|I've pictured American Wigeons here here recently and occasionally they are accompanied by Eurasian Wigeons normally resident in Asia or Europe. Above is a Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)recently encountered at Esquimalt Lagoon. He was swimming around with a large number of his American cousins who are pictured to the right for comparison.|
Friday, January 31, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Trial Island Lighthouse. The fog we experienced last week is clearly visible here as an offshore bank obscuring the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
|Above is a photo of a Red-breasted Merganser couple, the only one I've seen this year. As usual with ducks the male is the brightly patterned one. While I have not seen Red-breasted Mergansers earlier this year, there have been many Common Mergansers here and I've posted photos of them before. For comparison, a pair of males and a single female Common Merganser are pictured to the left. All of these birds were swimming around offshore from Clover Point on Sunday.|
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
|A beautiful warm, sunny day yesterday so I decided to go out to Esquimalt Lagoon again. I was lucky to find the resident Trumpeter Swan on the shore preening himself (or herself). That's the Trumpeter pictured above. To the left I've posted the photo of the Mute Swan I published a few days ago so that you can see the most distinguishing physical difference - the shape and color of the beak. They're both beautiful birds but unlike the Mute Swan the Trumpeter is a native North American bird. It is also slightly larger than the Mute Swan, a European species. In fact, the Trumpeter Swan is the "largest extant waterfowl on earth" according to Wikipedia.|
Friday, January 24, 2014
|Driving anywhere within a few blocks of the Johnson Street Bridge for the last few months you will likely be flagged through slowly because of the construction related to the new bridge. Lower Johnson and Pandora and the intersection with Wharf and Store streets are constantly being dug up in different ways. Of course this is one of the oldest parts of Victoria and has always been the busiest area so there are no doubt all sorts of gas and electricity lines underground that must be re-routed. The same kind of work is being done on the Vic West side of the bridge. And since the bridge approaches will be re-configured because the rail link is no longer used, there will be lots more obstruction/construction before the project is complete. I'm not complaining - if we want a new bridge then this has to be done and the construction crews are certainly working to keep traffic flowing while they do the work.|
Thursday, January 23, 2014
|When I first saw this duck I wasn't too sure what it was. Then I saw that distinctive long flat bill and knew it was a Northern Shoveler Duck. However, it seemed to have some of the characteristics of both the male and the female of this species so I asked for advice from a local birdwatchers website. I was correct in my identification of this bird as a Northern Shoveler; it's an adolescent male - and he certainly does have that adolescent gawkiness. The photo was taken at Rithet's Bog in Saanich.|
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Friday, January 17, 2014
|A couple of days ago Fern and I went to Macaulay Point at sunset to capture the full moon rising over the city. Unfortunately the rising full moon was hidden by a low bank of cloud. Nevertheless, the sunset was dramatic enough to make the trip worthwhile. But what really made the day for me was the little dim, blurry photo to the right, taken after sunset. It's not a clear photo but it's clear enough to enable identification of a bird that is new to me. This is an adult male Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata). Despite the poor quality of the photo the distinctive head markings identify this bird clearly. When even the Surf Scoter was no longer visible I turned the camera to the skyline to capture the lighted dome of the Legislative Assembly Building towering above the houses of James Bay.|
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani), one of which is pictured above. I suspect these birds are monogamous since they almost always seem to move around in pairs. I was particularly happy to get the photo above because I have just started a new project - collecting photos for my Birdwatchers Life List. Enthusiastic birders compile such lists where all the species they have seen are named. Of course I have seen Black Oystercatchers before this; they are quite common here. But this is the first photo I've taken of them that meets my criteria for my Life List. I still have several hundred species to go before I have even covered local birds....
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
January 2nd I posted a photo taken from Macaulay Point with the Fisgard Lighthouse just visible in the far distance. Here from nearly the same vantage point but with a much more powerful lens is a closer look at my favorite model. To the left of the lighthouse one of the gun emplacements on Fort Rodd Hill can be seen.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Saturday, January 11, 2014
|Here's a local animal I've seen several times over the last few years but have never succeeded in capturing in a clear photograph. It's a Mink, the same animal that is used to make those fabulously expensive fur coats. Those I've seen have usually been creeping among large rocks on the shoreline as in these photos, often disappearing behind or beneath a large boulder. This one was photographed on Clover Point. I've also seen mink along the West Bay Walkway, and at Saxe Point and Esquimalt Lagoon. However usually the mink (always alone when I've seen one) was moving rapidly from one place to another. The one pictured here, for instance, was only visible for ten or 15 seconds.|
Friday, January 10, 2014
Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) visible in the center of this photo. While they are not a particularly rare or an endangered species, I haven't seen any on the West Bay Walkway since 2012 and even then they were shy and few in number. Of course they are also a very attractive duck with instantly recognizable markings and colors. The trio on the right are Hooded Mergansers and a Black Oystercatcher is visible on the left.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Mount Baker) seems to be looming over the city rather ominously, it's actually about 80 kilometers (50 miles distant). It looks closer through the 400mm telephoto lens I was using a few days ago when I took this photo from the summit of Highrock Park in Vic West.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Before Christmas I posted a photo of the Belmont Building from the corner of Government and Humboldt Streets. Above is another photo of this historic building taken from the corner of Humboldt and Gordon Streets. This building was originally constructed to serve as a hotel butnever opened as such due to an economic slump. It opened later as an office building. Below is another photo (from 2011) of the Government/Humboldt Street corner with a line-drawing treatment I like. The Belmont Building has some interesting features not visible in these photos that we will look at later in the week.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Common Goldeneye. I don't see them very often and this is the first I've seen this year. They are so different from the male of the species that I always think I've come across a duck new to me. Below is a photo of a Common Goldeneye drake (from last spring) so you can see how much the genders differ.