Sunday, March 1, 2009

New bird on 2nd Sunday visit to Jericho

I awoke to dull, overcast weather, but headed off to Jericho anyway, thinking that even if the light was all wrong,and if I ended up with no decent photographs, Black Jack would still enjoy herself as long as the rain held off.  But I got lucky with photographs, I think. If you like any of these, let me know.  I'm still not much of a judge of a quality picture from a mediocre one.  I tend to judge by the subject and its action/expression, even if the light, composition, whatever are all wrong.

This hawk appeared right at the end of my walk.  I have to thank a man on a park bench for pointing it out.  I would never have see it high up in the tree overlooking the rabbit territory.  The man did call it a wombat.  I was fairly certain he was mistaken:)  I'm trying, after some google searches, and after studying the book dp sent me, to decide whether it's a Red-tailed Hawk or a Cooper's Hawk.  I'm fairly sure it's one of the two.  You do have to look quite closely to see its curved beak.    
I've cropped the above photo to show a closer view.
Black Jack and I spent some time observing the rabbits, as we did last week.  Again, she was quiet and well-behaved, if pretty intensely focused.  A hand waved in front of her eyes would not have produced a blink, I'm quite sure.  There were a lot of people around, feeding veggies and oats.  The rabbits were right out in the open, sometimes eating from children's hands.  This one was Bill's favorite rabbit photo.
I took several pictures of this one, with the torn ear.  Dog attack?  Rabbit fight? Coyote?  Thorns?  No idea.  This picture was the most pathetic looking, especially since the carrots sit untouched behind it.  It makes me sad, but I'm posting it for the record.
All the children gravitated to this cute little grey one.
Shortly after I entered the park, I saw this heron.  Another lucky break, because at first, it was almost completely camouflaged in the marsh.  It was very busy hunting, and was the only wildlife sighting today that caused Black Jack to bark and lunge to the end of her leash.  I don't know why, but it really seemed to worry her.  I loved a lot of my photographs of this heron, but Bill narrowed me down from ten to three shots for the blog.  Thanks, Bill!

I know I've posted many shots of mallards, but thought today's were pretty decent as well, so one single and one couple to record our walk.  

One sign of Spring, maybe?
Last week, I photographed a black "duck", but didn't identify it.  I took a good luck at the bird book, and think I may have an American Coot here.  The only thing that would have made my identification more certain is if I had been able to see its lobed toes.  The book says, "The highly versatile American Coot is a delightful mix of confusion and comedy - it has the lobed toes of a grebe, the bill of a chicken, and the black body and swimming habits of a duck.  However, the American Coot is not remotely related to any of these species; its closest coastal cousins are the rails and cranes.  These loud, grouchy birds are seen chugging along in wetlands.  At peak speed, this back and forth motion escalates and seems to disorient the American Coot.  It will fake a take-off by running and flapping to the other side of the wetland."  I think I observed some of these fake take-off maneuvers, but can't be positive.  I did love the description in the book, so unless someone tells me otherwise, I'll stick with the American Coot identification.
I stood on the little bridge to take this photo.  People were throwing bread over.  I really wish they wouldn't do that.  I'm okay with birdseed, or food designed for waterfowl, but feel the bread is a very bad idea.  Note the one seagull here.  I've observed that seagulls don't seem to require like company to feel secure. 
I liked this shot, so here it is.
Black Jack quivered as she watched this squirrel, but amazed me by remaining still and quiet.  I realize I didn't take one picture of Black Jack today, but this squirrel is for her.  She came home very tired, although still ready to play with her ball, after a stimulating walk.
Two more shots that I liked.  I love trees almost as much as I love birds and beasts.

Bill came to get us, just as it started to rain.  We went off to the downtown cafe that I mentioned yesterday, to have lattes and cheesecake.  Then, we came home to an absolutely wonderful Bill-cooked meal.  Thank you, Bill!

Tomorrow, I will see the surgeon who operated on me after the cycling accident four weeks ago .  I feel pretty amazingly well, I think, although not quite as strong as I would like.  I'll ask him questions about getting back to the "bikes" part of my life, but my gut tells me it may be another couple of weeks.  Still, life is good, and I know it!!!  


  1. I don't think the hawk is a red-tail, but I'm no expert. We just have lots around here, and their tails are definitely more auburn than that one appears.

    Love the study of the heron.

    The Rocky Reach Dam, on the Columbia outside of Wenatchee, used to have a whole herd of bunnies in the evergreen bushes in the picnic area--story is, someone abandonded a few domestic rabbits, and they multiplied like, well, rabbits! They got to be such a nuisance, and were starting to be unhealthy doe to crowding, that they tried feeding them contraceptives. But the bunnies turned their wiggly noses up to that. A year or so ago, someone started trapping them and adopting them out. Not sure how successful that effort was...

  2. Was the cheesecake as good as promised? It is not one of my favourite treats, but David loves it.

    The bunnies remind me of Watership Down.

    David's brother Gareth will be here for a few days next week. He is an expert on all things bird so I will check your IDs with him.

  3. Thanks, EvenSong. I think you're right, although also by no means an expert. I've just had another look in the book, and the Cooper's Hawk seems more likely.

    Interesting about the rabbits. I'd like to think the adoption program was successful, but imagine it wouldn't be easy. I enjoyed your "turned up their wiggly noses" bit.

  4. Thanks, dp. Bill said the first bite was too sweet, but then, a minute or so later, he changed his mind. He said the cheesecake got better and better as he worked his way through each and every bite. By the end, he agreed that it was as good as promised. (He had the blueberry.) We decided the latte was an 8, compared to the Wicked's 10. Thanks in advance to Gareth!

  5. Thanks Carol, for the latte and delicious blueberry cheesecake at the Tree Cafe. The cheesecake looked just like the cranberry-orange one shown on their website.

    Afterwards, we stared at a huge hole outside their door where there will soon be a new Skytrain station. Business will boom, and they deserve it for putting up with construction for over a year.

  6. Here's the story (from late 2005):

    "WENATCHEE -- The Wenatchee Valley Humane Society and the Chelan County Public Utility District plan to round up more than 300 rabbits on the grounds of the Rocky Reach Dam and send them packing.

    "The domestic bunnies, which were let loose in the wild, have been living and breeding on the grassy knolls above the dam for more than 20 years.

    "Officials plan to move them to Rabbit Meadow, an animal sanctuary in Redmond where, officials say, they won't be threatened by disease, predators, vehicles and cold.

    "Each rabbit must be examined and spayed or neutered before it will be accepted at the sanctuary. The Public Utility District expects to pay more than $17,500 in veterinary bills."

    And the link to Rabbit Meadows Sanctuary:

    If I remember, the "round-up" was pretty comical.

  7. dp, I think, several posts ago, I called snowdrops lily-of-the-valley:) Don't know what I'd do without your granola-boy expertise:)

    You're welcome, Bill. How did you do that? I've been unsuccessfully trying to put a link in a message for a while:)

    Thanks again, EvenSong. Your link didn't work, but I looked up that rescue and it sure sounds like a good plan. I wonder if something like that would work, or may already be in place here. I'm going to investigate a bit further.

  8. That's definitely a coot. There are tons of them at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary.
    You'd like it there if you've never been. Alas, no dogs. And no bikes in the actual sanctuary though you can park in Ladner and bike to Westham Island.... And your camera would have a great time. :-)

    And your hawk - yes, I'm leaning towards a cooper's as well....

  9. Nudge, the bike riding bunny, who lives at our house, liked the pictures of his fellow rabbits! However, it is so sad that people abandon pet rabbits. Apparently, there is a similar problem on the campus of the University of Victoria. People who adopt rabbits should know that they are lovely pets but need lots of care. We play with Nudge several times a day and let him roam the house as long as we are at home! We clean his cage and give him vegetables twice a day. In the summer, he has an outdoor cage as well, but he is always put into his indoor cage at night! He is not as much work as a dog, but is more work than a cat! I am glad that Blackjack is learning not to bark at bunnies!!!

    Once again, your bird pictures are wonderful! I especially love the pictures of the heron! Phyllis

  10. Thanks, Hornblower. Nice of you to stop by and identify the coot and suggest the bird sanctuary. It's now definitely on my list of places to visit!

    And Phyllis, I must see if I can find the e-mail with the picture of you and Nudge on the bike. It would be great to post it here, if that's okay with you! Thanks for the comment. Very useful information for anyone thinking of getting a rabbit. See you soon!

  11. I didn't notice, but they do have their similarities. There are also snowflakes, to confuse things even further. I think Lily of the Valley is beautiful, but I love snowdrops because they are such intrepid little flowers, the very first sign of spring.