Monday, November 2, 2009

When the forecast is wrong..

Not a drop of rain in Vancouver over the weekend. Who knows when a wet forecast would be wrong again. We took full advantage of the meteorologists' mistake.

On the way to Jericho park Saturday morning with Black Jack, I stopped to look at what I think are a type of Hydrangea. This particular bush bloomed in the spring, but seems now to be on its second wind.
Just past the flowers were birds singing up a storm in a tree. They were American Robins, the one bird that I thought I knew absolutely, but identifying them for some reason was difficult. Perhaps the confusing aspect was that they were in the tree, rather than on the lawn, hunting for worms. This one, I think, is a male...
...and this one, the female.
By the time we arrived at Jericho, the light was magnificent. This female mallard approached, I guess looking for a handout. I see people, often with their children or grandchildren in tow, feeding the ducks, almost every time I go to Jericho. The usual fare offered is stale-looking white bread. There are "do not feed the wildlife" signs all around. I know it is tempting, but I always feel sad for the lesson the kids learn and the poor nutrition the ducks receive. At the same time, I have to admit I reap the benefit in close-up shots.
I thought last year's Autumn couldn't be matched, but Vancouver has again offered up a winner. The colors have been rich, and amazingly, have lasted right into November.
Mallards are very photogenic. Add water reflections, and walking by is impossible. I couldn't choose between the next four pictures, all of the same duck, but each with slightly different color combinations in the background. If you have time and feel so inclined, I would love feedback as to whether any one of these stand out more than the others for you.

Black Jack and I headed home, had some lunch, and then joined Bill for a trip to the Brunette River, on the border between Burnaby and Coquitlam. We were hoping to see the Chum Salmon that Ship Rock had kindly taken time to tell me about in a comment a couple of posts ago. Along the way, I took this shot of a seagull through the truck window. I know it's a poor photo, but still, I can see no trace of this seagull's eyes. As always, the flexibility of birds impresses me. I mean, imagine standing on one foot on a light post, and raising the other foot to your mouth.
When Bill parked the truck, he saw a man just coming back to his own vehicle, young son in tow, and a fishing rod in his hand. They talked, and the man said that indeed, Ship Rock had guided us to the perfect spot to watch the salmon run. We were excited, and so was Black Jack. What a beautiful walk along the river. Bill offered me 10 cents to walk across this makeshift bridge, but for some reason, I declined.
Tree patterns,
and the bends in the river, as well as some camera-evading but stunning birds (Blue Heron, King Fisher) made for a truly enjoyable time. But, we either missed the salmon run for this year, or they are holding out, to make us truly appreciate the moment when it finally comes. We looked and looked, but not a salmon did we see.
However, Bill, Black Jack and I really want to thank Ship Rock for the lead. Especially Black Jack! She always loves our excursions, but this one was special. We found the best dog run ever! With a double fence around a playing field, the space between the two fences has been beautifully set up for a safe area to let your pooch run free. There is a running path, greenery, and space to either join other dogs at the watering area, or go around the perimeter of the field for a flat out run.
Bill and I both loved this tree, standing at one end of the run. I know I should take time to identify it, but for now, learning the names of a few of the birds I see is taking up all available space in my brain.
We decided to do a little work on Black Jack's recall, each of us calling to her, treats in hand. Other dogs thought the training session was a good idea as well.
Sorry the photos are so out of focus. One excuse is that I was laughing helplessly at the facial expressions of Black Jack and her follower.
Black Jack is very fast, but was no match for this kind of enthusiasm. Have no fear. Both dogs were well rewarded for their recall efforts. The golden dog's humans were more than happy for any extra motivation to take the edge of its limitless store of energy.
To see Black Jack running free did my heart good. Thanks so much, Ship Rock! We didn't see salmon but we sure had fun.
We retraced our steps back to the truck, light fading quickly. We took a minute to set Black Jack up with her own reflective wear. She was oblivious, still psyched at the sounds and smells around her.
I think this is called a fish ladder? No fish, though (that we could see).
My flash picked up a few of the textures at the water's edge.
Thank you, Bill, for another great day!
I took this shot of the moon as we arrived home.
Sunday's photos include a blue heron, a bald eagle, and my favorite bike shop. Those to follow soon. As always, thanks for reading.


  1. What a wonderful day! I loved the third and fourth pictures of the Mallard!! I wonder who had more fun looking for salmon... you and Bill or Blackjack? Phyllis

  2. Mallard photo #3, FTW! Perfect reflection, and unusual angle. I love it when the wildlife is clearly watching the camera.

  3. I absolutely love the mallard #3 photo. As usual though, all your shots are amazing!

  4. What a great day and what beautiful photos. I, too, love Mallard #3 - simply amazing.

  5. Great shots. I love being able to capture the moon. Especially zooming in on it. I love the shot of Bill. Id love to see more pics with you too!

  6. Thank you so much, Phyllis, Carole, Cristina, Jean and Nev. It is wonderful to get your comments and feedback!