Thursday, January 29, 2009

My first heron of the season!

This blog was first inspired after spending many hours last summer watching herons.  My first post had, I think, the most successful photographs of any I've taken, before or since.  So, I was excited yesterday to know that at least one heron has returned to the lower mainland.I still don't know where they go when they disappear in August, but it is good to have them back.  This one was across the little river by my school in North Vancouver.  I didn't see any mate, and it wasn't very active.  Its head was up in this photo, taken mid afternoon, but most of the time, it seemed to be hunkered down against the cold. 
Here's a morning shot.  More crouched posture.  The Merganser (I think), however, sitting by the heron's reflection, seems content.

 I just now googled to see if the herons have been spotted in Stanley Park, my favorite viewing spot.  I came across absolutely stunning photographs by Eric-Z at this Flickr site.  Something to aspire to!

This fellow sniffed out dog treats from my left pocket, as I tried to take shots of the heron.  He was most polite, if a little intense, as he waited for me to hand them over.
This poor bird looked so miserable, I worried for it, but perhaps it was only scratching at an itchy spot.

I'm thinking this may be a sandpiper.  If so, it's the first one I've ever photographed.  Okay, not too impressive, but have to start somewhere:)  I love the way it flitted around.
This little guy bathed noisily the entire time I watched.  The sound of the water splashing dominated the atmosphere, and made me laugh. 
The bather, in a moment of relative calm.  I hate to sound Pollyanna-ish again, but I feel fortunate to work where I do, with nature almost literally at the doorstep.


  1. Carol, this spring you may enjoy a trip to the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, along the Vedder River in the Yarrow/Chilliwack area. If you go just around the time the leaves are budding but not open, you will see hundreds of nests with the babies' long necks and funny heads sticking out! It is quite the experience. Here's the link:

    You could make a day of it, and stop by my place enroute!


  2. I noticed my first heron of the season on Monday. They like to sit in the flooded farm fields looking generally miserable. I don't know what they are waiting for there, as I doubt there are fish to be had. Maybe they also eat mice?

    Sandpipers are so sweet. I love to see them running along the beach in herds ("flock" just doesn't sound like the right word for birds on the ground -- it is somehow evocative of flying).

    I bought Tonka from a farm in Yarrow that was just around the corner from the Heron Reserve. I would often walk with him along the dike to watch the birds. It is lovely there.

  3. Jean and dp, thanks! Bill got out the map, and we're thinking about a visit very soon. In the meantime, I'm going to bike by Stanley Park this morning (later start on Fridays) on the way to school. Have either of you seen that heronry? Jean, thanks for the invite. We do hope to meet you before too long, and dp, you've got me thinking about what it is the herons are waiting for. They do eat mice. We see bits of fur and undigestible stuff under the trees at the heronry. And.. I'll never again think of sandpipers any other way than in herds:)

  4. Hi all,

    I just wanted to write a note to let you know that Carol's not going to be posting - well for a few days, at least! She was coming fast down the causeway after the Lion's Gate Friday evening (just ahead of me) and a blackberry branch was curving out & back into the bushes ahead of her. It pulled her off balance, she skidded, & after some bad bounces, she her bike wound up on the roadway. Typical Carol - she was up & walking within minutes!

    Apart from multiple bruises & scrapes, she now has a cast on two broken bones in her hand. She had an early-morning surgery to remove blood from where it had pooling under her skull. The terrific news is that she is and has been throughout fully lucid, smiling, and (as usual) trying to apologise for something or other.

    Knowing her, she'll be back blogging again as soon as she can!
    Please send healing energies / prayers / etc to her over the next while,


  5. Oh no! Mali, thanks for posting - and Carol, get well soon!!!

  6. Mali: Would you mind emailing me Carol's mailing address if you have it? I would like to send a little something her way.


  7. Hi Carol, hope you're up and around very soon!

    I wanted to say the herons can't all go away as I don't think there has been more than 2-3 weeks go by without me seeing them. I'm always on the lookout for them - they're my favourite bird.

    Jean - thanks for telling us about the Great Heron Nature Reserve. Sounds like a fab outing for this homeschooling family!

    Best wishes, Carol & speedy recovery!

  8. Mali, thanks so much for staying with Carol, and if I know her, convincing her that a trip to emergency was in order. It is a comfort to me that she has wonderful friends and that Bill is so caring. Sometimes when luck doesn't seem to be with us, it actually is.
    ......"coming fast down the causeway" huh? I can almost envision the enormous grin on her face just before the blackberry branch so rudely interfered. Seems I've seen that look before, but this frightened me, Carol. No lectures or scolding, but I really want to hear your voice.

  9. Sending healing thoughts your way!

  10. Hope you're back to your biking and writing soon Carol. I'll be thinking of you.

  11. I'm beating you to the blog. Wonderful to hear your voice just now. I'm so glad that you're home and still as Math challenged as ever! Lots of love and all the healing energy I can send.
    By the way, trikes are really quite cool and better yet, stable!
    Mali and Bill, you're both wonderful and I thank-you.

  12. Welcome home, Carol - I hope you'll be blogging again real soon. We're going into withdrawal here!

  13. Thanks, everyone! To Hornblower and Cristina and
    EvenSong, good wishes really appreciated! I'm a bit slower than usual getting going with a new post. So many pictures and thoughts and also some follow-up appointments to fit in and school stuff to work out. But, I feel great this morning, and now that I've given up on 2-handed typing for a while, should make less mistakes and generally better progress. I'm promising myself at least one post today - not a pretty one, perhaps, but for sure an appreciative one. Sorry, Sherrill. There will be no announcement of "tr"substituted for the first "b" in the title of this blog, but in all other things, I welcome your suggestions and comments:) I really enjoyed our conversation yesterday, too! Mali and Bill, you are the best - each requiring your own personal post to come anywhere close to thanking adequately!!! And Kitty, the visits and great food were so-o-o appreciated, especially sitting together in the sun on the front steps of VGH while I snapped pigeons and seagulls to my heart's content and you obligingly threw strategically aimed bits of your healthy pasta to keep them entertained. dp and Jean, I have felt your support and it was good. Post coming soon - I feel it brewing:)

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