Monday, April 19, 2010

Tulips Galore!

Thought I’d take a break from packing the camper in preparation for the next big adventure – to post some pictures from the ‘Seabird Island Tulip Festival’ that we visited this past Saturday.  This is the 5th year of the festival but I could never figure out exactly where it was until this year when the local newspaper did an excellent job of describing exactly where it was located.  The weather could have been better, the day had started out quite nice and sunny but rapidly deteriorated to the point that the odd drop of rain was felt as we were heading back to our car.

Tulip Festival 065

I actually took this picture as we were leaving, but this is also the view you see after you have parked your car in the large lot at the Seabird Island Gas Bar.  The parking fee includes a shuttle bus service to and from the tulip fields.  We made use of the service to go, but walked back.

Tulip Festival 018

and here we are – rows upon rows of colour!

Tulip Festival 019

some brilliant red ones….

Tulip Festival 020

these were one of my favourites – it looks like there isn’t anybody else here but that most definitely was not the case!  This festival is obviously very popular – at least judging by the number of tour buses that arrived in a steady stream.

Tulip Festival 022

This pink ‘peony’ type was very attractive…

Tulip Festival 023

and then there were these yellow ‘peony’ types as well.

Tulip Festival 026

Most people seem to prefer the reds….

Tulip Festival 029

at this point we were still walking along the bottom of the field…

Tulip Festival 032

now we had started up the side….

Tulip Festival 038

these Grape Hyacinth or ‘Muscari’ were the only bulbs, other than tulips….

Tulip Festival 040

looking across the rows….

Tulip Festival 042

and now we are walking along the back of the field…

Tulip Festival 043

some purple and white striped ones…

Tulip Festival 047

I like this picture of the pink ones….I was trying to get Mount Cheam in the background…

Tulip Festival 048

there it is…would have been more effective on a brighter day.

Tulip Festival 056

we are almost at the far corner now – there is Mount Cheam again.  You can see these tulip fields grow under power lines….obviously with no adverse effects!

Tulip Festival 061

I thought I’d try one more shot with the mountain…

Tulip Festival 064

and just to prove you can find birds anywhere – we had been hearing what I was pretty sure were Savannah Sparrows all around the growing fields….sure enough…this one nicely posed on some of the tulip flowers….

Tulip Festival 067

this shot shows what the fields look like after the blooms are spent.  Once the blooms are past their prime, a large lawnmower type machine, runs down the rows and lops off the flower heads.  This prevents the plant putting energy into forming seeds, instead the energy goes into the bulb, which is harvested and sold.

Tulip Festival 017

In keeping with the tulip theme I just want to throw a few more pictures in.  These were all taken at home before we headed out to the Festival.  These red and white tulips have done better in my little yard than any tulips I’ve ever grown.

Tulip Festival 003

This Rhododendron that I inherited when we bought is in full bloom at the moment.  It sits out beside the road in full sun, baking all summer long, rarely getting watered, and each spring it is a sea of flowers….so much for me thinking Rhodo’s have to be in the shade!

Tulip Festival 013

and one last picture – this Red-breasted Sapsucker was in my neighbours Lilac bush….and now I’ll say goodbye until some time in June….see you then!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tunkwa P.P. – Easter 2010 – April 5

I can not believe it has taken me this long to get this final posting done for the last day at Tunkwa!  but it has – so here goes…..

The day started out with Ernie spotting a coyote walking across the lake on the ice….and me throwing on a quilted vest, grabbing a camera, and still in slippers…heading down towards the lake….

Tunkwa Easter 2010 061

where sure enough…there was a coyote on the lake….

but wait…

Tunkwa Easter 2010 062

but wait…there are a pair of Mountain Bluebirds right here in front of me on a picnic table…

Tunkwa Easter 2010 064


Tunkwa Easter 2010 069

Bluebird – what a dilemma!  Since the coyote headed off into the little bay and disappeared – the bluebirds won out.

Tunkwa Easter 2010 070

the male….

Tunkwa Easter 2010 071

and the female.  By now my hands were getting numb as the temperature was hovering around the freezing mark, so headed back to the camper to thaw out and have breakfast.  After breakfast Ernie headed out with Shantz for a ‘short walk’ – yeah right!!!! and I did the final packing up and then took a camera and wandered around in the campground waiting for the ‘short’ (hour and a half) walk to end.

Tunkwa Easter 2010 059

I had taken this picture earlier…note the mountains disappearing behind a haze of snow….it didn’t get any better…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 150

wandered up back – this was one of a pair of geese just sitting around…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 152

and what is that down there?

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 156

a Yellow bellied Marmot!  We knew they were awake as Shantz had spotted one in a culvert the day before and I had seen another one earlier, up under one of the pit toilets.

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 159

down by the water I say good bye (hopefully) to the geese.  By this time my imagination has the best of me and I’m telling myself I really have to learn how to do things like raise the jacks on the camper and drive the truck……when they finally meander back – they didn’t intend to be that long – right!

So we pack up, amid the snowflakes and head south towards Merritt….stopping at one spot where there were

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 165

a total of 18 Mule Deer – all does – in a field…then onto Merritt for lunch and topping up the gas tank where we see a fifth wheel with snow plastered all over the front of it so asked if they had come over the Coquilla – yes they had…the road was OK as it was wet with the temperature around 1 degree but visibility was really bad with fog and snow….so, once again, we elected to head down the Nicola Valley to Spences Bridge and home via the Canyon.

Stopped along the route…

Tunkwa Easter 2010 079

spring was definitely coming to this part of the country, in fact we had seen Balsam Root in flower on some of the hillsides.  There were no Balsam Root here but..

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 169

the Sagebrush Buttercups were well advanced, in fact almost finished flowering…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 172

and the Western Saxifrage was in full flower.  I was amazed to see that the wild Larkspur was in bud as well and would no doubt be in flower in a few days time.  Dessert Parsley was also in flower.

So this brings this trip to it’s conclusion.  In a week and a day we will be heading out the gates for 6 weeks on the road – headed east – who knows to exactly where.  I’ve got a brand new digital SLR Camera to play with as well as the other two so I should have enough pictures to do blog entries all through the summer – my least favourite time of the year!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tunkwa P.P. – Easter 2010 – April 3

Woke up Easter morning to high thin cloud, sunshine and no wind!  While we were having breakfast we watched a small flock of Swans land out on the ice in the middle of the lake…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 084

I quickly took a picture from the window of the camper although needn’t have rushed as they settled down and stayed there the entire day, only taking off about 6 in the evening.

When breakfast was finished we set off for a walk around the side of the lake…as we approached the lake we saw a dark object on the shore, head off across the ice to the little island off shore…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 089

Unfortunately by the time I got a camera out and ready it was already across the ice, but it was an Otter!  the first one we had ever seen there.  It actually crossed the little island and continued on across the ice to the far shore.  We had to go around…

Tunkwa Easter 2010 033

down through the little dip where these geese were standing on ice that had reformed during the night…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 091

past the slough…that I think is actually called something like ‘bluff lake’ – looking much better with blue skies behind it, but also freshly frozen over….

Tunkwa Easter 2010 034

and over and up the little mountain where I stopped to take this picture looking back over to the campground…there was also an interesting crack in the ice here…in fact the ice was really creaking and groaning this day where it hadn’t the days before…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 093

the whole south facing hillside was covered in Sagebrush Buttercups…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 095

closer look at some of the buttercups…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 097

and down the other side and then we spotted – yes! a Mountain Bluebird!

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 103

and then a pair (male on left, female on right).  Mountain Bluebirds were still here when we were last here at Thanksgiving (go back in archives) and here they were again. 

Off we went again, along the back of the little mountain, and the back of the slough, over to the aspen grove….on the way we had to transverse what will hopefully be a future aspen grove but from the looks of these poor aspens….

Tunkwa Easter 2010 038

where every tip was chewed off – they were having a hard time of it.  The amount of deer droppings in the area explained who was doing the pruning!

Tunkwa Easter 2010 040

and here we found another pair of Mountain Bluebirds…this is the male…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 104

soon this aspen bird nursery will be alive because Mountain Bluebirds are one of the species that will be making their nests in cavities in these trees.

From here we circled back to the campground and lunch.  After lunch I took April out for a little private meander (about all she is capable of these days) and while I had her out I could hear all sorts of bird activity up in the back corner of the park, so later set out on my own…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 109

That big mass of Robins was up there…..

Tunkwa Easter 2010 044

they’re probably hard to see in this picture, but the ground was hopping!

Tunkwa Easter 2010 051

this guy seemed rather curious as to what I was doing!

Tunkwa Easter 2010 052

this was just one of the many Northern Flickers in the area as well – this one is a female.

Tunkwa Easter 2010 055

and if you wonder what they were all doing – well look at the size of the worm this guy is pulling out of the now soft, un-frozen ground!

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 126

I learned a long time ago that one of the best ways to see birds is to just pick a likely spot and then sit and wait and see what shows up….this little ‘pond’ back in the forest was a definite ‘likely spot’…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 113

this male Downy Woodpecker was one of the first to appear….another one almost landed in my lap before he realized I wasn’t another stump!

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 127

a steady stream of Robins came for baths…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 130

another female Flicker joined the crowd…

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 140

and then a female Hairy Woodpecker arrived as well…

It was getting on by then so figured I should (reluctantly) head back to the camper….

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 142

on the way I got stopped by some Mountain Chickadees.  There were also some Golden Crowned Kinglets in the same spot, but didn’t manage any pictures, nor could I get a picture of the Marmot that dove into his culvert when he saw me approaching – not to worry – I’d get pictures the next day!