Saturday, August 22, 2009

We continue to wait and watch

Yesterday, I left Black Jack at home for the first time since my holiday began.  In fact, we have barely spent a minute apart for the past three weeks.  The forecast called for rain, and I didn't want her to have a bad experience on the bike.  As it turned out, the rain didn't materialize, but perhaps, it was time for her to become accustomed once more to some "alone" time.  I must say, I really missed her presence.  

There were other firsts yesterday.  I read the camera manual!  Okay, I read the couple of pages necessary to figure out how to take a video, but that did feel like progress.  Not only that, I learned how to post that video on my blog.  

I remember when it was just about impossible to follow a bird in the sky with my camera.  Then, I discovered the view finder, as opposed to the LCD screen, and things got easier.  It still took hours of practice.  Skills that young people seem to acquire so easily are quite a different story for at least this one senior, but eventually, what had appeared to be an unreachable goal was discovered to be possible after all.  Now, a whole new set of skills have to be developed, in order to follow with the LCD screen, as that is the only way to take videos.  The good thing is that each small success helps the confidence to grow, much, I suppose, as it does for Rose.  

My apologies for these short videos.  As pleased as I am to be able to show them, I also have to admit, they are very, very shaky.  In this first one, you can have a glimpse of Rose, practicing hard for the big day.

Here, Rose looks around the perimeter of the nest.  I imagine her thoughts go something like, "Hm..  it's a long way down there, but that seems to be where the food comes from.  Mom and Dad can get food whenever they want.  I sure do feel hungry right now.  Hm..
This last one shows Dad with Rose.  He has just flown in.  I wasn't able to capture the fly-in, but did manage to follow him for the first second or two when he left the nest.  Rose always sounds desperate when the parents arrive with food.  She calls non-stop, until they either stuff the fish into her mouth, or until they leave the nest, and she has no choice but to eat on her own.

I timed my trip to North Vancouver so that I could give Black Jack her lunch at noon, and be back in lots of time for her supper.  That worked out well for the low tide, as it was to be around 1:40, but as it turned out, I learned from Ship Rock and the other photographers present that I had missed the most exciting action.  I didn't spend as much time with the ospreys as I would have liked, nor did I take as many pictures as usual, and I left the area, feeling somehow a bit disappointed.  I did however, enjoy Ship Rock's little geology lesson, and it was also fun to watch this seagull together.  He had talked before about seagulls eating starfish, and here was the living example, right in front of our eyes.  Poor, poor starfish, and I still imagine how rough that must have felt going down the seagull's throat.  You will probably have to click on the picture to see the starfish, mostly hidden in seaweed.
Here, you can just see the last little bit disappearing.  

Later that evening, Bill and I went with Black Jack to eat at the Jericho Sailing Club.  There is a picnic table outside that we like, as Black Jack can sit with us.  It was a beautiful evening, but windy, and a tiny bit cool.  Bill, ever conscious of Black Jack's comfort, tucked her into his jacket.  I love this picture of the two of them.  With my mood a bit pensive, it was comforting to share the day with Bill.  Thanks, Bill.  You are truly a wonderful listener.  
When we walked, a bit later, Bill noticed this outgrowth (?) at the side of a tree.  He immediately saw a clear image.  I wonder if you see the same one.
A bit further along the beach, a movie crew was just closing up shop for the night.  The movie will be called Marma Duke, and will star at least one well-known actor, William H. Macy, along with quite a cast of canine performers.  We enjoyed talking to one of the security guards, a friendly fellow.  Although we were not allowed to pass by the entrance point to the shooting area, I was still able to capture something of a fairly dramatic sunset in the background.
We then walked through Black Jack's favorite rabbit haunt, and just as we left that area, the city skyline appeared under the spell of the last seconds of light.  Somehow, that time with Bill and Black Jack brought the day to a serene conclusion, and I was grateful, as I so often am, to have them in my life. 
I am up very early this morning.  As soon as light breaks, I hope to head back to North Vancouver with Black Jack for more osprey watching.  I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for reading:)   


  1. So sorry! I see that I have mistakenly loaded a repeat of the first video, and missed the one showing Dad in the nest. Will show that one in my next post, unless I manage to get a better video of Dad today.

  2. Rose fledged successfully at approximately 9:40 a.m. on Saturday morning. I was fortunate enough to witness her maiden flight, and will do a post as soon as I can go through the zillions of poor quality (my emotions totally got the better of me) pictures and videos. For now, you can see some great photographs taken by Ship Rocklater in the day, when Rose was confidently able to go from pylon to pylon, acting as though she had been a pro flyer for years. Thank you so much, Ship Rock, for capturing the magic and beauty of that moment!

  3. So good to bump into you tonight Carol. I feel like I talk to you all the time through the blogs, but it was lovely to hear your voice and meet Bill and Black Jack! It turns out Pillo was watching us from behind the reeds while we were talking, sneaky fellow - maybe he's camera shy! Anyways, I see a lovely brown bear cub in the bark and I'm excited to see your pictures of the maiden flight - I'm sure they're fantastic. (I sneeked a peek at your camera and it confirmed my suspicion that you have the camera I want.. heehee... I've got the lower version I believe; if I saw right.) Happy day! Cristina :)

  4. First off, great picture of Bill! What a handsome young man he is.
    Second, was that wolf carved like that or was it actually formed naturally? Hes howling!
    Thats amazing either way...

  5. Cristina, you can't imagine how excited I was to see you last night! Somehow, through our blogs, we have gotten to know each other better than we ever did as colleagues. I didn't get to see Pillo up close, but loved the one glimpse of him running free and happy. As for the camera, it's a Nikon D90, and while there are a few successes, there is a steep learning curve to travel before I begin to use it as it is meant to be used.

    Nev, thank you for the comment! Yes, there is no question that Bill is one handsome lad, and I do love his wind-blown look. I am so glad to see you blogging again. I've been checking out some of your incredible photography, although have fallen behind, since becoming obsessed with the great osprey adventure. Must run off now to catch up with a zillion neglected things around the apartment, but plan to catch up with the latest events in your, Jen's and Cooper's life today. You and Cristina have something in common, in that I feel you are both just the very best kind of parents.

    To those dying to know more about Rose's progress, I promise I am working on it. The pictures were really and truly poor. There is not one that is in focus, and for that, I am disappointed, but trying to forgive myself. Along with my shaking hand and teary eyes, there was the disadvantage of uncooperative tide changes and poor light. Most of the shots had to be taken from the wall, rather than from the sand bar. I have been going through the photos, tracing Rose's several circuits around the area, so that I can give you a play by play of the events. It is taking time, but I promise to post the entire episode as soon as I am able. It was a much longer flight than I believe she wanted to do, as she had great difficulty figuring out how to make a landing. Once she managed to get herself down on a log, I watched her sit for more than six hours, until I had to leave to get my camera battery recharged. Many thanks to Ship Rock for taking me to the camera shop and buying me lunch while we waited:) When we came back, an hour later, she was flying. I checked on her yesterday, and she continues to look strong and confident, although she still begs Mama to feed her. I will go back to North Van later this afternoon, hoping to catch some more glimpses of her before she leaves the area. I have no idea how long that will be. Thanks, everyone, for your patience!

  6. Oh, one more thing. I forgot to address the topic of the howling wolf. (Cristina, a bear cub it could be as well:) To answer your question, Nev, we checked around the tree very carefully, and do believe that it was formed naturally.