Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Park walks and Bike tune-up on Sunday

I took pictures pretty much all day long on Sunday, so here is a run-down of the day. Black Jack and I were at Jericho Park by seven, on a day when the extra hour of sleep evaded both of us. We were in time to feel the warmth of the sun as it rose in the sky, and to catch its magic light.

There wasn't much warmth for the first half hour or so, and 100's of crows were having quite a conference. Here are three of them.
A little bit later, the difference in temperature was dramatic. The crows continued to be very active, and I took a lot of pictures, but continue to struggle to find a way to catch what I see as their great beauty. This was my best flying shot, but as you can see, there isn't much definition in the crow.
I think this was my favorite shot of the day, although I would have liked it even better with wing tips included. As you will see, it was a day of missed wing tips. My friend, Jock, and I talked about the lack of respect most people afford seagulls, simply, we are convinced, because of their abundance. I see the finest and most exquisitely patterned lace in this one.
This Blue Heron came along just as the sun was at its most golden.
It took off beautifully and silently. I wasn't quite ready for it, but here is what I caught.
Over by the rabbit bushes, I couldn't resist the light on these leaves.Birds were singing up a storm all around me. This little one obligingly perched on the same bush I was photographing. l have really tried to identify it, but my best guess is just that - a guess. Maybe a Lark Bunting? Always looking for help here, so any other suggestions welcomed.
I'm going with Rufous-Sided Towhee for this one - maybe a juvenile?
Heading along the trail to return home, I heard a happy voice behind me. It was Roxanne, with Merry Lou. I have known Roxanne for quite some time now. I would like to do a post dedicated to her, and her much loved dogs over the years. Merry Lou came to her from the Pitbull Rescue, although it's not certain that she is indeed a pitbull. She was found on the street, either on Christmas Day or around Christmas (thus the spelling of Merry), mother to several pups, one of which died. The others were adopted, and only Mom was left needing a home. She and Roxanne really lucked out in finding each other. She is a sweet, gentle dog and I absolutely love her. I feel honored that she likes me well enough to approach my camera so closely, I didn't do that well with the pictures. I'm looking forward to another opportunity to photograph her, and to tell you more of her story.
Walking home along side streets, Autumn colors were still catching my eye, even in November.
After a short break at home, Bill came over, and drove me, with my bike to my favorite of all bike shops, Ride on Again. We dropped off the bike to receive some new brakes and a little much needed TLC.
I headed back to the truck, but looked back to take a picture from across the street, trying to capture something of the colorful personality of this shop. I believe that there are no bad bike shops. The very nature of selling and repairing bicycles has to be good, but there is something about this place that makes it the best, in my opinion. I'll come back to this topic shortly.
We headed off to Vanier Park. Just as we arrived at the bottom of Cypress street, a Bald Eagle flew in and landed on the totem pole. I missed its fly-in, and hoped to catch it when it took off from the pole, but that was not to be.
I waited a long time, willing it to leave. Bill tried to help me, checking out views of the eagle, and keeping Black Jack entertained.
The eagle sat, and sat and sat. It managed to outstay my patience, and I finally walked away. We had gone to the other side of the park, when I looked back and saw it heading towards us. I managed to get this shot, without a wing tip, but with lovely light on the other.
It settled in this tree, and there it stayed. It was still there when we left.
Black Jack was much more interested in squirrels than eagles. She had an absolutely wonderful time at the park.

When we returned to pick up the bike, I took a few more pictures. This is Don. He owns Ride on Again. He is a big part of what makes this shop the best. Don is honest. I mean, dead honest. I would trust him with my life. In fact, I do, every time I take my bike there. My advice to anyone who ever does business with him is not to haggle over price. Ever! He will give you the fairest price he can right from the beginning. End of story. Do not question it.
This is Clint, one of the mechanics at Ride on Again. I trust him totally as well. If he says my bike needs a part, then it needs a part. If he says a product is good, he passionately believes that to be the truth. I admire passion. It is what makes life good. Don and Clint are passionate about bicycles. I haven't gotten to know the other staff at the shop, but I can tell you that it is the place to go if you want great service. They are not paying me to say this. They didn't even ask me to say this. But, I must say it, because if you have a bike, I can't imagine a better place to take it. If you don't have one and want one, I can't imagine a better place to find the perfect one.
Here is Don one more time, this time in his shop.
Another shot from the side of the shop. It is a shop that has the same spirit my father's garage had in our small town. It's real. It's enjoyable to be in it. It feels right.
Just one shot of a dog waiting outside the coffee shop near Ride on Again. His name is Rory.
And a couple of shots taken on Tuesday lunch hour in North Van. Killdeer (I think) by the river.
Green-Winged Teal - my best guess - a male and a female.
Two more Killdeer. My goal is to get a little closer to them, one of these days.
Thanks again for taking time to share in my days.


  1. I agree, Ride On Again is a great bikeshop.
    Yelp has only one bad review and that has to be taken with a grain of salt. The complainant said a bent wheel was misdiagnosed as a bent frame. However they caught their own mistake; a dishonest business would have covered it up.

    Thanks for naming all the birds. I am flora-fauna challenged since I was always daydreaming during my elementary school nature walks.

  2. A belated comment here, CC, regarding the two small song birds:
    I believe the one foraging on the blackberry bramble is a female House Finch - finches are characterized by a short, sturdy bill like this one. Could be mistaken for female Purple Finch, except for the white eye brow.

    And I think the pretty russet colourd bird following, is the common Spotted Towhee. I have seen the name you mention for it, but it is not mentioned in my book - perhaps repealed in favour of the conspicuous white spots on the ends tail feathers.

  3. Ohhh Merry! Merry was a Bully Buddies dog, I believe (one of my fav rescues!), and if memory serves me right she escaped from her foster home once and was on the lam in Vancouver for a while, causing everyone a great deal of worry. I'm so glad to see she is doing so well now.
    Great pictures, as always. My favorite is the gull taking off on lacy wings.

  4. Thanks, Ship Rock. Your help is much appreciated! Yes, my bird book (National Audubon) was revised in 1997. Anything from the 90's seems "modern" to me, but now that I think about it, I guess bird id may have changed quite a bit in 12 years. Do you recommend any particular book?

  5. Thanks for the comment, Jean. I love it when there's a connection like the one you mention for Merry. Roxanne told me that Merry escaped, either the first day, or perhaps it was in the first few days, that she had her. I gather she had a lot of help from people in the building here, as well as from others, to find her. It was a very stressful time for her, but it is wonderful to see how they have bonded now. Merry Lou, as I said in the post, is so gentle and just a sweet personality. She does resist when they return home from the walks, though. She really loves to be outside!