Saturday, January 16, 2021

January 16th - Cadboro Bay (#6)

I went for an afternoon paddle with the surf ski - conditions were very nice for a relaxing putter along the shores, looking for birds. It was pretty cloudy around and there were no views of the American volcanoes!

I managed to clearly ID 20 species:

I took my Canon S1 with 10x zoom in its waterproof case and was able to use a couple of shots with it to positively identify a common loon by size and the partical white neck band as well as confirm the common goldeneye.

Common Loon - fuzzy but the neck band is visible - click to enlarge

click to enlarge

9 km, YTD 47 km

Thursday, January 14, 2021

January 14th - Cadboro Bay (#5)

I organized and led a group of SISKA paddlers for a "light" paddle around Cadboro Bay. We noodled along the shoreline out to Cattle Point, over to Flower Island and back into Gyro Beach. Conditions were great  and we observed many birds: as well as some harbour seals and one male California Sea Lion! I am not sure that I have seen a sea lion in close to the beach before. I can't complain about January paddling conditions today!

Even though conditions were good, it looks like our paddle from 10-12 was during the windiest part of the day!

today's winds at RVYC -click to enlarge

Pod A route - click to enlarge

7 km, YTD 38 km

Friday, January 08, 2021

January 8th - Cadboro bay (#4)

 I decided to go for a quick SUP paddle around the bay before sunset. Conditions were idyllic and there were lots of people on the beach. I saw some nice birds as usual, though the highlight was seeing a Cooper's hawk as I walked back up the street to the house!

click to enlarge

3 km, YTD 31 km

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

January 6th - Cadboro Bay (#3)

I decided to take advantage of the beautiful afternoon and get out for a short, relaxed paddle. Conditions were nice  for birding and I think I may have seen the first example of a red-breasted merganser where I was confident I could see the red breast!

click to enlarge

5km, YTD 28 km.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Birds I have seen paddling recently

I have come to the realization that we have some pretty nice birds that can be seen regularly while paddling around Victoria! I thought I would try to do a post which highlights thirty of these with images. (My checklist for Jan 4th:

None of the images are mine and are all linked from the Macaulay Library/ebird system

Harlequin duck

surf scoter

long-tailed duck


common goldeneye

hooded merganser

Common merganser

black turnstone

common murre

ancient murrelet

mew gull

glaucous-winged gull

pacific loon

common loon

pelagic cormorant

double-crested cormorant

bald eagle

northwestern/american crow

pigeon guillemot

The ones below were not seen today, but have been seen regularly in the past few weeks...
balck oystercatcher

greater yellowlegs

horned grebe

marbled murrlet

Canada goose

white-winded scoter

great blue heron

American wigeon


black-bellied plover


rhinoceros auklet

January 4th - Discovery island (#2)

Dan and I went for a morning paddle out and around the islands. It was raining but not windy when we set out but turned to windy but not rainy later! In spite of the weather we saw a good collection of birds (18 species: The birds we see in winter are a pretty lot!

The tide was very high when we set out - possibly the highest I have seen it paddling so we decided to check out how the cacti were doing in cactus islet inlet. The main bunch had a small section underwater which must happen a few times a year. The arbutus trees looked beautiful in the rain and there is a lichen, moss and fern covered slope that also looked wonderful. 

The prickly pear cactus patch - clck to enlarge

some of the lichen cushions - click to enlarge

The lichens seem to do pretty well out here with little pollution and no trampling. The tide was so high that were were able to paddle out a channel to the beach on east Chatham and only had to portage about 20 feet!

cactus islet inlet  click to enlarge

we paddled over land that is usually dry! click to enlarge

This is normally dry! click to enlarge
Dan getting out for the portage - click to enlarge

I managed to get a rock in my skeg box so we had to stop at the boathouse for me to get it out. There were no sea lions on the usual rock since it was awash in the high tide. It was very hard, slow work paddling across the lumpy waters of Rudlin bay against the wind (15-20 kt at Trial Island) and we decided to paddle up the middle of the Chathams to get some shelter from the wind. Unfortunately for me, the current was so strong at one spot that I could not make it through to the lagoon we often visit at high water. Instead I had to paddle around the islet.
my track showing were I was stopped by the current - click to enlarge

Paulo and Lesley were playing in the current at the "sluice" and we joined them there for a bit before making our way well upstream before crossing over Cadboro Point. It was another slog against the wind from Cadboro Point to Flower island and we both felt pretty tired after out 18 km paddle!

the overall route click to enlarge
18 km, YTD 23 km

Sunday, January 03, 2021

January 3rd - Cattle Point (#1)

I went for an afternoon paddle out to Cattle point thinking that the winds had dropped and wanting to get my first paddle of the year in. There was some wind, resulting in a bit of lumpy water. I ran into Dennis and Sue who were just back from a few days at Portland Island in their sailboat.

I am also trying to take ID pictures of some of the birds I see so that I can practice with this old Canon S1IS. A few results below. At least some of the pictures are in focus and not too blurry!

Hooded mergansers and a surf scoter - click to enlarge

Oystercatchers and black turnstone - click to enlarge

Greater yellowlegs - click to enlarge

glaucous-winged gull - click to enlarge

I saw 15 or so species: no murrelets!

click to enlarge
5 km, YTD 5 km