Saturday, 28 April 2012

Wildlife along the Klondike Hwy

Greetings from a sunny Whitehorse!

There's little doubt spring is here to stay.  The spruce bogs, forests and fields are alive with the musical chorus of robins, juncos, warblers, sparrows, crossbills and snow buntings.  Flying directly overhead, the first flocks of sandhill cranes are contributing their musical notes to this spring orchestra.  

While driving along the Klondike Highway this morning I spotted a pair of trumpeter swans and a very shy pair of coyotes mulling about.  Neat!

Enjoy your weekend.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Swans continue journey northwards

Tundra swans in flight

The majority of swans have left Marsh Lake and are now on their way northwards to their breeding grounds in Alaska and elsewhere throughout the Yukon.  What a thrill it has been to photograph them while they were here on their brief layover.  I'll post a few of my favourite images shortly.

Now that the swans are gone its time for the Sandhill Cranes to take centre stage.

Speaking of migrants, I heard my first Robin of the year singing his tiny heart out the other night.  Welcome back!

Hope all is well in your corner of the world.


Monday, 23 April 2012

April Flowers

Prairie Crocus 

It's incredible how quickly spring has sprung in the Yukon.  Two weeks ago we were still covered in snow - today, the snow has melted leaving behind the brown and dried remains of last years plant growth.  Sprouting through this 'mess', the first of the praise crocuses have emerged and started to bloom.  

Every day brings with it a new cast of characters. Three weeks ago it was the return of the swans.  Their arrival was followed soon after by the emergence of the arctic ground squirrels and today, the crocuses are in bloom.  As for tomorrow, perhaps I'll spot my first grizzly of the year :)

Photo specs:  Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 105 f/2.8G ED micro lens set at f/11, 200 ISO, manual settings, overexposed by +0.7, manual focus, mirror lock up engaged, cable release, mounted on tripod

Good morning Yukon!

Trumpeter Swan

Good morning from the Yukon!
I enjoyed a phenomenal weekend with the trumpeter swans at Tagish Lake.  All the key elements I've been looking for - lighting, clean background, blue skies, a variety of behavioural displays, action shots and cooperative subjects - fell into place.  I'm pleased with my images - well over 700.  I'll sort through them in the coming days and will post them shortly.
Hope you enjoyed your Earth Day weekend.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Earth Day 2012

Trumpeter Swan (Tagish, Yukon)

Grizzly swimming (Khutzeymateen, British Columbia)

Prairie Crocus (Yukon)

Wish everyone a Happy Earth Day!
Enjoy the day.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Swan Report - April 19, 2012

Good morning,
Here are the latest numbers from the Swan Haven Interpretation Centre on Marsh Lake, Yukon:

During the last few days many folks have spotted large flocks of swans flying over Whitehorse. This is a wonderful sight, but it does mean that our numbers of at Swan Haven have decreased to 550 Trumpeter Swans. 

Lets hope more swans arrive in the coming days....


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Swan Report - April 17, 2012

Good morning from the Yukon.  Here is the latest swan report courtesy The Yukon Department of Environment:

Last night there were more or less the same number of swans at Swan Haven, over 1100, while the numbers at Tagish have increased to 500.  New arrivals, at both locations, include the Greater white-fronted goose, northern pintails, green-winged teals, buffleheads, mallards and Canada geese.

If you are in the Yukon make sure you drop by the Swan Haven Interpretation Centre as they celebrate the annual Celebration of Swans event.  Several viewing scopes, a viewing platform and a walking trail on the ice allow visitors to spot these majestic birds while Interpreters are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the natural history of the swans.  The Celebration of Swans runs from April 14 to 22nd.

I cannot wait until the weekend.


Monday, 16 April 2012

Swan Report for April 16, 2012

Here are the latest swan numbers from this past weekend:

Wow - the numbers of trumpeter swans at Marsh Lake have soared to 1150 individuals.  Nice to see them back!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Swan report - April 14, 2012

This past weekend was a rather chilly one for both swans and the photographers who chase them.  Low numbers of swans combined with overcast skies, a high of only +5 degrees and a steady breeze created some poor photography conditions.  Biologists believe that a major weather system south of the Yukon is preventing the swans, and a host of other migratory birds, from continuing their journey northwards.  Let's hope that next weekend brings better opportunities  for all.

Here are the latest numbers:  aprox. 350 trumpeter swans at Swan Haven (Marsh Lake).  I spotted fewer than 150 at Tagish.

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Swan Report April 11, 2012

Trumpeter swan flying over the Tagish bridge

Good morning from the Yukon,
The weather continues to impress us with sun, +10 degree temps and endless blue skies.
Here is today's swan report from the Yukon Department of Environment:

Last night there were 430 Trumpeter Swans at Marsh Lake.  The Canada Geese have arrived as well.
No new info from Tagish.

Photo info:  Same as previous two posts

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Swan Report April 10, 2012

Here are the latest numbers for April 10th

Marsh Lake has recorded 492 Trumpeter Swans, 18 Tundra Swans
Tagish Lake has reported 360 Trumpeter Swans

New arrivals include Greater White-fronted Goose and the Ring-necked duck.

Ahh, they are back.....

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Welcoming the swans and spring

What a weekend it has been! 
Monday morning I counted 300+ trumpeter swans at the Tagish Bridge while at Marsh Lake the official number was 409.  The swans keep on coming...
We could not have asked for a better weekend - nothing but bright sun, brilliant blue skies and plenty of swans flying overhead.  A perfect weekend to welcome spring. 
Hard to believe that the swan population will swell to more than a 1000 by weeks end.  Let's hope the weather cooperates for us photographers.
Stay tuned -  in the coming days I'll be posting more images and share a few thoughts on capturing these graceful birds with your camera.
Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

Photo info:  same as previous post

Sunday, 8 April 2012

They're back.....

Greetings from the Tagish Bridge Recreation Site in the Yukon.
The trumpeter swans are slowly trickling in - today's count was 82 (with another 18 arriving by late-afternoon).  Meanwhile, at Swan Haven (Marsh Lake), biologists have recorded 350 swans plus a few other migrants including Barrow's and common goldeneyes, mallards, buffleheads, redheads, herring gulls and northern pintails.
Unfortunately, for me as a photographer, the swans were too far for decent photos. Regardless, their arrival was a much needed welcome sign of spring.
Despite their distance, a few flocks did fly overhead providing me with some useful images of the swans  framed against the blue spring sky.  All in all I spent close to three hours wandering back and forth on the bridge waiting patiently for more flybys.
Brilliant blue skies, plenty of sun, a steady breeze and +7 degree temperatures made for a gorgeous Easter Sunday.
Hope you enjoyed your Easter holiday.

Photo info:  Nikon D700 with Nikkor 300m f/2.8 lens attached.  250 ISO, f/7.1, Aperature priority, -0.7 to -1.0 exposure composition, Vibration Reduction set to 'ON'.  Hand held

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Have an enjoyable Easter holiday

Wishing you an enjoyable Easter holiday.

Photo:  King eider ducklings, Ellesmere Island (Nunavut)

Spring Dance

A recent series of solar flares have triggered some beautiful displays of the aurora.  Last Wednesday evening the northern lights were out in full force as they danced the evening away.  The show began shortly after midnight and continued until the wee hours of the morning.  Forecasters are predicting another show tomorrow night - just in time for Easter!
Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

Photo Info:  Images shot using a Nikon D700 camera with 14-24mm Nikkor lens f/2.8 attached.  ISO of 800 to 1000, @ f/5.6, 10-17 sec exposure.  Cable release and mounted on tripod.

Swan Report April 6, 2012

The trumpeter swans are slowly returning to the Yukon after spending the winter in warmer climes.  Marsh Lake has reported 123 Trumpeter Swans while I only counted 30 at the Tagish Bridge.  The swans are still too far away to photograph.
I'll keep you posted with another account tomorrow.