Thursday, April 15, 2010

Final Catch-up

Recently, I read a post by Janice at Hearts On Noses that left me with food for thought. Not that I have changed my procrastinating ways, but she brought to the front of my consciousness the idea that putting things off means feeling, even if on just a small level, uneasy, and that affects us, as well as those around us. Getting the thing done, whatever it may be, lightens the day. Finally posting the last of the catch-up photos feels really good . They are not earth shatteringly important in the grand scheme of things, but, they reflect moments that I wanted to record, and they have been on my mind.

By the way, Janice rescues pigs. She works unbelievably hard to give these intelligent and sensitive animals a good life. You can read all about that at her blog. I highly recommend it, if you can find the time.

Back on March 26th, I saw this Chickadee. I often marvel at the frenzy of activity going on around me as I enjoy a peaceful walk in the woods. This little guy/gal was busy, busy, busy!

On March 30th, this Blue Heron's orange thighs made me smile.

On April 2rd, we walked in Stanley Park and I watched this swan, sitting on her nest. I am always struck by their beauty, and saddened that they must be pinioned. Harming a live being for entertainment seems wrong to me. I'm not sure why we (any of us who know and care about the swans' situation) find it so difficult to put a plan of action into place to correct a mistake that dates back to 1889.

As we rounded the lagoon, we came across Rocky, a beautiful and very large dog, whose breed I have forgotten. Black Jack fortunately gets along well with most dogs, regardless of size. (I wish she were as good with cats). Not a great picture, but the contrasts make me smile.

On April 3rd, I watched these herons in Stanley Park working on a new nest. Along with the established nests, there are at least four or five ones that appear to have been started from scratch. Nest building is a fine art that leaves me in awe.

Is this tree (also at Stanley Park) with its rich, red blossoms, a Japanese Maple? I looked it up, and found something called "bloodred" that I think could be a match. I have even more to learn about trees than I do about birds.

We also watched a mother give her child a very large bag absolutely stuffed full of white bread. Please, people, if you must feed the birds, take time to pick up something nutritious at a bird store. I know it's more expensive, but as this article points out, bread is not a good food for seabirds.

On April 4th, we were walking along the river in North Vancouver, and I was enjoying taking pictures of Black Jack climbing around the rocks. Then, I saw in my viewfinder that she had white bread in her mouth! Poor picture, I know, but I was quickly trying to figure out how to get to her and remove the bread. It didn't happen. Black Jack is very quick. I have another request. Eating outdoors is great, but please either eat all of your lunch, or find a receptacle (other than Black Jack) for your garbage.

We left the river, and went over to Moodyville Park, where I enjoyed watching this little brown bird. It was very tiny. The pictures do not give enough detail to identify it, but I loved its fanned tail, agility, energy and incredibly fast wings.

I've already posted quite a few pictures from our trip to White Rock Beach on April 5th. Just one more. There was something about the dock and its support structure that I found beautiful.

On April 6th, the crows were gathering peanuts at Stanley Park. I somehow feel peanuts are better for birds than white bread, although I could be wrong. What do you think?

This Northern Shoveler was in a pond at Jericho on April 9th. It's the first one I have ever seen there, and I think it must have just flown in for the day. I've looked since, but it doesn't seem to be around. The "shovel" part in its name seems perfect to me.

On April 10th, my three favourite pictures of the day, taken at Jericho were:

This Red-Winged Blackbird,
an unusually marked robin that has been hanging around for quite some time,
and these two pigeons, who were carrying on a heated debate. (This one begs a caption.)

We then drove over to Stanley Park, where a little girl, with a very sophisticated camera, was crouched on her knees, intent on capturing this squirrel. I agree with her that it was a very photogenic little fellow (or gal).

On April 11th, this Ring-necked Duck at Jericho clearly demonstrated how it got its name. For a long time, I thought this species should have been named Ring-billed Ducks.

Over by the dock, I saw this seagull-like bird. I wondered if if could be some sort of tern, or possibly, an immature Sabine's Gull. Searching in my bird books has not given me a definitive answer. It's the first time I've seen a mottled black head like this, and a black, pointy bill.

On April 12th, we went to Boundary Bay. 6 pictures from that trip:

Bald Eagle


Immature Bald Eagle
(I'm fairly sure. I did start to wonder if it could be a Golden Eagle.)

I think this may be my very first American Kestrel. I'll hope for a better picture next time.

Hawk, but I couldn't identify it with any certainty.

Then, we drove back to the West End, where we had a delicious meal of Roasted Veggie Fillo at Acacia Fillo Bar. Oh my, it was so-o-o good!

Then, we headed over to Stanley Park to check on the herons, taking time to stop on the way to admire these flowers.

The big news about the herons is that I could hear the sound of chicks in one of the nests. It wasn't possible to see them, and it was definitely not from Stanley and Sue's nest, but I'm thinking it won't be long. These two herons were doing the bill-clacking thing that fascinates me.

We came back to the corner of Davie and Denman, where the truck was parked. I finally broke down and took a picture of two of the sculptures at the corner. They appeared one day, about a week or so before the olympics, and, for some reason, they make me really uncomfortable. I wonder if that is a sign of great art. Bill just wants them to go away:)

On April 13th, we walked at Jericho. I liked this photo of a female Red-winged Blackbird, her legs splayed for better support.

And, I finally managed to get the pair of Ring-necked Ducks together. For the first time, I saw two other male Ring-necked Ducks. As far as I know, up until now, "my" pair has been the only one of its kind at the park. The two "strangers" kept to themselves in a different pond. (No pictures of them.) I am really fond of this pair. Just a bit of anthropomorphizing, but don't they seem to adore each other?

There were lots of House Finches around, enjoying the blossoms.

This heron was watching me as closely as I was watching it.

And finally, I come to my most recent pictures, taken yesterday, April 14th. I have so many heron pictures, I almost feel I should stop photographing them, but I really loved something about this one at Jericho.

I think this may be one of my better flying crow shots. A few days ago, I discovered a crow's nest, and could hear little ones cackling? chirping? cheeping? inside. I didn't take pictures, as I could see the parents were stressed by my presence. This flying crow was at the dock yesterday, perhaps searching for titbits for his family.

I also managed to get a bit of a look at this tiny little bird, wa-a-ay up at the top of a very tall tree. I think it may be a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. A kind gentleman pointed one out to me a few days ago, but it is so hard to get pictures of these birds. He added that the ruby crown was very visible, and that the males only show their ruby crown in the Spring when they are courting. I really appreciated his taking time to talk to me about birds. I learned from him that the Song Sparrow's call says, "Hey, hey, hey, look at me." I also noticed his quietness and have begun to try to mimic his way of moving through the woods (not always possible with Black Jack:) He was one of those people with a natural talent for teaching, and I will remember his lessons.

There you have some of my observations and thoughts over the last twenty days. As always, I really appreciate your taking time to read them.


  1. loved the path your nature trail took me today, I needed to get away. Thank you!

  2. The sculptures look very much like the work of Yue Mingjun -- are they? If so, reading about his philosophy might help you to better appreciate them. Or not...they do look out of place.

  3. First, thanks for the link to Hearts on Noses. A fascinating site that speaks about one of my favorite animals, pigs! Your photos capture the homey side and beauty of wildlife moments, Carol. However, I was not aware of pinioned swans. It’s shocking and sad, although they look elegant and peaceful. The Northern Shoveler was particularly pretty with the added water reflections. The smiling sculptures are as creepy as the tiny brown bird is delightful. Enjoyable and information diary I always look forward to reading.

  4. Caption for the two ladies talking!
    "My dear, do you see the woman with the HUGE camera and the little dog? Well, she....." I am so sorry but I could not hear the rest! :) Your Winnipeg fan, Phyllis

  5. Gotta run, so three quick comments:
    1. Love the first one of the heron in flight - I wonder if he is saying "Do you think my thighs look fat?"
    2. Thanks for the White Rock shots - my hometown! I lived there from ages 5-18, and my mom is still there. For a year round dog-friendly beach, go to the FAR east end, park at or near Semiahmoo Park, skirt the trail on the east side of that park ( courts or something there - can't remember), over the tracks and head east along the beach. You can also access it by taking a road just before the Peace Arch off Hwy 99.
    3. Peanuts are fine for the birds as long as one buys the unsalted ones (even the ones in their shells come in salted and unsalted).
    Great pics as always - I so enjoy your blog.

  6. I took dp's advice and googled the Chinese author she named. Here is the best descriptive website I found:
    The sculptures certainly look like him, those most of his work is two dimensional. Interesting info, at any rate.

    I too, gotta run. Will add further observations on your post late...

  7. Another very nice blog, CC, and very well illustrated with your pictures.

    The small brown bird, I'm sure, is a bushtit; the small raptor on the piling does look like a kestrel, and the larger raptor with the distinctive (and distinguishing) white rump is a Northern Harrier.

    Don't know about the tree (bush?) with the new brilliant red leaves.

    Cheers, Shiprock.

  8. Thanks, everyone! Here's the quick version of a lengthy response I wrote, but just lost in cyberspace.

    Janice, you're welcome and thoughts with you.

    dp, appreciate the info! Gained respect for Mingjun's attempt to expose phoniness, but still look forward to the departure of the sculptures.

    Thanks, Penelope. I plan to work on the swan situation. Any suggestions for best way to go about it would be appreciated. There are experts who surely would do a better job than I, but where are they?

    Phyllis, thanks for the laugh. But, you stopped just at the good part:)

    Jean, info and laugh much appreciated. As for the heron, I think it was more likely saying, "Ya know ya want me."

    EvenSong, that link was great. Thanks! Quick link to your site here: Yue Mingjun

    Shiprock, so appreciate id help. Thank you! I continue to struggle in spite of National Geographic's excellent book.