Tuesday, August 4, 2009

MacDonald Beach and Iona Island

On Saturday, Bill and I drove to MacDonald Beach and then to Iona Island, places I had read were good bird watching spots.  They are both linked in my last post, if you are curious as to the exact location.  I'm always a bit vague with directions.  I can only tell you they are near Vancouver International Airport.

We didn't see the beach at first.  There was a river with speedboats working up quite a frenzy of waves.
The grasses and flowers at the side of the river swayed beautifully.
We saw a bald eagle, but as hard as I tried, this was as close as I could get.
We both blocked our ears when this monster sped by.  I'm fairly certain it surpassed the acceptable decibel level for avoiding hearing loss.
We walked in the woods for a while, trying to escape the relentless sun and scorching heat, but then came back, by circular route, to the beach.  Lots of dogs were having a blast, fetching things thrown by their humans. Two summers ago, I saw Black Jack swim, when she jumped in the water and swam to the end of her long line, intoxicated by the tantalizing presence of a flock of geese.  I realized then that she is a smooth and efficient swimmer, but she hasn't shown the urge since.   She wades in a bit, but then stands hopefully at the water's edge, expecting the ball to float back to her.  We decided to try her again, hoping she would at least enjoy a pleasant cool down.

You know she wants it.
He wants it more.
Okay, you little wimp, but only because my human says so.
If he wants it, it must be worth it.  I try and try, but my nose keeps pushing it away.
I give up.
There he is again.
I'll show him I'm no wimp.
Got it!
I'm the queen of the castle...
It was a highlight of the day to see Black Jack finally show some confidence in the water.  We threw several more, just to make sure her success wasn't a fluke, before continuing on to Iona Island.  This was our first view.  Black Jack and Bill waited in the truck while I tried, quite unsuccessfully, to capture something of the magnificence of the view.  Hazy air and lots of layers were a challenge for the camera (okay, me).
Bill was sweltering and sandy from taking the brunt of Black Jack's happy, wet little body, but he was still smiling.  Bless his heart!
Close-ups of the flowers.
We saw lots of birds: geese that from a distance almost seemed like seals, cormorants that I thought at first might have been turkey vultures, and a few herons hard at work catching fish.  My photos were poor, in spite of Bill's best efforts to help me out.  He even tried to shield me from the most aggressive and gigantic mosquitos I have ever seen.  He paid dearly for our day, with heat exhaustion and lots of bites.  Thank you, Bill.  You went above and beyond to encourage my obsessions.

The only birds at Iona that I will post are these little ones that I couldn't identify.  Some sort of swallow?  I couldn't find them in my book, and am hoping someone will help me out here.
I think these are the same ones in flight.
As we were about to get back in the truck to go home, my legs smeared in squashed, bloody insects, and Bill still smiling, but fading fast, we met a lady with her two dogs.  They were returning from a swim.  This is Ula (I hope I remembered her name correctly). 
Ula was very cute, but she was surpassed completely by Sandra (also a Jack Russel), who had the art of cuteness mastered.
Oh my goodness, did she ever!!
One more shot of Bill and Black Jack before we got in the truck.
Along the road, I continued to take pictures from the truck window.  This row of geese brought us to a stop.  Check out the one misfit.
More truck shots.  It was fascinating to watch planes arrive from all over the world.
Planes, schmanes, thought the horses, not even bothering to look up.
It amazed me to see how close the planes were, and how oblivious the horses were.
When we stopped, this dog thought that we had come to visit.  Bill and Black Jack weren't sure of its intentions.
It drove me crazy to see it sitting in the middle of the road.  I will never understand people letting their animals run loose.  There was a lot of traffic along that road, and while the dog seemed to know what it was doing, I worried for it.  What a sweetie it was!
Air Canada is not big on my list of favorites, but still, it was fun watching the plane come in.
United Airlines in beautiful shades of blue.
One industrial shot along the route home, with brilliant green and yellow and a little blue, too.
We had supper at Jericho sailing club.  Lately, we love their salads, and have found a great picnic table where we can eat and have Black Jack with us too.  After supper, we walked around the beach area.  I liked the colors in this umbrella.
The sunset gave the sky an amazing glow, which was reflected in the pond, but I couldn't capture the moment very well at all with photographs.  I only show this one, because of a tiny little surprise sitting on top of the trees, that I saw when I put the pictures up on my computer.  Do you see it?  (You may have to click on the picture.)
Thanks again, Bill.  It was a wonderful day!


  1. What a wonderful day!!! Next time you will have to find a beach with some shade for Bill! I have never heard of these places! Phyllis

  2. How wonderful to know that Bill always stay close to you whenever you're having fun taking photos. And thank you for taking me to places that I have never seen.


  3. Yeah for Black Jack! Queen of the Sea! (River?) Love the ball series. And the hidden heron silhouette.

    I bought my first horse (a loooong time ago) from a stable situated at the end of the Los Angeles International runway--people don't want to live there, but horses do seem to adapt.

  4. Phyllis, since a beach with shade may be a hard sell, I think, next time, we'll bring an umbrella:) What do you think? Good plan?

    Al, you're welcome:) Your site also takes me to places I haven't seen. The wonders of internet!

    Thanks, EvenSong. You found the silhouette! Yay

    As for horses and airports, I can't help but wonder if they ever wish for quiet time:)

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