Feb. 2 - More Anna's

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever." The poet, Keats, wrote those words 200 years ago, but they are timeless and words to live by. If we all spend more time enjoying nature, we wouldn't need all that high-tech, energy-gobbling gadgetry to entertain ourselves. It may be redundant to post more pictures of the Anna's, but there is no such thing as too much beauty is there? Before I forget, thanks, Diana, for allowing me access to your backyard sanctuary. It was a double pleasure to enjoy the Anna's and also for the sunshine while everywhere west and north of you was smothered with fog.

Guess Who?

Hi! It's just me. I wanted to show everyone there's more to me than a magenta gorget. The gals tell me that I have a sexy rear end.

I'm not overweight. I can look slim when I want to impress someone.

How's this for a profile. I can look tough when I have to.

I bet you're tired of my back side. I am quite shy, but if you insist ...

How's this for an almost front view?

Boo! I can look fearsome to scare off intruders.

Grounded - The fog has been so thick around the Mid-Island that not only were all the aircraft grounded, so were birds like the Belted Kingfisher.

Curious Wren - A Bewick's Wren popped over the fence to watch me take pictures of the Anna's.

Mysterious Siskins - The pine Siskins disappeared from Vancouver Island last year but many have returned this year, although the numbers are still down from previous years.

A Photo for Posterity - I'm just taking a few pictures now just in case they disappear for good.

Feb. 9 - A Tuft Day - It may have been overcast, but it didn't rain on my parade as I enjoyed an hour of solitude with the marvellous Tufted Duck at King's Pond. However, the Tufted wasn't too interested in me as it spent most of it's time foraging with a female Lesser Scaup.

There hasn't been a confirmed sighting of a Tufted Duck on Vancouver Island that I am aware of since I started birding 4 years ago.

Thanks to the kind birders who reported the Tufted Duck on Feb. 1. The birders on south Vancouver Island have always been excellent at sharing their sightings, and I certainly have appreciated their reports over the years. The Tufted Duck is only one of the many birds I've enjoyed in the Victoria region. THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE REPORTED.

Feb. 10 - Another Dull Day - It was another overcast morning on the Mid-Island, but it was brighter than usual with the sun trying to break through the clouds. As I headed past Springford's Farm, I was surprised to see a Great Blue Heron grazing in the field. It reminded me of how the Cattle Egret forages for worms and amphibians. My first birding stop was Parksville Park to check out the gull flock. It was definitely growing, but I didn't see anything unusual. Mind you, if it doesn't have a name tag, I probably wouldn't know what is anyway. I thought I saw a Herring Gull but the flock was scattered by a dog when I parked so I decided to head for French Creek.

The usual gulls and ducks were at French Creek. In the little pond across the across the creek I could see the resident pair of Greater Yellowlegs. It was time to pay them a visit.

My next stop was Qualicum Beach where I had a pleasant visit with Sandra and Dan. Dan had the same complaint as I - the lack of sun and colour. Heading back I decided to visit the scoter flock along the seawall. It wouldn't be great for pictures, but I always enjoy watching them dive for varnish clams. As usual, the flock headed out when I set up on the beach, but I knew they would be back. Meanwhile, a little Bufflehead was diving for lunch when it got caught by a clam. It looked like it was wearing a muzzle. It was a little puzzled and frantic for a few seconds, but it finally dove and scraped the clam off.

As predicted, the scoter flock came back in. It wasn't a big flock - only about 30 birds, but all three species were present. The Surf Scoter was the shyest, but I wanted all three species so I took a distant shot.

The Black Scoters were also shy, but one finally cruised in front of me.

The Black Scoters have always been my favorite maybe because I have an affinity for gold.

The White-winged Scoters are always the boldest. Once they decided the camera wasn't a gun, they didn't mind being right in front of me.

It's always fun to see them juggle the clam until its's in the right position.

It doesn't take long. A couple of flips then down the hatch.

On my return to French Creek, I saw a pink gull on the gravel bar, but that wasn't what interested me. A juvenile Common Goldeneye was heading right towards me. I couldn't believe it as I scrambled for my camera.

It was heading for the bank right in front of me to do its grooming.

It found a loose bum feather.

After the grooming it was time for stretching.

One final shake, and then it's siesta time.