Chasing Whales

For the last day in St. John’s, I decided to take a drive South to Cape Spear, specifically to see if I can spot some whales. Whales indeed appeared and they provided a spectacular show.

Besides whales, I spotted a lot of birds. In particular, many seagulls, Northern Gannets, and Atlantic Puffins.

Interestingly, the Atlantic Puffins have been flying in swarm with another bird species which I am not yet able to identify. I will share some photos of these swarms once I was able to id the other bird species.

Today was my last full day on Newfoundland and I am eager to return soon!

Newfoundland Wildlife

It’s about time for a short review on what I have seen so far on my trip to Newfoundland. I still have three days more and I may be able to add some more new observations or I may be able to take better photos of what I have already seen.

In total, 3 mammals and 17 different birds:

Birds

  • American Black Duck
  • American Crow
  • American Goldfinch
  • Bald Eagle [New]
  • Black Guillemot [New]
  • Common Tern
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • European Starling
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Greater Yellowleg
  • Grey-cheeked Thrush [New]
  • Herring Gull [New]
  • Northern Gannet [New]
  • Northern Pintail [New]
  • Osprey
  • Pine Grosbeak [New]
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper

Mammals

  • American Red Squirrel
  • Atlantic White-sided Dolphin [New]
  • Northern Minke Whale [New]

[New]: First time I was able to take a photo. At the end all new species will be added to my collection of animals: https://xcmsmedia.appspot.com

Chasing Bald Eagles

I returned to the same place where I saw the other day a juvenile Bald Eagle with the objective to see if I can spot the adults. And I did. I saw two adults and again a juvenile, maybe the same from the other day.

Unfortunately, the adults have been too far away. I was not able to get pleasant shots of them but the juvenile cooperated nicely and flew by just a few meters away.

It turns out that around St. John’s Bald Eagles and Ospreys are more frequent than American Robins [I saw one] and Red-winged Blackbirds. How about that :)

 

Pippy Park Failure

With Google Maps, the way how I travel has changed fundamentally. But today Google Maps failed me as there are two Pippy Parks and I accidentally went for the second one which is a golf course.

I am no friend of golf courses. I consider the relation between the size of the ball and the field it is played on as almost perversely out of proportions and I think it is unfair to reserve such a huge space for so few people.

 

Anyway, it was not obvious on Google Maps that the second Pippy Park is a golf course with restricted access and I had to look for an alternative. I found a natural area adjacent to Airport Heights Park.

It Is No Secret …

.. that Newfoundland owns unique and beautiful landscapes attracting many tourists year over year. The place is also known for great opportunities to see and observe wildlife like birds, whales, moose and more.

Green Boat

I shouldn’t be that surprised about what I saw on my first two days hiking in and around St. John’s. Nevertheless, it’s overwhelming! Almost happy that tomorrow rain is expected and therefore I may have the possibility to relax and regain some energy for the following days.

Whale watching from the beach.

No need to search long for birds.

Biking around Island Montreal – 200+ km

Cycling is my preferred way to travel because different to walking or hiking you actually get somewhere. And on the bike, I feel a strong freedom in my choice where to go. At least for the first few miles.

Anyway, to start my 2017 bike tours on Island Montreal, I began slowly and tested my bike, bags and equipment by visiting Ile de la Visitation. I then increased the pace and biked to Technopark, Park Pointe-aux-Prairies and finally to Park Ile Bizard.

I geared up my bike by adding feet bracelets to the pedals for the last tour. I had them years ago and I remembered that they ease biking a lot but now I am not sure if that was just wishful thinking. On my last trip, I was faster in average but it could be due to having improved my condition over these days. The bracelets are definitively a hassle with all the stop lights in Montreal, though.

The purpose of these trips was not only to cycle around although this is enjoyable itself. With the bike, I am able to get to parks which are difficult to reach by public transportation and the reason to visit these parks is mainly, and you may know it already  by now, to take photos of Island Montreal’s wildlife.

I add here some shots including two species which I observed for the first time and a Great Egret flying by from my last trip.

I have added all photos except the flowers to my galleries:
https://xcmsmedia.appspot.com/species?view=selector
The over 20 new flowers are still in process to be identified and will be added over the next few days.

 

Spring 2017 Has Arrived!

Don’t get me wrong! I love winter up here in Montreal and this year brought a nice amount of snow early in December as well as late March. Nevertheless, I always look forward to Spring  and to start to realize all the projects I planned during dark and long afternoons and evenings for the coming season when outdoors activities don’t involve an indefinite number of clothing layers.

To close this season a shot taken at Park Angrignon

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Still all grey. It is always astonishing to observe how vegetation proliferates during late April and May. A few days and weeks and the dominant grey is gone.

I have taken another photo which represents the arrival of spring more accurate. Although the lake in Park Angrignon is still frozen, I watched a Great Blue Heron flying over the park. These birds pass winter South and their arrival at Park Angrignon is a definitive sign for Spring.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

By the way, I switched from Nikon D7100 to Nikon D500. I hope that the ads turn out to be true and I will be able to catch that particular magic moment of animals in action thanks to the 10fps! ;)

Golden – Last Day Before Snowfall

When visiting Park Angrignon this weekend, I wasn’t aware that it will soon snow and that the setting will change dramatically. These shots will be the last colorful photography of this year, unless some miracle may happen and I win a trip to the South. Miracle, because I don’t play lottery. I may should specify, I am not into lottery where I pay money for a tiny chance to win. However, I have the impression that nature photography is also a sort of lottery in which I do participate whenever I can.

As usual, arriving at the park too late, 2pm and therefore just one hour left before it starts to get too dark.

I was struggling to get something out of my shot of the female Hooded Merganser. It was the only time when there was a bit of movement within the small group of birds. They were floating around, sleeping and with their beaks resting on the shoulders most of the time and their only action was shortly opening their eyes from time to time and if necessary smoothly drifting back to the group with one or two strikes with the feet. After going through the regular sequence of post-processing steps, the bird turned blue and I had to reduce the blue color. Still some blue there, though.

My second viewing of a beaver. Like the last time two years ago at Rapids Park Lachine, it took me by surprise and it was too dark. At least, the species can be recognized on this photo.