Author Archives: Andrew A Bryant

Sewage lagoon at Resolute, Nunavut, in July of 1979. That's waaaay far north, on Cornwallis Island, at 74°42'41.61"N, 95° 3'24.20"W Those yellow flowers are arctic poppies (Papaver radicatum)

1979 My days as an arctic explorer

I had a job interview once, in which an employer for whom I’d previously worked said

“sorry, Andrew, there’s not much work around Montreal this year – but if you want, I can send you to Resolute Bay”. 

With the supreme confidence that only a foolhardy 19 year-old can have, I said
“Great – when do I start?
And where the f___ is Resolute Bay?”

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Chattering Kingfisher, Atiu Kingfisher, or Ngōtare (Todiramphus tutus). Atiu, Cook Islands, November 2000. © Andrew A. Bryant

2000 Here’s looking Atiu

Once upon a time, Heather and I travelled far away to the small Pacific Island of Atiu, which is one of the Cook Islands.  Atiu is also known as Enuamanu, the “land of the birds”.  It’s a good name for the place.

The above is the endemic kingfisher found there, known variously as the Chattering Kingfisher, Atiu Kingfisher, or Ngōtare (Todiramphus tutus).

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an original Fokker DVII

30 May 2012

After growing up in the Eastern Townships and being a lifelong aviation buff, I was astonished to learn about the genuine, unrestored Fokker DVII that resides in Knowlton (Lac Brome), Quebec.

I finally managed to see and photograph this machine last week.  All I can say is “wow”. The aircraft is a gem, as is the museum.  Where else can one see a genuine 1918 Albatros factory-applied lozenge camouflage pattern surrounded by period 1921 stained glass?

This small museum is operated by the Brome Lake Historical Society, a body that receives almost no government funding. Knowlton is located about 1.5 hours east of Montreal, and is equidistant to the Quebec-Vermont border at Stanstead.  There is a modest ($5.00 Cdn.) admission fee.  The museum is tripod and camera friendly.  Language barriers are non-existent.  Most people in this part of Quebec are fluently bilingual (French and English).  I found the museum volunteers to be friendly and helpful, although they seemed somewhat bemused that somebody would actually travel across the country from British Columbia just to see an old aeroplane…a feeling shared by my long-suffering wife Heather!

The museum has no official website, but an excellent photo essay of this airframe, including more numerous and better quality images than mine, can be found here. Edward Soye, who wrote his masters thesis on the subject, has published a terrific article here.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed finally getting to see this rare bird!

Incidentally, my late grandfather Albert Edward Bryant served at Mons, Vimy and Ypres in the 6th (McGill) Siege Battery.  Seeing this amazingly well-done local museum brought tears to my eyes and made it really hard to hold the camera steady.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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2009 Twenty-two days in Alaska

In 2009 I took a short contract with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to look for marmots on Montague Island, which is in Prince William Sound, Alaska.  As it turns out I didn’t find any, but I haven’t so much fun not finding marmots anywhere else!

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2005 Eight days in Florida

I was fortunate to be invited to guest-lecture and supervise a graduate student at the University of Florida (Gainsville).  Thank you Madan!  

Not getting to Florida very regularly, I played hookey for a few days before I was due to officially arrive.  Thus I got to visit one of the best aircraft collections in the world, and chat briefly with Kermit.  Sadly, my scheduled flight in a Stearman was defeated by weather conditions.

Thereafter I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream by visiting Cape Kennedy.  On the way north I found a navigable gravel road at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  What an amazing spot! NASA played ball in the nicest possible way.

My first digital camera (a Nikon D70) had arrived about 3 months earlier.  I likely hadn’t finished reading the manual yet – but was pleased with some of the results!

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2007 Three days at Atlin

I was briefly hired by an engineering company to look for marmots at a proposed molybdenum mine near Atlin, B.C.  I did find a few hoary marmots (Marmota caligata) – but doubt it made much difference in the grand scheme of things.  The scenery was just amazing.

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2015 Six days on Mitlenatch

A colleague asked whether I might be interested in helping BC Parks to set up their summer volunteer warden camp on Mitlenatch Island.
He didn’t have to ask twice.

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