Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cats being strange

These are my mom's cats... and the orange one, Llewellyn, is always strange. He's struggling with diabetes at the moment, and although his blood sugar still won't go down, he has recovered almost 100% in terms of coordination and energy. But he's strange. We sort of wonder sometimes if he's a little... challenged, because he'll often sit staring into space with his tongue half out. In retrospect, maybe it was the diabetes.

Today, I heard strange yowls coming from upstairs. The cats were lying on the landing, as you see in the photo, and Llew was making strange noises and pawing at Princess, the white cat. At first I thought he was feeling amorous, but it didn't seem to be so; he was just squawking and pawing at her paws. Not getting up, not being particularly active, just... poking her. It was... strange.

It does look like they're holding hands though, which I guess is cute.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Live long and prosper

My name is Victoria, and I went to a Star Trek convention yesterday.

I blame it all on my mother though.

I grew up on The Next Generation, and followed Deep Space 9 and Voyager with some regularity during high school, so I guess you could say I'm a mild Trekkie (Trekker? I don't even know the lingo). My mom is a big fan though - she's seen all the series and movies and loves Patrick Stewart. So when she found out the convention was coming to town featuring both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, she felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance she couldn't pass up.

We got there a little late and wandered through the vendor's area, which was surprisingly bare. I expected something like the photos of craft fairs I see all the time - tons of booths packed with merchandise. I wanted Spock ears and a communicator, but mostly all they were selling was autographed photos and some T-shirts - and not even the nice ones. Davis says I was disappointed because I was expecting ComicCon or something, but I think it was because we only went to the 3rd and last day - maybe it was busier on the Friday?

After lunch we caught the end of the auction - which was flabbergasting. They were selling off banners from the convention and signed photos and other memorabilia - this banner of Kirk and Spock which came with front-of-the-line autograph privileges sold for something like $1600. That's more than my tuition for a semester. But, I guess there are people who are really into this stuff... and would rather have an autographed poster than a vacation. It must be a good conversation piece.

Most people, of course, were bidding by raising their hands and sometimes calling out their bids - but there were a handful of guys who would place their bids by standing up and bellowing, "Qapla!" This made things interesting.

Finally, Leonard Nimoy came out! He was wearing a shirt that said LLAP, which I didn't get at first. I'll let you think about it.

He seems like a really interesting guy, and apparently he's working on a lot of photography projects. He also told us how Bill Shatner stood him up for breakfast that morning. And speaking of Bill, fellow McGill alumni:

Bill is really funny. I haven't seen him in much other than the Star Trek movies, but he's very charismatic. He told us some stories about when he performed at the closing ceremonies for the Olympics in March, and about his involvement with the farmed vs. wild salmon issue, which is something I'm concerned about as well.

Finally Leonard Nimoy came back out and they made fun of each other for another half hour or so. As funny as Bill is, he's even funnier with Leonard as his straight man. They kept us in stitches the entire time.

And that was my first Star Trek convention!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Richmond Nature Park

Song sparrow (?)

Cedar waxwing

Spotted towhee

Somebody seemed to want some privacy to get ready for the day, so we ambled off.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Somewhere, beyond the sea

Thank you to demetgun3 for including my ship's wheel earrings in this awesome marine treasury! Click on over and check out all the awesome stuff - aren't those shoes amazing?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tofino and Ucluelet - Day 3

Sea lion hauled out on the dock behind our cabin

Pigeon guillemot?

Long Beach, Tofino, BC

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ucluelet - Day One

The ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo...

Pelagic cormorant

Goats on roof! (it's actually a really nice market... with goats on the roof)

Red-breasted sapsucker

Cathedral Grove Provincial Park

The cabin we're staying at in Ucluelet

Sea lion! (they bark all night.... but it's quite soothing!)

This guy was perched about 20 feet from our back deck...

More to come......

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Boy Hummer

Finally, one of the two Mr. Hummingbirds that I first saw squabbling over a female the other day decided to quit being a fighter jet for two minutes and take a drink so I could snap his picture.

The next few days are about to get very busy for us... today we are picking up our new car (VW Golf, which was an extremely generous gift from my mother... we plan to make as many of the payments as possible but we couldn't have done it without her help and our old car, as I have mentioned before, was on the verge of rusting through) and tomorrow we are heading to Vancouver Island for our graduation vacation gift to ourselves. I'm obviously super excited for both things... but I'm especially looking forward to going to the island with my Nikon... I was able to get some awesome pictures last time we went with my little point-and-shoot, but I can't wait to see what the DSLR will do.

So, I will hopefully be checking in as often as I can with pictures of eagles, sea lions, sea otters, starfish, and hopefully tons of other creatures!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Not the excessive SUV... the bird - a rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), female I think... but please correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm not as good with my western birds as I am with the eastern, even with a Sibley's in hand.

Two male rufouses were buzzing around all afternoon but were too quick for me and my camera to catch. I was inside making dinner when my mom tried to get my attention from the backyard where she was sitting reading and having a whiskey - "Victoria. Victoria. Victoria!!" without disturbing the little green hummingbird sipping from our irises.

Tiny feet!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Busy things and a waxwing

This is officially my first post as a wildlife biologist!

The graduation ceremony last Friday was awesome. Walking across the stage was a blur - mostly I was concentrating on not tripping in my 3-inch heels - and I had to rewatch the video my dad took three times to make sure I didn't do anything stupid.

The weekend consisted of a medley of goodbye and graduation parties, and yesterday Davis and I packed up our things and flew to Vancouver - finally!! I'm looking out the window at a bald eagle soaring overhead as I type... it's good to be home.

We're heading out in a couple of hours to look at some new (or new to us) cars... but in the meantime here is a photo of a cedar waxwing I took at the botanical gardens in Montreal last week. Hopefully I will have some photos of some west coast birds soon too!