Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Feathers

This is the last Fun Foto Challenge as Cee will be on vacation (much deserved). Feathers is the theme this week!

Our resident female Tree Swallow

Our resident female Tree Swallow

One of about 15 Common Grackles that visit us in the early summer.

One of about 15 Common Grackles that visit us in the early summer.

A Rhea, who is a resident of our local zoo.

A Rhea, who is a resident of our local zoo.

Categories: Cee's Fun Foto Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

To the Beach…

Wishful thinking…

To the Beach...

To the Beach…

 

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One of the cutest marine animals around

Sea Otters have to be one of the cutest marine animals around.

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Most often then not, if they spot you, they are usually gone before you may have even spotted them. However, every so often you have a sea otter who is either very curious, and therefore lets you watch him, or rather laid back, and they just cannot be bothered to move just because a human being has decided to take a look.

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We seemed to have encountered all three types. There were quite a few how saw us and took a dive, not to be seen again; then there was one who seemed to inspect us just as much as we were looking at him; and then there was the really laid back one, he (or she) really didn’t give a hoot about us and just carried on regardless, seemingly way too comfortable to make a move.

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Categories: Canadian Nature and Animals | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ancient Trees on Vancouver Island

Along Highway 4, which connects Tofino and Ucluelet on the West of the island with Parksville on the East, you will find Cathedral Grove. Not a church, but an ancient piece of land that is the home to some extraordinary trees. It is a Douglas Fir forest and some of its trees are around 800 years old, with the majority of the trees being around 300 to 350 years old, as a fire 350 years ago destroyed some of the ancient trees.

The area is set out with trails for visitors to stroll along and take in this ancient treasure. If you are ever in the area, this is a must stop. When you walk under these treetops you get a real feeling for what it must have looked and felt like all around this area before the fire and before Europeans came to settle there. Trying to get a perspective on the size of these trees is really hard to convey in photos. So, please use your imagination and picture 800 year old trees that are about 75 m/250 ft high and around 9 m/29 ft in circumference.

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Categories: Canadian Nature and Animals | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Hands

The hands have it this week in the Fun Foto Challenge. I hope my best friend will forgive me to showcase her not only once, but twice in these!

Showing off our fake rings at a medieval ball some years ago now.

Showing off our fake rings at a medieval ball some years ago now.

This little fellow was brave enough to feed straight from my husbands hand.

This little fellow was brave enough to feed straight from my husbands hand.

My best friend (the bride) and our daughter showing off their beautiful nails.

My best friend (the bride) and our daughter showing off their beautiful nails.

Categories: Cee's Fun Foto Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Under the sea (or in rock pools)

The rock pools behind (or in front, depending on which way you look at it) of the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse in Tofino are a great place to discover all kinds of exciting wildlife we normally don’t see unless the tide is out. Clambering down these steep and sharp rocks was certainly worth it.

I was so excited when my husband found these!

I was so excited when my husband found these!

Amphitrite Point in Tofino, BC

Amphitrite Point in Tofino, BC

Some sort of orange sea anemone

Some sort of orange sea anemone

Some green sea anemones

Some green sea anemones

I had to include this as it made me chuckle when I saw it.

I had to include this as it made me chuckle when I saw it.

Some starfish

Some starfish

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Tonquin Beach in Tofino

This is such a nice little beach with a fantastic approach down a track through the forest and then down wooden stairs and over a bridge before you arrive to this.

This was taken in the early evening as the last sunlight hit the beach. The view was taken at the bottom of somebody’s private stairs, which lead up to their home on top of the cliff. Just imagine what it must be like to live there, seeing this view every day and within a few steps you are down on the beach. Oh I wish!

Tonquin Beach, Tofino, BC

Tonquin Beach, Tofino, BC

Categories: Canadian Nature and Animals | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Grey Whales

On our recent whale watching trip we were lucky enough to come across a number of grey whales. They are, admittedly, perhaps not as exciting to watch as say the humpback whales or orcas, but they are whales and you don’t usually just come across them in your daily life, so we were more than stoked to see them.

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We were part of a group on a zodiac and thankfully the rain had stopped and the waters weren’t too choppy. Being so close to the water meant that we were almost on the same level with the whales whenever they came to the surface. Both the grey whales we first saw were feeding in the shallower waters and didn’t mind having us at a respectable distance.

Grey whales don’t have dorsel fins, so when they do come up you don’t really get a warning, making photographing these whales rather harder; add to that the sway of the boat and you can understand why every photo you get tack sharp is a treasure.

A pectoral fin popping up

A pectoral fin popping up

Grey whales are known for their heart-shaped blow, as seen in this photo (not the sharpest, but shows a beautiful heart).

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Our guide told us that the whales are covered in barnacles, which are so in-grown that you would need a sharp knife to remove them. The grey whale does not breach as a humpback does, and they are very unobtrusive on the surface, hence them also being known as “breathing rocks”.

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Bald Eagles

It is an understatement when I say that we saw a lot of wildlife during our trip to Vancouver Island. The sheer variety of animals we saw, and the abundance, was just a real surprise. Not a day went by that we didn’t see something new. So, in order to do them all justice I will do a post for each, starting with the Bald Eagles.

The first one we didn’t spot for some time, even though he was right there on top of a crane. The crane is outside of the whale watching tour operator’s office in the harbour of Tofino. We were actually watching a kingfisher (a little of him in  a later post) and when he suddenly flew off we realized that the eagle was just to one side on the crane. Apparently he is one half of a pair that nests in the big trees next to the building and every so often he gets turfed out of the nest by the wife (probably so she can have some peace and quiet) and so he tends to sit on the crane until he is allowed back.

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The next one we came across was during our whale watching tour. Our guide new that there was an abandoned eagles nest on this little island and that sometimes you get adult eagles hanging around in that area. We were lucky enough that there was this fine example just waiting for us.

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Finally, this is a nest that is in use and if you look closely, there is a fledgling eagle just off to the right of the nest. It took us all some time to see him, as he was well hidden behind a branch, but after our boat moved its angle a little we were able to spot him. I didn’t know that eagles mate for life, I wonder what happens if one dies, does the other try to find another mate or stay on his/her own?

Spot the fledgling!

Spot the fledgling!

Categories: Canadian Nature and Animals | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cee’s B&W Challenge: Seating

The new theme for the week is seating; any kind, anywhere, even including tables. So here are my photos for the challenge.

Seats with an edge. Featuring our daughter and her beleaguered Dad, who wasn't very happy to be with her (he is the one just on top of the center).

Seats with an edge. Featuring our daughter (the one in the middle of the photo) and her beleaguered Dad (sitting on the right as you look at the photo), who wasn’t very happy to be with her . And yes, this photo was shot in landscape!

Last year the Foo Fighter's Dave Grohl made the news when he fell off the stage in Sweden. He fashioned this chair while in hospital to enable him to carry on with the tour. This was at their Calgary concert.

Last year the Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl made the news when he fell off the stage in Sweden. He fashioned this chair while in hospital to enable him to carry on with the tour. This was at their Calgary concert.

Chairs of a more sedate kind on Protection Island in British Columbia.

Chairs of a more sedate kind on Protection Island in British Columbia.

Categories: Cee's Black & White Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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