Sunday, 19 June 2011

Wildlife @ the 'Seat of Learning'

There has never been any doubt over prioritising when reaching a new, undiscovered location, head straight for the locals and suss out the Nature Reserves! Arriving at Prince George, still within the boundaries of British Columbia, I did just that and found there were more or less 2 options Shane Lake of The Forest for the World. The former was located some distance from the nearest bus stop and would necessitate a steep climb to the lake. while the latter was on the bus route at the University of Northern BC. Choosing the second option out of convenience, there was a matter of finding just where the footpaths were but wasn't going to concern myself with that until reaching the site. Alighting the bus, I came across Kevin a lecturer at the Uni who knew exactly where the paths were but advised they were some distance away. Assuring him I had no problem with that as long as I was walking in the right direction, he suggested jumping into his car and delivered me there one, one, two!

There had been time to admire what is a brand new complex, and having bought a new Nikon Coolpix yesterday what better opportunity than to get it into action. This is the Main Faculty

and this the Laboratory Division.

There are also Residencies on Campus with priority going to 'Freshmen' (first year students) then allocation is more or less on a lottery basis. All of this I learnt while waiting for the return bus from a most obliging student who in addition said he would phone his friend in Prince Rupert (my next destination) to check out the 'birding' there - FANTASTIC.

On the way to his car. this fine male American Robin presented itself, collecting food for young, which was irresistible.

Even before entering the forest this White-throated Sparrow

offered itself up to the lens, a good start which I hoped would continue.

Unfortunately that was not to be, not due to lack of birds but their reluctance to show themselves. The woods looked beautiful and was alive with birdsong but nothing, repeat nothing was venturing within the 40 meter 'no fly zone' either side of the path.

There were numerous Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damsels, none of which I know by name, but the photos follow for you to share.

After a full hour only the above and this MacGillvray's Warbler (one of several reluctant birds and the first Warbler of the trip) had put in anything like an appearance so it was time for a little trickery.

Armed with my SubWay sandwich, I liberally scattered much of it on this bench (donated by the Sons of Norway Ski Club in 2008) then stood back to wait for the dickies to flock in. After a full 15 minutes there hadn't been a glimmer of action, but then the was movement and the camera was brought to bare. Unfortunately, it was 2 of the biggest bloody Alsatians I have ever seen that quickly scoffed the lot regardless of the owners protestations, then scarpered - Plan B methinks!

Then there was a welcome break as this beautiful male American Redstart put in a brief appearance,

and there was a un-photographable female later in the day. These have yellow replacing the orange of the cock bird, but none the less attractive.

The seemingly most numerous of the 'singing' birds, and the only one I could identify from it's 'toy trumpet sound', was Red-breasted Nuthatch which I thought must show sooner or later - and this male did.

Closely following were 2 Cedar Waxwing which were also much further away than I would have liked them, but no matter at least there's an image.

A racket at the return bus stop was undoubtedly Common Raven but I would risk missing the bus if I pursued them. Never mind there will be another (bus that is), but after just a few paces the Mountain came to Mohamed as this one flew onto a nearby roof - just the way to end a decent day.

With the 'list additions' photographed plus Townsend's & Yellow-rumped (I much preferred the old name Myrtle) Warbler, Hermit Thrush and Red-eyed Vireo we finally reach 'the ton' vis:-

Trip Ticks - 101 World Lifers = 10

and finally, this is my new Amigo Tony (Dutch) Van Oort. He and I met in the Greyhound Station and got to talking and what a remarkable man. Of Dutch parentage and married to a lady from Holland, it would be easier to tell you what Tony hasn't done rather than what he has. From Engineer on Logging (Timber) Tugs to an Ice Driver up in the Tundra, Cattle Rancher to Wheat farmer Dutch seems to have covered most of it. The thing I like about him most is everything is said in a gentle manner, and there is time for you to put in your part of the conversation. Wherever you are now Tony, I hope life is treating you and yous family kindly - GREAT to meet you!