FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL : poem by Farrell Boyce


Norris Beach, Saanich Inlet

First day of school
I got a coffee at Melinda’s,
sat and organized my list.
Leaving, I see Moms and kids.
Eleven on a school day – what’s the deal?
I turn to ask and find familiar faces.
“Hey, Farrell,” says Joanne,
“You see the whales on Sunday?”
“Yeah,we saw some Orcas by Mill Bay.
At least the others did ‘cause I forgot my glasses.”
“But these were humpbacks, huge, with giant splashes!”

What, I think, has brought these roaming beasts
so deep into the bay?
Have they forgotten steel-clad men,
their great-grandfather’s day?
Do they find welcome in these waters
or no place else to go?
Upturned faces of these happy children,
they’re the ones who’ll know.

“Oh wow,” I say, “that’s fine!”
And on this golden day
my to-do-list is put away,
I share instead their joy.
On this first day of school
I made this lesson mine.


Preserving Sidney’s Natural Skyline : OUR NATUREHOOD

Skylines and background vistas are important community assets. Mature trees seen against a magical sunset can take your breath away.
The panorama below shows the western horizon of Roberts Bay with Mount Tuam on Saltspring on the right and the Malahat on the left. Between them is a skyline, softened by mature Douglas Fir and Arbutus. It is a view that is cherished by those who live on Roberts Point. In turn, those who live on the western shore enjoy the skyline of “Beaufort Grove” in sunrises with Mount Baker in the background.
Robert's Bay Skyline at Sunset with Malahat in background

Roberts Bay sunset with the Malahat in the background and a V formation of Canada Geese

The trees on the skyline are comprised of elements of the Coastal Douglas Fir Ecosystem, one of the rarest ecosystems in Canada. This natural skyline has been partially degraded by development, particularly on the south and western shores of Roberts Bay, part of Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary. These upland remnants give us the natural ambiance that we cherish as part of our “NatureHoods”,  with plants that are adapted to this particular environment and the bird songs that accompany it.  These mature trees, so close to the shore of Roberts Bay, provide perches, nesting sites and food to birds and other wildlife that find refuge in the Migratory Bird Sanctuary. They act as an integral part of the Sanctuary.
This skyline is further threatened by development proposals that appear to be incompatible with the setting of a national wildlife sanctuary. One of the last groves forming a skyline at the centre of the top photograph is now being considered for dense development (removal of trees). This will require a change to Sidney’s Official Community Plan which in turn would enable even more development. The link below leads to a description of the project under consideration.
If you are concerned about this development, let the Mayor and Council know.
Robert's Bay Skyline at Sunset

Roberts Bay sunset with a skyline of Douglas Fir and Arbutus

Prairie Puddleduck Moon

“The name for the whole summer was ‘CEN’QALES – time of heat ….. During the moon CENHENEN – “time of the humpback [pink]”, was when our people fished the HENEN. … There was still another salmon that hadn’t arrived yet. That was the coho, or TAWEN. This moon was CENTAWEN – “time of the coho”, around September.” Dave Elliot senior
So we are now past CENTAWEN, and entering PEKELANEW, leaves changing colour. We are headed for a blood red Full Moon on Sunday. The tides are running strong.
Yesterday and today have seen a bunch of new arrivals. Western Grebes, American Wigeon, Shovellers, Green-winged Teal, and Horned Grebes have appeared in advance of a front. Dark, rolling stratocumulus “undulatus” clouds presage rain later today.
Its official now, the Pacific Northwest has experienced the warmest ‘CEN’QALES on record.
contributed by J.K. Finley
Dark stratocumulus undulatus clouds over Roberts Bay coincide with the arrival of several migrants, 24 Sept 2015

Dark stratocumulus undulatus clouds over Roberts Bay coincide with the arrival of several migrants, 24 Sept 2015

Satellite imagery

Satellite imagery showing the tail of the ‘comma cloud’ sweeping over northern Vancouver Island early on September 24th, as migrants made their way to Shoal Harbour Sanctuary.