Sunday, October 11, 2009

Boundary Bay Day

Thanksgiving Day, and there is a long list of things and people I am grateful for. I think Jean has said it beautifully and eloquently. I hope she'll forgive me for taking the lazy way out, and suggesting you take a minute to check out the link to her post. I echo her thoughts and add some photos of yesterday's many highlights, each inspiring enormous gratitude and humbling awe.

Bill, Black Jack and I rose very early, and were in the truck by 6:00 a.m. (I still can't believe we did it:) The sky was turning soft pinks, mauves and tangerines by the time we reached Boundary Bay. Mount Baker was magnificent in the distance. I played a bit with this picture, so the colors aren't quite true, but I like the way they bring the mountain closer.
It was co-o-o-old. Honestly! My shutter finger was numb, and all three of us were shivering. The moon, icily white, seemed to say, "Why on earth didn't you dress for the weather?"
The ducks must have had very chilly feet and beaks.

This is the first sunrise Bill and I have ever watched together.
Close to an hour after we arrived. Bill manages to smile through chattering teeth as he and Black Jack gratefully soak up the sun's warmth. Their faces reach through the lens and create a glow around my heart.
Golden driftwood.
An eagle flies by.
Cooper's Hawk?
A crow. Last night, I watched an amazing documentary about crows on "The Nature of Things." I love crows and am thankful to have so many opportunities to photograph them. I feel sure I will get it right one day.
This eagle sat high in a tree in the parking lot.
Bird photography takes patience, persistence and a strong neck. I hoped for the photo of the century if I could capture the eagle flying out of the tree. It sat, virtually motionless, for a very long time. Sometimes, my camera strayed to other subjects.
After all that time, I managed to miss when the eagle flew out of the tree. Bill and Black Jack were watching me from the truck. I joined them, and we prepared to leave. The eagle came back with a catch! I think I took this shot through the window.
The mate showed up. I guess it had been watching from nearby, and wanted a share of whatever it was. (I'm not venturing a guess.)
I jumped out of the truck, and caught the eagle leaving. I don't think sharing was encouraged.
You can just see the first eagle between the branches as it chows down.
Zoomed in too far, I miss the left wing as the eagle takes off. For some reason, I love its toes/talons, all tucked up.
We head out of Boundary Bay, but Bill stops on the road so we can watch this hawk. Two cyclists stop and watch it with me. There is a different kind of energy in the people one meets early in the morning.
We hoped to see some Snow Geese in the nearby fields. There was a wonderful photo of them at IPutts' site, taken just the day before at Reifel Bird Sanctuary, but as it turned out, no Snow Geese crossed our path. The temperatures, though, were by now, perfect, and lovely scenes appeared wherever we went.
We stopped on a bridge and saw this Blue Heron to our right. It was quite small, and I wondered at first if it was a Green Heron, but on checking out the photos later, saw that wasn't the case.
Above us, and to the left, were at first two eagles. I missed the one flying away, but this one stayed around for some photos.
There was a lot to see from that bridge.
I took countless pictures of birds and ducks on logs, but only realized when I got home, that I may have captured my very first Yellow-Headed Blackbird. It's hard to see, but if you click on the photo, it will enlarge. I first saw one on Ship Rock's site, but he deletes older pictures as he uploads new ones, and that one is no longer there.
One more view of what I think may be the Yellow-Headed Blackbird. One of the things I love about my camera is that it has better eyesight than I do.
There were a few swans too.
It's always my hope to capture photos of birds in flight. Bill tried to help me watch the heron at my right, and the eagle at my left, but in the end, the eagle outstayed our patience, and the heron got away in a momentary lapse of attention. Both were entertaining though. The eagle went through several poses, and it was interesting to see the smaller birds' daring.
The heron was also entertaining. I don't know if this was a yawn. I do know it was silent.
A silent call to the powers that be for a fish?
I've always thought herons could teach us a bit about Yoga.
It scratched at its face for several minutes.
The eagle finally turned its back on us, showing its beautiful tail feathers.
We left the bridge, and stopped by at Westham Island Herb Farm for a quick visit. We found that they either update the decorations continually, or there were many scarecrow characters that we had missed during our visit there last weekend.
I hope you won't find the picture rude, but it was this image that made us laugh, and encouraged our second visit.
I had completely missed seeing this lady's arms until I got home. It's the details that make Westham so much fun.
I think she enjoys her work.
Another stop and a lovely walk along the dyke. Some gymnast shorebirds.
Looks like the town meeting place.
This fellow seemed a bit lost, but finally made it to the edge of the grass.
Bill helped me locate this little fellow in my lens.
As always, if anyone has the time or inclination to identify the birds I post, the help is much appreciated. My respect for true birders has really grown. I now understand that the initial learning curve is very, very steep, even with the aid of excellent books and internet sites.
Bill was attune to the tiniest gasp of interest, and would stop the truck whenever he guessed I might want to take photographs. This stop was at a small park, after I spotted a couple of eagles in the sky. They were too far off to see very well, but this heron came in for a fun landing.
I love the feet first, body following stance, as they land.
I did it, and I think I'm beautiful. (You are, indeed.)
Again, we stood on a little bridge and observed. This cormorant flew by.
I think pigeons' have great beauty and it shines best away from downtown city streets.
Even the dark ones have lovely colors. This one drinks what we guessed to be diluted salt water.
Are you looking at me?
Well, indeed you should.
As we left the park, Bill told me to watch for a photo op around the corner. He had seen a pair of what he guessed to be feral cats.
There were several little shelters set up and I am hoping it may be part of a spay-neuter-release program.
Black Jack was in Bill's arms, and though she tried to remain quiet, finally had to let out a little yip. The second cat stared at her, and seemed to be protecting the first one. I thought again of Jean. I am thankful for her hard work, over a period of several months, to stop the use of the gas box to euthanize homeless cats. Her efforts have not succeeded yet, but I believe this story is not over. You can read about the decision (in my opinion, a heartless one) that was made here. The cats in my pictures, if they are indeed feral, are at least fed and sheltered, and I am very thankful to the people who are taking care of them.
One final stop in Ladner for a delicious lunch at Sharkey's Seafood Bar and Grill. It also had some excellent vegetarian options, and very friendly service. This was one of several beautiful scenes just outside the restaurant.
This flower was just outside the window by our table.
Back in Vancouver, a latte at The Wicked Cafe summed up a perfectly wonderful day. Thank you, Bill! Happy Thanksgiving all!


  1. Another beautiful post with so much to admire. I was impressed by your shot of the eagle as it took off. As a pilot might say, it was on "full flaps" so that it could gain maximum lift until its airspeed increased.

    Sorry to be so technical but bird and human flight do share some similarities. On an aesthetic level of course, bird flight is more beautiful than any devised by humans.

  2. What a wonderful description of a perfect day! I cannot believe that Bill was able to get up so early! Blackjack, of course, thinks that is a perfect time of day!! Phyllis

  3. Yeah, dp, I can't look at ducks (or any bird) in a row, without thinking of you:)

    Thanks for the comment, Fred the Dog. The technical and aesthetic aspects of flight are fascinating.

    Thanks, Phyllis. Bill was as bright and chipper that morning as Black Jack. If anyone lagged a bit, it may have been yours truly:) Have to admit the cold was a bit of a shocker for all of us, but the sun saved the day:)

  4. Sorry, CC - I did take the picture of the Yellow-headed Blackbird off of my Flickr site. (Flickr allows a grand total maximum number of pictures free of charge, and use of a maximum number of bytes/month, and I get by within those limits without using my credit card on WWW)

    However, Wikipedia is a wonderful birding site once you get in off the dikes - just type in the name, and up come the descriptions and pictures. (the pictures are clickable, usually twice in a row for larger sizes), as below

    Don't know whethere that is hot-linked or not. Cheers, Shiprock

  5. Awww! I haven't seen a Fuzzy-Wuzzy caterpillar in years! Well, that's what we called them growing up.

  6. Thanks for the comment, Shiprock. And, no apology needed. Your site is a wonderful resource and inspiration, both in terms of birding and of photography! For me at least, it gives Wikipedia a run for its money. I appreciate the link, though, and will use it as a back-up source:)

    Kids often get the names spot-on, don't they, Oregonsunshine? Thanks for the reminder.

  7. What a wonderful day!
    How many good pictures:the eagle is really stunning.