Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Salmonberry blooming, Discovery Park

Let's see, when did this start happening last year? Ah: March 18. So salmonberry is two weeks ahead. Red-flowering currant is earlier than that. I haven't noticed any maple bud action. I'll have to check.

Witty's Lagoon, B.C.

Green mossy woods, shining streams.

Fiddlehead. Bracken fern, judging by the size and where it was growing.

Nice to see Yew.

And the lovely lagoon. There were northern pintail, green-winged teal, mallards, buffleheads, great blue herons, and a gorgeous kingfisher who cleverly avoided being photographed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Goose, Montlake Fill

Just one, hanging out with a rag-tag band of Canada Geese. At one point they wheeled overhead. I could see the black wing tips.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Red-winged blackbirds sitting in a tree

A pair of male red-winged blackbirds sat at a tree a few feet away from each other, exchanging "oak-a-lee" calls and flashing their epaulets.
Just below them, five females took in the performance.

And then the females left to pick bugs from a nearby alder.

The males started hopping up the tree, coming within a foot of each other as they climbed.

They each gave two or three trills from the trees' top branches, before one flew to a nearby cattail.

Then they both ducked into the reeds, and the drama was over.

Early spring?

Usually, when people talk about how this year's warm, El Nino-fueled winter is causing plants to sprout up early, I'm a little skeptical. Spring is always early around here. The first tulip shoots show up around New Year's Day. It's just that, when the weather is warm and nice, more people are out to notice the new growth.
But then I noticed the coltsfoot appearing.

Compare this to my picture of the same coltsfoot patch on March 4, 2009. It's further along, but not 24 days further along.

Friday, February 5, 2010

That's not a dog print

Seen on a trail in Discovery Park.
Incidentally, raccoons appear to be mating these days. I know this because a pair were copulating on my parents' back lawn in Victoria for about an hour on Tuesday. Naturally, my parents phoned me up to tell me about it, and emailed a photo.

Pretty birds, Discovery Park

Mr. and Mrs. Barrow's goldeneye, gleaming in the sun.

And my geek-a-licious bird du jour, a Lincoln's sparrow in the south meadow. Such a pretty little birdie. The dapper coloring, the crisp black streaks on the belly. Really I'm quite silly about it.

There was also a fox sparrow, but this is the best picture I got, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Crows in a crowd

Yesterday, morning, about 10:30 a.m. about 100 crows gathered in Discovery Park's south meadow. Some of them converged on trees. Others ambled about in crowds on the ground, like shoppers taking in a big sale. I could hear three distinct kinds of cries: a rattle, a musical, raven-like "cronk," and, overwhelmingly, a high, harsh "caw, caw, caw" -- the call crows always give when assembling.
I couldn't find a reason the crows were crowding together. They weren't diving at anything. I wonder what they were up to?