Category Archives: Just Because

My garden – Photo Wednesday

Above: it’s the beginning of poppy season in my garden. I have let a wide strip of them colonize a sunny corner, and they reward me year after year.

Longer days, more sunlight, warm weather. This adds up to flowers in the garden. And many jobs every day.

Bee on rosemany, photo by Andrée Fredette

One worker bee, cleaning out the rosemary.

Whenever I step outside, I notice a loud buzzing in the neighbourhood… It comes from the arbutus trees, which are covered in blooms, but also from every plant that is flowering around here. Bees are everywhere. We have no shortage of bees on Saturna Island, I can vouch for that!

Surprise bloom in thhe garden. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: a mystery white one that is now multiplying in my rock garden.  (Note: a mystery no more, this white cutie is Star of Bethlehem or Ornithogalum umbellatum.  Many thanks to Patrick, who helped identify this beautiful spring bloom, and warned of its tendency to multiply vigorously.)

Since we fenced the garden in front, I am discovering new plants… They were either planted by the previous owners, or are wildflowers that now have a chance to bloom (before the fence, the deer and goats would just mow everything to golf-green condition…).

Inside the fence mystery plant. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: Little blue one, inside the fence mystery (Edit: mystery now resolved: this is Naked broomrape (Orobranche uniflora) a wildflower that appeared in the rock garden. A tiny treasure that is only two inches tall. I have not seen it outside the fence, anywhere on this island, probably due to deer and goat grazing.

Rock roses with bird bath. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: rock roses (Cistus) are starting to bloom and will keep going for a month or so. It’s a colourful party by the bird bath.

And I finish with my new “baby”, a rhododendron purchased on a whim. I found a shady spot, and piled a lot of dirt, sea soil, compost, and mulch in a good-sized mound to accommodate the rhodo. Let us hope it survives…

Rhododendron bloom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I salute gardeners everywhere, with my very rough-looking hands and questionable fingernails (smile). May your compost bring you good results!

Weekend Report

Above: close-up of a flowering tree on East Point Road, Saturna Island, BC. Roadside poetry…

What follows is a visual report of my weekend. It involved a little commute on the ferry, a little road trip on Vancouver Island, and a little excursion to Winter Cove park on Saturna Island.

From the back of the ferry, fog between Saturna and Pender Islands, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

On Friday morning, we left on the mid-morning ferry and I got to admire the fog that was caught between islands, hanging on before the sun could do its thing and burn it out…

Islet in the fog, Southern Gulf Islands, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

This is the cute islet that lies just off North Pender Island. I don’t know its name, but it stands out in a lovely silhouette, against a fog backdrop.

While on Vancouver Island, I got to admire the greenery in bloom, including this tall Oregon grape…

Tall Oregon grape, in bloom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And while walking in a meadow, I caught a glance of a hawk overhead. I was a little slow on the photo op, and got him a little bit “fuzzy”.


Hawk overhead

Patrolling the fields for mice and other goodies, no doubt.

Back on Saturna after a pleasant road trip and a return ferry commute, we all headed to the pub for sundown.

Pub sundown, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The sky and water had a dramatic moment…

Sunset on April 2nd, from the Pub on Saturna. Photo by Andrée Fredette

You have to keep a watch on the sky and water, at sunset. It pays off handsomely.


And this morning, I headed to Winter Cove with a friend, and looked for spring wildflowers.

Fawn Lily season at the Cove. Photo by Andrée Fredette

We were rewarded. Lots of Fawn lilies (Erythronium oregonum) and what looks like soon-to-open chocolate lilies (maybe).


Fawn lily single. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There is always one that stands out. This was the pinky one:


Fawn lily with a pink shading. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There were masses of them, right up to the edge of the rocky shore.

Fawn lilies by the ocean. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And there were also daisies here and there.

Daisy at Winter Cove. Photo by Andrée Fredette

At the water’s edge, a solitary heron was watching the shallows.

Heron silhouette. Photo by Andrée Fredette

It is good to get out and breathe some fresh air.

Birds, big and small

Above: “What are you looking at?”  This bald eagle spent a good hour on that branch, in a brisk wind, drying out after fishing. He spotted me, when I decided to take his photo. Had a bit of an insulted look…

At low tide, I returned to Winter Cove, determined to get some bird close-ups.

Through the bushes, I spotted this Great blue heron (Ardea herodias)...


Great blue heron, on the shoreline at Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Very slowly, I crawled through the bushes, on hands and knees(it was not a graceful maneuver). Close enough to get a clear shot through a long lens, but far enough to avoid disturbing him (or her).


Great blue heron, hunting. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There was a snack to catch, so he turned his attention to the work of getting some vittles.


Great blue heron, snacking. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And success. Bon appétit.

Here is the setting, Winter Cove.

Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A lovely afternoon, a sunny Friday.

Male Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica), at Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

There were lots of ducks, like this gorgeous male Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica).

Barrow's Goldeneye pair at Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And some went around with their girlfriends…

And back home, later in the afternoon, I refilled the bird feeders.

We have feeders for big birds, like this Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus)…

Pileated woodpecker. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And feeders for little birds.

Rufous hummingbird male. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Here is another shot of a little Rufous hummingbird male (Selasphorus rufus), in flight (camera shutter not fast enough!).


Rufous hummingbird male, in flight. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And to conclude, I offer you a flower: a Fawn Lily.

Fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum), blooming on Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette


Spring flowers on Saturna

Above: today’s header photo is a budding Fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum), a sweet sign of spring if there ever was one!


First day of spring, and here is a report of the flowers that are starting to appear on this shore.

Salmonberry blossom (Rubus spectabilis). Photo by Andrée Fredette

Took a walk at Winter Cove, an area that is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (there’s a mouthful) and pointed my camera at assorted blossoms. Above: salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), looking a tad bedraggled after an iffy late winter.

Oregon grape in bloom (Mahonia aquifolium). Photo by Andrée Fredette
And this warm golden yellow is a gift of the Oregon grape (Mahonia oregonum), which was blooming on a bluff, out of the reach of our ravenous black-tailed deer…

Flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), spring blossoms on Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: the assertive pink flash of Flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), another sure sign of spring on this island.

Fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum), a spring wildflower on Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: another shot of a Fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum), starting to open up.

And if you wonder about the setting, here is a shot of the salt pond by Winter Cove.
Winter Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

On the right, above, you can spot a weed – Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) – that is incredibly invasive. It’s the tall thing bearing yellow blooms.

At my house, I keep pulling seedlings out of the yard, the neighbourhood paths and meadows… But it is a losing battle. The park is losing the broom battle, and the weed keeps marching forward, taking over. More info on this link.

Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), invasive plant in bloom, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Scotch broom blooms in the spring, and its blossoms redeem it somewhat…

Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) in bloom, March, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette
And finally, because my garden is also offering interesting yellows of a more tame variety…

Spruge (Euphorbia). Photo by Andrée Fredette

Spurge (Euphorbia), starting to get its alien-like flowers into position.
And the stars of my spring garden:

Daffodils. Photo by Andrée Fredette



Gulls have attitude – Photo Wednesday

Above: a gull conference on a fishing vessel at the Steveston docks, south of Vancouver, BC.

Last weekend, I got off the island for a while. Felt nice. Took lots of pictures, which will feed this blog for a  couple of weeks, at least.

First up: the gulls of Steveston (a fishing port south of Vancouver, BC).

It’s a fishing sort of place, so you can expect gulls. Tons of gulls.

Gull gangs at the dock, Steveston, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Every boat, every piling, every roof: crowned with gulls. Notice the white roof in the background? Yep.

Gull poses with heavy metal. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I just thought the broken railing, above, made it more interesting… A frame, so to speak.

Old boat, new boat. Didn’t matter. What mattered was the fish smell emanating from the nets and the holds.

Gull Trio at Steveston Dock, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Hello, attitude dude!

Seagull with attitude, up close. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Yeah, that was the tough guy. And he had his buds with him, including the other tough guy, the “wingman” (ha) to his right. See below…


Seagull with Attitude. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Then, there was the choir on top of the cannery building…

All lined-up for an argument. Photo by Andrée Frededtte

I suddlenly started thinking of “The Birds”, the Hitchcock movie, you know… But I am no Tippi Hedren. I was safe.