Wednesday 13 November 2013

Sweet Light, Northern Harriers and Snow Geese

Nov 12 2013 Boundary Bay 72nd Ave. Delta British Columbia.
There I was on Boundary Bay, one of Canada's best winter raptor locations. Practically alone, the only others in sight were a horseback rider, a duck hunter and some joggers and one other photographer (the latter please contact me if you are reading this)
The sky was overcast, just a hint of blue sky over Point Roberts. Rather than work with the flat light we chatted away. Suddenly a shaft of sunlight pierced the leaden sky. The game was on. We both set up our lenses waiting for the afternoon "sweet light" Dark sky and cloud hid the Coast Mountains while on the dyke the cold wind was tempered by the warmth of the late afternoon sun. If I had to choose just one word to describe all this, it would be bliss with a big B!
Before long the Northern Harriers began hunting in earnest. The newly arrived Short-eared owls could be seen hunting out on the foreshore. Soon they'll habituate themselves to all the human activity and like the Harriers, will soon be hunting closer to the dyke and within range of the lens.
Our first pictures were of the flock of Snow Geese, perhaps as many as five thousand. They flew overhead, honking and flying. Waves and waves of them flew toward a freshly ploughed field on 72nd Ave.
Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens)

As the afternoon progressed the light became softer making it ideal for catching the last of the fall colours. This Northern Harrier skirted along the dyke and over the golf course and straight toward me. Panning the flight of the bird combined with a fast shutter speed helped me secure this pleasing image.
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
This shot I took Nov 8 on the way to Boundary Bay. Who says the sun never shines on the Wet Coast