On Wednesday, I was running late as I had someone helping me install a storm/screen door which took a lot longer than anticipated. And so the others had gone on ahead. As the dogs and I were trotting up the path on our own, it occured to me that a cougar had been spotted not too far away a week or so ago, and with blackberries everywhere the bears might also be around. Suddenly, as we rounded a bend, there was a huge crashing in the trees to my right, just slightly above my head. For a split second I was frozen with fear, until a huge owl swooped out across my path, literally inches from my face. With his wide outspread wings he banked in a graceful circle and disappeared into trees at a safer distance. He was a little too far away, and in the darkness of dense foliage, for a good picture, but if you look very closely at the area circled in red you may see him.
Owl's feather As we approached the lake, the other dogs heard us and joyfully came towards us en masse. What a greeting! Archie and Hugo and Tess, Quinn, Pearl, Vimy, Alva, Dolly, Drew, and Luger all racing down the path to check us out and then racing back again to the lake. Alva afforded us much entertainment (other than a heart stopping moment when she flew into the deep water with the bigger dogs and found she had overestimated her ability - for a moment there I had visions of having to swim out to rescue her), and all the dogs had a great time.
Dogs in water :Dolly, Alva,, Archie and Drew
Dogs in a row
Charley and Sadie
Charley and Sadie, nonswimmers, enjoyed lying on the dock where the cooling breezes could ruffle their fur:
The dogs took turns checking out an interesting spot in the grasses by water's edge. There I discovered a small dead fish, and a freshly killed snake. I thought to photograph the fish before tossing it out of the dogs' way, but was a little hastier getting rid of the snake. Drew has a habit of whipping them around in a frenzy, I'm told, and I really didn't want to be snake-whipped.
And of course, no Wednesday Walk would be complete without the obligatory photo of Her Royal Whiteness, Princess Pearl:
Thursday, Chris and Beau and Luke accompanied us back up to the lake again. Beau and Luke enjoyed just standing around in the cool water. Big, big dogs, they are able to stand in areas where the Wednesday group could only swim. Luke was particularly entertaining as he attempted to suck the lake dry!
Luke's idea of swimming (photo by Chris)
Luke and Beau (Photo by Chris)
We didn't see the owl this time, but we were entertained by two kingfishers swooping and diving and calling to each other a few hundred feet away. And without splishy-splashy stick-chasing joyfully barking dogs of Wednesday's walk, we were also able to see many fish in the water - live ones, this time. Chris took this picture:
And she also took this lovely photo of Sadie:
Sadie (Photo by Chris)
Friday, at Swallowfield, large birds were everywhere - perhaps they, too, are glad of the cooler weather. Large wingspans of young eagles or similar birds were sihouetted against the sky; several herons flew through the trees by the river; and a flock of geese landed on the cool water a distance away. Sailboats drifted in and out of sight in the bay on the far side of the estuary. The dogs ran and played and had a good time, and we ate our fill of very plump, sweet blackberries that lined the path along most of the route. It was a very good day.
I love the arbutus trees that grow on the coast - their bark ever peeling, their trunks twisted and distorted as they cling to rocky crags near the water.
This morning I am off to the RCMP Musical Ride, sans dogs. Retirement is a busy time - how did I ever find time to work for pay????