakes that we hiked around.  One was Fountain Lake.

This Robin was collecting bugs on the shore of Fountain Lake.

We were excited to find a Bobolink on the Diamond Ranch.  Unfortunately it was raining at the time.  This restricted our exploration of the area.  This area is 1500 meters above sea level and is a vast grassland between Pavillion and Clinton.  The good variety of birds we found there was unexpected.
Ian Routley from Lillooet went up to find the Bobolink on June 30 2016.  He reported back that he found it and 1 other male and 1 female.  They were carrying insects.  This may be the first breeding evidence recorded for this area.  
Okay butterfly guys-Fritillary?  Thanks to Tim Allison of Calgary for identifying it as a Field Crescent.

I posted a picture of this Gray Catbird on the blog  from our previous trip.  He popped up again and ate a few Red Osier Dogwood berries.

Dian heard something and after a little searching we found a Macgillivray's Warbler at Fountain Lake.

Many of the birds we saw were in feeding mode.
Lillooet has a vast area covered with spawning salmon channels.  This buck Mule Deer was cooling off in them. 
A doe Mule Deer was in camp.
Song Sparrow at Fountain Lake collecting insect specimens.
Spotted Sandpiper at Fountain Lake. 
This Spotted Sandpiper at Fountain Lake had 4 other little ones.

We heard Veerys but it wasn't until the last day that we finally saw one at our campsite.
We have come to the conclusion that Veerys are difficult to photograph as they are skittish and stay in dark undergrowth.  Veerys sing at sundown and this was evident at the campsite.  We heard them every evening so we knew they were there but we couldn't find any. This one finally appeared the morning before we left.
The wind blew the feathers of this Vesper Sparrow to reveal the chestnut patch.  At Diamond Ranch.
Warbling Vireo at Fountain Lake

Western Meadowlark Diamond's Ranch
We spotted some people in a field on a drive to Goldbridge.  So we stopped and saw this sign.

It was a group of archeologists excavating  an ancient native village.  We will have to take the tour the next time we visit.

We thought we would visit Lillooet again and see what we missed the first visit but we just found more things to see and do.  One of the things is to drive the whole route from Pavillion to Clinton.  That is my kind of country.

End of this blog.  Scroll down for previous blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

BC Hydro Campground, Seton Lake, Lillooet, British Columbia Part 3 of 3 June 5 and 6, 2016

This is the final blog of our 3 campsite trip.  Seton Lake Campground is run by BC Hydro and it is free!!  This is a great spot with an overflow if the sites are full.  Being at a lower altitude than Green Lake and Tunkwa the temperature was much higher.  In fact it was 36 celsius in the afternoon when we were there.  The campground was well maintained and had water.  
The entrance to the campground.
The route from our previous campsite at Green Lake. (previous blog)
Here is the entire route we took during the 8 days.
One evening while sitting at a picnic table we saw this bear high on the mountain side digging for something.
Just above the bear was this Mountain Sheep.
Above the Sheep were these 2 Mountain Goats.  We spotted 7 Mountain Goats and 2 other Sheep on the cliff side.  A local resident joined us and said there were also plenty of Cougars in area.  We didn't spot any.
Not sure what this recent fledgling is.  It could scramble across the ground pretty fast.
From the campsite at sunset.

Lazuli Bunting In Lillooet

The Old Bridge in Lillooet was built in the early 1900's to replace a ferry over the Fraser River that was used to transport gold miners to the Cariboo Goldrush around 1860.
The Fraser River from the bridge looking towards Lillooet on the right.

The Fraser looking north from the Old Bridge.
Yellow Warbler around the campsite.
I was taking pictures of the sunset looking west and turned around to find some color in the east.
Some of the campsites will accommodate a pretty good sized rig.
A Gray Catbird popped up as we watched the Goats and Sheep.

Sunset over Seaton Lake.  This lake provides the water for a BC Hydro power project.

All the wildlife in this blog (except for the Lazuli Bunting) were photographed at a picnic site across the road from the campsite.  We have decided we have to return here soon, as we missed a $10 train ride to Seaton Portage, a great museum and a visit to Goldbridge; an historic mining town.  This inaugural extended trip with our new Escape has reinforced our decision that the trailer is going to provide some great camping experiences.

End of this blog.  Scroll down for previous blogs and go to "older posts".