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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Work Point House

When I snapped this photo on my morning walk a few days ago it was mostly because I liked the goose standing so alertly on the top of this rocky little island. When I got home, however, I was also pleased to see that it was a nice capture of the interesting stone house on Work Point in the background. The house was built by John Henson, a stone mason. He and his family lived there from 1929 to 1939 when Work Point became of wartime strategic significance since it marks one side of the entrance to the Inner Harbour. The house then became a part of the Work Point Barracks. Apparently it is still as solid as when it was erected, a tribute to John Henson's skills.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Follow the birds....

In the 1960s a well-known advertising slogan was "Follow the birds to Victoria." The birds were almost certainly the seagulls that unfailingly follow the ferries in hope of scraps. And, while Victoria does have many other species of birds, there is no doubt that the most visible are seagulls.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Monday, January 28, 2013

More of the Usual

This is more like it for Southern Vancouver Island. Wet, wet and wet. It's still lovely to be able to go out for a walk in the woods though and then really lovely to come back inside for a hot cuppa! - Fern

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Old Town

The sun does make periodic appearances here on the grey coast and it's nice to stroll around town and enjoy the history of Victoria. The top image is from Herald Street and the second one is (of course) lower Johnson Street. - Fern

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Beacon Hill Park

Many Victorians prefer our wilder local parks such as Thetis Lake but the fully domesticated Beacon Hill Park (above) is pleasant and peaceful on a winter afternoon.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Morning 2

We're having a lot of these cold gray mornings lately. Here's what the city looks like from the Westsong Walkway.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ripples 2

The reflections on the water are so lovely they make even this fairly mundane seagull look special.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Here's one of my favourite birds, the Hooded Merganser, but what I like most about this photo is the wonderful patterns on the water.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter Morning

Taken just as the sun was rising over Highrock (Cairn) Park here in Victoria West.

Monday, January 21, 2013


This is pretty random but I like it all the same. It's the Vancouver Island School of Art and in the evening light doesn't it look inviting? It's also exciting that I took this at exactly 5:05 which means that it's getting lighter later! - Fern

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Swanee River

On a stroll through Cuthbert Holmes Park behind Tillicum Mall (a real gem of urban wild space) we came upon this lovely pair floating on the Colquitz River in the late afternoon sun. It brought to mind this lovely old tune which I then found on Youtube sung by one of my favorite actors, Hugh Laurie (aka Dr. House) who is also a talented musician. Listen here - Fern Long

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Normal Birdwatching

Usually when I post photos of birds they are like close-ups though they have been taken with telephoto lenses. Today's photo is what I usually see. Have you noticed the Belted Kingfisher? He's practically dead centre in this photo. By the time I have fumbled around attaching the telephoto lens the bird I have spotted has often flown away. The wooden structure in the background is the Selkirk Trestle that gives its name to this part of the Gorge, known as the Selkirk Waters. The Selkirk Trestle was originally for rail traffic but is now a part of the Galloping Goose Trail for cyclists and pedestrians.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Landscape With Boats

This is the part of the Gorge known as the Selkirk Waters. It is a wide part of the Gorge between the Bay Street (Point Ellice) Bridge and the Tillicum Bridge. Here we are looking up the Gorge (westward) towards the Tillicum Bridge.This photo was taken from the Selkirk Trestle that bisects the Selkirk Waters and is part of the Galloping Goose Trail.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cold Paddling

Well the cold weather may have caused some ducks to move around recently (see yesterday's post, below) but it did not deter these members of the Ocean River Paddling Club.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


In the bottom right of yesterday's photo you can see the ducks pictured in today's photo. These are Wigeons; most are American Wigeons (Anas americana) but at the rear of the group (see the orange blaze on his head) is a Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope). Though these dabbling ducks are not uncommon winter residents here I have not seen them hanging out along the West Bay Walkway this year until now. I suspect the hard freeze may have frozen the shallow freshwater lakes and ponds they seem to like.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Morning

Though it seems to me that Victoria's winter has been wetter than usual this year it has been quite mild with the temperature hovering around freezing - sometimes above and sometimes just below. When I took this photo, however, we had just had a hard freeze.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nice Hair-do

This made me smile when I came upon her. Such a lovely statue with such a demure expression and yet... - Fern

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nice Ride

Old cars like this Buick are becoming fewer and fewer aren't they? When I ended up behind this relic at a red light I had to try and catch a quick snap of course. I particularly like the way the two people inside are silhouetted against the lights. - Fern

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hanging Out to Dry

If you spend much time in an area with Double-crested Cormorants you will soon notice that they spend a lot of time posed like the one above. The reason for this odd stance is that unlike many other water birds such as ducks, their feathers do not repel water. This is also the reason that they swim so low in the water, often with only the upper part of their backs visible. There's a good reason for this - they are divers and buoyant feathers mean much more work to stay submerged when chasing fish. However, this also means that after swimming around underwater for some time they must spread their wings to let them dry. Being heavy makes diving easier but makes flying much harder.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Victoria: A History in Photographs

While I'm on the subject of books, here's another that I have been enjoying lately: "Victoria: A history in Photographs" by Peter Grant, published by Heritage House. Needless to say it's got lots of fascinating photos of early Victoria, but it also has enough text and captions to explain and put the photos into context. I can't help but think that maybe in a couple of hundred years some of my photos will make their way into a similar book. It makes recording the details of la vie quotidienne a little more significant.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This Old House - Volume One - Revised Edition 2012

Often on this blog I have featured some of Victoria's many heritage homes. And usually whatever background information I can provide on these homes comes from the publication pictured above. "This Old House" has recently been republished in a completely edited and updated version and is even more fascinating and useful than earlier versions. If you are the kind of person that sees a beautiful old home and wonders about its former inhabitants or history you should get a copy of this book. It's one of four volumes, each dedicated to a different part of the city. They are published by the Victoria Heritage Foundation that also has an excellent website you can visit by clicking HERE. The new edition has over 200 additional photos of heritage houses, a few of them by yours truly.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

In early December last year I posted a photo of a lone female Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula). I was lucky to see the male of the species yesterday while walking along the West Bay Walkway. Unlike the other overwintering ducks that move around in flocks or pairs these Goldeneyes seem to be quite content to spend the winter alone.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

You wanna piece o' me???

This Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) really is pretty tough - you've got to be if you're going to make your living eating shellfish and you've got no hands. I took these photos near noon so the morning feeding session was pretty much over and this bird was settling down to do some preening. Otherwise I would have captured some video of how dexterously they unfasten limpets from their rocky beds and pick the meat out of the shells with those big red beaks.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dallas Road 2

As a result of recent winter storms there is alot of seaweed washed ashore. The variety, color and textures are really quite amazing. - Fern

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dallas Road

This is a special post today, for JoJo. I know she has a thing about beach glass so when we went for a walk at the beach this morning I thought I'd better collect some as this is the best spot in Victoria to find it. It really is lovely, especially when it's still wet from the waves and all different colors seem to glow.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Somewhere Saturday - Cawston, BC

At this time of year summer seems like a long time in the past and an even longer time in the future so I thought today I would post a bit of summer sunshine I enjoyed a couple of years ago in Cawston, a small community in the Similkameen Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia. The area is officially classed as a semi-arid desert and up in the hills there's lots of Prickly Pear Cactus, scorpions and rattlesnakes. But down in the valley where water is available it's lush and green.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ongoing Mystery

I first posted a photo of this wonderful fungus in December a couple of years ago. I continue to be intrigued by this species' wonderful color and texture whenever I see one. They glow like little odd-shaped icicles among the moss. However, I am no closer to identifying them than I was two years ago so any suggestions will be appreciated.
Site visitor Ken Meadows has kindly identified this mushroom as Pseudohydnum gelatinosum. It's also known as toothed jelly fungus, false hedgehog mushroom, and white jelly mushroom. It's edible and also may have some medicinal uses. Thanks Ken!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mature Mushrooms

Generally I like to photograph mushrooms that look like they just popped out of the ground that morning. This is a little unrealistic since mushrooms like other living things go through stages in their development. Though the mushrooms above are clearly past their prime they still have a certain scruffy charm.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

More Mushrooms

My visit to Thetis Lake Park on Sunday was inspired by information I received that there were some Amanita muscaria growing near the lakeside trail. I found them but alas they had been trodden on. Nevertheless, the trip was a pleasant one and I found a number of other mushrooms to photograph, including the lovely peach-colored ones pictured above.
Capchas have been disabled for your commenting pleasure!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thetis Lake

Fern and I are both very fond of Thetis Lake Regional Park. It's got miles of splendid paths through the forest and beside its lakes and one of its nicest characteristics is that it is right on the edge of Victoria. It's barely a fifteen minute drive from our house in the city. Even when the park is crowded (like it was on Sunday when I took this photo) it is still very easy to be alone with the lake and the trees (and the mushrooms! - we'll be seeing some more of these this week.)
Happy New Year!