Thursday, October 8, 2009


Two posts to record a great day last Sunday, this one about Reifel Bird Sanctuary and the other about Westham Island Herb Farm.

It was a picture-perfect Fall day, and we were, as my students would say, stoked. We (BIll, Jock, Kitty, me, Lucy (Jock & Kitty's Sheltie) and Black Jack) drove to Ladner, where Jock and I were dropped off so we could have a little cycling time. Bill continued on, with Kitty and the two dogs. They arrived first, and took the dogs for a walk, as they would have to stay in the truck later. Reifel is a dog-free zone.

It was an easy ride, and I was just plain happy. It doesn't get much better than time with good friends, beautiful weather, and anticipation of visiting Reifel, a place I have been hearing and thinking about for quite some time.

Jock took this picture of me while cycling. I was impressed with his athletic ability. It takes all my concentration to ride. Taking pictures at the same time would be foolhardy, to say the least.w

When we arrived, Kitty had already talked with the people at Reifel, and she told us there was the possibility of seeing a great-horned owl. We looked for nests, but although I'm sure they were around, I imagine it would take several visits and lots of patience to spot one. Still, the very idea that they were in the area was exciting.

One of my photography goals (along with getting a truly magnificent crow shot) is to capture a quality shot of a duck flying. It seemed as though it might be realized at Reifel. There were ducks everywhere. It is one of the few places where feeding ducks is permitted, and appropriate food is sold in the shop. However, again, it wasn't to be. This is the best shot I was able to manage, and although it is nice that the color of the car goes well with the mallard's markings, getting the short in focus was another matter.
That is Bill's hand you see there. Bill drove us, looked after Black Jack, and tried to help in any way he could think of to make it easier for me to get pictures. Thank you, Bill!
Duck "bottom up" shots are easy to capture, and I have quite a few. However, what interested me on Sunday was how much power there is in the webbed feet as they churn up water.
That's Jock. He's a talented photographer, and I'm looking forward to seeing his pictures for the day. Maybe he'll even let me post a few. One great thing about three of us taking pictures (Kitty got a few that she was happy with as well) is seeing how each of us saw what was around us.
I felt really fortunate to see some Wood Ducks for the first time. I had seen pictures posted by Ship Rock and was awed by the patterns and colors. Check out a recent photograph by Ship Rock. I don't see him as much lately, now that the ospreys have left the nest, but I still check out his site whenever I get the chance. I wasn't able to match the quality of his photo, but was pretty happy to get these, especially given that the ducks mostly chose to swim in spots with poor light.
This one was perhaps the clearest. I'm curious to learn more about Wood Ducks. The red eyes seem quite unusual to me. I wonder how many other birds have red eyes.
I was never able to fully catch the back of the head, with the colors sort of draping over the neck, but you can see a little of that in the duck at the front. Jock and Kitty have gone back to Reifel today, a fact which makes me just the tiniest bit envious (okay, that may be a tad understated). I can't wait to go back and try again.
I love it that Autumn is such a colorful time. Kitty particularly liked these mushrooms.
Mallards may be common in this area, but I never get over the males' constantly changing shades of blue and green.
Reifel has beautiful scenery, no matter where one looks.
I liked the branch and reflections in this one.
There was a kind of a lookout building, and it had openings which accessed various views of the river. If one looked down, there was just enough space to get the camera focused on some surprisingly (to me) large fish. I don't know what they were, but they were very active, and had huge mouths.
Just a little bird with beautiful markings. My guess is a female Red-Winged Blackbird.
After a wonderful few hours, we loaded everyone back into the truck, took a picture of the bikes (with resident turtle) and headed home (we thought).
Here's a close-up of the little turtle on Jock's bike. It has a name, and I'm kicking myself, because I don't remember it.
As it turned out, we ended up stopping at a wonderful farm, and the post about that is coming very soon. As always, thanks for reading!


  1. Hello, Ms. Carson. I am Randolph, my photos are uploaded in, and .

    I like you photos very much! Especially the animals.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Randolph. I had a look at some of your pictures and plan to explore your site this weekend. You have some wonderful shots!

  3. Hi Carol:
    My faithful bicycle guide-turtle is a bit hurt that you forgot his name, but he's getting over it. His name is Norm, and he never lets me down.
    Didn't we all have a grand time that day!
    Love your blog. You are doing a great job.

  4. My heartfelt apologies to Norm! I am just hoping he'll forgive me. The only consolation is that my memory loss earned a blog comment from my good friend, Jock:) Thanks for that, and for filling in the missing memory link. We did indeed have a grand time.