Monday, September 5, 2011

2011.25.223 - Seagull With A Mohawk

Louise has family visiting in town this in town this week, so she and I could only sneak away for a quick paddle up The Gorge today.

We rolled the kayaks down the hill, entered at the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club launch point, and we were off. The tide was flooding under the Tillicum Bridge so we went for a quick look and saw a lone seal, far away from the open ocean, enjoying a playful ride in the current.
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A few minutes later we discovered one of the more interesting seagulls we've seen. May I present Seagull With A Mohawk.
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We first noticed him as he flew to the shore carrying some sort of shell. We thought that it may have been a crab shell, or maybe a clam. (I don't do shellfish, a shell is a shell.) Anyway, he landed on shore and spent a few minutes eating whatever was on the inside of the shell, then looked up and saw that there was another seagull on the beach a few metres away. This second seagull was paying no attention to Mohawk (or his lovely breakfast) but clearly Mohawk was feeling threatened so he dropped his meal and ran up to the other seagull and did a bit wing-flapping and squawking. He returned to his meal, but seagull #2 didn't get the hint, and Mohawk ran up and squawked again. He didn't take "no" for an answer and forced seagull #2 off the beach and into the air. Mohawk pursued him into the air, hoping to get the point across that he was not welcome. Louise and I watched the aerial dogfight, the two seagulls swooping and diving over our heads. Also watching were two crows that had sneaked up to Mohawk's dropped meal and finished it off. Mohawk returned to his empty shell, sighed (really! I swear he did!) and flew off.
A moment later....
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...he had dredged up another shell and was finishing off the insides.

Cormorant Tree, often covered in cormorants, held only one today.
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We continued on into Portage Inlet where the herons were out in force today.
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Mohawk wasn't the only bird having good luck with food.
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I thought I was cleverly sneaking up on this heron from behind. No such luck -- he knew I was there.
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We also saw a few of the gelatinous egg sacks that we see in the waters here every fall. They seem to be a few weeks behind, but then everything is behind after the lousy spring.
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The egg sack is the little round thing in the middle. The other brown lumpy things are sponges.

There's a lot of geese around now. They know winter is coming and so are heading south and using the parks in the area as a rest area.
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With only limited time today, we quickly turned back.
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Trip Length: 7.30 km
YTD: 202.14 km
More pictures are here.
2011-09-05 The Gorge

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2011.24.222 - Tired

It's September and the mornings have a chilly fall edge to them now. So how lousy was our summer? We didn't have a single day over 30 degrees. In fact, we only had two days where we hit 27 degrees, one in July and one in August. Mind you, we had a nice streak of weather at the end of August that is going to continue into the first part of this month and we had a shot of getting another 27 degree day this weekend. (In the end, it didn't happen -- only a high of 24 today.)
Although she looks wide awake, Louise and a terrible bout of insomnia last night. She was operating on only about two hours' sleep as she headed out with Paula and myself from Cadboro Bay.
We had intended to cross to Chatham Island this morning, but as we slowly island-hopped out to the final crossing, Louise was yawing up a storm, her mouth a vast chasm of tiredness. As we made our final "go/no go" decision, she said, "Guys, I am falling asleep in my boat," and we decided a sleeping kayaker was not the best thing to deal with on this crossing. Mind you, a good dunking might have woken her up. So we decided to have a short paddle and poke around the Uplands rocks instead.

This seal wasn't thrilled with our new paddle plan as we went by him a few times.
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Actually, Paula said he's been camped out on this rock for a few days now. It seems to be his favourite spot.

The new route wasn't a total waste. Paula found a package of kale floating by. She considered taking it home to cook, but eventually decided that it might be too salty.
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Everyone was on the water yesterday. In the bay we had to avoid the racing sail boats....
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..and on the beach when we landed we had to avoid the racing stand-up paddlers!
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Trip Length: 7.46 km
YTD: 194.84 km
More pictures are here.
2011-09-04 Cadboro Bay