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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell to 2013!

Another year has passed us by, like water under the bridge. - Fern

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
― Brad Paisley

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pretty Things

I love these lovely shiny baubles. Beads come in an incredible and endless variety of shapes and colors, too many to ever pick a favorite. - Fern

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Any regular to Victoria Daily Photo will tell you, we here love the great outdoors alot. However, interior spaces can be just as intriguing. My journeys recently took me into a very large apartment building and this long, dimly lit hallway brought to mind a dream-like space, one where you would start walking and never reach the end. Spooky yes? - Fern

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Double-crested Cormorant

Just offshore and between Macaulay Point and Saxe Point are a couple of small rocky islets favored by Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) as places to rest between dives and to dry their wings. Often these cormorants fly just above the surface of the water as in the photo above.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser)

There are some fairly large flocks (50-100 birds) of these birds in coastal waters now. These are a kind of diving duck called Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser). That's the male with a black and white body and a greenish black head near the center of the photo. The others are females and juveniles. These were photographed near Fleming Beach.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Colorful Cabbages

Here's a domestic plant that seems to have become popular recently. I like them because I always feel so starved for flowers and green things during our long Canadian winters and these ornamental cabbage seem to thrive in winter here in Victoria. Those in the photo above are growing in a planter on Humboldt Street downtown.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Here's what our place looks like this Christmas Eve. Fern and I take this opportunity to thank you for your many visits here throughout the year and your hundreds of kind comments and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Festivities Downtown

As we rushed around town getting a few last minute things done for the the BIG DAY we were lucky enough to come across this dance performance in Market Square by the ZarYevka Ballet performing the "Nutcracker Sweet" with music by Tchaikovsky. It was entrancing and well appreciated by the crowd that had braved the rain and traffic to enjoy this little bit of holiday magic. - Fern

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dramatic December Skies

So this is from the archives but its still one of my favorites; the days may be short at this time of year but they make up for it in wow factor! - Fern

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Leucistic Fox Sparrow

I first caught a glimpse of this bird a few weeks ago while he was hopping around in the back yard. Then I saw him again at the bird feeder but both times he came and went too quickly for me to capture a photo. I didn't know what kind of bird this was, only that it was something I had not seen before. Yesterday he visited the feeder again and I had my camera nearby to get the above photo. I sought some identification help from a local bird-watcher's site and learned a new word. This is not a new species but a genetic pigment variation known as leucism. The bird above is a leucistic Fox Sparrow. Leucism is a little like albinism but not quite the same. For the technical details I'll refer you to this article in Wikipedia. The small photo to the right is a normal Fox Sparrow.

Friday, December 20, 2013


When we stepped outside the Oak Bay Marina Restaurant earlier this week there was a fine light mist falling. By the time I reached my vehicle this had become a fall of tiny little snowballs about the size of BB gun pellets. Then, while I stood to take this photo of the "snowbow" over the entrance to Oak Bay, the small pellets changed to pea-sized ice balls. Twenty minutes later that particular cloud had blown past and the sky was once again blue. In the photo above you can see the "snowbow" on the right side of the photo and if you look closely (or click the photo to enlarge it) you can see some of the small white snowballs that were falling.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

F. W. Francis Street Clock

Here's one of several antique street clocks remaining in Victoria, this one on Broughton Street downtown. I suspect many of today's younger set will find it challenging to discover the time from this old analog style timepiece, so it is nice to have these old clocks preserved and in working order. If you want to find out a bit more about this particular clock, click on the photo to the left to expand it to readable size.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Union Club

An important aspect of cultured male life in 19th century England was the club - a place where gentlemen could meet/dine/drink/sleep in private when visiting London from their country estates. Any student of history or historical fiction knows the importance of the club as a socio-economic nexus and whenever I drive past the Union Club I always imagine tycoons and behind-the-scenes power brokers dining there as they plan the future of the rest of us. Whether that is the case or not, the building and its location (adjacent to the Fairmont Empress Hotel) certainly suggest wealth, power and privilege. Here's a link to the Union Club website that you can explore and decide for yourself:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Like the Parliament Buildings or the McPherson Theatre this is one of Victoria's landmarks. Maybe it's not quite as big or famous but anyone who has lived in this town has at some time or another popped into this shop on the corner of Fisgard and Government (also quite a well known spot of course) and bought a paper, or a chocolate bar or maybe even some rice paper and Chinese ink. It is both a supplier of your everyday comestibles and a little outpost of the orient. - Fern

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Soda Shoppe is Open

After last week's cold snap and light dusting of snow our weather has warmed up considerably - it's nine degrees Celsius today so I took a walk around downtown. This Soda Shoppe is on the corner of Government Street and Humboldt and though the weather is warmer it seems that most people are not quite in the mood for sodas yet.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Who Knew?

This little guy (or gal) was photographed by my friend Teresa Banner after being discovered by her husband in a bit of muddy ground during our little cold snap last week. Amazing that it survived the cold at all. Thanks for sharing Teresa and good luck with your new friend! - Fern

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gray Days

In winter here we usually have either bright, crisp days with the possibility of snow and freezing temperatures - like last week when we had a bit of snow one day. This week has been the other most common option - cloudy days that are warmer, often with rain. I tend to prefer the warmer weather since it means driving around is not so risky but the dark, gloomy days are a little hard to bear. All in all I guess I'm fairly happy with going back and forth between the two types of weather although I'd prefer to have summer all year round. The above photo was taken yesterday at Sailor's Cove, at the westermost end of the harbor. Sailor's Cove is where I usually finish my morning walk before turning back towards home. Even on a gray day it's a treat.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola)

There is a large flock of Bufflehead Ducks (Bucephala albeola) wintering off the West Bay Walkway this last month or so. They are wonderfully buoyant diving ducks that have to work very hard to stay under the water and pop up like some kind of children's toy as soon as they stop striving. They have two other behaviors that I suspect are associated with mating since only the males do them. The first is what is pictured above - standing up on the surface and flapping the wings vigorously a few times. The second behavior is what I call "motorboating" since it consists of paddling very fast on the surface so as to throw up a dramatic bow wave. Both these activities are done near females.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sunrise from Highrock Park

I haven't quite got around to preparing a current photo for today so here is one from almost exactly two years ago today - sunrise looking out over the city from Highrock Park. What was I doing up there at sunrise? You may remember that there was an eclipse of the moon around that time and Fern and I went up to the park to photograph it. When it was all over it was nearly sunrise and I stopped to take this photo.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Halkett Island

In the centre of the Selkirk Waters lies this tiny island, Halkett Island, here looking surprisingly verdant despite the freezing temperatures. It is also known as Deadman's Island because it was used as a burial place by First Nations people. There's a good short article about the island's history on Wikimapia, as well as the lovely aerial photo below. The "bridge" on the lower left of the photo below is the Selkirk Trestle and is where I took the above photo of the island.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Customs House

Even on these crisp winter days it's always a pleasure to catch a glimpse of the old Customs House on Wharf Street.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Favorite Things

Usually Victoria is mild and wet but lately we've had a real cold spell with lots of sunshine. While we complain about
the chill I love what the frost does to the leaves. - Fern

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Photography is often as much about what you edit out than what you focus in on, as with these two photos. After a trip through the jammed packed aisles of our local big box store, I stood in wonder looking out from the edge of the parking lot enjoying the very crisp and serene winter sunset over the Sooke Hills and happy to forget the traffic and hustle bustle behind me. However, showing only the above picture creates a false sense of what is going on around me doesn't it? Interesting to contemplate. - Fern

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Here's a mural I have long enjoyed but never stopped to photograph before. It's on Douglas Street, Victoria's main thoroughfare, and depicts a coastal scene from pre-contact days, very appropriate for a marine supplies store.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Yes, Victoria gets this white stuff, too. It'll probably be gone in a day or two but here's a few shots of what the West Bay Walkway looked like when I took my morning walk yesterday.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Selkirk Trestle

As well as providing nice views up and down the Gorge, the Selkirk Trestle is an interesting structure in itself. It was originally part of the Canadian National Railway system and is now a part of the Galloping Goose Regional Trail.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Looking South

We had some nice bright days early this week and though the weatherman suggested that snow was a possibility it didn't come to pass. Above is a view of the city taken from the Selkirk Trestle, an old railway trestle that crosses the Gorge and is now a part of the Galloping Goose regional trail for pedestrians and cyclists. The Galloping Goose is much used by cycle commuters who get to enjoy this view every day. Here we are looking south towards the Bay Street Bridge (Point Ellice Bridge) with the city beyond. That green treed area on the left is where Point Ellice House is located and the outlook/viewpoint on the opposite side of the Gorge is at the bottom of the Railyards condominium development.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Yes, 21 - that's how many shopping days remain until Christmas. I suspect your local retailers are keeping you well informed of this. Here's a photo of one of our local malls, the Bay Centre, all dolled up for the season.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fry's Bread

This fantastic bakery opened in our little neighbourhood of Vic West about a year ago and has been a welcome addition. An especial favorite is pizza on Sundays with thin crusted, oven roasted creations topped with all kinds of fresh, local ingredients. Divine! - Fern Long

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chinatown At Night

Not just for Christmas, but all year, our little Chinatown is lit up quite nicely. - Fern

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

This is a female Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus). There is generally a small flock of these blackbirds foraging along the shore of Esquimalt Lagoon or sharing some of the food that people like to give to the swans and ducks. Quite often the Brewer's Blackbirds are accompanied by Red-winged Blackbirds and European Starlings. Despite the summery green evident here, this photo was taken about a week ago and the temperature was only a few degrees above freezing.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Up Close and Personal

Yes, I know it's only a seagull but he was posed so nicely I couldn't resist.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lunch in Good Company

Well, no, I didn't have lunch yesterday with the Queen, but her portrait (above) was nearby while we ate. The dining room was in Victoria's Legislative Assembly Building and is one of Victoria's hidden dining jewels. Food, presentation and service were superb and prices more than reasonable. While the restaurant is meant for the convenience of legislators, it is open to the public. The Queen's portrait is in recognition of her Diamond Jubilee and is a smaller copy of the original that hangs in Ottawa. This one is displayed on the main floor of the legislature.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Royal Roads

After I'd had a good look at these clouds and taken this photo you can bet that I was packing up and heading for home. This is the body of water known as Royal Roads. It is offshore of Esquimalt Lagoon. For those of you not familiar with "roads" as a nautical term, here is what Wikipedia has to say:
The term Roads (short for roadstead), as applied to a body of water, is "a partly sheltered area of water near a shore in which vessels may ride at anchor". Signifying the safety of a port, the word "roads" in the nautical terminology of the day meant "a place less sheltered than a harbor where ships may ride at anchor."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

My visit to Esquimalt Lagoon last week yielded, in addition to Saturday's photo of the Mute Swans, this photo of one of my favorite dabbling ducks, the Northern Pintail (Anas acuta).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wondering the Streets

I'll admit, once the colder weather arrives I don't venture into the city at night very often but with enough layers of clothing it was quite nice actually. Government Street looks quite inviting all dressed in light for the coming onslaught of Christmas shoppers doesn't it? - Fern

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tis the Season

Last night was the official beginning of the holiday festivities in Victoria and a big attraction downtown is the ferris wheel in Centennial Square . Lots of people where out and about braving the crisp weather we've been having. Not to worry though, The top shot was a long exposure; it would be quite a ride if it was going that fast! - Fern