Jo Ann MacKenzie – February 2014

Many members of BCFO will know Jo Ann personally. She is a charter member of this organization, founded in 1991, and has been to every annual general meeting since then, save one!  Now she gets a chance to present some of her photos and memories here.


When I was very young, my father taught me outdoor lore and encouraged my interest in nature.  Later,  I was allowed to use his folding Kodak camera to photograph birds, animals, cloud formations, passing aircraft and anything else that interested me.  My outdoor inclinations continued.

Many years later, after marriage and motherhood, I was living in Scarborough, Ontario.  Over several days in May 1966, I noticed a tiny, greyish bird energetically feeding in shrubs in the backyard of our home.  Occasionally, I could see a bright, ruby-red patch on the crown of its head.  This was a bird I had not seen before.  Being curious about it, I looked it up in a bird field guide and identified it as a  Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  I began to wonder what other birds were around that I had not noticed before.  My curiosity about birds grew, and I paid more attention.  I was hooked.  Much later, I became an elementary school teacher with a specialty in Outdoor Education. That suited me perfectly.

Eventually, I took up bird photography in a modest way, wanting to capture in photographs what I saw.  My preferred equipment is a Canon EOS D7 camera with a Canon EF 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS USM lens.

I enjoy birding and photographing birds.  I feel honoured to be included as a BCFO Featured Photographer.

Here are the images I have selected for this occasion:

My younger daughter and family live on Quadra Island.  During a weekend visit there in May 2009, we went fishing for ling cod.  While jigging for ling, one of us caught a too-small  rock cod.  When the ‘rocky’ was released back into the water, it was apparent that its swim bladder had been badly damaged from its trip to the surface, and it would not survive.  A nearby Bald Eagle was watching us and immediately went after the fish.

Click on the images to enlarge.

JAM Bald Eagle about to catch fish, outer Kanish Bay, May 29-09, re-resize, copyright IMG_0044

JAM Bald Eagle has caught a fish, Kanish Bay, May 29-09, resize, copyright IMG_0045

The Barn Owl was sleeping in a tree in the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary  (also known as Reifel Refuge), on Westham Island, near Ladner.  The vertical line of feathers between the bird’s eyes looks as if it had been stitched by hand.

 JAM Barn Owl1, Reifel, Nov. 2-08, ed.,IMG_0008 copy crop sh

A few Black-crowned Night-Herons usually winter at Reifel Refuge.  During the day, they may often be seen roosting low in trees bordering Fuller Slough.   On a sunny October day this adult bird woke momentarily for no apparent reason, showing its bright red eye.

 JAM Black-crowned Night-Heron, wide awake ad, Reifel, Oct 27-08.IMG_0188 copyright

Calliope Hummingbird is a ‘Casual to Rare’ transient in the Vancouver area.  This male bird visited Prue and Bernie Spitmann’s feeder in south Surrey on May 5-6, 2010.  I was able to capture this image of the bird in the sun, against the dark background of a shaded cedar hedge.

 JAM Calliope Hummingbird 40a, male, S. Surrey, May 5-10, resample, resize..IMG_0040 copyright

The 2007 BCFO Annual Conference took place in Lillooet.  The rainy Sunday morning, May 27 field trip to the Curlew Fields passed through a forested area.  We were surprised to find this Dusky Grouse standing on a stump beside the road, displaying.  Our car convoy stopped, and everyone cautiously had good looks as the bird carried on, seemingly unconcerned.

 JAM Dusky Grouse displaying10a, sacs inflated, tail spread, crop, sharp, copyright

Despite its size, the adult Great Horned Owl was inconspicuous, blending with the tree while keeping an eye on its recently-fledged owlets.

 JAM Great Horned Owl, adult, Reifel Refuge, Apr. 28-08, IMG_0040 copyright

Marsh Wrens are often heard singing in spring, but can be hard to see as they do so.  This one, beside the outer dike at Reifel Refuge,  seemed oblivious to people passing by.

 JAM Marsh Wren4, male singing, Ladner, Apr. 28-09, resize, sh.copyright IMG_0072

From a distance, the predominately black-plumaged Pigeon Guillemots were almost invisible as they rested on dark rocks on Quadra Island, facing Discovery Passage, in August.  However, their white wing patches and vivid red legs gave them away.  My 400mm lens allowed a closer view from a boat.

 JAM Pigeon Guillemots, 2, on rocks, Aug. 9, 2011, resize.IMG_0035 copyright

With their subdued colours,  Say’s Phoebes are inconspicuous and can be hard to find.  My elder daughter and family live just outside of Fruitvale, near Trail.  This Say’s Phoebe is one of a pair that was nesting in the barn.

 JAM Say's Phoebe 1, Fruitvale, May 25-08, s4, resize, IMG_0048 copyright

A party of up to six Snow Buntings spent several days feeding along a rough gravel roadway beside the Tsawwassen ferry jetty in November.  On this day, there were only three.  Taking a break from feeding, the trio settled onto a drift log to rest, stretch and preen.

 JAM Snow Buntings, Tsawwassen jetty, Nov. 22, 2013 resize copy.IMG_3180 copyright

A blizzard of Snow Geese!   Hundreds of Snow Geese had gathered on a fenced field beside Westham Island Road, near Reifel Refuge, in late October.   I parked beside the road to watch them.  The birds spent more than an hour feeding peacefully, then abruptly (and noisily) took off.  Being so close to the vocalizing and wing flapping of a large flock of geese on the move was a memorable experience.

 JAM Snow Geese coming4, Westham Is., Oct. 31-08, resize sh, IMG_0230 copyright

12 thoughts on “Jo Ann MacKenzie – February 2014

    • Thanks, John. I well remember the ‘whoosh’ of all those goose wings when the flock took off. I’ve not been that close to so many geese since that day..

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