Crab spider


The hover fly is an innocent little fly, and with the advent of warm weather, there are a number of them about doing what they do: pollinate flowers. Not all creatures view them so benignly.

A few hover flies were pollinating daisies. 

But, one of those flowers contained a crab spider. Bye-bye hover fly.


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Merganser and fish


There are many mergansers on the Lake. Mergansers eat fish. But catch a merganser downing a fish. Lots of luck with that one. It happens very fast. The last time I succeeded with that was seven years ago.

A male Merganser tips his head back and swallows a fish whole.


Posted in birds, fish | 6 Comments

Two more wild orchids


On June 9th I posted two local wild orchids: the fairy slipper and the lady’s slipper. Each stalk had but one flower. Here are two more local wild orchids, but here the stalks contain many flowers: they are racemes.

Each of the today’s two wild flowers is a coral root characterized by the coral-like appearance of the underground rhizome. There are three species of this type of orchid around the lake. These two were found in Kokanee Creek Park (as were the slippers posted earlier).

This small plant is a spotted coral root. The growth of the flowers from the bottom to the top of the stalk is obvious in this shot. The top three flowers are about to come out.

This picture shows two stalks of the striped coral root orchid with a few of the flowers in the two racemes.


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Two wild orchids


We have a number of wild orchids, but they grow at different times. The fairy slipper has come and gone, but the lady’s slipper presented itself today. Although I said there were two wild orchids, the fairy slipper comes in two varieties, eastern and western, and we get both.

Orchids are easily distinguished from other flowers by their bilateral symmetry and (usually) one highly modified petal.

The fairy slipper, which proliferates in May comes in two varieties, eastern and western. The eastern which comes first has (among its features) yellow fake stamens.

The western fairy slipper has white fake stamens.

The lady’s slipper is with us at the moment.


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Sandpiper & fish


This is the first Spotted Sandpiper I have seen this year (on June 4th). It is also the first time I have seen one with a fish. Photograph by Cynthia Fraser.


Posted in birds, fish | 5 Comments

Bear again & again


This is the third and fourth time this male bear wearing a blaze has been seen to visit, although it has probably come by much more often.

Other years, I did not see black bears from ending hibernation until at least August, so these springtime events are worth recording. I suspect that the high snow fall in the mountains around us and the rain in the valleys have driven the bears down into the valleys. Bears? Well owing to the local unusualness of its blaze, I have just seen one bear repeatedly. 

I commented earlier that it was probably looking for garbage. It clearly found none and so seemed satisfied to eat local plants. Here it is eating clover. 

It looks as if the bear is looking at us. Maybe it is, but it was a passing glance.

This is a good time for a scratch.

For the longest time the bear seemed either unaware or unconcerned that we were watching it from a distance. However, at the end of a long session, it climbed a tree and, in the dim light, stared at us, but without the huffing sound that indicates insecurity. It then ambled to the next home. Photograph by Cynthia Fraser.

Three days later, the bear discovered a bird feeder. Photograph by Cynthia Fraser.

It set to work sampling it and destroying it. Photograph by Cynthia Fraser.

It really looks as if the bear is sticking its tongue at the photographer, but in truth it is just probably repeating the manoeuvre used on the bird feeder. Photograph by Cynthia Fraser.


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Eagle’s brown chick


Near the beginning of May, I posted  picture of a Bald Eagle chick in down attended by its two parents. I went back to the nest at the end of May and the chick was in dark brown plumage, but had not yet fledged.

The eagle chick in dark brown plumage sits on its nest.

An adult (probably the mother) brings a fish to eat. The head of the chick is on the left. There is evidence of a dead osprey in the nest: a body feather below the chick’s bill and some tail feathers on the right.

The chick scarfs a hunk of fish.

Later, the chick works on the whole fish. Note the fish bits on the adult’s beak.

Although it has yet to fledge, the chick exercises its wings to strengthen them. Note the fine white lines extending from the flight feathers. These are the rhaches, or the feather shafts of the flight feathers. The rhaches grow quickly and then the barbs extend from them and fill in the feather, but flight is still a while off.


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May’s goulash


These are a few shots taken this May that didn’t have their own posting.

The Northern Shoveller is somewhat uncommon bird that is seen most often migrating north in the spring and south in the fall.

One of Nelson’s Great Horned Chicks photographed by Cynthia Fraser

I don’t see otters very often, but here one is.

A flotilla of Canada Geese in fog, but with no chicks.

A juvenile Goshawk express itself. 

In mid-April I saw a Black-capped Chickadee couple excavating a knot in a snag. By mid-May they were feeding chicks in the cavity. I have yet to see the chicks.


Posted in birds, mammals | 4 Comments

Squirrelly crow


Yesterday I saw a crow finishing off… well, it wasn’t quite clear. It had been a mammal with long fur and a furry tail. My guess is that it used to be a squirrel. I was reminded of last January’s raven and mice.


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On May 1st I posted the first male Rufous Hummingbird that I had seen this year. They are the first to arrive. Now the females are here in good numbers. Also, the Black-chinned Hummingbird males have arrived, as yesterday’s pictures reveal.

A female Rufous Hummingbird

A male Black-chinned Hummingbird

 A male Rufous Hummingbird


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