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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May Photo Scavenger Hunt


1 - Good Things

One Saturday I strolled through the Village Farmer's Market, and stopped in my tracks when I spotted a scrumptious rack of baked goods.  I love these berry and custard Danishes ~ and take big bites out of them!  Perhaps it would have been healthier to avert my eyes and focus on the fresh vegetables!


2 - Small Packages


Small is a relative term...and in the big scheme of things, this bundle of small packages were being hoisted out of the water as I looked on.




3 - Fragrance


There were so many delightful garden scents throughout May, especially emanating for my lilac tree, however my Magnolia Susan was the fragrant choice for the month.




4 - Station


Here's a Personal Float Device Station for children who need to wear safety devices when boating.





5 - Nose


Nose, beak...This crow was taking great notice and being nosy about whatever was going on around him.


Profile view ~



6 - Front Page

Once I learned where the 'Good Things' (see #1) were baked, I went calling.  There was a pile of newspapers on a shelf in the bakery, with a few front pages on top.



7 - Nine

You may have seen my video of the ducklings in my previous post.  There were nine of them :)  How perfect is that?  All of them finally made it up onto the bank to gather around Mother Duck on our visit on Mother's Day. Doesn't she look like she's smiling proudly? Can you find nine little ducklings?


8 - Beverage

Water!  My beverage of choice.  I took a photo, also on Mother's Day, of my glass of water in front of my delicious supper.


9 - Currency

Although money doesn't grow on trees,  here's a spot to buy some currency...at a cost!


10 - Historic

An old anchor has found itself up on dry land after being seeped in history.



11 - Yellow

I took so many yellow photos during May, but chose these illuminated tulips :)



12 - Do you see what I see?

Little hummingbirds flit and dart so that sometimes only a beak, wing or tail feather is visible.


Oh, there it is!




Our weather, which has been quite glorious, has suddenly opted to re-visit March!  We are in for a few days of 13 degree rainy stuff.  Hopefully June will put in a good word and brighten things up again :)

Thanks to Kathy at Postcards from the P.P. for sponsoring this photo hunt and if you wish to see other links for May's list, click here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Ducky Mother's Day


I spent a most enjoyable weekend in Victoria celebrating my brother’s birthday and Mother’s Day.  A family gathering at the Aura Restaurant at the Laurel Point Inn in Victoria prompted me to reserve a room for the night at the Inn.  It was a lovely room with a little balcony that overlooked the goings on in the Inner Harbour.

In the following short video, a Harbour Ferry water taxi jauntily floats by, followed by a Harbour Air Seaplane that travels between the Vancouver and Victoria harbours, and the large Coho Ferry that carries vehicles and passengers to Port Angeles, USA on the Olympic Peninsula.  I could have spent the whole day watching the water traffic.


However, my sons treated me to breakfast since it was Mother’s Day and we were joined by my brother.  What a lovely treat!  We then headed to Beacon Hill Park where we happened upon a brood of ducklings!  At first the ducklings were all happily zipping around in the pond while Father Duck kept an eye on them and Mother Duck sat up on the edge of the bank enjoying a little quiet time on Mother’s Day.  When swimming time was over, the ducklings headed back to Mother...quite a challenge, as you will see in my video:




After spending the day enjoying the sights and sounds, we headed back for the two hour drive home...enroute we stopped at one of my favorite spots for supper, the Crow and Gate Pub where I ordered crab cakes...and again was treated by my sons.  It was lovely to sit outside in the sunshine for our meal.

A panoramic sunset on our arrival home:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fluffy Rufous Hummingbird - UPDATE


An excerpt from this site:

Vancouver Island is home to only two species of Hummingbird, the Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbird. The Rufous Hummingbird is distinguished by a buffy cinnamon colouration on its body and tail. Like all hummingbirds, male Rufous have iridescent throat feathers, called a gorget. When the light catches it, the male Rufous gorget is a striking orange-red colour. Females are greener, and have spots of iridescent feathers on the throat. The Rufous is by far the most common species in our area. They arrive with the first flowers of the spring, breed here, and depart by mid summer.
The Anna’s Hummingbird is much more elusive. The Anna’s male has a fuchsia-pink gorget and a green back. Both males and females have white over the eye, and no hint of cinnamon. Anna’s have only been in BC for around 60 years. This native of California has gradually moved north, expanding its traditional range. Anna’s reached Vancouver Island in the mid 1940’s, and a breeding record was confirmed in 1958. Since then, Anna’s have been steadily increasing on Vancouver Island, especially during the past 5 years.

The reason I was interested in finding out more information about hummingbirds, is because I saw this fluffy one sitting just above the hummingbird feeder.  I was surprised to see it still perched there while I went to get my camera and returned.  Perhaps it's a young Rufous Hummingbird.  I'll try and find out.

UPDATE: Message received re identification of hummingbird below:
The bird in your photo is a full adult male Rufous Hummingbird.  Note the dark gorget (neck and head feathers) and the bright rufous-red colouring down the sides and back of the bird.  Females would show a green back with some rufous-red colouring down the sides.

Rufous Hummingbirds spend the summer months in the area to breed.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

CP-140 Aurora...and Orange Teeth

How's that for a title?

What a beautiful day it was today, and high time I might add. First things first... When I was searching for info on my previous post about the CF-18 fighter jet and the Buffalo SAR, I learned from this site
that a CP-140 Aurora aircraft will make a flyby of these locations to mark the Battle of the Atlantic parades and ceremonies, on Sunday, May 6. The CP-140, from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron, will conduct a flyby of these ceremonies at a height of 500 feet at approximately 11:20 a.m. over Parksville and at 1:25 p.m. over the Comox Marina Battle of the Atlantic Memorial.
I also found an interesting article on the CP-140 Aurora here and a youtube video which I also enjoyed. With that in mind, off I went... My vantage point - Aurora aircraft in the distance:

I have made a slideshow of some of the photos I took!  In one of the photos you may spot a Blue Heron making a flyby and I was able to get the aircraft and heron in the same photo.









Once I returned home, I decided to cut the front lawn. It has been so wet for so long, that it was in dire need of a haircut. After a little breather and a visit from Quigley...I cut the back lawn. Everything looks much tidier. Tomorrow, the forecast is for another sunny day! Yahoo!

 I decided to put a chair outside in the front garden and sit there quietly and wait to see if Quigley would return to the feeder. Quigley was a little tentative at first, but did decide to get into his acrobatic routine...and to go about the business of finishing off some more food.
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On one of the upside down photos, an orange glint caught my eye. In an editing program, I flipped him right side up and this is what he looked like.

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Back to google for some info on squirrel teeth...and from this site:
Squirrels have excellent senses of smell, vision and hearing...Their powerful jaws and teeth include four very sharp incisors that grow continually. The teeth of tree squirrels turn an orange color at approximately 4-5 months of age.

Looking up, I could see fresh unfurling leaves of the Red Oak enjoying a sunbath...
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A most interestingly busy and enjoyable day ~ I have been ready for this weather!

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's Show Time!



This morning I heard a sound that sent me flying out the front door with the camera. Overhead I saw (and heard) a CF-18 Fighter Jet and the large yellow and red DHC CC-115 Buffalo Search and Rescue plane. I do have video footage from April of the Buffalo SAR plane flying overhead. I’ll see if I can upload it in another post. Strangely enough, Flighty recently made mention of, and linked to, a Typhoon fighter jet in his recent post about peace and quiet... I guess that means it's more than just Spring in the air ;)






Well, that wasn’t the only excitement here at home. Quigley lived up to his name by presenting his own show of incredible acrobatic finesse, while ‘chowing down’ at the same time. Once he finished off one birdfeeder, he was on to the next! He shared the tree at various times with a hummingbird and nuthatch, who also likes the upside down approach. Quigley lowered his body and took off when a shadow of a large bird passed over the tree. Smart move, Quigley!







Once down, Quigley headed for the bush and started scratching in the soil; he seemed to give himself a dust bath! What with all this rain, maybe he was just drying off!  I'll show that next time. Part of the Quigley sequence can be seen on my Youtube video.





Quigley seems to me to be an Eastern Grey Squirrel. They are usually found in the eastern Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, but were introduced to Vancouver and Vancouver Island, according to this site which is quite informative, and includes the information that they consume 400 to 900g of food a week. More information here, such as this
There are a total of 22 teeth in the adults ... The total length of these squirrels ranges from 380 to 525 mm (15 to 20 in.), tail length ranges from 150 to 250 mm (6 to 10 in.)...
 They are referred to as medium sized squirrels --- please don't introduce any large ones!!

Our two neighbourhood Collared Doves appreciated Quigley’s leftovers that made easy pickings from the grass.


I don't need to leave home to experience Show Time!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In the garden...

"Holy Smokes," I hear from the front room.  "A giant grey squirrel just ran down the tree! At first I thought it was a small cat!"

"That's Quigley!" I replied.

With camera in hand, I quietly leave the house by the front door and see Quigley heading next door...

As well as Quigley, other visitors came to call, as can be seen in the following collage.  Although it is still raining more often than not, the blossoms continue to delight.