Thursday, July 12, 2012

Diversionary Tactics

I’m not going to write about the renovations.  I don’t want to talk about it.  Let’s just say if Allie had opposable thumbs she’d be posting a picture of me looking like her (see post below) , with the same darn caption.  

So even though some of you are expecting a report on week two of the Great Canadian Kitchen Reno, and we're almost at the end of week three, I shall use diversionary tactics to help you (and me) forget all about it. 

A snake in the grass....or among the plants

Instead I will tell you about  the amazing array of wildlife I have seen in the past couple of weeks.   Perhaps I'm seeing more wildlife because, in our attempts to avoid the summer heat which arrived with a vengeance,  Eddie and I walk earlier  (sometimes as early as 5:30 AM) and later (sometimes as late as midnight), when it is cooler for us and quieter for them.  But starting about two weeks ago, I began seeing wildlife EVERYWHERE. 

One evening just around sunset as we wandered the back lanes, we came across a juvenile raccoon.  He popped out of the bushes right in front of us, and let us know in no uncertain terms that we weren't welcome there.  I didn't even stop to take his picture - we turned around and went the other direction.  A neighbour recently saw a very large adult raccoon in my carport, but this was the first I've seen since moving to Crofton. 

This is not a raccoon.
It is a hot little sparrow cooling off in the sprinkler.

Minutes later, standing on the corner chatting with another dog walker, we both glanced up the road in time to see an otter rapidly running across one of the main streets, far from the creek or ocean (for Croftonites reading this, he moved from the empty lot near Galletos across Joan Ave to the old Anglican church property).  Again, no photo, 

This is not an otter.
It is a little sparrow on a dead blackberry stalk. 

And the next morning, on an early sunrise walk, we saw deer.  That's not unusual in the Cowichan Valley, but the sheer number I saw that day was out of the ordinary.  Seven just on my two kilometer loop of the beach - a mom and two fawn, another doe by herself, a juvenile male, a doe and single fawn .  I did capture two of them with the camera, though none of the little fawns.  

A couple of hours later, on the short drive to Chemainus, I saw seven more, in ones, twos and threes.  And on the way to Duncan, I saw a fawn so tiny I first thought it was a whippet running through the field.  As it came closer, I saw its vivid spots and realized that, despite its wee size, it was a very agile and sturdy little fawn.  

The ospreys, eagles, herons and ravens are everywhere.  From my house I watched an osprey harrassing the eagle's nest near the ferry terminal;  on the beach I watch eagles young and old searching for lunch.  

One early morning, I saw something flipping around offshore - too large to be a seal.  A camper with binoculars identified it as as sea lion.  We often hear their barking from Shoal Island, but seldom see them closer in.  

And yesterday, as Liz and I walked the dogs along the beach at the foot of Osborne Bay Park, we saw a similar flipping and breaching and splashing - but with a marked white flash appearing on each leap.  At first I wondered if it was a small Orca as many whales have been spotted recently in the waters around the island and across to the lower mainland.  But it seemed too small for that.  Its pointy snout and flashy white suggest what we were seeing was a dolphin.  He (or she) put on quite a thrilling show for us.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten my camera.  

This is not a dolphin.
It is the flower of the hostas in my garden.

Our backlane walks have spotted many homeless and homed-but-outdoor cats, far more than usual.  One evening at dusk, I counted twenty-three within a six block radius.  This guy is one of my favourites for his tortie looks and sad, sad face.  He often comes to look in my window or nap under my car.

Sad Sack, the Alley Cat. 

And right in my own backyard, the drama of baby birds about to fly is again keeping me mesmerized.  This is hatch number three this year, from the little birdhouse that hangs under the eaves of my garden shed.  I spent several hours today with the big camera on tripod snapping photos of mom and dad sparrow feeding the offspring.  

Dad feeding babies

Mom bringing home the groceries

Now, dear, what do you say?

P L E A S E !!!!!

Here you go!

Wait!  You forgot to feed me dessert!

From the size, noise,  and activity level today, I'd guess they will be ready to leave the nest tomorrow. (I just went out to check on them and thought they might have fled this evening... but a little tap on the bottom of the house and one baby beak pokes over the rim of the hole. "Whose there?  Go away, we're sleeping! Our mama said not to open the door to strangers!"  

Who's there?

An eventful week  or two - the wildlife outdoors are so much more industrious and entertaining than the wild life going on in my kitchen. 


georgia little pea said...

Wow! I think I have a much better idea now of how hot it is there. Walks at close to midnight! Do be careful. I seem to remember a recent post about a snatch from your front yard and too much summer heat can make people crazy.

Those shots are gorgeous! Were they taken with your new toys? I particularly love the pink flower and the bird that's not an otter ;) looks almost like a painting.

Have a great weekend! X

P.S. I've replied to your questions, but here are the answers to save you the trip.

Burst Out Laughing and no, the CPAP is not CRAP. I am.

EvenSong said...

"This is not a raccoon." "This is not an otter." "This is not a dolphin."

This is not a post about kitchens...

Great photos, as usual.

Caroline said...

Fantastic shots! What an incredible way to start or end the day!
Thanks for sharing, you made my day!

Anonymous said...

When has a renovation ever gone according to plan and/or schedule? From past experiences I can empathize with your pain!

Great shots of the sparrow babies.

Riley and I are doing the late walks also and last night we saw a momma raccoon with three babies. Having evening light till around 10pm at this time of year is one of the things I love most about summer in this part of the world. Nice that your reno is happening at a time of year you're able to wander off and seek distractions.

Deb S.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Hi Jean,

Well, I was going to check in to see how the kitchen reno's were coming along, but instead, was treated to a great description of your local wildlife. Much more fun, although I'm thinking, once it's done and the dust is settled, you will be thrilled with the result and ready to share :) In the meantime, a dolphin! Wow! And, you seem to be getting along just fine with the new camera equipment. The baby bird shots are fabulous. Really sharp, and something about those little open mouths inspires the "aw" factor every time. And, thank you! I very much appreciated and agreed with your comment on my "together" photos. And, one of these days, we are indeed going to make it to Crofton! I took pictures across the water and thought of you.