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.  

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