Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beauty and a Bird Sighting

I stopped this morning, just before the Lions Gate Bridge, on the way to school.  I liked this flower, and thought of my sister, Sherrill.  It is her birthday today, so this one is for her.
Just a tiny bit further along, and still before the bridge, I took these two photos at the edge of Stanley Park.  Bill thought the green moss looked like Geckoes climbing the tree.  That made me think of a post by Ruby Isabella Jones that I enjoyed a few days ago.
The knot in this tree seemed remarkable in some way, and Bill liked it too, so this one is for him. 
Shortly after I finished my last class for the day, Kevin, our dorm supervisor ran upstairs to tell me there was a large bird sitting in the tree at the back of the school.  Thanks, Kevin, for taking time to let me know!  I grabbed my camera and went outside with him, but the light was really poor.  The best I could do was the photo below.  At first, I thought it must be an Osprey, because I know there is a nest nearby, but on checking my book, I'm again leaning to Cooper's Hawk (possibly juvenile?), just as I did when I saw the bird at Jericho Park several weeks ago.  I'm still uncertain, so if anyone has more definite identification, that would be great.  Although students were playing tennis nearby, and lots of people were walking their dogs, the bird seemed quite relaxed.
It finally left, and I just managed to catch a last glimpse as it flew over the school roof.
After a grey day, the light at sunset changed dramatically.  I took this from the Burrard Bridge.
The cherry blossoms have been out for just a few days, but there are already quite a few on the ground, the result, I guess, of several really windy days.  I've admired this tree, against a building painted a lovely shade of green, for the past few mornings.  Tonight, with the light fading quickly, it seemed the right time to stop and record the combination of white cherry blossom against subtle green.
There was a lot of beauty in today.


  1. A cooper's hawk has distinct black bands on its tail, which don't seem to be visible here. I wonder if it isn't a juvenile bald eagle from last year's brood. You can see a good picture of one at this site (scroll down to "First Flights:):

  2. Thanks for posting that address, Jean. I checked it out, and you're right that the picture seems very similar to the one I posted. I like the thought that it could be a juvenile bald eagle, especially since I watched one over a period of several months, two summers ago when I was living in North Vancouver. I checked out another site this morning, and it describes raptor identification as an art rather than a science, taking years of experience to perfect.

    I'm thinking of Martin this morning, and hoping all is going well!

  3. It is, without a doubt, a juvenile Bald Eagle--somewhere around a year old.

  4. Thanks, coachnateb. It's great to have a definite id. I'm curious to know which characteristics give you the age.

  5. There are about 7 plumage/age classifications for Bald Eagles: 1)Juvenile 2)Basic 1 3)Basic 2 4)Basic 3 5)Basic 4 6)Basic 5 and 7)Full adult plumage

    Juveniles have very little, maybe zero, white on the body (except for the axillaries or "armpits"). As you move up levels, more white appears, specifically on the head, body, shoulders, tail feathers...and the bill changes color as well. I'm sure there are some resources on the web if you are interested enough to check it out.

  6. Really appreciate that you took the time to explain those stages. Thank you so much! I spent one season addicted to the bald eagle web cam, first the Hornby one, and then, after the eggs weren't viable, watched the two in the Victoria/Sydney nest. The next season, I bought an imac, and was frustrated not to be able to get a full screen view. With a heronry on my bike route to work, I guess I found that I could get my bird fix that way, but now going to check out the Hancock site again. Maybe the full view problem has been fixed! Will do some internet searches as well to see if I can find some images to show those stages. Thanks again!

  7. One more thing, just in case you ever come back to this blog. (I hope you do!) If you have a minute, do you think you could take a look at the link in this post to the bird at Jericho? Now that I know the one at school (North Van) was a Bald Eagle, I'm thinking the Jericho one looks quite different. Was I close with the Cooper's Hawk id, or, is the picture quality to poor to tell?