29 January 2012

British Columbia Day Trip 01-27-12

One of the benefits of living where I do is my proximity to British Columbia. It takes me about five minutes to get there.

Friday I was suffering a little cabin fever so I decided to drive up to BC to see what I might see. One thing for certain, the Kootenay Rockies were looking awesomely beautiful. I stopped by the Kootenay River near Kikomun Provincial Park. If you are in to camping this is a great little park. I've not ever seen it crowded in ten years and unless it's a national holiday I practically have the place to myself. The park is closed for the winter so I just drove on down to the river. At this point the river is frozen and covered with snow so not much to see except for breathtaking vistas of the Kootenay Rockies.

From there I headed up to the Bull River, the Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep Project and the Kootenay Trout Hatchery. I stopped first at the Project which is right on the Bull River. The Bull was frozen over as well and there wasn't a sheep in sight.

Just across the road is the Kootenay Trout Hatchery. I love this place. It's open year round although it's a bit quiet at this time of year.

What keeps me coming back are the grounds which are really beautiful. Just to the west of the hatchery building is a small creek which is home to a number of birds, primarily mallard ducks. I'd not been to the hatchery at this time of year and was surprised and amazed at the number of mallards present. I'll bet there was half a thousand. I thought ducks flew south for the winter. Obviously, some of these had but this was as far south as they cared to go.

These are very wild and wary birds. The instant they got wind of me some started to take to the air. As soon as I started shooting the rest rose up in squadrons. I was using my Nikon D300 and whilst many positive things can be said about it shutter noise isn't one of them. The thing sounds like a gatling gun as it fires off 6 frames per second.

As I was leaving the hatchery what did I spy in the road ahead? The whole bloody flock of big horn sheep including the rams which, despite having hiked the project 50 times I had never laid eyes on. The rams were looking in very good condition. But, the one thing I noticed was that there were not very many lambs given the number of ewes. I have no idea what is normal but it did strike me as odd.

Below are some photos of the things that I saw on my trip to BC.

Snow covered Kootenay Rockies with the snow covered Kootenay River in the Foreground

Mallards taking flight at the trout hatchery
Below is one of my favorite photographs taken of a trout at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery

Big Horn ram

Big Horn rams

©Kinsey Barnard