Saturday, January 23, 2010

By the river

On Wednesday, this female House Finch was in the little tree by the parking lot of the school where I work in North Vancouver.

And, on another branch, her mate.

They flew to a tree along the river, but hid from my camera. This chickadee was less shy.

On Thursday, I took a quick walk along the river in the late afternoon, at the end of the school day. This is the third winter that I have watched what seemed to be a lone Great Blue Heron along that river. For the first time, on Thursday, I saw a second heron, although I wasn't able to get a picture of it. I am wondering if the one below is the original one, perhaps now getting ready to have a family. No way to be sure, but I like to think that may be the case. Herons, once they leave the nest, spend about two years on their own, before breeding.

The young Bald Eagle, shown in my last post, has been spending time in a tree just a bit further down the river. It was feeling a little bit camera-shy on Thursday.

Looking across the river, and a long way past it, my camera found the sun setting over the Lions Gate Bridge.

On Friday, at lunch time, the sun, breeze and this female Merganser (Common, I think) created subtly changing impressionistic paintings on the river.

Friday was a "Professional Development" day for teachers, and ended earlier than usual (no band practices after school). The sun was still shining when I stepped partway down to the river's edge, where I sat on a rock, and watched "my" Blue Heron.

I have watched that tiny little river, never quite sure even of its name, for several years, and never grow tired of it. As Bill commented last evening, it is quite extraordinary how the changing light can cause it to look so different from one photograph to the next.
The heron seemed to be having success fishing, but I could never make out its catch.

I read that the bill becomes a brighter orange at breeding season.

It flew a few feet to my left,
and settled again for more fishing.

I was looking into a very bright sun, and the heron was now just a black shape in my view finder. Its reflection was a surprise when I went through the pictures, much later. Here, three versions of the reflection: open bill, swallowing (I think) and bill to bill.

Cycling afterwards in beautiful weather, I savoured the river memory, and looked forward to meeting Bill at Topanga Cafe. It was a first for me, although the restaurant has apparently been around for years and years. Amazing how I can travel a street over and over, and miss so many of the details along it. Must go there again. The Bean/Eggplant salad was absolutely delicious!

Happy weekend to you!


  1. Carol another great adventure from you. Its amazing how much you discover every time. I love all your photos, especially the one with reflections of the blue heron (last ones), they are just like paintings. And the Merganser is really cool.

    BTW I visited Athabasca Glaciers in 2006. It was fun trip to Banff and Jasper.

    Have a good weekend Carol.

    Anna :)

  2. I love that last picture - it looks like the heron is kissing its own reflection!!
    The first and third photos would make beautiful Christmas cards!

  3. That heron flying over the rocks is incredible.