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Monday, April 30, 2012

Red Fish Blue Fish

What a line up! These folks are all patiently waiting their turn to order fish and chips from this teeny tiny shipping container turned restaurant down on the wharf, at the bottom of Broughton Street. We had the classic battered cod with chips and the seafood "poutine" which came with shrimp. It's such a great spot to sit and watch this busy harbour at work. - Fern

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Garry Oak Meadow

Back to Highrock Park, which is such a special place in the spring. I love these tiny new leaves just coming out on the Garry Oak trees. They have such lovely color as they first emerge from their winter slumber. - Fern

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Somewhere Saturday" - Grand Place, Brussels

I posted a couple of photos from my recent trip to Belgium and India last week, of Delhi. Here are a couple from my stopover in Brussels. This is the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the centre of Brussels. Belgians have been working on it for about a thousand years. The buildings are wonderfully ornate and decorated with numerous statues in niches. On the far right of the above photo can be seen some of the Brussels City Hall dating from early in the 15th century. Most of the other buildings visible here were erected by merchant guilds in the early 18th century after a battle had destroyed nearly all of the original buildings in the square. Below is a bit of detail of one of the guild buildings. The Grand Place has been voted the most beautiful square in Europe and it certainly is a memorable place to visit.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spring Blues

Bluebells aren't the only blues on the spring scene right now. There are also patches of Grape Hyacinths (genus Muscari)(above) and the Camas Lilies (Camassia quamash) (below) are starting to bloom too, providing a beautiful contrast to the luminous greens of the new grass. In a few days the intense royal blue of the Camas will thickly carpet the mossy hillsides of the Garry Oak ecosystem that is preserved at Highrock Park. Now we prize them for their beauty but Camas Lilies were an important food source before European colonization in this area. These dense stands of Camas are the result of selective cultivation and harvesting of the bulbs of these plants by the local native peoples (the Songhees Nation or Lekwungen) in the past. The bulbs were dried and ground into a kind of flour that could be stored and eaten later.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Bluebells (Hyancinthoides hispanica) are an introduced species but one that I'm always happy to see in the spring. These were photographed in Highrock Cairn Park. Despite the name, they sometimes come in pink (below) or white.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)

It's always a red-letter day for me when I spot and identify a species of bird that is new to me so last week's trip to Witty's Lagoon was made especially memorable by the sighting of a half dozen Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes). The tide was out so the mud flat at the upper end of the lagoon was a perfect hunting ground for these birds who feed on insects and small fish and crustaceans.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Strait of Georgia

I cannot help but go out on deck and take some pictures when aboard the ferry over to the mainland. While this is not an unusual scene I never tire of it. - Fern

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another From Witty's Lagoon

This snail had found a perfect spot to nestle in that lovely moss that Benjamin mentioned. - Fern Long

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Fern and I spent the afternoon walking through the forest near Witty's Lagoon. There are several trails from the parking lot down to the lagoon but no matter which one you choose you will walk beneath giant maple trees. At this time of year they are bursting with their new leaves and the racemes of greenish yellow flowers that seem to radiate light. I'm not very good at identifying trees but I'm guessing this is what is called Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum). As well as bearing these lovely flowers the maple trees here seem to be more favored by mosses and lichens than other species of tree and older limbs look like they are coated with thick green fur.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jama Masjid

Those of you who visit here regularly will know that I traveled during March and early April of this year. Today for "Somewhere Saturday" here are a few photos from Delhi, India, one of the cities that I visited. One of the most imposing buildings in Delhi is in what is called "Old Delhi" and was built by the same Mughal emperor who built the famous Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan. The building pictured here is the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. It was built in about 1650, roughly the same period that saw the construction of some of the great Christian cathedrals in Europe. Above is the stairway proceeding to the entrance. The knot of people to the right at the top of the stairs are visitors removing their shoes before entering the great courtyard that lies in front of the mosque (left). On Fridays this courtyard holds as many as 25,000 worshippers while many more pray inside. Below is a view of the outside wall of the courtyard looking towards the famed Red Fort, whose towers are faintly visible through the trees. April in Delhi is HOT - it was 32°C (90°F) during our visit to the mosque.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fisgard Lighthouse

Finding a new angle to photograph Fisgard Lighthouse is almost as satisfying as sighting a new species of bird or wildflower. Here's what our iconic lighthouse looks like from Saxe Point through a 300mm telephoto lens. I am impressed by the choice of paint color for this lighthouse in that it seems to be the perfect complement and contrast to the dominant blues and greens of the scene. This lighthouse is my favourite model. If you want to see it as I have seen it over the last 4 years, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


A beautiful sunny day yesterday so I thought I would go out to Saxe Point Park in Esquimalt. Whenever I'm out there I always end up taking a few shots of this view because it is so quintessentially West Coast.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Springtime Visitor

I saw a small flock of these Red-breasted Mergansers (Mergus serrator) recently from the West Bay Walkway. These are the cheetahs of the air since they hold the speed record for the fastest level flight of any bird - 160 km per hour (100 mph). They're also pretty fast swimmers on the surface of the water - every time I've seen them they've seen me first and quickly paddled themselves offshore. It seems they're probably heading north to nest since I've only seen them here in the spring.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On the Causeway

For me one of the surest signs that winter is over is when the Inner Harbour Causeway blossoms with the artists and entertainers that give it so much life and interest. Saturday was a bright sunny day and brought out many Victorians and visitors to enjoy the scene. Above is caricature artist Dean Lewis concentrating on young Emilie from Estonia.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Enbridge Pipeline Protest

Yesterday, here in Victoria, as in other parts of B.C. people have been coming together to voice their concern about the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. Very inspiring. - Fern

Sunday, April 15, 2012

An Old Soul

I met this fellow on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Metchosin. There were many things to point the camera at but this portrait wins the day. - Fern

Saturday, April 14, 2012

West Bay Marina

Swallow's Landing not only provides a good view of Victoria but overlooks West Bay Marina as well. Here we can see some of the houseboats and sailboats that use that facility. The houseboats (or float homes) are generally more luxurious than those at Fisherman's Wharf, as well as being more inaccessible. It is not possible to stroll around the pier and look more closely at them. I can't say I blame the owners for gating their piers since tying up at Fisherman's Wharf during tourist season must be a little like living in a zoo.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Favourite View

Here is one of my favourite views of Victoria, taken from the viewpoint provided by the Swallow's Landing condo complex in Esquimalt. This is accessible from the West Bay Walkway by climbing the zig-zag stairway that protects the delicate ecosystem of the rocky hillside. It's only a short climb and the view is well worth the small effort required.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Giant White Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum)

Here's another of my favorite spring flowers, the Giant White Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum), that is now blooming in Highrock Cairn Park as well as along the West Bay Walkway (look in the woods below Swallows Landing).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sea Blush (Plectritis congesta)

My first stop to check on the progress of spring here in Victoria was nearby Highrock Cairn Park in Vic West. There I found Satinflowers and Giant Fawn Lilies as well as these patches of Sea Blush that carpet the hillsides with pink at this time of year.

While I've been away my daughter, Fern Long, has posted a terrific collection of daily photos here. Check in on Sunday and Monday every week to see more of her work. Thank you Fern!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Above Victoria

I'm back from my jaunt across the continents but here's the last view I had of this area before the plane flew eastwards into the night in early March. Although I had a very good and successful trip, as usual it's very nice to be home and to be here for spring. As soon as I'm unpacked and unlagged we'll have a look at some of my favorite springtime scenes here in Victoria.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sawmill Point

This fantastic photo was taken by Daryl Wootton. He and Bopper, his most excellent walking companion, were out for a stroll along the Galloping Goose Trail on a brilliant spring afternoon. Thanks Daryl! - Fern

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter Everyone!

We are having an eggscellent Easter weekend and hope that you are too. - Fern

Friday, April 6, 2012

Special Effects

I have a love/hate relationship with the various tools available for post processing photos. I love them, they're like candy. And I want them all. Then, I feel guilty and usually hit undo. In this case I thought I'd put up two examples of some different effects and think about it some more. These are from Gorge Park I should mention. - Fern

Skunk Cabbage

Another harbinger of spring, the odoriferous, but oh so beautiful skunk cabbage. - Fern Long

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sunset on the Songhees

It was light enough to go for a bike ride after dinner (!!) but it was very chilly. - Fern

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


While unwanted by most, I can't help but love the vibrant color of these hardy little flowers. -Fern

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


This combines two of my all time favorite things (besides wonton soup, see previous post) neon signs and bare winter branches in silhouette. Soon however, these will be covered in beautiful pink blossoms which are also lovely to photograph. Stay tuned! - Fern

Monday, April 2, 2012

Food Porn

Welcome to Wah Lai Yuen, one of my long standing favorites in Victoria. The food is is delicious and plentiful. We always go for their big bowls of "Wonton Noodle in Soup" which you can have with a variety of toppings. I had tofu and broccoli and Ricky always goes for the bbq pork. - Fern

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Homelessness in Victoria

This is a sculptural piece created by Tyler Hodgins, as part of a larger show called Throw Down at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. It is made of ice and a water soluble pigment, and represents a homeless person in a sleeping bag. This one was on Fisgard Street, in chinatown but each Saturday he places them in a different location. I love art that stops you in your tracks and makes you think. Homelessness is an issue in Victoria as in most urban centers the world over. There is some good work being done, and this photo to the left is one example that gives me hope. This beautiful building, located at 950 Humboldt Street, houses people with addictions or mental illness who have been chronically homeless for more than a year. Built by Pacifica Housing, they are an incredible organization working to make a difference in our community. - Fern