Inversion Aversion

It would be a mild euphemism to say I was frustrated by the spate of maritime fog that has blanketed our coast for the past week. A few hundred meters inland there would beautiful springlike sunshine and the wildflowers ready to bloom. Along the coast where all the ducks, seabirds, and shorebirds were waiting to be photographed, it's been ice-cold and visibility-zero. However, I was desperate enough play "find-the-sun in the fog-stack" and satisfied my "itch-to-click" a few times.

Jan. 27 - The Oft-Neglected Mallard

Mallards are so common around here that I rarely pay any attention to them, but I'm going to rectify that. After all, we did raise a family of eight one time in our house and for years after their release, a few would return regularly for a visit and brighten our winter days. It wasn't quite sunny at French Creek, but the Mallard was waiting for me. It must have known that I was ready for a Mallard photo shoot.

A Bushtit at Dolphin Lake.

An Amerasian Wigeon at Wall Beach.

Jan. 30 - Hawky Day

Another foggy day on the coast but sunny inland. I decided to go hawk hunting. The Nanoose estuary, Kaye Road, and Qualicum cut-oof Redtails were all perched on the treetops above the fog and enjoying the sun. The only one close enough to photograph was the Qualicum Redtail. It was kind enough to fly from the shady side of the road to the sunny side and wait for me to turn my car around at the next intersection.

A Cooper's Hawk near Garnet and Barb's at Fairwinds.

Jan. 31 - Anna's Day

At the risk of being repetitive, another foggy day ... Was it Mark Twain who said, "If you don't like the weather, just drive a mile?" Today it was about 30 miles (via Parksville and Qualicum) before I found some sunshine east of Piper's Lagoon. And, it was worth it as I finally caught up to an Anna's Hummingbird.

The Amazing Anna's - One would think that a delicate little bird like the Anna's would be smart enough to spend its winters in Calfornia or Mexico just like the Rufous Hummingbird. But the Anna's is tougher and more durable than most people realize. It has no problem living year-round on the coastal regions of Vancouver Island and can endure sub-zero temperatures for many days in a row. It's secret is "topor" which is like a self-induced coma where all bodily activities are minimized to conserve energy. As well, the stereotypical image of a hummingbird sipping the sweet nectar of spring flowers doesn't apply in the winter as the Anna's dines on small spiders and insects. Of course, if there happens to be a hummingbird feeder full of sugar water close by, that would be hard to resist.

House Finches also liked the same tree that the Anna's perched on.

So did the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. There were a few Pine Siskins also, but I didn't get a picture.