Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Abandoned nest and playoff pool question

On Tuesday evening, I stopped by the heronry on the way home from school.  It was a windy ride over the Lions Gate Bridge, but doable.  Not a head wind, not a tail wind, not really a cross wind..  I'll call it a diagonal wind. 

As I turned to go by Lost Lagoon, the water from the fountain was responding beautifully to the wind. 
I found Serena and Sam's nest abandoned.  Rather sad, but perhaps, as Phyllis said, they were juveniles, and not quite ready to do the family thing.  Maybe it was my imagination, but I thought the nest looked like it had come along quite a bit since the last time I photographed it (7th picture down).  Perhaps, they've acquired the skills they will need to be successful next year.
As I was watching the herons, I heard some strange vocalizations behind me.  I ignored the sounds, positive they were more human than bird.  Then I heard laughter, and finally turned around.  There was my friend Mali, and another teacher from my school, presently on leave, but a reader of my blog once in a while.  That was apparently their best heron voice imitation, and not only that, they were convinced they had managed to fool me.  Not even close, you guys:)  I loved pointing out the nests I had been blogging about, and they, both keen observers, pointed out lots of little details I had missed.  Mali noticed this fellow, the keenest twig deliverer around.  Every two to three minutes, he showed up with new nest material.
At one point, after laboriously managing to get through the branches to his mate's nest, he dropped his twig as he was trying to deliver it.  "Oh no," said Mali.  She was truly upset for him.
But, he was soon back with another.  It occurred to me as I studied this picture last night, that it requires the maneuvering skill of an experienced pilot to gauge distances and find a way to get those huge wings safely through the branches.  Poor herons don't have the benefit of flight simulators or even an instructor.  Once they leave the nest, they're on their own.  Mind boggling to me.  No pictures of this heron's mate, but I saw her reach up each time to get the twig.  She otherwise stayed low in her nest, probably sitting on eggs.  They may replace Sam and Serena as my next focus pair.  Any suggestions for names? 
This is Stella.  Remember her and her mate, Stanley, on the other side of the road?  I didn't see Stanley yesterday, but Stella was giving every indication that she's sitting on eggs.  She appears to be doing a good job.  Next time I go, I will be anxiously looking to make sure Stanley is still in the picture.  
My friend, Dianne, suggested I rename my blog: "bikesbirdsbeastsnblooms"  I do seem to be taking a lot of flowers lately.  I snapped these early Monday morning when I was walking Black Jack.
And, I fell in love with these at the corner of Denman and Beach Avenue.  I've always loved blue flowers, but on their own, they really don't say much at all.  Put them with red, and the combination calls so loudly, I have to stop.
Look closely, and you will see my bike, parked under the flags.  
One more shot.  
And, a few shots of random flying herons taken recently.  
So much effort for such a teeny twig.
Almost straight up and down.
Something about the position of the feet.  Maybe, kids jumping in the deep end of the swimming pool for the first time?  Or, maybe pirouetting through the air?  I don't know.  Can't quite put my finger on it, but it makes me smile.
Mali thought this fellow was the classic macho male, showing off his twig:)  She thought he was working hard to attract a mate.  Seems logical, since finding a good twig is definitely high on the female's list of signs of a potentially good provider.
FINALLY... I have to make my picks for the second round of the NHL playoffs by tomorrow afternoon.  I'm in second place in our small pool, but 16 points behind the first place person.  Definitely in need of some help here.  I googled a bit this evening and found this prediction.  Anyone else have thoughts?  I'd offer a cut on the prize money, but that would amount to small change, so your suggestions will have to be offered for the love of the game, or my blog, or something....   


  1. I am still mourning the catastrophic collapse of the Flames. It is too soon for me to care about hockey again, especially in light of the fact that I will now have to root for the Canucks. The indignity is endless.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I don't know from hockey...
    But the one heron photo made me think of a young child, tippy-toeing up behind grandma, with arms spread to either hug her, or, better, cover her eyes and shout "Guess who?!"

    Love the red tulips on their blue bed!

    As for names: George and Gracie? Or more classy: Kate and Spencer (well Kate Hepburn was classy, if Spencer Tracy was not quite--their romance, however, was memorable).

  4. Your Canucks are looking good. I think they will get past Chicago but will have a tough time getting past either the Ducks or Red Wings in the Conference Final

  5. was I really that into the twigs? We were imitating some sort of motley assortment of crows, seagulls, & herons... a skill to improve over the summer, perhaps.
    I must point out that the unnamed hardworking male heron did seem to prefer forked branches - I thought that was interesting, perhaps they're better for nest-building?

  6. dp, you could always root for Chicago. Game 2 is just over, and although I abandoned the Canucks after the second period to do a blog post, my impression as I listened from the next room was that Chicago played a gritty game.

    EvenSong, thanks. I like the names George and Gracie. I didn't see the hardworking twig deliverer on Friday night, but I'll watch for him, snap photos if he gives me the opportunity and report if and when the kids are born.

    Puck Central.. thanks for your faith in the Canucks. Mine is a bit shaken, with Salo in trouble, and after this rather awful second game, but perhaps they'll rebound.

    Mali, my impression was that you felt really sorry for that poor heron (now named George) when he dropped his stick. I had the feeling you might try to deliver it to his waiting beak:)

    Yes, the bird imitation skills are a tad weak, but you do have a couple of months to work on them.

    And yes, that was a really interesting observation about the forked twigs. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. I think that I may have to do just that. I was really impressed with the way Chicago played, not impressed at all with the way Vancouver played.