Island Time

Over the Canada Day weekend, we were invited to go to Vancouver Island and hang out with our friends Alex and Fergus, at Alex's parents place near Sydney (close to Victoria). We've visited with them a number of times in the past, and it's always a fun time, with lots of relaxing. We needed it, and we were looking forward to a fun weekend.

Both Justine and I worked on Friday, despite it being a holiday. We had decided to take a late afternoon ferry over to the Island, and we were (for the first time) doing a walk on, leaving the car behind. Much cheaper, as we really didn't need the car. One of the amazing things about Joe and Rita's (Alex's parents) place is that it's this perfect garden oasis - which means lots of birds. I have got some of my best hummingbird pics at their place, and was hoping for more of the same this time around.

In fact, the bird sightings started as we were on the ferry, waiting to leave. There were three kingfishers, sitting on the railing of the ferry dock. The pics are crappy - shot through glass on the ship, at a large distance, but still pretty cool. There were also seals swimming about.

The trip to the island was pretty uneventful. We kept looking for orcas, but had no luck. It was a quick trip over, and Fergus came and picked us up at the terminal. Our bags were waiting for us, and it is only about a 10 minute drive to the house. Before long we were settled in with a drink in hand.

Honeybee on lavender. 

Alex's sister, Carmen was also visiting, as were a couple of Joe and Rita's friends. It made for a lively time, and we had an amazing dinner outside. The evening was very entertaining, with people drifting off to bed when the time seemed right. Fergus, Justine and I were up the latest, but soon it was time to head to bed. It was a very fun night.

Daisies in the garden

There are lots of great shots in that garden.

I was up relatively early. Some people were up before me, but it was pretty quiet. I spent some time wandering the garden taking some pictures, and looking for hummingbirds. They were around, but not as many as in previous trips. 

One of the things I did notice was that there were lots of different birds that I hadn't noticed before. Maybe I had been obsessed with the hummingbirds in the past, or maybe there were just more different types this trip.

I'm not sure what this little guy is...

Emmet looking cool!

We had some breakfast, then hung out for a bit. Fergus eventually convinced me to go for a run, and we went for a 45 minute trail run - two laps of the hill! Just about killed me. But it was good to get out and get some exercise. After cooling off, having a shower and hanging out a bit more, we headed out for a ride on Joe's boat, to see if there was anything in the crab traps.

It was nice being out on the water, but sadly there was only one lonely little crab. But he was a keeper, and made the trip worthwhile. After cruising for a bit we came back home. More relaxing ensued. I finally set-up my camera and tried for some hummingbird pics. I had some success, but I don't really count pictures at the feeder as being all that great.

I didn't stick too it too long, as people started wandering out, and we got ourselves ready for dinner. We had another amazing dinner, and once again sat around and enjoyed another perfect night. The food is always fantastic, and there's never a shortage of good wine to enjoy as well. 

The next morning I was up pretty early again, and spent some more time looking for birds. While I never really had great success with hummingbirds, I did get some great pics of some of the other birds around the garden. 

A male Anna's Hummingbird

Honeybee in a flower

A male house finch. Not sure how I've never seen one of these before.

ne of the highlights of the weekend was the flock of cedar waxwings that were gorging themselves on the ripe blueberries in a bush in the garden. They were pretty skittish, but I got by far the best shot of the weekend. Greedy little things!

My best shot of the weekend! 

Cedar waxwing, working on the blueberries.

I did finally manage to get a few shots of a hummingbird in amongst the flowers in the garden. They weren't great shots, and I feel like I had to work really hard to get them!

One finally sat still long enough for me to get a shot amongst all the flowers.

There were too many stems in the way, but I finally got one feeding at some flowers.

Around lunch time, the four of us headed into Sydney and wandered about downtown. Justine and I went into the new distillery, and had a tour and did some tastings. Not quite as impressive as Shelter Point, but still pretty good. They're just getting going, but their tasting room will be really nice once it's all opened up.

Sadly, before too long it was time to head home. We had to work the next day, and didn't want to make it too late. Fergus dropped us off again, and it was a quick trip back on the ferry. About half way home, as the ferry was working it's way through some of the islands, the captain announced that there was a small pod of orcas! we, as well as everyone else, crowded out to the deck of the ship and got a chance to see the small pod - including one very small one. It was a quick sighting, but it was really great! A perfect end to a great weekend!