Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Birds, seals, a flower, a beaver, some rabbits and a tree

I post this picture first, because it is my best eagle shot to date.  On Monday evening, Bill and I had just eaten at the Jericho Sailing Club (for the second day in a row!), and came out as the sun was setting.  Over the water, I saw what I thought was an Eagle.  I passed Black Jack to Bill and turned on the camera.  We watched as the eagle dove, got something from the water, then dropped it, and flew toward us.  We both thought it was NOT in a good mood, having lost its hoped for meal.
Last Sunday morning, I enjoyed watching this heron fish, as the tide was out, along the Point Grey beach.
Taking off.
Flying along to a nearby rock.
Just before the landing.
These geese flew past me as I was watching the osprey in North Vancouver.  There are actually four here, although two of them are so close, they appear more like a two-headed goose.
Here is Mama osprey and Junior on Monday morning.  I was late arriving, and was just catching the last few minutes of low tide, before the water rose too high to stay on the narrow peninsula of dry land.  I felt they were both watching me intently.  Junior's eyes are beginning to resemble Mom's.
This next little series was taken from that same spot, just a minute or so later.  I post it especially for a lady who was watching the seals with her binoculars.  We talked a little bit, and it struck me (again) how many people enjoy the wildlife in that one small area of North Vancouver.  I had taken Black Jack on my bike that day, and she, newly confident in the water after her swim on Saturday, was happily exploring the waves.  Suddenly I realized she was being watched.

"Hello, Handsome!  What are you looking at?"  
"That little dog of yours looks mighty interesting."
A few days earlier, I enjoyed watching this seal parent and its little one.
"Hey, wait for me!" 
"Almost where I want to be."
"Aa-a-ah!  A ride for the weary."
(I think the little one was on the mother's back here.)
I liked this flower at the pond's edge at Jericho, yesterday morning.
That same Monday evening, after watching the eagle, Bill and I stopped by the pond, hoping to see the beaver.  We were lucky to catch a heron and a beaver side by side, each busy doing their own thing.
The heron was having a very productive time of it, fishing.  The photograph doesn't show it, but it was fascinating to see the capture, and then, the head thrown back to swallow whatever was caught.
The beaver was working hard to pull up enormous weeds at the side of the pond.
A man standing nearby called the beavers pests, and I suppose they are, but I think this is just the cutest little face.
The next morning, I again watched a heron fishing.  I wonder if it was the same one.  I haven't mentioned the Stanley Park herons for a while.  That's because I stopped by about ten days ago to find them all gone!  At first, I was a bit sad, but a lady told me all of the young fledged successfully.  They are now spread out around Vancouver's parks and waterfronts, learning to hunt and survive on their own.  Who knows?  Maybe this is Stanley or Stella.  Did you notice the mallard, content to rest beside the heron.
Same heron, still hard at work.  I wonder if it sees its reflection.
When we go to Jericho, Black Jack is never content unless we stop to check on the rabbits.  They seem to be doing very well.  I think Phyllis would tell me not to worry about the one on the right.  I think it is just shedding its coat.  We met two ladies who told me they go every evening, all year long (that news made me very happy) to feed the rabbits.  One lady calls each by name.  Here, they are giving them sweet peas, which the rabbits apparently love.  They also bring nourishing rabbit pellets.  Thank you ladies!  We asked about the rabbit with the torn ear.  It had been quite a while since we had seen it, but sure enough, "Scruffy" made an appearance to enjoy his evening meal.  It was too dark to get his picture as he stayed just behind the bushes, but I was relieved to know he is just fine.
These last pictures show some of the affects of the extreme heat Vancouver has had for quite some time.  (It finally lifted yesterday.)  This crow was in the grass at McBride Park (3300 block of West 4th Avenue).  At first, I thought it was in distress, but it got up and walked around, a few minutes after this photo.  I wonder if spreading the wings out is a strategy to cool down.
This tree is in the courtyard, directly opposite my apartment.  There are several large trees that have been in that courtyard for about 40 years.  No one has ever seen this happen before.  On Sunday morning, when Black Jack and I left for our walk, all was normal.  When we returned a couple of hours later, almost all of the leaves were on the ground.  How sad.  I think it has gone into shock.  I hope it will survive, with the help of a couple of residents who have taken it upon themselves to keep a trickle of water flowing at its roots, night and day.
My last photo of this post shows the branches almost bare.  
"Hang on, dear tree.  Black Jack and I really enjoy your presence."
Today, I hope to bike to North Vancouver with Black Jack to check on the osprey.  I am thinking Junior has at least a couple of weeks to go before fledging.  So far, I have not seen much wing flapping, which I know is a precursor to flight.  The tide is supposed to be very low around 1:00 p.m. so with any luck, we will enjoy some close-up views.  (Just an aside:  I have learned more about tides than I ever thought I would know because of the location the osprey parents chose to raise their young.)


  1. During a heat wave in Melbourne in January 1968 ( three weeks of over 100 degrees) all the deciduous trees lost their leaves... it is, apparently a defense mechanism. When the temperature dropped and after some good rains, the trees had a second round of leaves. I do not remember how long it took but it did happen! I love all the pictures of the birds and the formerly elusive beaver!!! Yea for the ladies who feed bunnies!!Phyllis

  2. Oh my goodness! How did you do all of that? I meant shooting photos of creatures up high on air and down to the waters. Amazing photo shooting and photos! I like the photos of heron.


  3. OMG Carol, where do you live??? You have so much good stuff around you. I really love your eagle picture, especially its in action. Wow, I am very impressed. I will mark your area on my list of places to visit one day! Excellent, and thanks for sharing. Anna :)

  4. Thanks, Phyllis, that is good news indeed about the trees. I'm glad you like the pictures, and I know we are of the same mind, in appreciating those ladies!

    Al, thanks for your comment. The amazing thing is that the osprey and the seals are a five-minute walk from the school where I teach. All the other pictures were taken at or very close to Jericho Beach, which is only a few minutes walk from where I live. But, I know there are great opportunities to see wildlife where you live as well. I guess we're both lucky:)

    Thanks, Anna. If you ever come to Vancouver, I hope you will visit me:) The interesting thing is that taking pictures seems to bring out wildlife that I was probably walking right by in the past.