Yearn to Wander
Gabriola is alive with birds: songbirds, water birds, raptors et al.
Nesting was over when we arrived, but watching some of the fledges has been a zoology lesson for me. A brood of Violet Green Swallows on the side of the house fledged after we arrived; a brood of Spotted Towhees ducks in and out of their ground nest in a dense Salal shrub outside the kitchen window; and a young Bald Eagle seemed not to know what was next after he flew to the top of a snag. New sightings appear daily, while our favorite Song Sparrow entertains us with his song and his antics, such as flipping the mulch from the potted Bougainvillea.
The Tiger Swallowtail is most prevalent, yet always pretty.
It is apparent they have their disagreements with others of the same species, even to the extent parts of wings are torn off.
A pecking order seems to occur with other pollen-seeking animals. This butterfly drives away bumble and honey bees, and even hummingbirds give way to it, too.
And their mid-air gymnastics.
Summer on Gabriola
Gabriola Island is a Northern Gulf Island in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver and Nanaimo in British Columbia. It's about 9 miles long and 2.5 miles wide with lots of hills that make cycling a bear and a thrill. The weather is delightful shirtsleeve weather during the day and light sweater weather in the evening. The heavily-forested island is thick with fir, spruce, and the Western Red Cedars along with Aspen, the Big-leaf Maple, Red Alders, Arbutus, and the Garry Oak among others. Several shrubs and lots of fern fill the forests' understory. All this vegetation provides habitat for many birds, wildflowers, reptiles, amphibians and insects, as well as a few mammals -- fortunately no bears or mountain lions. Being close to the sea, the Bald Eagle is a frequent site as is the Great Blue Heron. Songbirds provide music throughout the day, and even into the night. It's truly a nature lovers delight, and a photographer's dilemma. Photo ops are non-stop, but here are just a few for starters. For you who are more inclined to look at nature pictures, I've added pages pages for birds, including hummingbirds and herons, butterflies and flowers, and probably more as the summer goes along.
Next Stop: Vancouver Island
After we crossed the Rockies, we entered the Okanangan, the fruit basket of Canada, where we spent a wonderful month last fall. Across the northern end, the lush green forests faded slowly as Shuswap Lake appeared and yielded to higher altitude dessert approaching Kamloops. West from Kamloops to the coast, was all new territory for us: through Cache Creek and Lillooet, down Dawson Lake Road to Whistler and Horseshoe Bay. The scenery was stunning!
From Horseshoe Bay, one of the Vancouver ferry terminals, we crossed to Vancouver Island, where we'd spent the winter. It was good to return, to catch up with friends we'd met during our winter stay, and to revisit many places we'd enjoyed.
Then it was on to Gabriola Island for the summer. It was a twenty minute ferry ride east of Nanaimo, or to Vancouver: a twenty minute flight or a five hour relay with two ferries, a bus, and a taxi.
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