Wrapping up.

Five thousand kilometers, 66 hours behind a steering wheel, missing a big snowfall, exploring verdant rain forests, wonderful times with family, waterfalls, flowers, birds, moss and moisture….Yes I would say that is not a bad way to spend an April.

The Airbnb in Tofino had lots of birds for me to try and photograph. Each morning I would get up with the birds and see if they would cooperate. My Merlin bird app recorded the sound of these two birds and it took me about 30 minutes to have them come out of the bushes enough to get a clear shot.

An Orange-crowned Warbler.

Steller’s Jay

Leaving Vancouver Island back in mid April landed me in Kamloops where I met with long time friends, had lovely talks, walks and spent time catching up on life.

It was a bit windy but a beautiful walk. My friend Elaine with Dave behind the camera.

On the way home we stopped for me to get a shot at a Say’s Phoebe that was perched on a fence. This was the first time I had seen this species.

The last portion of my trip included a stop in Vernon where I had a chance to renew a family acquaintance from over 60 years ago. Thank you Sharell and Alan for a lovely visit.

There is a corner in my heart where I keep a spot for Slocan, a small village in the Kootenays. Magical meals, fabulous conversation, endless beauty in the scenery and the people all keep me coming back. This is the home where my daughter and her wife have chosen to work their magic of living in this gorgeous place.

A pond, visible from the kitchen window, with ever running water from a stream on the property. Spring is just starting to turn the colour palette towards the green hues.

March Marigold springs out of the rocks at the edge of the pond.

Slocan Lake dominates this portion of the West Kootenays and is a rich source of commerce and recreation. Driving to the north end of the lake brought me to Bonanza Marsh, a small nature reserve on the edge of a Rail to Trail path running much of the length of the lake.

Bonanza creek flowing into Slocan Lake.

The word messy seems to define the state of a healthy forest. For centuries we humans have worked on creating measured, confined, determined gardens. Think gardens in places you have visited that help to define our version of beauty. Think mono-cultured lawns with nary a dandelion in sight, gardens on an English estate, Japanese Gardens, my own attempt on making a ‘nice’ front yard. My experience would argue that is not nature’s way of creating a healthy environment with vibrant biodiversity. Look for new growth, death, rotting leaves, fallen trees, new seedlings sprouting out of an old dead stump, magnificent giants growing up to the sky. I’m working on opening up room for apparent chaos in my version of beauty.

Bonanza Marsh Conservation Area.

This stump shows the forces of decay creating opportunities for new life to spring forth. In case you can’t see the face of the old fellow hiding in the moss I have enhanced the eyes and the nose in the next shot.

A fern frond about to unfold.

A few birds to round out my photo journey in the Kootenays.

Violet-green Swallows had only shown up once in my experience and that was in Cypress Hills in southern Saskatchewan. They are much more common in this part of the country.

They are difficult to capture while flying as they move quickly and exhibit extensive acrobatic skills while flying upside down, chasing each other and making a mockery of human attempts to fly.

Springer Creek runs through a lovely campground on the edge of Slocan. The rushing water creates a sonic background for a stroll through this peaceful environment.

Close to the creek, openings in the forest created by cut-lines and forest roads provide habitat for other creatures such as Wild turkeys. By ignoring the ridiculous, naked, blue and red head, one can find subtle beauty in the iridescent blues, bronze and colour patterns in the feathers of these large birds.

The Slocan community has established a platform on the edge of town and each year Ospreys come to nest. As I approached the platform I noticed one sitting on the nest and then another one in the trees some distance away. It suddenly flew off in the direction of the nest and hovered for a second and then descended over the female who presented her raised tail in a copulation posture. I managed to capture this breeding sequence with a total duration of about two seconds.
I’m hoping for fertile eggs!

Finally it was time to head back to Saskatoon. On the way I stopped in Lethbridge, Alberta and had a couple of hours before dark so explored a local pond with lots of ducks, geese and some blackbirds. This Yellow-headed Blackbird was quite cooperative as it posed for a portrait. Its bright yellow head, raspy, buzzing sound and black body grasping onto a waving bull rush brought back fond memories of being a boy growing up on the prairies, exploring the sloughs and beaver dams close to our farm.

Once back in Saskatoon it was time to check out if the Peregrine Falcons had returned to the Renaissance Tower. Sure enough one bird was high up on a tower at the top of the building. I managed to snag a picture as it flew off the tower and am pretty sure it is the same bird that was here last year. The tag is quite blurry as the picture is taken from a long way away and enlarged many times. However, if I compare it to a clear shot taken last year from the top of the tower it seems likely it is the same bird. Now it needs a mate to complete the cycle of life.

Here is the picture from last year where the M59 leg band is visible.

These two pictures are from this year. I hope to get clearer pictures in the future and hope a mate comes along soon.

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  1. Nola Leighton April 28, 2024 at 1:10 pm #

    Love all the images you’ve captured, Trent! Those acrobatic violet-green swallows are unbelievable in their antics. They and the lovely yellow-headed blackbird remind me of our barn swallows and the slough between Uncle Tom’s and Greupners. So beautiful. Thanks so much for your latest holiday photo journal. Having watched you with your camera and heard how many images you have to peruse to find the perfect shot has increased (if possible) my admiration for your skill and patience! Thank you!

  2. Sandi ledingham April 28, 2024 at 9:46 am #

    Thanks for the beautiful tour Trent…. very poetic and incredible shots…..

  3. Peter April 27, 2024 at 7:01 pm #

    Thanks Trent – loved the stump monster!

  4. Anne April 27, 2024 at 1:59 pm #

    Wawh Trent! No words … Beautiful stories and beautiful pictures. Makes me escape despite being unable to travel. Hugs. Anne

  5. Jan Corcoran April 27, 2024 at 1:41 pm #

    Thank you, Trent!

  6. Sally April 27, 2024 at 12:58 pm #

    Thank you, Trent, for a wonderful journey through the Western wilds!
    You’ve captured birds I’ve never seen before, and am delighted to meet.
    Especially the Peregrine Falcon, with whom we’ve had many encounters
    here on the Wet Coast.
    A quick visit last week to OWL (Orphaned Wildlife) here in Ladner, to see how well taken care of
    are the many owls, hawks, eagles and falcons. You would have a field day!
    I’m so pleased to hear from you, now that you’re back on home turf after
    such a successful visit. Getting together at the Sylvia Hotel in the “big smoke” (Vancouver)
    was a treat.
    Hugs and best wishes, Sally

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