It was fun turning 63 this weekend. There seems to have been a shift in my thinking about birthdays. Getting older still has a fairly significant number of aspects I could do without, but being around for another year to enjoy all the things that make life good is not a guarantee, whatever the age. I appreciate still being here, and having friends and family to share in my little celebration of continued life. Here are a few of the highlights of my birthday weekend:
As Black Jack and I left for a walk at Jericho on Saturday morning, we saw this squirrel. I love their athleticism, and I enjoy Black Jack's response to them. Seeing her with every fibre of her being engaged is always a thrill. I know her alertness is motivated by the "hunt" mode, but since she can have the excitement without the catch, it works well for both of us.
The comical Mallards came to meet me as soon as they heard the rustle of seeds in my plastic bag. This one really made me laugh, as it stretched up over the others, saying, "Look at me!"
This Blue Heron was standing in what is becoming a familiar spot, on top of the birdhouse. It flexed gracefully as it preened, and the way it blended into the background reminded me of Jean's post about watercolours.
A Golden-crowned Sparrow was nibbling goodies in the rabbit patch. I was happy that I now recognize many more bird species than I did a year ago, thanks partly to photographers like Shiprock who have encouraged me to observe my world a bit more thoroughly.
On the way home, Black Jack and this dog, Indy, insisted on a little meeting. Black Jack adds so much to my life, and Indy and his humans were great fun to meet.
Home for a short time, and then off to North Vancouver with Bill. As we walked out the door, this robin sat almost at the front door. It waited patiently while I got my camera out.
Bill took me to an old haunt from a couple of years ago. That is where I first met a pair of Bald Eagles, and some friendly people who told me about them. Before we got as far as the trail, I took a moment to check out the water view, and the tugs.
It was a special treat to bump into one of those friendly people, and their dear dog, Sophie, who did me the honour of remembering me.
These beautiful ferns - at least that is what I will call them - rose magnificently into the sunlight.
Dear Bill! Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have him in my life. He danced with Black Jack along the trail.
Bill and Black Jack ran up the trail ahead of me. When Black Jack became absolutely beside herself with curiosity and excitement, Bill picked her up for a few "calming" seconds.
My friend, Dianne, had passed on a message from her very good friend, Doran, that the eagle was in the area, and that message had inspired our visit, but I was still thrilled beyond measure when I looked to the right of the nest, and saw this beauty. I am 99% certain it was one of the pair I watched raise a chick two (or was it three?) years ago.
There was even a very brief visit from this hawk (Red-tailed, thinks Doran). How often in life does one get to see a hawk and an eagle sitting side by side on the same branch?
A cropped version of the hawk, to give a bit more detail.
Okay, I admit it. I felt sorry for the fish. (Does anyone know what kind it is?) I always feel sorry for the prey, but am slowly coming to terms with the facts of nature. The eagle must eat, if it (no clues as to gender) is to successfully parent a chick or two, as I hope it will.
The eagle looked up at the nest, as the mate flew in. I couldn't get that flying shot, but it was beautiful to watch.
Thinking of Shiprock's advice, I kept trying to find the correct camera settings to get a bit of detail in the black, and not wash out the whites in the head. Here, a couple of my attempts.
Part of the fish broke away just after this shot, and fell to the ground. The eagle didn't go after it as I thought it might. Shortly afterwards, both eagles flew off. Now that I think of it, perhaps they went to share the leftover bits on the ground.
We left, to join Dianne and Doran for a wonderful meal of vegetarian chile. Here, Dianne lovingly arranges the gift of Pussy Willows that Doran had given her. Everything in Dianne's house has her personal touch. She has an extraordinary eye and the artistic talent to bring her vision to fruition.
Dianne's grandmother lived in the house, and that lamp was hers. Doran brought home the driftwood and the glass balls from beaches he has travelled. The house is full of artifacts. He is an outdoorsman, originally from Newfoundland, and his adventure stories were spellbinding.
Just a few of the photos I took. Everywhere I looked was evidence of Dianne and Doran's love of nature.
Black Jack has no sense of personal space. She was meeting Doran for the first time, and she clearly..
found him fascinating.
found him fascinating.
On Sunday, the phone rang early. My wonderful friend, Kitty, was calling with a birthday song and good wishes from Saskatoon. My heart is with Kitty right now, as she spends time with her dear parents. After that, Black Jack and I again walked at Jericho. A Blue Heron was sitting on a small tree by the pond. I have "enhanced" this picture, so it is not absolutely true, but there is once more a "watercolour" feel to it that I like.
a wonderful meal at the Naam with Bill, and with Jock, who is batching it for a few weeks until Kitty returns, and a phone call from my sister when I arrived home, topped off an idyllic weekend. Jock gave me this beautiful little book of photographs. Not having posted much about bikes lately, this picture from the book of a penny farthing bicycle in Tatton Park seems the perfect one to conclude the post. The write-up explained it was "a swift and independent means of exploring the British countryside."
Thank you to everyone who made my birthday a great one, and to you, for taking time to read about it.