Sunday, January 10, 2010

Expressions - Jericho, Ambleside, North Vancouver

Yesterday, it rained on and off all day, but Bill and I decided to chance a visit to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, hoping for some bird-viewing opportunities.

First, we paid a quick visit to Jericho Park, and were rewarded with a half-hour stretch of rainless time. Black Jack was ecstatic, since Bill kindly ran around and around the rabbit patch with her. I spent some time looking for Oli, the otter, but he didn't make an appearance.

However, a sparrow (Fox Sparrow?) agreed to pose for a few minutes by the bridge.

And, the ability of birds to show a great variety of emotions in their facial and body expressions really impressed itself on me yesterday.

Please, note, the following dialogue takes great license with the actual meaning most likely intended. It is a complete figment of my imagination. Should you have an alternative dialogue that you believe to be much more accurate, I would love to learn about it.

Young, male Red-winged Blackbird calling to his dad.

Hey, Dad, what's that lady doing with the black box?

Dad comes flying over.
Not to worry, kid.

I'll stare her down.

Okay, son, that didn't work, but watch this.

This is the super-duper-head-cocked-to-the-side intent stare. It always works.

Hm (to self).. she's a tough one.

Once in a while, kid, you encounter a sort of slow one that doesn't understand bird talk.
Then, puff up your chest and show your true colours.

After that, holler while staring menacingly.

Come on, lady, I'll stop staring if you give me a break. I'm trying to teach a lesson here.


I do my best bird talk, to let Dad know I'll be leaving after just one more picture.

See? I told you, Son. She's packing up that box.

What did I tell you? There she goes. Always listen to me, kid, and you'll be okay.

End of dialogue and back to other bird sightings yesterday. A robin sat very high up in a tree by the pond.

The Ring-necked female that I had watched a few days earlier seems to have found a mate.

A Spotted Towhee refused to turn around and let me see his beautiful spots, but gave me many glances over his shoulder.

Black Jack came running up the path, with Bill in tow. It was time to leave Jericho and head over to West Vancouver.

When we arrived at Ambleside Park, it was raining quite heavily. I tried to use my rain cover, but just couldn't seem to get it sorted out. Finally, thanks to Bill parking just so, a truck shot captured a mallard couple enjoying each others' company on a log in the pond.

And, a Black-eyed Junco (Oregon type, male?) was so close to the truck, I had to shoot down the space under the rear-view mirror. Amazing, that the camera caught this.

Finally, we decided to go for a coffee, and perhaps look for a book shop to buy a new bird id book. We didn't find a bookstore nearby, but the Starbucks latte hit the spot, and talk of faraway lands inspired dreams. It may have been raining, but I was happy.

We headed back to Ambleside for one more look. The rain gave us about a ten-minute reprieve, and in that time, I snapped this boat. I always wonder about the ships' crews, how they entertain themselves on their breaks (I wonder if any of them blog), and how they feel about their time at sea.

By the pond, I snapped what may be a first for me, if I've identified her correctly. I'm going with a female Lesser Scaup. (Would love corrections if mistaken.)

This Common Goldeneye was my last bird sighting of the day.

The rain had started again, the crows were heading east, and the light was making its farewell in a subdued but beautiful blaze of glory.

Going back in time, this heron was sitting on Rose's nest in North Vancouver on Friday around lunch time.

The seagulls were lined up on a nearby log.

One of them decided to take a bath.

It felt so refreshed afterwards, it levitated. (Well, that's the way Bill saw it, and I like his interpretation.)

A young Double-crested Cormorant appeared to be amused as it dried its wings. I loved watching it. At one point, it almost fell off the log, when it attempted to preen its chest, while simultaneously waving its wings. (Sorry, no pictures of that.)

My final picture is of this Surf Scoter under the Lions Gate Bridge. I wish I could figure out how to get down there to get a closer view. Still, its amazing that the camera's eye reached wa-a-ay down, even capturing a little of the beauty in the rocks.

Thank you to those who expressed concern for the Canada Goose (update in comments of last post) and to those who suggested id books. I stopped at Wild Birds Unlimited yesterday and bought National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. I am happy with it, and already feel a bit more confident making id's. The people at the store were most helpful and were especially kind to Black Jack. It was an enjoyable visit, and we gained some knowledge about helping injured birds in the future. They reassured me that, although Wildlife Rescue Association will do its best to help, they are inundated at this time of year with requests, and sometimes, the best route to go is to call the SPCA.

As always, thanks for reading!


  1. Wonderful post! I'm gonna have to tweet this! :)

  2. Hi Carol:
    Wonderful Red-Wing sequence ... anthropomorphism at its finest!

  3. As cute as the blackbird sequence is, I like the "kind eye" of the little sparrow. And that little tuft of blue-gray down on his back....I just want to pet the lbb!

    All the other bird shots are very nice--you're really getting the hang of that lens!

  4. Great blog and post! I really like the photos of the Red Wing Black Bird displaying its colors on the cattail. I am going to follow your blog as well. Have a great day!

  5. Thanks, everyone for the comments!

    Andrew, I see you are doing a bicycle tour of the UK to raise awareness for wildlife rescue. Ride safe! I'll be following your blog.

    Jock: Yup, unabashedly anthropomorphic, and proud of it. Glad you enjoyed it:)

    EvenSong, I liked that little blue tuft as well. Glad you noticed it:)

    graemej: thanks for stopping by:) I am really enjoying your blog.