Tag Archive | Victoria

Get it while you can

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A beautiful male Woodlouse Hunter, Dysdera crocata. I am pretty sure we encountered the same one last year under the same log.

Things are busy right now, as I am trying to arrange to defend my thesis, finishing up writing tasks and seeking a postdoc….But spring is still springing, and outside is so beautiful and warm! Hell, I could be dead tomorrow, so why not go out and see what I can see in the sunshine. Here are a few of the pictures from the past few days, as the warm spring sunshine activates the local fauna!

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A Giant House Spider, in her house under a rock.

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First (live) Polistes of the year from Victoria.

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A male Anna’s Hummingbird, from Mt. Tolmie.

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Off-colour commentary by a gull?

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I stopped down to f18 to try to get some mountains behind this gull.

 

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A Nomada parasitic bee, on the lookout for hosts.

 

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This seems to be a good year for garter snakes.

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These gall wasps were having an ovipositionathon on the newly sprouting Garry Oak leaves. I think these are the jumping gall wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius. 

 

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This is the defensive posture, but it almost looks like he is casting a spell (or he has root hairs stuck in his claws).

 

Some spring shots from Victoria

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It is a popular pastime among us West Coasters to point out our gorgeous spring weather to those of you who are freezing back East. I think that’s just cruel. Nonetheless, I can’t help but notice it is minus three in Toronto, snowing in Alberta and freezing in New Brunswick….Here in Victoria, the snakes are out, the flowers are blooming and we are expecting our first Rufous Hummingbirds any day now!

Here are a few shots from the past couple days in sunny Victoria!

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A springtime cove from high above on windy Mt. Douglas.

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This plump Gnaphosa didn’t mind the wind in a rocky retreat (thanks to Laura P. and Lynnette Schimming for the ID!)

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This elaterid is a bit of a cheat, as I had to flip a stone to find it.

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The first snakes are always how I have registered springtime…This one was just neonate sized.

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A cormorant fishing in Swan Lake.

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A Cooper’s Hawk from yesterday morning.

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Red-tailed Hawk about to bug out!

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Keeping my naturalist cred!

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Ogden Point is a great place to see otters, as there is abundant food, as well as crevices between the big stone blocks forming the breakwater where they have dens. My brother got an even better shot!

Yesterday’s great post by Chris Buddle over at Expiscor highlighted the importance of natural history and the people who practice it. I have generally considered myself a naturalist, but the last few weeks have not been very active for me, as I have been engaged in a lot of writing. Luckily, I scheduled a few hours yesterday morning to go out to Ogden Point and Beacon Hill Park to do some nature photography and keep my naturalist cred!

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At this time of year, a Sanderling is not an unusual sight.

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Divers are also attracted to Ogden Point, as the water is clear, and the dropoff encourages lots of life.

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Over at Beacon Hill Park, the herons are working on their nests.

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A RIng-necked Duck looking elegant in the duck pond.

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A mallard looking weird in a tree.

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In BC, the Gray Squirrel is considered an exotic pest, but it seems unlikely they will go away soon.

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Did I mention it was spring in Victoria? The weather has been beautiful, and the flowers are out!

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Indian Plum is one of the earliest flowering trees in the forests here.

Fisherman’s Wharf, Victoria BC

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Yesterday was my birthday, and after wandering around town for a bit, Catherine, Jeff and I went down to Fisherman’s Wharf to check out the gulls and seals. This is a good place to go to see the harbour fauna, as folks feed the seals, and there are often sea ducks of various kinds hanging around.

We are now headed back to Vancouver, to face dreary skies and a large amount of work.

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Action on the wharf as a kid tosses herring to the seals.

 

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Harbour Seal, doing its seal thing in the harbour.

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Blue sky reflecting on water makes a great background for thr gulls.

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Gulls are another of my favourite birds, loud, opportunistic and graceful, they seem to be a real jack-of-all-trades kind of seabird.

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The local domestic fauna. Watch out for this guy in the springtime, as he gets a little crazy.

 

Weekend Expedition 24: Long Weekend in Victoria

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This halictid peering out of a burrow was probably the coolest shot I managed.

This Canada Day Long Weekend, Catherine and I took the ferry to Victoria to visit my mom and chill out in the record-setting heat. This was great for the party people, not so great for our skin and the photographic opportunities. Strangely enough, very hot and dry weather is not very good for nature photography, as the light becomes very harsh very quickly, and those few insects that have not retreated to shelter from the elements are zipping around like maniacs with their metabolisms in high gear.

I did get some decent shots however, it was just a lot more painful than it might ordinarily have been.

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The first day, Catherine and I kayaked out to Discovery Island, just off Oak Bay, where a wolf has been living (!) since this winter.

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Although the voyage over was scenic and the water calm, I did not trust my ability to hold the camera free of the salt spray to shoot the seals and seabirds we saw. When we arrived, the overheated little island yielded little photographic material. It was also ridiculously hot.

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We did not end up seeing the wolf, but we did find some of its droppings, which were still fragrant and moist.

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One lowly Chestnut-backed Chickadee was the best I could come up with.

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Later that evening, walking on Dallas Road, we did some gull and dog shooting.

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a monster!

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This little guy was having a ball.

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The heat created some interesting haze effects on the water.

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Maggie, my mom’s dog is more sedate, but still a great model.

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The cliffs at Dallas Road (in Beacon Hill Park) are  a great place to find solitary bees, including Anthophorids, Megachilids and Halictids. These sandy cliffs are great for burrowing species.

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A beautiful little Halictid.

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Megachilid

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It was so rich with Hymenoptera, but so hard to shoot them in the sun, I came out Tuesday at dawn to try to catch them when they were less active…

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Unfortunately for me, the only insects that were slowed by the dawn temperature drop were a couple crabronids. All the Anthophora shot out of their burrows pre-heated and ready to work!

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I did manage one shot of Anthophora bomboides peeking out of its burrow.

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Frustrated in the morning, I went out late Tuesday afternoon for some shooting at Uplands Park.

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Some kind of flower-feeding scarab.

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A juvenile katydid!

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Small robber fly with aphid prey.