Thursday, December 17, 2009

No rain after all.

Today's forecast was for rain, and I'm happy to say, it was wrong. It had been almost relentless on Wednesday. Black Jack had been depressed most of the day. Honestly, depressed. She sat in her bed and stared out the balcony window. When I took her out, she turned back, her demeanour one of complete dejection.
I was so desperate to take a photo, I stood on the balcony, and took this spider on the ceiling.
The rain finally stopped late in the afternoon, and this bird (song sparrow?) sang its heart out, right beside my balcony.
I'm not so sure Black Jack would agree, but for me, it wasn't a lost day. The reports were finished except for proofreading, and Bill and I took in a very enjoyable movie, Invictus. Rainy days do have their advantages.

Still, today, when I woke up to overcast rather than raindrops, I headed out with Black Jack even before coffee, certain that if I waited, the forecast would prove itself right after all.

A man was standing on the little bridge, feeding the red-winged blackbirds. I was happy to see that he was giving out seeds instead of white bread. I took several pictures, but they were too poor to post. I did take a picture of tree reflections in the pond.

Just in front of the bridge, the starlings were going crazy. En masse, hitting the ground, and then, again as one, zooming up to the tree. Over and over, the same pattern. It seems that pigeons, starlings, and I think a few other small birds do that, and it never fails to mesmerize me.
Black Jack and I began to walk along the path toward the rabbit bushes, when we suddenly heard the crows cackling up a storm. I looked up to see this hawk (maybe the resident Goshawk, but impossible to identify with any certainty) coming toward me, several crows in hot pursuit. No time to set up any kind of shot. I just lifted the camera and clicked. Sometimes, it amazes me how this camera tries to accommodate my requests. I hope that was a fish, and not a small bird in the hawk's beak. Something stolen from the crows, I wonder?
Only one crow is shown in the two pictures, but at first there were several following, then three or four, then down to two, and finally, only this one. It soon gave up, and the hawk flew over the bridge to enjoy its morsel.
Someone in the park has been working on a Christmas theme. You can't really tell from this picture, but there is a snowman pattern in the ribbon and the gold criss-cross underneath is quite glitzy. I wonder if Bob Dohan, the man honoured by the plaque on the back of the bench, would approve. Somehow, I think he would.
Black Jack seemed indifferent to the decorations. She was far more interested in searching for rabbits behind the bench. Not a single one appeared, and she finally focused her search on squirrels. She seemed certain they were around, but not one showed its face for a photo.
My sprained ankle of more than two weeks ago seems to be taking its own sweet time to heal, so the rabbit bushes is about as far as it agrees to carry me. We turned back, and I finally managed to get a couple of red-winged blackbird pictures.
Beautiful birds. I love the patterns in their backs.
It was the first time I noticed them digging right into the bullrush. Food or nesting material? I'm not sure.


The rest of the morning was spent proofreading report comments. When Bill arrived early in the afternoon, I was ready to celebrate. Now, the holiday could really begin. Where better to go than.. you guessed it.. The Wicked!

After just about the best latte ever (I always say that, and it's always true), we decided on a walk with Black Jack. Where to go? You guessed it again. Jericho! And, I had my monopod! Not much light, in fact, not much at all, but still fun to look around and try to catch some of the essence of the park. Bill took Black Jack for a rabbit bush inspection, and this time, she met with more success. The rabbits are still alive and well. No pictures of them, though, but the Christmas theme recurred. Someone has been quite busy at Jericho.
We walked by the pond, where the branches and this little bird complemented each other quite nicely. Maybe a fox sparrow?
The bullrushes were lovely.
There were more opportunities to observe red-winged blackbirds. The reeds appeared almost white in this picture, perhaps because of the fading light.
And again, the blackbirds' use of the bullrushes caught my curiosity.
We were heading back to the truck when I saw this heron.
I hoped to catch it in flight. It lifted off, and I begged the camera to focus, but with the light pretty much gone, it finally said no to me. By the time the focus worked, these dried flowers were all that remained of the heron's liftoff.
It didn't go far. I followed it to the other side of the bush, where it stood by the pond. It marched determinedly, convinced, I think, that it had food in sight. It definitely didn't appear to be worried about my presence.
It stepped off the grass into the reeds, and that was my last view of the heron.
Tomorrow? We're heading back to Squamish in the late afternoon, hoping that Saturday's forecast will be accurate. I do love holidays!


  1. A lot of very good pictures here, CC. I particularly like the ones of the Red-winged Blackbirds.

    I think the large dark bird that the crow is chastising is a juvenile bald eagle - few other birds have such width of wing (ie the distance from leading to trailing edge). Long wingspan x wide width = big lifting area for heavy objects.

    But my point is that your pictures are very good, and particularly so for those taken with poor rainy-weather lighting.

  2. Hi Shiprock. Your encouragement is much appreciated. For some reason, I didn't think of juvenile bald eagle, but of course, you are right, and I've picked up another great tip from you. Width of wing check. Thank you!

  3. I enjoyed the walk this morning and yes when you zoom in on the eagle it looks like a fish.

  4. Thanks, Janice. Glad you enjoyed the walk, and appreciate the reassurance that it was indeed a fish:)