Mar. 21 - I Give Up - Despite my good intentions, I have made virtually no progress on my taxes. I guess I was trying to change my personality which is not easy. I was a last-minute crammer for exams, and I've traditionally sent my tax return in on the last day. I guess that's the way it's destined to be. In the meantime, I did plant my potatoes, haul and split 2 cords of firewood, prepared and delivered another presentation, wrote a couple of newspaper articles, and completed a few other chores. Obviously, those were all a lot more fun than taxes.
As for photos, I have taken a few here and there, but I dipped yesterday - twice on the same bird. I couldn't resist the sunny blue morning sky and headed off to Qualicum looking for the Slaty-backed Gull. It was beautiful with gulls everywhere and hundreds of thousands of ducks just offshore framed in a backdrop of hazy blue snow-capped mainland mountains. I didn't find the Slaty-back, but thoroughly enjoyed nature at its finest. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I came back for the late afternoon performance and dipped again.
Anyway, it's time to finish this journal that started with our last snowfall.
White-on white - A pair of Mute Swans on the first fairway seemed to be very relaxed with the snow. Maybe they feel safest with this protective colouration.
There were 2 lesser Scaup in the pond. The juvenile laughed with joy at the novelty of the snow.
The female lesser Scaup was just keeping one eye on me until I left. Normally, they would have flown as I approached the pond. Today, they stayed for some unknown reason.
A female Ring-necked Duck was chumming with the Scaups.
With snow covering the ground, the northern Flicker had to act like all the other woodpeckers by pecking into the wood.
Rob Grose's usual bunch of House Finches graced the blackberry brambles by his house.
The American Wigeons were restricted to grazing at the edge of the pond.
Chasing Phantoms - A phone message from Garnet and Barb Hunt, my bird spies at Fairwinds, led me on a merry chase for a pair of Golden Eagles. I didn't get the message until 2 hours too late. Not surprisingly, there were no Goldens around when I arrived, but I did find a flock of 36 Horned Grebes at Brickyard Bay. That was the largest bunch I've ever seen.
Part of the flock - I know large flocks of Horned Grebes are supposed to be common, but I have never heard them reported around the Island.
I also found a juvenile Bald Eagle who taunted me with, "You just missed the Goldens."
Mar. 11 - The next day a phone call from the Springford's got me down to their farm looking for a possible Tundra Swan, but all I found were 10 Trumpeters.
On the way home I decided to look for the Redheads that Rhys Harrison had reported earlier in the week at Log Sort Lake. I was in luck. A pair of Redheads were cruising by just beyond the rows of bullrushes. I pressed the shutter everytime they appeared between the stalks of rushes.
I took about 20 shots before they were aware of my presence. Most of the shots were obscured by bullrush stalks or leaves.
I was fortunate that a couple of shots turned out. All I needed was one good photo.
Mar. 16 - Book Day
Being in Victoria to deliver books, I made the obligatory stop at Clover Point. I was surprised to see 5 Brant foraging on the rocks.
With the waves crashing in the background and the wind howling mercilessly, the true meaning of "sea goose" was evident.
Rithet's Bog was on the way out of town. Besides a few Mallards, Coots, Pintails, and Green-winged teal, there were a couple of Pied-billed Grebes.
I had time for one stop in Nanaimo. Was it going to be the Estuary, Crow & Gate, or Woodmont Farm? I wanted to see the Greater White-fronted Geese so I stopped at Woodmont. Good thing as shortly after, the sun disappeared behind a big black cloud and all of a sudden it was dark.
I just love seeing the geese at Woodmont. I think it's the wonderful pastoral country setting.
Mar. 18 - Stake-out Day - The Carolina Wren Mystery (Dare to dream!) - I had emails from some folks in Cobble Hill who had a couple of Wrens coming to their feeder. After spending a $100 on a couple of field guides, their conclusion was Carolina Wren. I did the 2 hour stake-out and confirmed at least one Bewick's Wren. An honest mistake on their part, and like I suggested, a "false alarm."
While I was staking out the wren, there were several Varied Thrush sitting beautifully in the sun, but not where I could get a photo. I had to settle for one in the shade.
Taking the long route home past Cowichan Bay farm, a flock of Trumpeters were close to the fence. I thought of all the Tundra swans that Derrick had been reporting and decided to check the flock. I lucked out. There were 40 Trumpeters and 1 Tundra.
Lift Off - My last stop was Somenoes for one of my favorite birds, the Shoveler Duck. As some of you might know, the humble Shoveler inspired me to get into bird-watching and bird photography.
Mar. 20 - The Aftermath - The herring spawn was a major natural event for the mid-island, not just in terms of regeneration of its own "keystone" species, but also in its nutritional support many other aquatic and avian species. For weeks after the initial spawn on Mar. 4, evidence of the spectacle continues as gulls and Brant regularly belly up to the shoreline and ducks congregate offshore feasting on the nutrient rich herring roe that still saturates the waters close to shore.
Easy Pickings - Just after high tide is the favorite time for gulls as the receding waters deposit a fresh supply of roe.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of ducks and other seabirds enjoy the treat offshore.
It is a timely event for the birds as they fatten up for leaner times during their migration and breeding season.
Large flocks of Brant are now in the area.
For many Brant, the herring roe feast is the main course before they continue north to Alaska and the Arctic.
Brant I.D. - Homeland Security in the States is now so strict that even the Brant have to have personal I.D. numbers. Just kidding. I'll ask Terri or Guy what the band colour and number tells us. ba
Wine, Women, and Song - For many species, it is not just a time for feasting. It is also the time for amour, when hearts are smitten by the sight of a potential mate.
Sex Games - The courtship rituals of the Common Goldeneye may be fun for us to watch, but its serious business for the Goldeneyes.
Don't Forget the Oystercatchers - With all the attention focussed on the gulls and ducks, the Oystercatchers felt neglected. Don't worry fellas, how could we ever forget about you?
Signs of Spring - The westcoast winter has grudgingly yielded to spring as the Oregon grapes signify. Happy spring to all!
NANAIMO - BACKYARD WILDBIRD & NATURE STORE SAVE-ON FOODS (WOODGROVE) SAVE-ON FOODS (COUNTRY CLUB) CHAPTERS FALCONER BOOKS COLE'S PORT ALBERNI - CLOCKTOWER GALLERY COURTENAY - GRAHAM'S JEWELLERS SAVE-ON FOODS SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS DEEP BAY - SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS MUNRO'S CAMPBELL RIVER - CAMPBELL RIVER MUSEUM BOOK BONANZA SAVE-ON FOODS DUNCAN - VOLUME 1 BOOKSTORE CHEMAINUS - LITTLE SHOP OF NOVELS LADYSMITH - SALAMANDER BOOKS NANOOSE - SCHOONER COVE MARINA SOOKE - SOOKE HARBOUR HOUSE Comments, questions, or book orders? email email@example.com
NANAIMO - BACKYARD WILDBIRD & NATURE STORE
SAVE-ON FOODS (WOODGROVE)
SAVE-ON FOODS (COUNTRY CLUB)
PORT ALBERNI - CLOCKTOWER GALLERY
COURTENAY - GRAHAM'S JEWELLERS
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE
COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS
BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS
DEEP BAY -
SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS
CAMPBELL RIVER - CAMPBELL RIVER MUSEUM
DUNCAN - VOLUME 1 BOOKSTORE
CHEMAINUS - LITTLE SHOP OF NOVELS
LADYSMITH - SALAMANDER BOOKS
NANOOSE - SCHOONER COVE MARINA
SOOKE - SOOKE HARBOUR HOUSE
Comments, questions, or book orders? email firstname.lastname@example.org