Monday, May 21, 2018

Gull versus Crab

Walking along the harbor in Victoria (BC) I saw a gull splash into the water and fly up with something in its beak. It landed on the walkway and I saw that it had a crab. But the crab wasn't going to go easily, it was putting up a fight. Luckily I had my camera ready to capture some of the action.

gull versus crab

The gull grabbed the crab by one claw, but crab attacked with its other claw, causing the gull to drop it.

gull versus crab

Now what?

gull versus crab

The gull picked the crab up again and took off with it, maybe intending to drop it from a height like they do with shellfish. But the crab must have attacked again and the gull dropped it, but this time in water too deep to retrieve it. This round went to the crab.

I was surprised how many crabs I saw both in the Victoria Harbor and in the Salt Spring Ganges harbor. Maybe it was the time of year? Or I've just never noticed them before? Here's one in shallow enough water to get a photo. It was larger than the one the gull had.


Sunday, May 20, 2018


Canada Goose gosling in the rain, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC

Canada Goose gosling in the rain, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC

I like the contrast between the small fuzzball gosling and the large sturdy adult.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Art of Stillness

In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still. 

Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Photos of the Week

I'm so happy that spring is finally arriving and the cold sterile days of winter are past.

I've been watching eagerly for the arrival of the crocuses. I checked on Friday April 20 and couldn't find any signs. But by Sunday April 22 they had started to push up out of the ground.

crocuses emerging

crocuses emerging

The next day they were a bit higher. However, I was checking for them on my way to work, early morning, so the flowers weren't open. I imagine they were opening later in the warmth of the day.

crocuses emerging

The gophers are out and about. This one let me get a little closer than most.


Those claws look fit for digging.


The first of the perennials are emerging at Innovation Place. The gophers usually feed on these since they're some of the first greenery, but they don't seem to have found them yet.

first green plants

And the first of the trees are starting to flower. This was in the morning:

first trees to flower

And by the end of the day they had already progressed quite a bit: (same branch)

first trees to flower

And here is two days later. It would be interesting to see a time-lapse of the process.

first trees to flower

A group of Bohemian Waxwings has been hanging around Innovation Place, eating last years fruit:

Bohemian Waxwings

and juniper berries:

Bohemian Waxwing eating juniper berries

and drinking from the puddles:

Bohemian Waxwing drinking from puddle

And my friends the jackrabbits (with dirty feet!)


This one was digging in the dirt and finding something to eat. It looks like some new dandelion leaves, perhaps it's the dandelion roots as well. Occasionally it would roll in the dirt as well, but I didn't catch any photos of this.

jackrabbit digging for roots


The other morning it was a pair of Canada Geese. This morning it was a pair of Mallards checking out the pond.

pair of Mallard ducks

Last spring there was a big "outburst" of water boatmen in the pond. So this year I've been watching for them. Up to now I'd only seen the odd one, although still impressive that they can swim around amongst the ice. On my way home this day there were a few groups of them trying to get out of the water onto some floating bark. I'm not sure why since they usually stay in the water. Maybe to warm up in the sun?

water boatmen

They're quite attractive if you look at them close up. I've also been watching for the fishing spiders but haven't seen any yet.

And of course, the pelicans are a true sign of spring in Saskatoon.


See all 36 photos

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Signs of Life

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. 
- Hal Borland 

Amazing how the pelicans show up exactly when the weather warms up.

pelican in flight

I didn't notice them at the time, but the reflection make a good backdrop for this pelican in flight.


From a distance I thought this was one of the Common Goldeneye that hang around all winter. But through the telephoto I could see the red beak and slightly different coloring of a Common Merganser.

Common Merganser

The jackrabbits are looking a little scruffy as they shed their thick white winter coat and expose their new tan summer colors.


They're pretty tame around Innovation Place, but still a little suspicious of the paparazzi.


A pair of Canada Geese were checking out the island in the pond at Innovation Place. So far none have decided to nest there. Probably a little too much pedestrian traffic. I love the patterns their feathers make.

Canada Goose

I couldn't resist a few last ice shots. You wouldn't think it, but there is actually life under that ice - the first few water boatmen are already swimming around.


island bird life

So much life on this island - pelicans, cormorants, gulls, and Canada Geese, safe from people, dogs, cats, coyotes etc.

I haven't found any crocuses yet, but other buds are bursting.

buds bursting

These were all taken with the Tamron 18-400 lens on my Nikon 7200.

See all 19 photos

Thursday, April 05, 2018


Through my home office window I could see a bunch of birds in the trees. It turned out to be a flock of waxwings. I always get Cedar and Bohemian waxwings mixed up. I assumed these were Cedar but when I went to confirm, I found they were Bohemian. The Cedar waxwings have a yellow belly, whereas the Bohemian have rust red under their tail. (Cornell says the red under the tail can be hard to see, but it was quite obvious in the photos.)

Bohemian waxwings

I grabbed my camera and opened the window to get a few shots. With the window open I could hear them chittering. I didn't get any great photos but it was fun to watch them.

Bohemian waxwings

They were obviously eating the berries in one of the trees, I'm not sure what they were finding (if anything) in the other trees. There were even some on the ground that appeared to be scooping up and eating snow.

Bohemian waxwings

Suddenly, without any obvious trigger, they all flew away at once.

Bohemian waxwings