Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Lewis and Carter

After the disappointment of blowing out on a trip to Minsmere with Dave Cole we had to settle for a
sunny autumnal afternoon at Maple Lodge.Prior to leaving the regular red kite did its daily flypast.
already getting a nickname Red Arrow as it cruises  across an azure sky.
Met Paul around 12 30 hrs and we walked to the Teal hide where some were having tea others about
to leave ,some concerned about the foliage making viewing difficult.
There were 3 Green sands 2 Snipe a host of teal all present along with a pair of Kingfishers,also
heard only a Cettis warbler and a female reed bunting singing.

Moving to Long hedge we encountered little and great crested grebes numbers of black headed gulls and up to3 little egrets,2 ring neck parakeets flew over strangely silent.
Before heading back the kingfishers obliged but distant even for long lenses ,but overall
a splendid few hours at the lodge.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tring Reservoirs with Paul Lewis 13th of October2015

Well I don't see much of Lewis these days so the reservoir dogs made their way to Wilstone res
the bypass was shut due to an accident so we cut through the lanes to Wendover.
Wilstone was very low lots of duck.
Of note wigeon,tufted,gadwall,teal and shoveler plus the elusive pintail from the hide,where a green
sandpiper was not showing well.
We walked back to the car park noting grey and pied wagtail,arrival at Startops the sun came out
briefly as the circular walk produced the Ring necked Duck.
Also of note up to three red crested pochards obliged,finally a female sparrowhawk flushed
everything and a couple of little grebes on adjacent Tringford ended our trip.
On arrival home at Denham way a pair of Red Kite seem to have set up territory in the adjacent gardens.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Vancouver Capilano bridge,Granville Market and shopping 27th 28th Sept 2015

Had breakfast and took the shuttle to the Capilano bridge,on arrival paid our admittance.
On entry we noticed Kia'Palano  a number of totem poles are here on entry.
Along with a replica dug out canoe and various native American obelisks etc to view.
Capilano bridge is a suspension bridge over the Capilano river I was here in 1984 and
walked along the river noting belted kingfisher.Today this bridge is not for the fearfull
I walked across taking photos on route its 450ft long and 230ft high and has been wobbly
since 1889.
 Through the rainforest passing raptors ridge unfortunately only tourists present.
Suspended walkways along sheer granite cliff faces.
After this we took a taxi to Granville market,our evening meal at Joe Fortes featuring
oysters was superb.
Our final day in Vancouver was spent shopping at the Pacific centre,tea at the TWG CENTRE
then was of to an Inuit art gallery in Gas town where the steam clock still chimes.
Finally visiting other art galleries such as coastal peoples  and Hill's
Native Arts showed the versatality of the Inuit and Tlingit peoples.

Vancouver Stanley Park

Docked  Vancouver British Columbia around 0700hrs,got a cab to our hotel the Shangrila where we
purchased tram tickets to visit Stanley Park.
Beaver lake hadn't changed much in 30 years ago,just a population explosion.
Nice views of Carolina Wood duck,black capped chickadee and golden crowned sparrows
in the rose gardens,
Further on superb totem poles and the shore line of Vancouver as we continued our tour.
That night went for Chinese called Dinesty off Robson

Returning along the Inside Passage 25th Sept 2015

 0800hrs weather variable with distant bird life only harbour seals and Stellers sea lions on the
port side interrupted by distant divers.
Around 1230hrs distant views of Humpback whales,a squall of rain passed through,the
intermittent sunshine and white horses against a landscape of pines and puffy accumulus set
the scene as we cruised back.
1430hrs the rain seems to have set in my sea watch comes to a halt,time for a siesta, a couple
of hrs later resumed sea watching passing through Alert Bay noting the totems along the shore.

Ketchikan 24th September 2015

0730 hrs approaching Ketchikan rain and rainbows, as we dock a bald eagle flys overhead.
A big community here with a large church on the waterfront.
Two Stellers Jays fly around the port as we disembark we head off for our bus to take
us on our tour to Neets Bay.
We took off for Neets bay by float plane it took about 15 minutes,flying over the
misty fjiord up and across Revilla island and landed in pouring rain.
On arrival our guide Amanda Moreno the hatchery owners wife ushered us along a path
through the trees.

She spoke loudly but affectively on the bears here showing us scratch marks dens
and the food plant Skunk Cabbage. A Bear was spotted on lake shore which was the haunt
of various gull species.
This proved to be the only bear so at times it was awkward to photograph,however the
rain did not help either.
Bald eagles ,crows ,gulls and ravens also put in an appearance as we all steadily got wet.

Even the bear sadly called Joe managed to eat a salmon past its sell by date which helped
satisfy this wet photographer and long suffering wife holding the brolly.
Other gulls notably Bonapartes and Mew also the common Glaucous winged obliged along
with American Dipper before we trudged back to the plane.
 We took off in torrid conditions as a rainbow arched in the sky as we turned for
Ketchikan a bald eagle flew under the plane,we landed safely back to the ship changed
clothes and went for chowder in Annabellas along the port.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Glacier Bay Alaska September 23rd

Around 0730hrs  approaching Glacier Bay,a few birds obliged eg Common Loon,cormorants and various alcids including common murre /guillemots.
The views were stunning as we neared our destination around 1015 hrs.

small icebergs against the glacial icefield,here a Tlingit Native American boarded the ship and a ranger gave us an insight to how the glacier stole their land. This was the Margerie  Glacier.
Then onwards to Lamplugh glacier.The native American  was a Huna Tlingit.
Arrived at Lamplugh glacier the temperature dropping again as we cruise past,suppose to be 50c
I beg to differ,around 1130 hrs  I photographed an otter upside down lazing in patchy sunshine.
Met the Hanu Tlingit at 1445 hrs a lecture in the Vista lounge Alaska Native Culture Native Voices,the lecture on Hanu Tlingit discussed Thunderbird clan the eagle and the raven and Potlatch food for the people.
Glacier bay 1350hrs splendid scenery  with otters and Kittiwakes,huge floatillas of guillemots  as we sailed away from Glacier Bay.
1735 hrs still sailing the light lingers on the snow capped mountains,clouds hover above
them the ship is moving quicker now as we head for another destination around 1845 hrs the skys
darken as Sooty shearwaters in conclusion Short tailed shearwaters difficult to separate in flight and
dark conditions.


Skagway the return fom summit to city

Arrived at the summit where at its lake we flushed a party of Harlequinn duck.
Flags here on the border a detachment of Mounties were based here alongside mountain pools
and flora.
The summit excursion turns here at White Pass,the engines switch to the front making us the last carriage down.

As you can see its quite desolate up here at the head of the pass.
This habitat produces very little in the way of birds as we make our way back down.
snow on the tops with sunshine was an added bonus.
On our way back down beneath the snow covered peaks.
passing the wooden trestle again,made for photographic opportunities.It was certainly
a great trip as we alighted in town.
We made our way to the Red Onion Saloon where a few drinks and chilli livened us up.
I did a tour of the establishment this one time brothel the ladies here serving
and giving informative knowledge of the oldest profession entertained us in this museum
depicting a brothel in Alaska.
We left and walked the side walks of Skagway in the early afternoon sunshine where the trees
in splendid autumn colours was lovely.
We browsed the shops and noted a few Steller's jays,we returned to the ship .Pre -1887
Skaqua or Shgagwei in Tlingit means  a windy place with white caps on the water

Skagway and the Yukon railway 22nd Septemer 2015

Arrived Skagway around 0630hrs after overnight cruising,the snow on the top of mountains greets
us as do the Ravens and eagles.
Left the ship around 0800hrs we boarded the White Pass and Yukon Railway narrow gauge from
Skagway at sea level ,we sat in our parlour cars with padded seats and bar pulled by diesel.
This summit excursion  was the Gateway to the Klondike,we pass the outlaw cemetery where
soapy smith and Frank Reid shot it out in 1898.
Next up the bridge and Denver Glacial trail as the railroad crosses the Skagway river.
Rocky point gives excellent views,Bridge and Pitchfork falls are easy to miss,after Black Cross
Rock,Bridal veil falls comes down off Mt Cleveland.
High line view leads to Glacier stn,a track winds up to Laughton Glacier here the loop line give
a sensation of flying at 16 mile the engineer sounds his whistle.
The railroad spans across Glacier gorge  crossing the trestle in to the tunnel.
At the18 mile spot a steel bridge constructed in 1901 was the tallest cantilever in the world it
replaced  a dizzying switch back with its timber trestle.

Further on another mile the bridge tunnel and trail of 98 produces a horseshoe curve great for photos.
When through the tunnel the upper reaches of Dead Horse Gulch and the visible remains of White Pass trail is etched in the ground.
At 20 miles we reach the summit of White Pass to be continued on the next blog chapter.