July 23 - Victoria Vacation - Day 1

I'll stretch the definition of my birding blog to include some photos of people and stuffed birds. Edith and I took a four day trip over to Vancouver Island. We stayed at a lovely Bed and Breakfast in Metchosin, which happened to have a nice collection of birds in the backyard.

Of course, there's always a couple of photos taken on the ferry ride.

After the ferry crossing we headed into downtown Victoria where we toured the Royal BC Museum.

The main attraction was a travelling Ancient Egypt exhibit. I felt I'd seen some of these exhibits before at Expo 86 in Vancouver, but that was 32 years ago. I'll only caption each photo briefly as I didn't take notes.

Egyptian Lion

Hatshepsut - fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt - second female Pharaoah

Not exactly Liz Taylor lookalike


Book of the Dead


We also visited the permanent BC Natural history exhibit, where I felt more comfortable identifying the exhibits.

Prairie Falcon - close relative to the Peregrine Falcon

White-throated Swift - can be seen at Vaseux Lake in the Okanagan

Walrus and Seals

Common Murres - can be seen on BC coast or Point Roberts

Tufted Puffins - a bird I have not ever seen

Snow Goose - common in Lower Mainland in Winter

Wilson's Snipe - unique shorebird can be seen in Okanagan and perhaps Lower Mainland

We returned to Victoria on the 25th to celebrate my birthday with a lunch at the Empress Hotel. I took this shot of the old CPR Steamship Terminal building after lunch.

July 24 - Sooke and Metchosin

We headed south towards Sooke where Edith wanted to visit a display home high up on Sooke Point overlooking the ocean. The home is first prize in the 2018 Hometown Heroes lottery.

Here's the view from the living room balcony.

If you have a fear of heights, this might not be for you.

This is a zoomed out view.

The heights did not bother this Barn Swallow at all.

After exploring for while, we returned to our B&B in Metchosin to relax. I took the opportunity to photograph some of the birds in the yard.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee - Metchosin BC

Red-breasted Nuthatch - Metchosin BC

And finally, a short movie of an Anna's Hummingbird.

July 25 - 26 - Metchosin Birds

We just relaxed on the last two days of our vacation. Our B&B in Metchosin was the perfect place to do so. I spent my time photographing the birds and butterflies in the yard and at the nearby beach.

I also took some movies with the Nikon - first a Red-breasted Nuthatch.

And next a Chestnut-backed Chickadee, they are the predominant Chickadee in the area.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee - Metchosin BC

There were quite a few white butterflies in the garden, i'm pretty sure they were the Pine White species.

Pine-white Butterfly - Metchosin BC

And this looks like an Orange-belted Bumblebee from what I can find on Google.

Orange-belted Bumblebee - Metchosin BC

Here's a nice photo of a couple of Nuthatches. I suspect the one on the left is a juvenile based on the shape and colour differences.

Red-breasted Nuthatches - Metchosin BC

And here's the last shot of this trip:
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Metchosin BC

June 25, 2018 - Washington State Vacation - Day 1 at Westport.

My wife Edith and I headed south for five days to explore the southwestern coastal area of Washington State. I had visited this area myself for a birding trip in 2014. On that occasion I had stayed at Ocean Shores on the north side of the large bay that cuts into the state.

This time, we stayed on the south side at Westport. We were in the Chateau Westport, a large lodge that was about a 10 minute walk to the beach.

Chateau Westport - Westport WA

The beach looked out onto the open Pacific, so the waves were fairly active. We did see a couple of kids surfing here during our stay.

Since I would not be going to San Francisco in the fall for the Oracle convention, I was hoping to see some of the birds here that I see on that trip. I was somewhat successful.

We didn't see much on the first day as we were traveling for a good part of it. Here's a few local birds:

Savannah Sparrow - Westport WA

California Gull - Westport WA

And finally, if you get lost there's a helpful Crow to show you the way back to the lodge.

American Crow - Westport WA

This is a short post. The next one highlights our day in Ocean Shores, with more bird diversity and some horses.

June 26 - Ocean Shores and Westport

They're close to each other if you have a boat, but it's over an hour to drive from Westport to Ocean Shores. We drove around the town and then headed for the public beach. Vehicles are allowed on the beach so we drove right on.

Edith spotted some people on horses coming back from a beach ride.

She decided she'd like to do the ride, so I left her and headed out for the North jetty for some bird watching.

While on the beach, I observed some of the common Gull Species. This one might be a pure Western Gull or could be what is referred to as an "Olympic" Gull (for the peninsula). This area has an high level of hybridization between Western Gulls and Glaucous-winged Gulls. This Gull seems to match the drawing in the Sibley guide for a pure Western.

Western Gull - Ocean Shores WA - 2018 Bird #180.

The North Jetty was built in the early 1900's to stabilize the shore and allow for the formation of beaches. It can be treacherous to walk on as it's all large rocks.

North Jetty, Ocean Shores WA

I had visited this site in 2014 and had some luck there with birds. However, the first creature I saw on this day were in the water - Harbor Porpoises.

Harbor Porpoise - North Jetty, Ocean Shores WA

There were also seals in the water.

Harbor Seal - North Jetty, Ocean Shores WA

I headed back to get Edith and discovered she hadn't done the ride because of her footwear. So we'd be coming back tomorrow for that and more birding. We decided to return to Westport.

We went for an evening walk on the Westport Beach and had some good luck - a flock of Heermann's Gulls were present.

Hermann's Gull - Public Beach, Westport WA - 2018 Bird #181

These are one of my favourite Gulls. I love the reddish-orange beak and the black legs. Here's a couple of more photos.

Also on the beach was a California Gull.

California Gull - Public Beach, Westport WA

On our walk back to the lodge, we encountered a Common Yellowthroat, our last bird of the day.

Common Yellowthroat - Westport WA