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Category: Amazing Animals

The road between Banff and Jasper – Hwy 93

The road between Banff and Jasper – Hwy 93

The road between Banff and Jasper, highway 93, is filled with all kinds of visually stimulating sights. Everything from the green emerald glacier filled lakes, waterfalls, snow peak mountain tops within arms reach, glaciers, and the abundance of wildlife.


At one stop, I could noticed something up in the mountain, but it was too far to distinguish exactly what it was. Zoom lens in hand….

It ended up being a German Military Exercise taking place….


 

And then I came across the Athabasca Ice Fields … If you decide not to go by tour bus, there’s a 5 km walk from the parking lot to the ice fields.

I had been in shorts and a t-shirt because it was pretty warm out, but half way to the ice fields the temperature immediately drops…sigh…. I should have brought a jacket for the walk. In the distance you can see the tundra buses filled with tourists up on the ice. 


 


Not to far from the ice fields and right long the highway is Tangle Creek Waterfalls! A little cold on the back of the head! Ya, I had to stick my head in. Very refreshing. 


 

Continue to make my way to Jasper, but just before you get there on Hwy 93, there is a “Wildlife & Mountain Goats” View area. Not more than 20 feet away from the sign….. 2 adults and 2 baby goats putting on a show for the 20 or so tourist. The young goats would get a burst of energy, jumping up and kicking out their hind legs.


I was planning to stop in Jasper for the night, but when I arrived shortly after 7:00pm…. it was packed with tourists! I didn’t think tourist would be arriving for a few more days when school was officially out for the summer. Nope, I was wrong. Bus loads of people, RV’s, camper…everywhere. So I decided to carry on through. 


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Rattlesnakes indigenous to Canada?! Cool!

Rattlesnakes indigenous to Canada?! Cool!

Savona BC – When I pulled over into a rest stop in Savona BC, this was the picturesque view…

However, off to the side, it came with a warning sign, “Rattlesnakes in the Area.”, watch your step, etc…Rattlesnakes in Canada?!  Cool, I had to go looking because I had no idea or I had completed missed that particular class in school years ago.  I went looking, but no luck. 

When I did a little research, Canada has the 3 types of rattlesnake: the western rattlesnake in arid western grasslands, the timber rattlesnake and the massasauga rattlesnake in southern Ontario.  Cool!  

No rattlesnakes, just this beautiful view in Savona BC

Visiting the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

Visiting the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

Location: Errington BC – Vancouver Island

I can’t rave enough about this place!  The enthusiasm of the volunteers, staff, the facility and the grounds layout was awesome.

Let me back up…

I had just finished checking out the Goats on Roof and the Marble Statues, and now it was time to continue on my way, but which way? That’s when I discovered there was a Wildlife Recovery Centre nearby.

Heading that way and having no idea what to expect or if visitors were even allowed to observe, I still had to check it out.

The parking entrance was being overlooked by volunteers, which could only mean one thing… this place was about to get busy and was preparing to welcome visitors!

Unknown to me at the time, it was actually Family Day at the NIWR and it was FREE! Even though today was free admission, it should be noted that what they normally charge is well worth checking this facility out! – NIWR website

What to expect ….

Obviously their primary focus is on the recovery & release of wild animals which include… well… almost everything from Black Bears, Cougars, Turtles, Ducks, Golden & Bald Eagles, other animals including Wild Turkeys. They also have a pond with frogs, newts, and other water critters.

This rooster was so interested in my camera that he kept following me and photobombing my shots,  but his attitude sure chanced when I brought out the frying pan.

I’m not sure about his story, other then he likes hanging out with the Wild Turkeys. I was told that “He thinks he’s a wild turkey” and tries to mimic them.  

The NIWR centre was more than just showing people recovering animals, it also had various buildings along with outdoor displays that provided tons of information. Some were interactive, including displays the volunteers were enthusiastically wanting to show off.

One volunteer had a long rope with key tags attached at various points. With my arms reaching outwards to the side, the rope was stretched over my the length of my arms, where a key tag hang. The key tag read, “If you were a bird, your arm span suggests you are a Turkey Vulture”. .. I want a second opinion….sigh, I’ve been called worse. 

I know you want to see more photos of the animals, but the cage wiring prevented me from capturing any good photos of the animals. Besides, the animals were best viewed in person, so I just enjoyed it without worrying about taking any more photos.

I highly recommend going to the NIWR, there’s lots to see & experience.
At the very least, check out their website – NIWR  

Note: Although my photos mostly show birds, that’s only because they were the easiest to photograph today.  All the other wildlife was a little more difficult to capture on camera.  So check out their website to see the other wildlife they care for. 

Goats on Roof ? Cool !

Goats on Roof ? Cool !

As you enter Coombs BC, there is no doubt of what you just saw. The Old Country Market is famous for their Goats on the Roof, which is located right on the edge of the road, 2326 Alberni Hwy. You can’t miss it!


The market consists of gift shops, restaurants, garden supplies, a farmer’s market, along with buskers!  This is a nice little area to explore and enjoy!

Gotta love it when kids are brave enough to play in public.
Great musical talent by this two young kids, way to go!


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Fresh Fish Feast: Feeling Full – Fly Low!

Fresh Fish Feast: Feeling Full – Fly Low!

Eagle on Top, Tourists on Bottom

On the North Eastern Shores of Vancouver Island along Port Hardy’s Waterfront…

It’s hard not to notice a group of 8 bald eagles (adults & juveniles) making a fuss at opposite end the of the waterfront’s walkway. It was quite obvious they weren’t too shy about it either because they attracted the attention of tourists & residents in the area.

It all had to do with one dominant Bald Eagle who was enjoying a Fresh Fish Feast (say that 10 times really fast) and wasn’t about to share until he had his fill.

Most of the photos were taken within 50 – 60 feet of them, which was really cool to see just how big these bird are, including their talons.

One of the juvenile bald eagles stood by, patiently waiting for his turn…

Eventually the dominant eagle took off, but I think he was feeling a little fun and too get any height off the ground…


More photo from this Fish Feast – A Visual Experience


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They both gave the “Evil Death Look” – Eagle vs. Raven

They both gave the “Evil Death Look” – Eagle vs. Raven

Walking along Stories Beach (Fort Rupert – Vancouver Island), I came across a Bald Eagle sitting high up in a tree, where he was taking in the view.  

All of a sudden a Raven landed on a branch nearby.  Wow! They gave each other the Evil Death Look.  Neither one budged for several minutes … I don’t even think they blinked.

Then, at the same time they pulled their heads back
as if say, “just kidding!” 

Eventually the Raven flew away….only to go and bother another Bald Eagle in the area.

More photos from this day – A Visual Experience

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Amazing Marine Life: Difference between High & Low Tide

Amazing Marine Life: Difference between High & Low Tide

When low tide hits, marine life is revealed and is pretty amazing!

Firstly, let me give you a little perspective with High vs. Low Tide in Port Hardy BC.  Here is the same light beacon during High and then Low Tide.

…here’s High Tide


… here’s Low Tide. 


When low tide hits, it brings out the neighbours and tourists to examine the marine life that was once hidden below the ocean waves….


On this particular day, I met Liv and her family who live in the area and were more than happy to show me some of the amazing starfish.  It was also a great way to start the day because it was Liv’s birthday!  Happy Birthday Liv!

More photos from today – A Visual Experience

 

 

 

Early Morning Walks – The Sights in Port Hardy

Early Morning Walks – The Sights in Port Hardy

At the crack of dawn when the sun is rising and shining on Port Hardy, its an enjoyable and tranquil time to be walking around exploring.  It’s the peacefulness along the water’s edge with sights of landscapes, ocean, low or high tide and frozen mountain tops in the distance. Very visually pleasing during this time of the day.

Almost every morning (and evenings) you’ll see at least one or two bald eagles soaring.

One particular bald eagle has claimed the tree top over looking Hardy Bay. His tree is actually right along the water’s edge, beside the Pier Side Landing Hotel, and visible from the windows of the North Coast Trail Hostel. He’s there every morning and returns in the evening.

As you walk along the path, following the water’s edge, there are several information plaques about the northern island’s wildlife.  A couple interesting facts that caught my attention…

First – Black Bears.  The Black Bear can weigh anywhere from 200 – 600 pounds.  Huh? You mean there is no average?  Just seems odd that there is 400 pound adjustment.

Second – Steller Lion Seals.  This was really odd when it came to Life Span.  The Females – 30yrs.  The Males – 18yrs.  That’s almost 1/2!  Huge difference.  Not sure why that is, but it was interesting none-the-less. 

Other informational plaques included the Orcas (Killer Whale), Birds, Wolves, and few more for you to read about.   All very interesting stuff!

At low tide, don’t forget you have an Alien Landscape to explore!

The harbour with all its boats and float planes. Float Planes can be seen coming and going throughout the day. 

I managed to capture this Loon skimming and playing on top of the water. 

Walk through town and you immediately notice its very quiet for awhile because most businesses don’t open until 10am.  

 

 

 


Not one of my better shots, but it was pretty neat to see a bald eagle watching a sea otter swim passed, while a raven was nearby.  All 3 are very common in this area. 

I have a few more really neat photos from my morning walks in Port HardyA Visual Experience  Have a look! 

 

 

 

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Everyone has a story, including this Bat

Everyone has a story, including this Bat

Located at a rest stop on Vancouver Island, there was a short but very decent walking trail through the trees and along a lake.  

I came across this dead bat. I know, I know… eewww… But what caught my attention was where he was located, and how he lay.  

It looked like he had struggled as he crawled up and onto this piece of flat wood, where it died. It was kinda sad really. Wonder what happened to him? Poor little guy….

I know, not exactly the most uplifting post, but these are the types of things I do come across.

You can’t run during midstream

You can’t run during midstream

First night …  

Don’t you just hate it when you wake up in the middle of the night and really, really have to go pee, but just outside there’s a bear walking around only a few feet away? sigh.. It was going to be a long night…. I knew I shouldn’t have drank so much water before bed….sigh

Thank-goodness the bear left sooner rather than later, I was relieved in more ways than one.

But when you’re standing there in the dark, all by yourself, every little noise is amplified and you can’t wait until you’re back in the van…. sigh…you start talking to yourself, “geez, how much water did I drink?”, “Come on, hurry up”, “Ugh, this is taking forever.” Noises coming from the forest, messing with your mind. And what you don’t see is a squirrel saying to another squirrel, “Watch this guy jump”, as he purposely lifts his foot up and then stomps on a twig, *SNAP!*, while you’re trying to pee, but you can’t run during mid-stream… you could, but the never ends well.

That morning, although I was still recovering from yesterday’s Attack of the Tin full of Cookies, I still managed to enjoy the cozy comforts of sleeping in the newly converted camper van.

With no time schedule to be any where, it was only 5:30am, but I still felt compelled to get out of the bed and start my day. It was only plus 3 degrees outside, my nose was frozen and I was dreading the next step of getting up…. putting on cold clothes. It’s funny, because no matter how fast you are jumping out of bed and racing to put your clothes on to keep warm, your clothes are still the same….cold! It’s like you’re trying to trick the cold into being warm because you’re so fast. Nope, not going to happen.

Looking around and making sure no bears where around, it was time to boil water for my tea. I’ve always enjoyed my morning cup of tea, and its more enjoyable when you can relax and take in the beauty of nature. That’s when I saw…. the squirrel ! He was back to torment me more, I just know it! But I gave him a stern look and shook my fist in his direction and he took off. I sure showed him. 

Morning View

 

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