Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

Photos from the last two days have been a challenge, with clouds and light rain and lots of unanswered questions about the best settings for the camera. Still, here's an update of my latest sightings around Jericho, and even a downtown Vancouver construction site thrown in, just for variety on New Year's Eve.

This Cooper's Hawk (I think) spends lot of time sitting in a tree near the rabbit patch. It was raining, and I took the photo while juggling the camera rain cover, and Black Jack, who was mightily interested in the nearby rabbits. When I took the picture, I thought it was facing away from me, but after looking really carefully at the photo, I can make out its eyes, staring down at us.
For an excellent picture of this hawk (I think it is the same one), check out the link to mnlamberson's flickr site. Her pictures put mine to shame, but the good thing is that I have a goal to shoot for.

Walking back along the wooded path, I saw this Blue Heron. For the first time, it was in the field at my right, rather than in the river at my left.
It appeared to look right at me, but didn't seem at all disturbed.
I think it was much more interested in finding a nice, tasty snack.
I came home after the walk, hoping that I might bike to the downtown library to get a book about Ansel Adams. Instead, it was a fairly easy decision to accept Bill's offer of a ride. I'm glad I did! It poured shortly afterwards. Near the library, at the corner of Homer and Smythe, Bill was fascinated with this construction site. Once he had drawn my attention to it, I found it to be amazing as well. I often think how much my father would have loved meeting Bill. He was a mechanic and lover of all machinery, but especially the big bulldozers and graters.
I was taking pictures through a fence, and during rain, but finally lifted my camera over the top of the fence, and took the shot blind. Bill's pressing question was how they will get the heavy machinery out of there once the construction is finished.
While we were looking at the site, one of the construction workers came along. He told Bill that the workers are presently on a two-week break, and that he is a rebar worker. I had no idea what that was, but Bill explained that he links the bars or pipes together that go inside the concrete as a strengthening/support system. I learned that this is a job that requires a high level of skill. I don't think he answered Bill's question, though.
The thing that mesmerized us was just how deep that pit was. Here, you can see the cars at street level, the heritage building that will connect to The Beasley, and get some perspective of the enormity of the project. I saw on a sign in front of the site that the condos (offices?) are already sold out.
Today, my pictures were of even worse quality, but here they are. First, a robin, hidden behind the twigs of a bush. Again, if you go to the mnlamberon site above, you can see another robin with this same sort of bleached look. Very pretty, but not quite a typical robin look.
By the pond, Black Jack went into her "pointer" stance. First, the right foot up..
..and then the left. Not to worry. The rabbits seem well aware that she is on leash, and show no fear. In fact, they barely bother to pay her any respect at all. Still, she never gives up, and absolutely loves her rabbit-watching time.
I'll call this a song sparrow. Their "jewellery eye-liner" has become fascinating to me.
This red-winged blackbird was calling to a friend from the bridge.
This one was over by the pond.
It is always a joyful day when Oli, the otter, makes an appearance. He was west of the bridge,
and then dove, crossed under, and headed to the reeds in the most easterly pond.
From the bridge, I managed to get a couple of photos of him with a fish.
Just in case you were wondering about otters' teeth, here's a bit of a look.
Black Jack and I went over to the pond's edge, but Oli stayed well hidden in the reeds.
I had to satisfy myself with a glimpse of his left eye.
A nearby Flicker was my final wildlife sighting at Jericho for today.
Then, we were off. Time to get ready for New Year's Eve. Bill, Black Jack and I will spend time here with our friends, Kitty and Jock, their dog, Lucy, and a couple of other dogs that are in their care for the evening. We will probably watch some more episodes of "The Life of Birds" as we sip a little wine and eat a few tasty treats. A low key celebration to greet the new year, just the kind I most love.

My heartfelt good wishes to all of you for 2010!


  1. You have such good luck in finding Oli the Otter. I hear that some people have never seen it who have been to Jericho many times :(

    Those deep construction holes must be safe but I get vertigo looking down.
    Google tells me that the big excavator will be hauled out by an even bigger crane.

    Have a great New Year's Eve Carol. Us fans look forward to more great posts in 2010.

  2. Aw, Fred the Dog, so nice of you to take time to leave a comment! Your contributions have really enriched this blog. Thank you, and have a wonderful New Year's Eve too!

  3. Carol,
    I thought of you today as I drove home from getting supplies for the long weekend. Out in the absolute middle of a snow-covered 100-acre field (already some there, and another 3 or 4 inches came down during the day today), perched majestically on his one tri-pod foot, was a lovely blue heron!
    I shot a bunch of frosty pictures around the farm this morning for a possible blog post, but regretted that I had not thought to bring the camera along to town!

    Have a Peace-filled New Year.

  4. Those shots of the heron's face are incredible! And I like the construction shots - looks like the Dinky toys my brother and I used to play with!
    Have an enjoyable New Years Eve, Carol, and all the best for 2010.

  5. Great to hear from you EvenSong. Interesting.. every time I see a horse in a field, I think of you:) I love that blogging gives a view of people and corners of the world we would otherwise never see. Snow, huh? I bet it's pretty. Would love to see the pictures when you find a minute to post them. A beautiful 2010 to you and yours loved ones.

    Thanks so much, Jean. Love the thought of you and your brother playing with Dinky toys. With your creative writing talent, I bet there were some fascinating story lines:)

  6. Happy New Year, CC.

    Another fine set of pictures complete with description of circumstance. Some shots of the heron, otter and flicker are particularly good.

    However, I am obliged to advise not to spend too much time in any one spot with your camera; there are may places to cover and more birds to shoot before putting your feet up on the coffee table.

    I attach a list for you. It is intended to be posted along with your New Years Resolutions.

    All birds on it are to be photographed, all images are to be sharp and with behaviour - that is 4's on a scale of 4 (species recognizable, clear but far off, sharp, and sharp with behavour).

    Furthermore, all are to be shot in the next short while.

    Remember at all times of course, that your work will be watched and carefully judged and graded, and that there will be no excuse for failing to keep up the high quality expected of all those with brand new long lenses.

    Cheers. Shiprock

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  8. Happy New Year to you too, Shiprock!

    Sorry to respond to your witty comment on a serious note, but I have to mention that I've noticed right from the day of our first meeting at Colony Farm that you have the attributes of the finest of teachers. You prod, encourage, sprinkle humour liberally, and the end response is growth for those fortunate enough to know you.

    As for grading, be gentle:) That new lens helps me cheat a little, but hanging around with all of you A+ photographers is quite daunting. I'm grateful for the few photos that escape the dreaded F.

    You have correctly noticed that I've become attached to Jericho, as I did to the osprey site during the summer. Still, you might be impressed to know that I have actually been (thanks to Bill) to eleven of the places on that list. Admittedly, though, most of them only once. Time to branch out, and of all the new year resolutions I might consider, that one seems like the most fun, and therefore a great idea. Thanks!

    Your link didn't quite work, but I googled Nature+ Vancouver+checklist, and came up with this site, which I think is the one you meant. I've taken the liberty of posting it here, in case any reader wants to check it out as well. I hope the link works:

  9. Hi, Carol.
    The link you post above leads to the website I intended, but the wrong page on it. You can navigate to the page I meant from it if you:

    Click on your link;
    Click on "Birding" in the main menu shown there at upper left, then
    Click on both of the following and explore further:

    "e-fauna Website" and


    Under the former you will find a wonderful lot of data, including a list of 527 British Columbia Birds.

    The latter is a very valuable list (2008) of some 400 Vancouver birds with an indication of how common, or rare they are, and also the months of the year during which they most likely to be seen.

    The original list I intended was the one for a year or two earlier, I think, and it had a map of the lower mainland with just some of the viewing sites your URL shows. It is this chart I intended for you to hang up on your fridge door, over top of all of the New Year's Resolutions there, and to add checkmarks duly as each item on the list is photographed.

    It is actually quite a long list and may not fit on the fridge, but you can cut it into lengths, you know, or perhaps even hang from the gymnasium wall. Whatever will do in this regard. Also, it is a "PDF" file (portable document file) and you need the free Adobe software reader file for that).

    My reference to it in your Flickr "Sanderling" picture works OK for me. Cheers, Shiprock

  10. What a great link that is, Shiprock. Thank you! I've had a good look through it, and printed out the birding spots in Metro Vancouver Area and the list of bird species. Now, here's the deal that I think I can perhaps manage. 50% of the breeding species (83.5) birds (one bird half hidden), and 1 on a scale of 4 (species recognizable). For my first official year of bird watching, I think that's a reasonable goal. Just curious. Have you found all 167 breeding species?

  11. Are you allowed to be asking the questions here?

    This is a blog, you know. Not a questionaire.

    And besides, how dare you ask such a question when the answer is "Certainly Not!"

    Cheers, Shiprock.

  12. I've always had a (very faint) rebellious streak that causes me to miss deadlines and ignore blog rules. Thanks for answering. Considering that response, I'm thinking my 50% deal was a bit ambitious. So, next question: how many have you seen? No answer required if this has gone way over the privacy boundary. I'm off now, rather late, to Jericho, but hoping to perhaps check out one of those other places on the list this afternoon. Take care!