Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The feel of Spring

Rain, wind, glimpses of sun, mild temperatures, birds busy, dogs out and about, dental stuff to sort out, a silent Lions Gate ride, flat tires that didn't seem so bad, conversations with Bill, a 5:00 a.m. walk and some crazy-happy evening walks with Black Jack, school semester cycles in familiar patterns.. stories of the last few days, all flavoured with the feel of Spring.

North Vancouver on Tuesday: a crow by the school was busy. Finding food? Preparing to nest? Watching me? The camera couldn't seem to find the crow's eyes, but there was expression in its body language.
Hudson, who lives in the school, walked with his human, Kevin, the dorm supervisor. Hudson is one of the happiest dogs I know, always bounding with energy, but he stopped for a "sit" moment. Seeing a serious expression on Hudson's face was a first for me.

A quick greeting to this passer-by..

..who was clearly impressed:)

A bit further along the river, I was elated to spot the immature Bald Eagle that my friend, Dianne, had told me about. Several crows were less happy about its presence.

One crow, in particular, seemed to take on the dangerous role of trying to drive it away.

Not an easy task. At first, the eagle seemed oblivious.

More aggressive action was called for.

Here, the eagle seemed to consider leaving, but changed its mind.

Still more aggressive action on the part of a brave, or perhaps, foolhardy, crow.

The crow backed off here, but only to continue a persistent and constant attack. The eagle finally left, choosing to go behind the trees where the camera couldn't catch the departure.

I walked on a bit further, trying to capture the newness of the Spring greens.

I'm still reading the story of Ansel Adams, and a quote, "The camera never lies" was one of the theories he debated with friends. I've learned that it does lie, all the time. While the walk along the river is enjoyable, the serenity of this photo is misleading. It doesn't tell you about the industrial activity just across the river, the country music playing on a radio, the tin can floating along the river, the Auto Mall loud speaker just behind me. Deceptions, perhaps, but truth of beauty in the midst of working people.

A helicopter flew by. I watch planes in much the same way I watch ships, wondering about the people on board, where they are going, what they are thinking about.

I love watching ducks and geese slide into their water landings.

This heron sat on the other side of the river for a long time. Wanderin' Weeta wondered why Great Blue Herons often look downright miserable. She has a point. Something about that hunkered down position when they are waiting for potential food to appear. The miserable look always disappears when they stretch forward for the capture.

The crow was more willing to share space with the heron than the eagle. The heron wasn't so sure.

Last picture before going back in the school on Tuesday was of this Canada Goose enjoying a bath.

Are you wondering about the silent Lions Gate ride? It was on Monday morning, when I rode to school late, after a dentist appointment. There had been a wind storm Sunday night, and a tree was down. No cars could pass, but the crew taking care of the tree let me go. It is eerily beautiful to ride that bridge without traffic sound. Unfortunately, I had left my camera at home, but the sun peeked through, birds sang, and and I felt on top of the world.

Are you wondering about flats that aren't so bad. Three in less than a week had the experts at Ride On Again mystified. Sometimes, with slivers of glass, or tire liner twists, it really takes detective work to figure out what is going on when a flat reoccurs. They finally did solve it, and my respect for their good will, sense of humour and work ethic just grows stronger. I also have to thank Bill, who transported the bike a couple of times, and a very pleasant taxi driver who picked me up on Denman street, got his hands dirty lifting the bike into his trunk, and somehow turned the ride to the bike shop into a pleasant experience. Not to say that I want another flat, but as I said, not so bad. And, not to jinx myself, but the whir under my wheels finally feels as it should.

And now, backward in time. Just a few pictures from a walk with Bill and Black Jack at Jericho Park on Sunday. The rain let up for just a short time, and the greens were lush.

We searched off the beaten track for owls, but no luck. However, this rock in the shape of a broken heart caught my eye.

A Towhee,

a Black-capped Chickadee,

and the sole pair of Ring-necked Ducks made an appearance. I have been watching pretty closely, and so far, I haven't seen others. I am wondering if there could eventually be some Ring-necked ducklings.

A final photo of the male, with the white on its bill very evident. Bill commented that they should be called Ring-Billed Ducks, and I can definitely see his point.
I see a glimmer of sun, as I finish this post at lunch time. Perhaps, the juvenile eagle will be waiting in the tree, or flying by, as I head outside for a few moments. As always, thanks for reading.


  1. It really does feel like spring in the air, doesn't it? Let's hope we aren't jinxing ourselves, but at least if we get any snow now it will not last for long.

    I agree that the camera lies. And it works both ways - sometimes making things nicer (by masking industrial noise or pollution) but sometimes failing to transmit the sheer beauty and tranquility of a spot. I am often sad that my photos cannot capture all the "magic" of a magical moment or place.

  2. Thanks for the link!

    And those are ring-necked ducks. I haven't seen any around here, but now I've memorized the shape of their head and colour pattern for when -- if -- one ever shows up.

  3. Posted too quick. It sounds like I'm trying to correct you, when I'm making a note to myself; "Remember these".

  4. I cannot wait to experience spring in Vancouver, although we are having a very mild spell in Winnipeg. A -5 degrees morning with birds flocking in the trees feels spring-like today! Thanks for the pictures and the lively commentary! Phyllis

  5. When I was a kid living in Africa, we went on a safari and my dad took amazing close-ups of the lions. Those photos are stunning, but I never forget the feeling of "cheating" that remained; he had poked his telephoto through the fence, and I could never muster the courage to tell anyone...but whenever I think about those photos I believe that the camera truly can lie!

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  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Jean and Cristina, it was interesting to read your thoughts about lying cameras.

    Wanderin' Weeta, glad that I could contribute a picture of a species you haven't seen. I am constantly learning new "stuff" from your posts.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon, Phyllis! Nice that you are having some springlike weather in Winnipeg as well. I wonder which birds are there now, and if they are on their way somewhere else, or preparing to settle.

  8. Carol, thanks for your kind comment on our blog and for directing us to your wonderful blog. My husband was really impressed with Ride On, so I am not surprised to see it has other fans. I am happy that the love bundled in our family comes through in the blog. I was reading your information online and saw that your husband is receiving treatment for colon cancer (forgive my nosiness). I wish you peace on that journey. You seem to be surrounded by beautiful art and creativity. I imagine you both find solace and strength in the beauty of culture. All the best. Lesley