Saturday, September 09, 2006


(Nothing much going on here at the moment so I'm going to continue to post various vacation pictures)

One of the things I love about vacationing in British Columbia is being able to show our kids the huge variety of animals, birds and marine life that I grew up with. My parents are lucky enough to live on a piece of wooded property that attracts all kinds of living creatures, some of which are more like house pets than wild animals.

119 of Canada's 209 terrestrial mammals and 362 out of 462 bird species are resident to B.C. along with 18 species of amphibians and 15 species of reptiles.
Mammals include elk, caribou, black and grizzly bear, mountain goat, mountain sheep, hoary marmot, pika, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, cougar, and lynx. Killer whales, seals, sea lions and sea otters can be found in coastal waters and the fishing industry profits from 5 species of Pacific salmon, red snapper, herring and halibut.

On our previous vacation two years ago, a young black bear appeared in my parents back garden (which is actually a forest) several times and we were able to have a closer look (from inside, of course!). No such luck this year - there had been a bear in the neighbourhood shortly before our arrival but were saddened to learn that it had been shot by the officials because it had been breaking into people's house and garages foraging for food and had become too much of a danger. There are still plenty of bears around, though, and if you walk through Lighthouse Park you'll see signs like this:

Down by the beach we saw Canada Geese

and lots of mussels, barnacles, kelp and crabs

Most mornings we got woken up by these racous birds, Stellar's Jays, who would scuttle across the roof and peck on the skylight in my mother's kitchen to let her know they were ready for their daily ration of peanuts.

As well as seeing black-capped chickadees, nuthatches, finches and hummingbirds at the bird feeder, once in a while we would get a glimpse of a woodpecker.

Here's a bird's worst enemy but Boy10's very best friend.

She'd do just about anything for a tummy rub and a can of tuna.

Raccoons are everywhere in B.C. and we saw this young one having a nap in a tree in Osoyoos.

This guy, a gorgeous black squirrel, came by every day for his share of peanuts and entertained us with his antics. Black squirrels are actually a type of Eastern Grey Squirrel and are not native to B.C. but were introduced in 1914 and decided to stay. They are considered a pest in some areas because they place havock with bird feeders.

You want a piece of me??


At September 09, 2006 2:46 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Your pics are wonderful, Christina, and as always, your commentary is priceless. So glad you're still talking about Vancouver because I want to know as much as possible before we get there in 3 more weeks (I'm still holding out for going!). We're definitely hoping to see a LOT of wildlife of all varieties. Can hardly wait.

At September 09, 2006 3:52 p.m., Anonymous Karl said...

That is a bizarre jet-black squirrel. Sometime during the 1990s there were only grey squirrels east of the Mississippi but gradually you started to see the black ones albeit not pure black rather mixed with the grey. Nice pic of the pure black one.

At September 09, 2006 5:41 p.m., Blogger Andrea said...

we have a german exchange student and the animals is the first thing she talked about - in our area wee have lamas, emues and buffalo.

At September 09, 2006 9:09 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Oooh. Canada does have so much to offer, also in terms of wildlife. I cant wait to show OrangeX all of this! Beautiful picts, Christina! Thank you so much for "bringing me home" :-)

At September 09, 2006 11:45 p.m., Blogger Christina said...

Wow, that's just a really amazing array of wildlife. And great pics too. Thanks!

At September 10, 2006 10:38 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

Those are great photos - that black squirrel is adorable!

And you know, I'd do just about anything for a tummy rub and a can of tuna myself! Heh!

At September 11, 2006 3:03 a.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

yes we are so fortunate to see such wildlife in our back doors. IT is a bit different seeing such animals that I used to see only camping. I just can't wait to have a garden to get many friends like your parents..

How's the adjusting back going? I'm sure you miss BC as it was the most incredible summer ever!

At September 11, 2006 6:50 a.m., Blogger Betty said...

Why does the kitty allow the squirrel to hang out? He's a gorgeous squirrel .. very sleek and shiny.

At September 11, 2006 8:49 a.m., Blogger christina said...

Ginnie - There's just so much to see - you'll love it!

Karl - Yes, I was reading something about the black ones popping up in the eastern U.S. as a mutation from the grey. This pure black one seems to be the exception here - there are tons of big grey ones around.

Andrea - Boy10 saw some llamas at the P.N.E. and was totally in love with them. He wants one as a house pet!

CanSwiss OrangeX will love it - There are such beautiful birds in the east as well - the blue jays and cardinals are so pretty.

christina - Yep, you don't really appreciate it until you leave and then come back. :-)

Dixie - LOL! That cat was just in heaven with Boy10 around. I think she lay on her back with her eyes closed the whole time we were there.

Expat - If you have a place with a bit of woods around it all sorts of animals will pop up. The adjusting is pretty hard and we'd all rather be somewhere else, but oh well. You know how it is. :-I

Betty He is just SO gorgeous you want to reach right out and pat him. And that kitty is too fat to chase squirrels, but there's a smaller, faster kitty who does go after him once in a while.

At September 11, 2006 7:51 p.m., Blogger swissmiss said...

That last picture is hilarious. He's a scary looking guy. In Chicagoland where I grew up the black squirrels were always really agressive and would thoroughly dominate the greys.

At September 12, 2006 3:44 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

christina - feel free to use the links as you wish. Ellen is really cool and she is also trying to promote the site as a great news/cultural source..

At September 12, 2006 11:35 p.m., Blogger traveller one said...

Looks like there's not much difference between what people do on the west coast and what they do here on the east side of Canada... bird watching... racoon spotting...chipmunk feeding... life is glorious!

At September 13, 2006 7:36 a.m., Anonymous Lisa said...

The caption on that last pic is perfect! :)


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