Saturday, July 4, 2009

Part 1: Herons, crows, Maine Coons and some dogs on Friday

Three posts at one shot, to catch up on more than a week of bikes, birds, and beasts.  I give this post a title, and then begin with a photo that doesn't fit.  These were not taken on Friday, and they have nothing to do with herons, crows, Maine Coons or dogs, but they caught my eye and made me happy.
And now, the herons.  Friday was an unusually early finish at school, so I had time for a good stopover at Stanley Park, as I headed home.  It was impossible to tell what is happening in the area where I had previously watched Serena and Sam.  This nest is close to where I thought their nest was.  What amazed me about the picture is how big the "babies" are.  I think the centre heron is an adult, and the ones on either side are kids.  I can't imagine how they all manage to sleep in that nest.  Can you?
I have learned a new viewing spot, where I can photograph the action in Stella and Stella's tree during the afternoons.  There are at least three babies in that tree, and probably more that I didn't manage to see.  This one was waiting anxiously for a parent to return.
Then it was joined by a sibling.
Soon, the two of them were squabbling, perhaps over who gets to sit higher or at the better lookout.
Then, I noticed this one at the very top of the tree.  It looked to my left...
... to my right...
... up...
... and even higher up...
"Is that you, papa?"
"I'm really, really hungry!"
"Are you feeding my brothers and sisters first?  No fair!"
I never did get to see the parent.  I think it must have flown in from the other side of the tree.  I did see this one though.  It had fallen from the tree, but was unhurt, and enjoying the tennis match.
It focused on the game for a long time...
... but finally noticed me and my camera.  I was sitting in the grass, maybe 5 feet away from it.
It watched me curiously, but did not appear to be upset.
I found its legs both humorous and fascinating.
The heron stayed there for a long time.  In fact, it was still there when I left.  A parks board person came by, and phoned the heron people, who told her to leave it alone.  They said it is big enough and strong enough, that it will probably find sufficient mice and other food on the ground to survive until it is strong enough to fly.  
A crow was nearby, busy with its own agenda, but also noting my presence.
When I arrived home, I saw Ollie, my upstairs neighbor's cat, sitting on the balcony.
He was busy with his own agenda too, watching the action in the courtyard.  If you look closely, you can see a bike hanging from the balcony wall.  (Just to remind you that I haven't forgotten about the bike part of this blog.)
Black Jack and I went for yet another walk at Jericho.  There, we met some of the residents of our building.  Here is Vegas.  He is a working dog, used to posing for photos.  He had just  been for a swim, and was hanging out with his buddies...
... Pollo (on the left) and Castor.  They weren't as cooperative about posing.  There were much better things to do, but Pollo obliged with a half sit, and Castor agreed to sit, but let me know that looking at the camera was way too much to ask when there were so many more interesting things to do.
Pollo finally lay down, hoping to get the picture-taking stuff over quickly.  Castor let me know exactly how he was feeling about that camera.
We finally left them playing together with a huge stick, and continued on our way.  Black Jack had much the same attitude as Castor about the camera.  She agreed to sit, but could not tear her eyes away from the rabbit patch.
When we were just about ready to leave the park, we met a couple with their dog, Mickey.  We've met them before at Jericho, so it was rather like meeting up with old friends.  Then, as we stood talking, we saw a man with this beauty.  His name is Buster and he is 16 years old.  His human takes him every evening for at least an hour walk.  He walks free of leash, and is only picked up if he begins to tire.  I learned that he is a Maine Coone.  Now, I'm thinking Ollie is probably the same breed.  They are truly gorgeous, but can apparently have a few health problems.  Buster is fed to the best and is very, very much loved.  His human told me that he feels jealous of people whose pets are young.  At the same time, he noted how much he has learned from Buster's enthusiasm for life.  I remember that feeling when Scott was getting older.  Watching an older animal savor every moment is a life experience I wouldn't trade, but not one I want to revisit too soon.  I left the park, feeling fortunate and honored to have shared moments with humans who give their animals the best life has to offer.  


  1. Love, love, love the ones of the heron at the top of the tree, wondering why his sibs get fed first! Thanks for the chuckle!

  2. Thanks Carol for three great blog entries. That Maine-Coon cat is beautiful. I always think of racoons when I see "coon" as part of a breed's name. This article does say that the cat's origins involve a (genetically impossible) mating with a racoon. The more plausible origin involves an English seafarer named Coon. I think I like the Folk Tale better.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Jean and Bill:) They are much appreciated.

    That heron made me laugh too, Jean.

    The article was fascinating, Bill. It brought the lurking raccoon reference to the forefront for me.

    Just for the record, I do know there is no "e" on Coon, and it was Stella and Stanley, not "Stella and Stella", but I'm still struggling with the edit function on blogger.

  4. Carol wow these are some great heron photos. We have them here, but nothing what you have, never seen them on the tree like that. We see them in the water all the time hunting for food, but one at a time only. Great post, and great images as always. Anna :)

  5. Carol,
    Thank you so much for posting Buster! We've never met (I was happily sleeping under this big tree when you talked to Buster and his human-my husband). Your story is beautifull and filled with love for animals. I wish our world would be just like that, full of respect and appreciation for every creature that populates it.