January in the Lower Mainland

This has been a strange winter so far, and a strange January. Severe November flooding, has been followed by abnormally cold weather and snowfall. Fortunately, the last two weeks have been closer to “normal” in terms of temperature and precipitation, and it has been possible to get out and enjoy nature and the exceptional beauty of the region. The following photos were all taken in this past month.

Bald eagle, landing on a branch. There are literally thousands of eagles in the Fraser Valley presently.
The snowy owl is a rare visitor to the region, and indeed this lady is the first snowy owl I have seen in BC.
On a recent bicycle outing, I was lucky enough to see a couple of sea lions. This photo was taken near the Steveston Docks. I wish I had recorded their sound as well!
Short-eared owl. I never get tired of photographing owls. This is one of many short-eared owls I was lucky enough to see this month.
A visit to Chilliwack Lake. As the lake is at a higher elevation, the park has snow throughout the month. This certainly made Brock (my golden companion) very happy!
The spectacular Mount Slesse
The sunrises and sunsets have been spectacular this month. Some attribute this to particulate in the air from the volcanic eruption near Tonga. This view of Mount Baker (10900 feet elevation) and The Sisters, was taken at sunrise at Boundary Bay. I did nothing with this image to enhance saturation or vibrance, it was that spectacular a sunrise, with the colour changing by the minute!
Lake Chilliwack, as seen from the Provincial Park.
An odd looking duck. A surf scoter drake, seen from the pier at Iona Beach Regional Park.
A ring-necked pheasant, strutting across the trail at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary.
The spotted towhee is one of the most common January birds in the Lower Mainland.
One of four kinds of loon, seen on the coast in January. In their non-breeding plumage they can be difficult to tell apart. I believe this is the red-throated loon.
Ice crystals, growing on the snow at Chilliwack Lake. I had never seen this extent of ice crystals growing on snow. I think it was due to fog coming off the lake in sub-zero temperatures.
Kayakers on the Chilliwack River. (There was snow on the road!)
Great-blue heron taking flight at dusk. This is another very common bird in the Lower Mainland in January!
River otter. It was a thrill to watch this family of otter fishing!
Coyote, looking for rodents. They are fairly common in the grasses at the edge of the salt water.

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