Thursday, October 14, 2010

The edge of North America

Boundaries are a limit, either self-imposed or natural, of our existence.  We live comfortably within its borders, living out each predictable day.  But the edges of these boundaries are where we make the best discoveries.

This past weekend, D ran the half marathon in Victoria.  We last visited the big island before we were married (in fact, we got engaged there) so it was a treat to return.

Less than a 30 minute drive out of Victoria is Goldstream provincial park.  We anticipated the return of the salmon (this park boasts sizeable chum runs) which is reported to begin mid-October.  Alas, we were early for it, and didn't see any.  That didn't stop me from taking photos.

Lots of Zygiella spiders

One of these things is not like the other (hint--only one of the above can sting. The other two are harmless hoverflies)
That night, we stayed in Port Renfrew at a BnB with terrific views.  I took advantage of an early-setting moon and clear skies.

Seven sisters, though there are more than 7


The view right above our yurt

It was probably this boat that cast a reddish glow on the first of the night shots above, as there are no other residences on that side of the inlet

Island in the clouds
The following morning, we headed down to Botanical Beach to catch the second half of the low tide as it was ascending.
Great blue (heron, and ocean)

What are you...chicken?

Harelequin ducks, in between dives

The black balls getting tossed about...

...belong to bull kelp, washed ashore by the violent waves...
...which are usually anchored by these

Cross section of the zone
Shorebirds flocking in the distance

Pools, dug out of the limestone by urchins and rolling rocks

Bryozoan?  Its stiff like one...but doesn't look like anything I can find online

Sponge encrusting kelp

The better to sting you with, my dear

mossy chiton.  Larger than limpets, and more accessible than abalone, they were a food source for the coastal native peoples

Periwinkle huddle

Anemone garden

One animal was noticeably absent--the urchin.  I hypothesized the diminishing daylight lead to the subsequent departure of adequate beds of algae on which the urchins live.  Nonetheless, in a season where the beach is furthest from people's minds, the edge of the season provides much opportunity for those at the edge of our continent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Downy woodpecker

The smallest woodpecker in North America came to visit our townhouse a visit a couple weeks back. Now if only it'd pick out the bugs slowly eating away at our complex.
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