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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Walking After Dinner

Now that the days are growing longer, we have been out in the evenings again and there is something so magical about dusk isn't there? - Fern

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sign of Spring

Well, the sunshine is still a little weak but here's sign of spring as welcome as spring flowers, Victoria's own famed One Man Band, Dave Harris. Warm sunny holiday weather on Good Friday brought crowds of Victorians out to stroll on the causeway and enjoy the entertainment provided by our resident buskers, artists and crafts people.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Greetings all on this Easter weekend. While awaiting the ferry on Galiano Island I was pleased to see this group of Goldeneye Ducks (Bucephala clangula). I have seen a couple of individual Goldeneyes this year in Victoria but not a group like this. This group is a male, on the far right, and a group of females. That bulbous swelling of the head above the eyes gives them their Latin name, "Bucephala", which means "ox-headed". And from this photo it is easy to see why they are commonly called Goldeneyes.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Diving Buffs

Recently I saw some Bufflehead Ducks diving for breakfast very near the shore. The water was particularly clear that day and the male duck's bright orange legs were clearly visible working to keep him submerged. I always enjoy watching these little ducks dive - they are so buoyant that they have to jump up a little before they dive and work very hard to stay under the water. As soon as they stop paddling they pop up like corks. The video below will give you some idea of their diving prowess.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands are an archipelago formed by many small islands that lie between south-eastern Vancouver Island and the Canadian and American mainland. There is a good map and an article on Wikipedia that you can read by clicking HERE. The scene above is typical Gulf Islands scenery. The small islet in the foreground is part of Pender Island.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)

Fern mentioned that we took a small Gulf Islands tour on Sunday, island hopping a bit to get from Victoria to Galiano Island. The ferry stops at Pender and Mayne Islands on the way to Galiano. My day was made at the first stop on Pender Island when Fern drew my attention to a half dozen large blackish birds perched on the dockside. I recognized them as cormorants immediately but could see that they were not the cormorants I usually see (Double-crested Cormorants) along the West Bay and Westsong Walkways. These are Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus), also common along this coast but not a species I have identified before.The photos nicely show off their richly irridescent plumage and bright scarlet skin. They also have striking jade-green eyes. The white patches just above the legs and the scarlet skin on their heads are marks characteristic of breeding season.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Optical Illusions

What do you see in this photograph, holes or bumps? So far, everyone I've asked says 'bumps' but in fact they are holes. On this part of the coast there are areas where the rocky shoreline includes some wild rock formations and I found these on Galiano Island. I am not sure what their proper name is however. Anyone? - Fern

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tour Through the Gulf Islands

Saturday the staff here at Victoria Daily Photo took a day trip to Galiano Island. This is one of the Southern Gulf Islands and the ride is quite lovely winding through the islands and Active Pass. It was sunny but quite chilly; after a little while on the deck it was necessary to go back inside to warm up! - Fern

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grape Hyacinth

Here's another entry in the roll call of spring flowers, the Grape Hyacinth. Like Lucile's Glory of the Snow this is another import that has naturalized itself in Highrock Park and elsewhere. This one is still all bunched up and looking a little cold but soon their rich blues will add another note to the spring symphony.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Highrock Park

I live quite close to this little park. It's the highest point of land in Esquimalt and offers good views overlooking Victoria and Esquimalt. And although it is well used by local citizens and their dogs, it continues to be a lush and fairly natural enclave of Garry Oak Ecosystem. At various times in the spring the slopes are richly carpeted with brilliant blue Camas Lilies and equally brilliant pink Sea Blush and many other wildflowers (such as the Satinflowers I posted a few days ago) are to be seen in season. One of the pleasures of living in Victoria is the presence of many small parks like this. Fern and I discover new ones every year, each with its own character.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lucile's Glory-of-the-snow

Lucile's Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa luciliae) are an invasive species but are so lovely in the early spring that I always end up photographing them. Those above are escapes from someone's garden that come up every year in the same spot in Highrock Park.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Mushrooms

Autumn seems to be the high season for mushrooms but there are some that pop up in the spring too. These little ones were growing in the moss in Highrock Park.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Satin-flower (Olsynium douglasii)

Here is the spring wildflower I found on the summit of Highrock Park last week, the beautiful and delicate Satin-flower (Olsynium douglasii). That's the name given to it by Lewis J. Clark (Wild Flowers of British Columbia), who writes that it's also called Purple-eyed Grass. I like the name Satin-flower because there is such a distinct satiny sheen to the petals. I've seen these wildflowers before but never in such numbers as this year. I suspect I've usually been too late to catch many of them since they are very early bloomers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Daily Commute, Johnson Street and Douglas Street

So we here at Victoria Daily Photo Headquarters have been looking old photos of Victoria and what are the most interesting are the street scenes. The ordinary, nothing special photographs of what it looked like as people went about their daily lives. While this photo may not be exciting or beautiful I bet in a hundred years it might be fascinating to ponder the changes that will have taken place. - Fern

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Sun!

So after a week of fog and rain the sun has emerged for the weekend but with it has come the wind. It was crazy down at Fleming Beach but the views were well worth it. - Fern

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Misty Morning

With the weather so warm lately and the sighting of the Fawn Lilies recently I decided yesterday to venture up to Highrock Park to see if the Shooting Stars (another favourite early spring flower) were appearing yet. No sign of the Shooting Stars but an early morning mist cloaked the summit of the park and lent a soft and peaceful atmosphere to the wonderfully gnarled Garry Oaks. I did see another early spring flower up there in greater profusion than I've ever seen them before. Check here next week to see them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Peaceful Co-existence

In my first post about my recent deer sighting I wanted mainly to show all four of these deer because I have not before seen four deer at once in the city. However, perhaps more extraordinary than their number was their peaceful acceptance of a human (me) relatively close and visible. While they initially spent a few moments watching me closely they then went back to browsing and grooming themselves in a relaxed fashion. It's very pleasant to be acknowledged without fear by wild animals.

Shortly after I posted yesterday's photo (scroll down) of the Fawn Lily, I happened to be reading in Emily Carr's "The Book of Small" and was delighted by her description of these same little lilies:
"...the most delicately lovely of all flowers - white with bent necks and brown eyes looking back into the earth. Their long, slender petals, rolled back from their drooping faces, pointed straight up at the sky, like millions of quivering white fingers. The leaves of the lilies were very shiny - green, mottled with brown, and their perfume like heaven and earth mixed."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Giant White Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum)

Here is the spring flower I found yesterday, a Giant White Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum). This one was blooming near the West Bay Walkway and very near to where I saw the deer I posted photos of yesterday. When I look back at previous years I see that my first sighting of this spring harbinger is earlier this year than in the past and it does seem like it's been warmer this March than in other years. In any case I'm happy to see these little lilies blooming since they always signal warmer weather to come.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Deer me!

I had planned to continue this anniversary week with some kind of retrospective posts looking at the last five years but I was happy to have my camera with me on yesterday's morning walk along the West Bay Walkway. It was one of those situations when you are looking for something - for me it was spring flowers - so I was focused on the ground. Suddenly I became aware that I was being watched and when I looked up there were all these deer - four of them. It looks like three does and a fawn to me. This is an urban area - it's within the Victoria city limits and just below a large condominium development in a well settled residential neighbourhood. I've seen deer here before but four at once is unusual. (I did spy some spring flowers - tomorrow!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Year 6

Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of Victoria Daily Photo so we are now into the sixth year. Above is the first photo I posted on March 10, 2008 - the photographer's shadow on one of Victoria's many Garry Oaks. I must confess after five years of daily photo posting that I sometimes find it a bit difficult to come up with a photo and a few words every day. And I sometimes think that that is a signal that it's time to close it down. However, I think there is still plenty of beauty and interest here in this city and I hope you will visit from time to time to see what we are finding.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I never tire of Fisgard Street and all the lights. - Fern

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Willows Beach Tea Room

I stopped to take a picture of this neat old sailboat going by Willows Beach but it was too far out. I turned, in disappointment to get back in my truck when the Tea Room, all laid out,ready for the summer's crowds caught my eye. I love the sense of expectation, the quiet waiting that is tangible in an image like this. - Fern

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Just now....

Here's a street I pass down almost every day near my home and at this time of year I always silently bless whoever decided to plan these beautiful flowering trees so many years ago. They are just starting to bloom now and will soon be covered with wonderful bunches of blooms like pink popcorn. Though there is still a nip in the air, these trees make it seem warmer. I took this photo less than an hour ago.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Signs of Spring III

I saw one of these little hummingbirds a few weeks ago but too briefly to catch a photo. This one, however, settled in on this twig to preen his feathers long enough for me to snap this quick photo. That bright red crown indicates this is an Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna), a year round resident of this area.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Signs of Spring II

Here's another sign that we are approaching spring - the appearance of the little Harbour Ferries that trundle around the Inner Harbour and the Gorge, providing both transportation and sightseeing. This one was spotted yesterday cruising in front of the houseboats at West Bay Marina. This ferry service does not operate during the winter months. The first ferries began to run on February 28. During the summer the little ferries perform a "Water Ballet" in the Inner Harbour at 10:30 every Sunday Morning. Check it out in the video below (not my video).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Signs of Spring

Daffodils are not native plants here but this environment seems to suit them so perfectly that they have naturalized themselves. The ones pictured above are blooming along the West Bay Walkway between some rocks on the shoreline.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Plum Blossom Time

The only fitting text for this would be a Haiku.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Willows Beach Project

This is a stretch of beach that I pass everyday on my rounds at work and I am always so intrigued by the constantly shifting light and variable weather and how it affects the scene. These are a few of the pictures I've taken from the same spot over a couple of months but I'm sure you could stand here and take a picture every hour and have it be just as interesting. - Fern

Sunday, March 3, 2013

And Now For Something A Little Different

Inspiration can come from anywhere. - Fern

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Crocus Weather

Well, it's still rather gray and wet but it's getting warmer every day.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Race Rocks Webcam

I didn't take the striking photos above. They were kindly sent to me by Dean Lewis and were taken using the Race Rocks Webcam. Thanks, Dean, for sharing these with us. Above on the left is a juvenile Bald Eagle. These can be seen in other places locally - even on my morning walks. On the right, however, is an animal I have never seen before, an Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris). Race Rocks (just off the tip of Vancouver Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca) is their most northerly location. They are quite extraordinary animals - they can dive up to 1,500 meters or more and hold their breath for over an hour and a half. They are BIG and can weigh a couple of tons. Anyone can use the webcams on Race Rocks - - it takes a bit of practice but if you have some time and patience you can see some wonderful things.