Monday, June 15, 2009

Part 2 - Birds

Here are a few of my memorable bird moments over the past couple of weeks. 

One adult heron shown in a recent post is the only clear view I've had in the past three visits to the heronry.  I did get the photograph below, which I thought was too poor to post.  However, Bill noticed the two feathers pointing straight up, in juxtaposition to the thin legs trailing behind.  
As he noted, herons have skinny bodies and skinny legs set between enormous wings.  I hadn't thought of them in quite that way, but I do know that the first time I saw one fly, I was hooked.  And, it was the wings.  The slow, powerful flight, the range of colors as light filters through the accordion folds, and a feeling of some sort of prehistoric connection.  This is the romantic view that, for me, cancels out the loud squawks, the stench around the heronry, the knowledge that the survival rate for the chicks is not great. 

Many would say that geese are less exotic, but lately, I've spent quite a bit of time enjoying them.  The ones in the photograph below were part of a flock that I watched one afternoon as I sat on the rocks at the edge of the ocean in North Vancouver.  They seem to love to be in formation, whether flying or swimming.  I would say they are less independent than herons.  It's rare to see one go off by itself, as herons do.  They seem content to hang together, peaceful in between bickering sessions.  Check out the one below, with neck outstretched, as it is tailgated.  The fact there are so many of them can be daunting at times.  Walking one's dog in places where they congregate is definitely not for the faint of heart.  
As I watched those geese on the water, a couple of birds of prey soared overhead.  They were very high up in the sky, and this was the best photo I could manage.  I don't know if it's clear enough for anyone to identify.  I've guessed that it might be a peregrine falcon.
As I biked through Stanley Park on the way home from school one day, this little chick-a-dee was singing its heart out, and something made me stop.  It granted me just enough time for this photo...
...and this one which I love even more, because it was so unabashedly deep in song.
One evening, walking with Black Jack along 4th Avenue, I noticed these etchings in the sidewalk by Jericho Park. I will always wonder about the person who did them.  Child or adult?  Worker or passer-by?  Did they use a stick or perhaps a knife?  Did anyone watch them?  The date says 2004.  Do they still come by to check out their artwork, five years later?  I'm happy one of the drawings is a bird.
I can hardly remember the last time it rained.  No matter when we walk at Jericho, there are photographers, many with tripods and enormous lenses.  I snap quickly and move on, just a tiny bit intimidated by the sophisticated equipment.  The auto-intelligence mode is my friend, though, and did a good job of capturing this mallard, although the end result, as true to the image as it could possibly be, still seemed to me to have an almost fake quality about it.
Just a few steps further, this crow watched me with such knowing, it brought a lump to my throat.
Then it drank.
I love the navy blue tucked under the female's wings.
The sun also pointed out the lovely patterns in her neck.
The ponds lately are covered by a thick scum.  Sometimes, I wonder how the parents keep track of their kids.  This is one of four families swimming around in a relatively small space.
In all the bird families, it is humbling to observe how hard the parents work.
This female mallard and its reflection was one of those "almost" shots.  The one that got away.  But, there's always tomorrow.
Another dear little bird that sat still, and allowed me time to record its beauty. 
I wonder which bird left this feather.
Black Jack and I were charged by this pair of geese.  I thought we were keeping a respectful distance, but I can tell you that when they half-run, half-fly in a charge attack, it is REALLY impressive.  We didn't stick around to argue the point.
This crow was so large, I am almost wondering if it was a raven.  Like the crow above, it seemed to look right into my soul.
Here it is again.  It sat for a long, long time.  In fact, it was still sitting there when I left.  I would so have loved to know its thoughts.
The third in my little three-part series, will show some of the blooms that have caught my eye lately.  Thanks for reading!


  1. "Three posts coming up... No particular theme except to divide them in categories of beasts, birds and blooms."

    Thanks for your last three posts, but may I suggest a fourth category for Bikes. Although you did a recent post on electric bikes, Vancouver is full of pedal bikes that surely feel left out now :)

  2. I'm trying to figure out what the cute little speckled bird with the brown face is. A juvenile, I'd guess, by his speckles and brushcut, but what? His beak doesn't seem right for a sparrow, towhee or junco - a juvenile thrush of some sort perhaps? Yet all the "close fit" ones in my birdbook have speckled masks, not brown ones. Whatever he is, he's adorable.

  3. Thanks, Jean. I responded to this comment in the last post (by mistake). I thought it might be a female red-winged blackbird.

    Thanks for giving me an idea, Bill. Maybe Don, at "Ride On Again" would agree to an interview and some photos. I bet there are several great bike stories lurking in the walls of his shop:) Failing that, I guess I could start accosting cyclists along my commute route. But don't hold your breath.. still the "blooms" post to do.