Christmas in Courtenay

This has been a challenging year for us all. I have been fortunate to end up in Courtenay on Vancouver Island where there have been few cases of COVID19. In past years I have spend Christmas in Hornby Island, Puerta Vallarta, Costa Rica, Phoenix, Ottawa, Algeria and London England. As I went down memory lane in my photos, I enjoyed the memories each picture brought. I am enjoying watching Rick Steves on PBS and trying to see if I recognize any of the places he visits. This year’s pictures don’t have people in them for the obvious reasons. I will be doing a Zoom Christmas as others will be.

My favourite things to keep my busy have been walking, reading, Netflix, and my instant pot. I have discovered cooking as other have and have tested a few recipes I would like to share.
https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/pho-recipe/
Slow cooker Spanish Stew
Jamie Oliver’s Pesto Recipe. Use fresh basil from Thriftys. I found a new pasta called pappardelle in a specialty deli which is like fettuccini which was not in stock at Quality Foods. Odd?

My Netflix favourites have been Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad and several series about politics: Designated Survivor (US), The Crown (UK). Borgen(Denmark) and Marseille ( France). These all captured my attention for many evenings over the past months. My favourite books of the year have been Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I’d read them all again.

Another activity that has kept me engaged has been a weekly zoom meeting with 7 other bloggers from across Canada and the US. We have met every weeks since March. We had an in person meetup with 4 of the bloggers on Hornby Island during the summer. It is a fascinating way to get to know people in a more intimate level than in person. I thank the bloggers for their fun and support over the year.

I thought I would share some pictures of the area and my new COVID pastime with my new camera. It’s been amazingly mild here and there are some great beaches for beachcombing and birding.

I wish a happy and safe 2021 to all my readers.

Birding

Harelquin Duck

Bufflehead

barrows golden eye

pine siskin

heron

kingfisher

green winged teal

red chested chickadee

white capped sparrow

bewicks wren

house finch

How 2020 became the year of the walker | Walking holidays | The Guardian

First we could only go out for an hour a day, so relished that escape. As the year went on walking came to represent life, liberty and health, both physical and mental
— Read on amp.theguardian.com/travel/2020/dec/18/how-2020-became-the-year-of-the-walker

Study: Birds Are Linked to Happiness Levels – EcoWatch

A new study reveals that greater bird biodiversity brings greater joy to people, according to recent findings from the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research. In fact, scientists concluded that conservation is just as important for human well-being as financial security.
— Read on www.ecowatch.com/birds-happiness-study-2649413979.html

Birding
Costa Rica Birding, The Top Costa Rica Birds – Lodges Custom

Christmas in Courtenay

QUARENTINE COPING

I am disappointed to see COVID -19 cases rising to record levels. I had hoped it would have been over by now. On Vancouver Island, we have been lucky to avoid the worst of the outbreak, in part due to the closing down of the ferries, being an island, good weather, lots of outdoor space, stores who enforce masking, distancing, hand hygiene and people who have been deligent about social distancing.

I have posted a link to coping strategies as we see more quarantine months ahead of us. I had a chat with my fellow blogger/zoomers about strategies to cope and from that discussions I made 3 lists: things I want to keep on doing, things I don’t want to do anymore and new things I want to do. This was helpful because I was beating myself up because I have abandoned painting and the clarinet for the time being. Since I have been on my own most of my adult life I am used to amusing myself. I started working from home in 2013 and started teaching online is 2017 when I retired. By now now most of us are experts at amusing ourselves and our families. Most of my friends are retired and they already has adjusted to life “at home”.

So the new thing I wanted to do was buy a new camera with a zoom lens. I bought a Canon Powershot SX 70. However, I forgot that there is a vertical learning curve with all new products and a 150 page manual to download. What was I thinking? I have an aversion to instruction manuals.. too much information, overwhelming, fine print etc. I have tried to keep this in the quarantine project mindset and take a couple of pages a day. What else do I have to do right? At the same time I just went out and started shooting.

I did not realize when I moved to Courtenay that there is abundant bird life and I have found myself fascinated to discover so many varieties of birds within walking distance. It is intriguing to see the details of colour and patterns on the birds. Now I have joined the ranks of the people with their zoom lenses who often stop to chat with me. So here is my first round of photos without doing much reading of the instruction manual. The camera is wifi enabled so the photos can be easily uploaded to my computer and iphone. I also found a Facebook group called BirdFanatics Vancouver Island and a couple of bird identification apps.. another good activity to eat up more hours of my day. Ebird, Merlin Bird ID and Smart Bird IQ. I feel I have fully joined the ranks of the retired now.

I am new to bird identification so any corrections welcome.