Posts tagged “Bow River

A sunrise in the East Village

I stumbled upon the beginning of this sunrise as I was heading to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary last weekend.  Driving through downtown, the clouds in the sky looked interesting as dawn approached.  I parked in the East Village near the Bow River and grabbed my gear.

A long exposure, 6 seconds at f/16, made the dim glow to the east much brighter than it appeared to me then.  I saw this image on the back of my camera and raced to the water’s edge between the Reconciliation Bridge and the George C. King Bridge.

As the sun rose into the clouds, warm light filtered through the clouds spreading up from the horizon and across the sky.

A few minutes later, I framed a lone pedestrian crossing the bridge against this fiery backdrop.

The color faded to pastels just before the sun cleared the horizon.  A soft end to a beautiful daybreak in Calgary.


A Cormorant in motion on the Bow

inglewood-cormorant-blur-christopher-martin-7014

I spent an evening on the Bow River at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary on the weekend.  It was a beautiful day, warmly lit in golden light, and I had a great time photographing the birds well into dusk.  Among the birds nearby were a few Double-crested cormorants fishing and flying around.  I photographed as they flew or swam by.  They are exceptionally fast birds and they often fly just above the water at speed which is exciting to watch.  After the sunlight had left the river, I caught sight of one of these cormorants moving upriver.  Darkness was starting to settle in so I dragged my shutter in order to use the lack of light to pan with the bird as it passed me.  I used a shutter speed of 1/40th of a second and it worked out pretty well.


A fight over a fish

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0307
The pair of Ospreys who summer on the Castle Junction bridge’s nest raised two chicks through adolescence this year.  When I spent a day watching them in August that meant there were four of these raptors, now all very close to the same size, interacting with one another on and around the bridge area.  Flying, fishing, chasing and fighting over fish dominated the moments of action amid a lot of time spent perching over the river up in the trees that line that stretch of the Bow River.

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0279
I spied this Osprey when it alighted on a weathered log with a freshly caught meal.  By the time I walked a few hundred metres so that I was directly across the river from the bird, it was no longer alone.  Ospreys have excellent vision, roughly twice the distance capabilities of humans, so it was no surprise that company arrived quickly.  Another Osprey landed close by, shrilly announcing its arrival and crying out for a share of the sushi.  The successful fisher had no interest in sharing and resisted all advances from the other to do so.

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0300

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-9449

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-9457

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-9458

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-9465

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0314

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0368

Over the next four hours, I watched this bird defend its prize from sneaky grabs for a scrap, frustrated attacks, a couple of near dive-bombs and outright theft!  Throughout, the Osprey nibbled away on the fish – whether another bird was nearby or not.  The other Osprey never ganged up on their family member but I’m pretty sure two of the three made individual advances.

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0881

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0586

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0954

With the repeated flybys the interloping Ospreys gave me some great opportunities for in flight shots that were interesting and new for my library.  The low to ground shots in particular.

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0572

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0407

The birds were aware of my presence, I didn’t blend in with the rocks on the shoreline.  I didn’t move around much and, with the river between us, I felt confident that I was not impacting their behaviour and so I enjoyed the opportunity to watch the family dynamics play out.

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-0239

Several times the Osprey clutched the fish in one talon and looked to be getting ready to fly.  That didn’t happen – the bird didn’t stray more than a couple of metres from the log and stayed on it for most of the time.  That made me suspect this was an adolescent with little experience flying with fish but given the size, and the fact that it had caught the fish in the first place, I’m definitely not sure.

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-1074

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-1092

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-1094

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-1098

Steadily the Osprey worked away on dinner, despite the numerous distractions, and finally finished all but the smallest scraps.  Shortly after finishing the Osprey flew off down the river.  It flew across my sight line affording me a nice flight series – a fun little reward after four hours crouching among the rocks.  I watched it all the way back to the nest where it few around a couple of times before I lost sight of it.  I hiked back to the bridge and came back to the shoreline a short stone’s throw from the Ospreys new perch.  Again, it took note of me and then continued looking down the river and up at the nest.  Several minutes went by before the bird launched and flew up to the nest.

ospreys-fighting-over-a-fish-christopher-martin-1191

 

 


Ospreys at the Castle Junction

Osprey in flight - © Christopher Martin-0876

Last week I spent a day walking, sitting, waiting and watching along the Bow River in the Banff National Park.  I was enthralled with the comings and goings of four Ospreys centred around their part of the river at the Castle Junction between Banff and Lake Louise.

Osprey banking in flight - © Christopher Martin-8729

My last visit with them was in April and there were only two of these sea hawks flying around.  It was wonderful to see their two chicks now almost fully matured.

Osprey on the nest - © Christopher Martin-7707

Four large raptors on one nest, even theirs which is massive, is pretty crowded accommodations.

Osprey in the Castle Junction - © Christopher Martin-8851

The parents seemed very feisty with the young ones, cajoling them to get airborne with squawks and dive bombs.

Ospreys around their nest - © Christopher Martin-8807

Amid all of the excitement, the birds circled the nest, perched in the trees over the river and they flew nearby several times.  I would imagine they will migrate south in less than a month so I will try to get back to spend time watching them before they go.

Osprey in flight - © Christopher Martin-0871

Banff Osprey in flight - © Christopher Martin-8733

Osprey fishing flight - © Christopher Martin-8049

Osprey fish flight - © Christopher Martin-8051

Osprey fish fight - © Christopher Martin-0962

Ospreys in flight - © Christopher Martin-8684


After the Osprey’s plunge

Osprey in the Bow River - © Christopher Martin-3235

The pair of Ospreys I photographed in the Banff National Park a couple of weeks ago spent most of the afternoon with her on the nest and him perched high in trees over the Bow River.  I waited a couple of hours for one of them to dive into the water for a fish.

Osprey on the Bow River - © Christopher Martin-3207

It happened once, and it was fast.  I missed the descent and the initial contact with the water.  That bugged me but I got locked in once he surfaced.

Osprey in the Bow River - © Christopher Martin-3227

I hoped to see a fish in his clutches but when his talons were out of the water and visible, there was no such luck – for them or me.  It was interesting to watch the lifting into the air so I was not dismayed in any real way.

Osprey in the Bow River - © Christopher Martin-3231-2

Flying past me, I waited to see where the next perch would be. I wanted to see if I would continue to be in a good location for the next dive.  The Osprey had other ideas, and flew upriver, disappearing around a bend several hundred metres away.  I watched that bend for a little while, in case there was a return flight, but ended the day shortly after that and headed home.

Osprey in the Bow River - © Christopher Martin-3267


Mallard Spray

A female Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) lifts out of the Bow River at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in Calgary, Alberta to shake the water off of her wings.

A female Mallard duck stretches out of the water to shake the water off of her wings. My friend Jeff (his photography website) and I were down at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary that is in the middle of Calgary on one side of the Bow River to photograph the birds that overwinter there. There are hundreds of Canada Geese and Mallards on the water at any time. The Sanctuary is a great place to watch their natural behaviour with very few disturbances.


Calgary Landscapes: A Lost Sunrise

During the lunar eclipse last December I was shooting off the Centre Street Bridge in Calgary with the moon to the west of me.  As the moon came out of eclipse, I turned my attention to the east and photographed the sunrise over the Bow River looking east from downtown.

I wrote a short post on the eclipse the next day but then we left on vacation and I forgot about these images.  Looking through Calgary sunrise photographs in my library, I rediscovered these and put them together here.


Calgary Wildlife: Night Geese

Another evening down at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary tonight.  The wedges of geese and colonies of gulls flying in at dusk are really fun to watch.  There are easily hundreds of birds returning to the Bow river for the night.  Sunset was just after 6 and by 7 the birds had settled on the rocks in the channel.

After all of the chaos of the returning birds, I liked this isolated Canada goose that was standing motionless.  I guess it was sleeping as it did not move for this 13 second exposure.  The light reflected from the street lamps above the Deerfoot lit the water like fire.  With the small silhouette of the goose anchoring the frame, I like this composition.