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Monday, February 29, 2016

Dr. Sun Yat Sen

Fern and I took a "busman's holiday" on Saturday and went on a guided walking tour of Victoria's Chinatown. The tour, led by local historical raconteur Chris Adams, was fascinating and taught me new things about an area of the city I thought I knew well. I fully intend to take some of their other walking tours and recommend them highly. If you are planning a visit to Victoria don't hesitate to spend a few hours on one of their walking tours. You can find out about the tours they offer on their website, One of the things I discovered was the statue pictured above, Dr. Sun Yat Sen. The statue was erected by the Chinatown Community as a mark of respect for Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Many of the Chinese people who came to Victoria in its early days came because conditions under the imperial government in China were so bad. As they became more successful here they continued to have a strong interest in improving life for those who remained in China. For many the best way to do that was to support Dr. Sun Yat Sen in his efforts to overthrow the imperial government in China. To make a long story short, Dr. Sun succeeded in ousting the Emperor of China, became the first President of China, and the rest is history. I will refer you to Wikipedia for more details. Suffice to say that Dr. Sun is immensely important in Chinese history where he occupies a place not unlike Nelson Mandela in Africa.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fishing on the Breakwater

We went for a walk on the breakwater yesterday afternoon and came upon this fisher just in the final moments of reeling in a sizable lingcod (I'm guessing). It was pretty exciting to see it come up out of the water just thrashing around like crazy. I have to admit though I was happy when he put in back in the water. - Fern

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Langford Street

I drive down this street almost every day and at this time of year I have to stop and photograph it. This is an ordinary suburban street, but when it's like this, what splendor!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Red-Breasted Merganser

As the weather warms up we are beginning to see birds of passage on their way north to their summer breeding grounds. Above are some birds I always like to see, a Red-Breasted Merganser drake and some females and juveniles of the species. Wikipedia touts this species as the fastest flying duck, clocked at 100 mph (160kph). No wonder his crest looks a little frazzled.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Blossom Explosion

Victoria is blessed with a large number of blossoming trees and they are now bursting into glorious bloom. Forgive me for passing along only half of the experience. The wonderfully sweet and spicy scent of these blooms is fully as intoxicating as their appearance.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

HIghrock Park

Before I took yesterday's photo I walked up to the top of Highrock Park to check around the base of this Garry Oak tree. I was looking for some Satinflowers that bloom there every year, usually the earliest of the small ground wild flowers that bloom here. No sign of the Satinflowers yet but the view never disappoints.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Indian Plum

A few days ago I promised we'd have a look at early blooming wild flowers and here is the one I always notice as first and earliest. Indian Plum or Osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformis) is found on a small bush with a few bright spring-green leaves as it is pictured above. It produces a small fruit that figured in the diet of local First Nations people though I find it a bit tart for my tastes. It's also very popular with birds. These were photographed in Highrock Park but the plant is found all over the city in small parks or overgrown vacant lots.

Monday, February 22, 2016


The old court house catches the last rays of the setting sun in old town.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

All Aboard!

We took a day trip over to the mainland yesterday and when you live on Vancouver Island that means taking a trip on BC Ferries. The view never disappoints. - Fern

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cold, Clouds and Kayaks

Before I went to Beacon Hill Park for yesterday's photo I stopped at Clover Point because the clouds were so interesting. There are almost always people in kayaks out on the water here and I admire their fortitude - it's still pretty cold on shore and I can only imagine what it's like out there on the icy Pacific. That's Trial Island in the background.

Friday, February 19, 2016


One of the earliest places to look for spring blooms is the south-facing slope of Beacon Hill so I took a spin around there yesterday and was rewarded with these lovely daffodils. Daffodils are not a native species here so next I'll be on the lookout of early blooming local wildflowers.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Skinner Street

Once again some of the earliest in the city, here are the trees lining Skinner Street in Vic West.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It's Those Pink Things Again....

A few days of warm rain and the trees are bursting into bloom. It seems like it's a few days later than last year - Skinner Street was a blossom riot on the 9th of February last year. I'll get over there later today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


The Pelagic Cormorants I posted yesterday were not the only things in the air when Fern and I were at Cattle Point on the weekend. A tiny insect-like buzzing alerted me to this little machine. I must confess to a love-hate relationship with these drones - I hate it when someone else is flying one overhead but I'd love to have one of my own for aerial views.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pelagic Cormorants

I was happy to see these Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) while out at Cattle Point on the weekend.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cattle Point 2

As mentioned by Benjamin yesterday we managed to capture some of the glorious but brief sunshine we had on Friday. I love being by the ocean on days like this but it can feel almost overwhelming to try to do it any justice so my solution was to head into the bushes. Yup, next time you're in a beautiful location and there's some lady standing in a prickly bush it's probably me. Someone's got do it I figure. - Fern

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cattle Point

Fern and I took advantage of a warm sunny afternoon on Friday to head over to the eastern side of Victoria and visit Cattle Point. In Victoria's early days (mid-19th century) cattle were offloaded here to swim ashore. That brilliant blue in the above photo is just how the ocean looked - in fact, it was so blue I was tempted to turn down the saturation a bit to make it seem more realistic.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Westsong Walkway

Usually these days I walk westwards along the West Bay Walkway but the other day I took a turn heading east towards the city along the Westsong Walkway. It's the same walkway that goes around the Inner Harbour but the different parts of it have different names.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Matson Lands

The photos for the last few days have been taken from a viewpoint above the West Bay Walkway above a small property known as the Matson Lands after the original owner. This small steep hillside is a tiny vestige of the Garry Oak Ecosystem, an ecosystem that is in danger of extinction. To protect it, this stairway has been built that connects the property above with the West Bay Walkway in a fashion that protects the delicate ecosystem. The person in red in the centre of the photo is walking along the West Bay Walkway.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mobile Homes

Here's another shot taken from the top of the Matson Lands, overlooking the West Bay Marina. On the right we can see some of the float homes that are moored there. Just to the left of them is an RV Park where another type of mobile home is moored, these ones with wheels. It looks like a great place to park for the winter.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The View

Sunday was bright and sunny and immediately after I photographed the Snowdrops posted yesterday I walked to the top of the stairway leading from the West Bay Walkway to the top of the Matson Lands to take this photo - probably my favorite readily accessible view of the city.

Monday, February 8, 2016

More Snowdrops

Couldn't resist these snowdrops growing in a rocky cleft above the West Bay Walkway.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


I was walking through Rock Bay, Victoria's equivalent of an industrial area when I came across this very photogenic pile of steel rods. I'm not sure what they're for but they made me think of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons in which Coyote would order a kit from Acme Mfg. Co. and try to finally capture the Road Runner. These look like something that would come out of one of those kits and undoubtedly lead to Coyote plunging off of a cliff or some other mishap. I always did feel a bit sorry for him. - Fern

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

On my morning walk earlier this week I was pleased to see this Common Goldeneye duck (Bucephala clangula). While I have seen small flocks of Goldeneyes elsewhere, generally when I see them on the Inner Harbour they are solitary or mixed in with a bunch of Buffleheads. I have yet to discover the reason for this. Any ideas?

Friday, February 5, 2016

West Song Beach 2

Here's another shot of this youngster enjoying the small beach on the West Song Walkway. Despite the summery associations the weather here continues quite cold and wet most days. When this was taken might have been the only clear sunny day this week.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

West Song Beach

Almost all the shoreline of the Inner Harbour is rocky at the water's edge but there is one tiny bit of sandy beach along the West Song Walkway, pictured above. When I took this photo a few days ago there was even an infant with a red sand shovel to make the scene complete.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Beacon Hill Park has a wide variety of Rhododendrons - there is even one variety that is native to Vancouver Island. I don't know what variety is pictured above but I was happy to see it beginning to bloom the other day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

More Crocuses

On Sunday I posted a photo of a solitary crocus, but just to show you that it was not alone, here is what I came upon shortly after I took Sunday's photo.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Yellow Point Lodge

This weekend we escaped Victoria and headed up island for a getaway at Yellow Point Lodge which is located just north of Ladysmith on the inside coast of Vancouver Island. A local favorite, they have a loyal following of folks who come back year after year to enjoy the magnificent view, amazing food and cozy accommodations. There several large common areas with comfy places to sit and enjoy the view, games, puzzles, reading and there is no TVs or internet - truly a retreat from modern life! - Fern