Thursday, January 29, 2009

How considerate

Making sure the message gets through and is understood by both two and four legged walkers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pick the low

Not sure if hanging rocks on this tree's branches is a method to shape them or simply an innovative way to decorate them.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Molting seal, Gonzales Bay, Victoria

Yesterday's evening walk down to Gonzales Beach yielded a pleasant surprise – a juvenile elephant seal, looking much like a piece of driftwood, lying in the sand. Elephant seals are shielded from extreme cold by their blubber, more so than by fur. The animals' hair and outer layers of skin molt periodically. The skin has to be re-grown by blood vessels reaching through the blubber. When molting occurs, the seal is susceptible to the cold, and must rest on land, in a safe place called a "haul-out." While most animals shed hairs year-around, elephant seals do it all at once. The molting process is so abrupt that it is called a catastrophic molt.

Friday, January 23, 2009

This can't be right

In the front lawn area of this house at 929 Cowichan Street in Victoria, is a complex wire mesh cage covering a small pond. Confined inside the cage are two very morose looking Mallards.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pole to pole

When telephone poles are replaced, the new one is first attached to the old. Once the concrete has hardened and the new pole is stable the old one is usually removed for recycling. However, this one may enjoy a different fate.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gonzales Bay Diamonds

Well, maybe not quite diamonds but beach glass is none the less very beautiful with its frosted finish caused by the incessant action of waves and pebbles. White (previously clear) seems to be the most prevalent with indigo blue and pale lavender being the rarest. If you are very lucky you may find a piece that has some raised text or graphic.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Darling Snowdrops of January

We had a wonderful walk today. Finally, after three weeks of overcast, blue skies return and we discover the first snowdrops of the year. You can see more of my art here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dog of the day

In "Mystic Vale" a hidden, natural, gem just a tad south of the University of Victoria and unmarked on most area maps, "Holly" is sheparded by her master. Holly was a Christmas dog – hence the name. She is a cross between a Border Collie and an Unknown. While she does not like to swim, she is obsessive about rocks. In the creek that runs through the middle of Mystic Vale she worries one rock in particular - mouthing it out of the water, then pawing it back in. She can hold her breath underwater for an eternity as she coaxes the rock out of the water then back in. "I worry about the wear on her teeth" says her master.

Holly and her precious rock.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh Deer! At Government House

During a recent walk on the grounds at Government House, something caught our eye. Can you see it?
A closer look reveals a beautiful, very still, doe.
Then we realize that she is accompanied by two stags. It's amazing that such large animals can virtually disappear just by standing still against a forest backdrop.
Crossing a pathway in front of Government House.
Both stags have lost their left antlers – perhaps in competition for the doe's affections?
We very often see deer in the south and east side neighbourhoods of Victoria. Government House, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of British Columbia, is centrally located in the city and has a large, public accessible, property that includes the "Woodlands" a Gary Oaks parkland that provides a good home to free-ranging deer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Topiary

It must take quite some dedication and work to convince a tree to survive in this condition.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Balancing Act

A transient balancing act in a rocky clearing in central Uplands Park.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Could you tell us how to get to......?"

We make it a habit to carry a small map when we go on our walks in the neighbourhood. We use it to make notes of the location of interesting finds along the way. We usually pack a spare which we can give away to any tourists finding themselves lost in the meandering ever name-changing streets of the Gonzales/Oak Bay area. But sometimes even maps can lead you astray.
Here is a bird's eye view of a little corner of Harling Point. You'll notice that Maquinna St. and Penzance Rd do not join. Actually there is a tiny, rocky, public path that joins the two – but no road.
Here is how MapQuest, correctly, maps the non-intersection:
While Google Maps enthusiastically decides to intersect the two roads:
And the Tourism Victoria official free tourist map follows suit:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Muddy passage

A path in Uplands Park in North Oak Bay is made passable by a bit of wood plank engineering.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Sometimes, when the tide is low, crabs can get tangled up in the masses of seaweed near the water's edge. This lucky seagull managed to pull one out and is now trying to figure out how to get past those sharp claws to enjoy a tasty lunch.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dog of the day

For this pooch, examining passersby using its sense of smell is the only option since the small, well worn, porthole in its fence can only accommodate one shiny wet nose.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Ivy

A walk down a newly discovered lane in Oak Bay revealed this old ivy tenaciously clinging to the side of a garage.

Eagle Day – Goldstream Park, BC, Canada

Yesterday Susan and I drove up to Goldstream Provincial Park to see the annual salmon run. Ooops! we were a bit late for the event – apparently the run happens October through December. All we saw were a few disgruntled eagles with their backs turned to us and many salmon bones, picked clean by seagulls, lining the stream. We'll be back next year – at the right time of year!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Harbour Seal

A Harbour Seal enjoys a slow, curious, swim near the fish cleaning station at the Oak Bay Marina.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Helping the crows

On a cool 5ÂșC day, a kind lady helps out the Chaucer St. crows with some scraps of bread.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Grounded sailboat

A sailboat which was grounded near Oak Bay Marina during the windstorms in December, 2008, remains stranded January 2, 2009. A sailboat nearby, which met the same fate, was claimed by salvagers.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lafarge Barge aground

A 60-metre barge went aground in Oak Bay early New Year’s morning, in the waves of Enterprise Channel–the narrow body of water between Trial Island and Oak Bay. The barge was built in 1981 and is used for hauling aggregate.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Polar Bear swim in Gonzales Bay

A family braves the cold waters in Gonzales Bay to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, January 1, 2009. Brrrr!