Yesterday was one of those no students, teacher education days, at school. I did two sessions, one learning about Front Page, and the other about Power Point. Why does Blogger seem so much more direct? If it hadn't been for my friend, Mali, and her gentle guidance, I would have been tempted to pull the antics of some of our students when they feel frustrated. Anyhow, the thing about pedagogical days is that I leave earlier, because there are no music rehearsals in the late afternoon. So, on the way home, I stopped by Stanley Park. As I biked along Lost Lagoon, a heron sharing a log with sleeping ducks caught my attention. The light was poor, but it was impossible to keep my camera in the pannier.A zoomed in shot to show his "beard" and yellow bill, both signs of a male seeking a mate. (This knowledge due to Jean's comment a couple of posts ago.)
A few noisy people came by, and the heron flew away. I was happy to catch something of the outspread wings, although the focus leaves a lot to be desired.
It landed on this rock by a tiny island, just a little bit further out in the water.
I decided to head over to the heronry, to see if the herons have returned. On the way, by the little bridge, I saw two girls feeding squirrels and birds. This little fellow was about as tame as they come.
I had the zoom on, when it all but stood on my shoes, so here are a couple of crazy close-ups. I missed the tip of its right ear in both, but love the expression in those little paws.
Thanks to dp, I know this is a Chestnut-backed Chickadee. It was sitting in the girl's hand.
The second girl offered to hold my bike so that I could get more shots. This one isn't that great a picture, but I love that the bikes and birds part of this blog came together.
Raccoons were everywhere. It seemed like I saw hundreds. Having seen the results of a raccoon/dog fight once, I have a healthy respect/fear of raccoons, but this picture was amusing to me. Too bad the duck isn't in focus, and too bad I didn't take the action immediately after this picture. I was wondering about the risk the duck was taking, in staying so close to the raccoon. Then, the raccoon turned its back, and waddled off. It made me smile, because the duck turned around and waddled after the raccoon, following it into the bushes. Do you suppose they are friends?
Two elderly (at least a couple of years older than I am:) people were standing at the little bridge, admiring all the different species of birds and squirrels. I took them to be nature lovers, perhaps visiting Vancouver, and asked if they knew about the heronry. "Oh, I know, all right," said the lady, disgust in her voice. "They're back. I live in the apartments just above them. I was hoping they would stay away this year; they're about ten days late. But, unfortunately, they arrived two days ago." I sort of quietly suggested that I really love to watch them, and she added, "They're a health hazard, you know. People step in their poop, and walk into their houses, and...." Her voice trailed off. I think she was slowly catching on that I was a poor prospect for sympathy. I left, anxious to see the herons before dark. To be fair, I guess the nearby residents have a right to complain about the smell and noise around the heronry. But, I believe I would be fine with them, even if I did live right above them. In fact, what a great viewing opportunity that would be. That old rush of happiness hit me as I heard the squawks and saw the shapes overhead. Shapes were all I was able to capture, but I had great fun watching them work together on the nests, sometimes the picture of domestic bliss, and at other times, engaged in little spats with neighbors. Stanley and Sue's nest looked abandoned. I wonder if they or their parents have come back. All I could capture were silhouettes, but this one, I would say from its beard, is a male.
Amazing how they appear to dive almost head first into their nest.
Sorry about the terrible quality of this photo, but it does show some of the herons, and gives a sense of how close the nests are to each other. No wonder there is sometimes confusion, with parents or kids hopping into the wrong nest.
As the light faded even more, I left, happy with my visit to Stanley Park, and looking forward to meeting Bill for a delicious meal at Heaven and Earth Curry House. We both enjoyed it, although it was a tad more expensive than some of the Indian restaurants we have tried. The review with the link is very positive, but I did find some more negative responses as well. One complaint was that the portions were small. I could never agree with that. Neither of us could finish our meal, in spite of really enjoying the food. Before I left Stanley Park, I took a couple of pictures of the clouds behind the trees. As I so often say, it was a good day.