Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blue summer, green spring

My daffodils are budding out. I even picked a couple, in honour of Valentine's Day. The hellebores are in full bloom, the honeysuckle is filling the maple tree with new leaves, and the grey squirrel that eats the birds' suet is visibly pregnant. The lawn is vibrantly green. It's spring. (In spite of the Winter Olympics celebrations across the river; the weather asks no-one's permission.)

So, it being spring, and BC, it's raining. Not the driving downpour that somehow calls for venturing out in rain gear, nor the soft half-mist that softens our cheeks and freshens the air, but that miserable on-again, off-again, wait till you go out without a jacket, then squall, sort of rain. It's a good thing I got started sorting out my hard drive full of photos. Something to keep me busy inside.

I found a few from last summer that I had intended to post. Better late than never. These three are from "our" beach at the Edgewater Motel in Campbell River:

Common Mergansers

Flock in blue, blue water

These mergansers were always floating just beyond the reach of our cameras, just a series of dots to our naked eyes. We had waded out as far as we could, to get these photos. Good thing the beach is so flat.

I was confused at first; they all look like females, with the rough, reddish-brown crest. The male's head is green/black in mating season. This was July, though, so males, females, and young were all wearing the crest.

Grandmama heron

This heron usually stood out from shore on a rock. Often, it struck these weird poses, made stranger still by the "clothes"; a multi-patterned, floppy shawl, with the fringed end knotted on the breast, and a bunch of lace on the high, buttoned neck above. (Worth clicking on it, to see the details.)

Contrast those with these, taken in this afternoon's rain:

Varied thrush, picking up crumbs underneath the suet feeder.

Four bushtits, not dropping crumbs. The squirrels take care of that job.

No peaceful floating or rock-sitting for these guys. It's all go, go, go, in a great rush, eating on the run, nervous and jittery. Five minutes later, thrush and bushtits were gone.

1 comment:

  1. Have to agree, this kind of rain seems the worst for getting out with a camera.

    Thanks for the info about Common Mergansers. Even at breeding season, the female seems to me to have brighter colours than the male.

    Loved your description of the heron's garb.


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