Thursday, June 24, 2010

Musqueam Park

On Saturday, we rose early and were off to
Musqueam Park. It is just a short drive from Point Grey, but an area of Vancouver we had never explored.

Lush wooded trails kept Black Jack entertained, and some really delicious salmon berries met with Bill's approval (and mine).

I think this Towhee may have fledged fairly recently. It called to its parents, demanding they deliver food - immediately.

Its indignant look when it noticed me seemed to say, "Well, what are you standing there for? Can't you see I'm hungry?"

This yellow iris added sunlight to an already lovely day.

Deering Island Park and The Southlands border Musqueam Park, and as we walked around the area, I thought that the residents there have the best of many worlds. Houses with easy access to boats,

space and trails to keep horses exercised and stimulated, barns so luxurious I would be happy to own a small space in one of them, and homes so enormous, I couldn't imagine they would contain only one family. All this in the middle of a large city!

We saw these survey markers in the ground along the trails, and were astounded to read that their removal could result in a seven year jail term. Hm.....

We came across this rock, and stood reading the story written by Terry Slack. It is difficult to see the story in the picture, so I've copied it for you underneath. It gave me quite a sense of the history along the Fraser River.

Booming Grounds - Terry Slack - 1999

People always used to ask me. Where the heck are the booming grounds? And what did you do there? In those days it was hard to explain we lived in floating houses by the Simon Fraser monument on South West Marine Drive. Our classmates thought the place was some kind of secret firing range or bomb testing site.

My family worked as log salvors and commercial fishermen. The boom men sorted logs into single-specie log rafts and these booms were rowed to mills on the Fraser River.

As river kids every morning at 7:00 we hiked up the steep cliff on a narrow winding trail to Marine Drive. It was a long walk along the road past Eddie’s nursery to Kerrisdale Elementary at 8th Avenue and Crown Street.

We left our empty milk bottles on the top of the cliff for the milkman and it was probably the most remote delivery address in Vancouver.

As river kids we were expected to dog up stray logs, use a peavey and rack salmon nets. On weekends our school friends would sometimes come to visit and watched with amazement as we rolled logs, threw pike poles and ran along the catwalks. It was funny because the city kids always fell into the mud and got hell from their parents when they went home. What a great childhood. Could I turn back the clock and do it again?

For the first time, I saw residents of a manmade birdhouse. Tree Swallows, I think.

I can well understand how parents find those wide open mouths impossible to resist.

There seemed to me to be a ready supply of food in the spider web to the right, but the parents preferred catching their insects on the fly.

This log boom was the longest I have ever seen. Just a small section of it here.

No identification of this hummingbird (any help appreciated), but I was thrilled to see it.

Another of many blooms along the way.

Bill, the conductor. He was sending Black Jack off on the longest free run she has had yet.

Name tag and ears flying.

Muzzle and ears drawn back by the wind of her energy.

Grinning as all four feet leave the ground.

There are still Sunday's adventures to post, and some recent osprey "soap opera" observations, but I am out of time, and this final bloom as we drove home will conclude the Saturday post. Thanks for taking time to read it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fishing, feeding, flowers

The first day of summer is here! For now, just one picture taken in North Vancouver on Sunday to mark that event.

The weekend was the best kind of busy. On Saturday, a morning adventure in Musqueam Park and The Southlands and a quirky movie in the evening (Micmacs). On Sunday, a visit to the osprey lookout, some world cup soccer observations at Brazza's coffee shop, an Italian and French car show, and a quick stopover at Cates Park in North Vancouver. An opera last night (La Traviata) rounded out the weekend. There is probably material for quite a few posts, but I'm still catching up with last Thursday and Friday, so the weekend post will come in a day or two.

Thursday evening, I stopped by the osprey lookout before heading home after work. This Bushtit (I think) was busy feeding. I always love to see birds hang upside down. All athleticism impresses me, I guess because, although I'm fairly fit, my athletic talents are minimal.

Brightly coloured flowers usually catch my eye first, but this white rose was lovely in the midst of rain-soaked green.

One goose chased another for a long distance across the water. Competition for feeding territory, perhaps.

Lawrence was sitting on the nest, staring intently at the water beneath him.

His head darted from side to side, and then suddenly forward. His eyes became even more intent, and I was fairly sure he had spotted a fish.

I missed the shot of him leaving the nest. It was very, very quick. The tide was still fairly low, so I think he had an easy time grabbing the fish.

He rose up, fish in one talon,

but soon arranged it for efficient transport.

He passed by the first pylon,

and headed to..

his favourite eating spot.

He sat for a long time, looking around. I'm convinced he was hoping elusive Olivia would be impressed with his fishing prowess and stop by to share in the spoils. When I left, he appeared to have shrugged his shoulders, conceded it was her loss, and was thoroughly enjoying his feast.

On the way home, I stopped to take this picture of a garden I have been admiring for several days. My big lens was all wrong for the shot. I hope to stop by again. It gives a little jolt of pleasure every time I pass by.

On Friday morning, I walked with Black Jack in Jericho Park. We stopped on the little bridge and a gentleman complained that he hadn't seen any baby ducks this season. As we were talking, I heard a commotion and looked down to see some baby Tree Swallows.
They were sitting on a branch over the beaver's home. Their mouths opened wide,

just in time for the parent's delivery.

The parent sat for all of a split second, before taking off to deliver this saved insect to the two other babies sitting on a lower branch. I missed that shot, but was happy to have caught some of the action. Swallows must surely be the fastest flyers of all the birds I watch.

One last photo of the parent, to show its sharp little eye and brilliant metallic blue.
Here's to a beautiful summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Bill's birthday was at the top of the list of things I celebrated recently. There would be less love and laughter in the world without him.

It was on Saturday. I wish I could say I baked the cake, but full credit goes to Panne Rizo for the delicious gluten-free (in honour of our dear friend, Kitty) carrot cake. Although it turned out that Kitty had come down with a bad cold, and couldn't be there, we saved a piece for Jock to take home to her.

We celebrated at Dianne and Doran's in North Vancouver. That table you see was rescued from the very shore where we watch the ospreys. Part of a skiff, and solid teak (I hope I remembered that detail correctly), Doran turned it into fine patio furniture.

This picture does not do the garden justice. Both wild and lovingly tended, I left at the end of the evening, knowing many of its delights had yet to be discovered.

Jock took this picture of a sparrow in one of the many bird feeders.

He also took this picture of a birthday kiss.

Friendship and laughter, sun and flowers, food and wine, knot-tying lessons from Doran, - so much to celebrate. Dianne made sure to keep things real, though, just in case there was any chance of all that attention going to Bill's head.

Haley celebrated too,

as did Black Jack.

She was particularly entranced by a crock where Dianne keeps old bones. She worked and worked, and although all of my photographs were poor,

she was eventually rewarded for her efforts.

In other news, two osprey chicks have been born to Jewel and Jonny.

New blooms spring up daily around the school in North Vancouver.

A hummingbird agreed to pose in a lane near Jericho.

It was celebrating the gentleman who encourages its presence with feeders and a stunning garden.

One of the eagle chicks in the Jericho nest has begun to exercise its wings in preparation for flight.

It was getting serious air at the edge of the nest, much to my concern.

Mom and Dad watched from a neighbouring tree.

Our school adventure day was greatly enjoyed. It was my first time on a horse in 24 years!

Sea to Sky stables in Paradise Valley, near Squamish, worked out really well.

Our students were almost all riding for the first time, and all returned safely, after covering an amazing variety of terrain.

I took all of the trail pictures while riding, a bit of a trick, I discovered, but my horse was very cooperative.

I was really impressed with Ray (not shown), the instructor. He used analogies that worked well for our international students, and he added lasso lessons at the end of the day. This student was really pleased with his eventual success.

Meanwhile, back at the osprey lookout, Lawrence continues to work incredibly hard on the nest. Olivia, unfortunately, has only been seen briefly by those of us who watch and wait.

On Sunday, the tide was the lowest I have ever seen. As we stood watching the nest, this King Fisher flew by, and I managed a lucky shot.

Black Jack, as always, enjoyed digging her way to wherever she thought she was going.

Dear Lawrence, I so admire your energy, diligence, enthusiasm and beauty.

After spending time at the lookout, we went for a latte at JJBean, and then walked through Park and Tilford gardens.

After that, we were off to Maplewood Flats. Could someone tell me why a rooster picture warns about crossing deer?

The tide was still really low, and we walked a long way out. This osprey put on an incredible show, just overhead.

It was one I will never forget.

Bill, Black Jack and I watched it for just a few moments too long, and paid the price of soaked shoes as we ran back to shore. I laughed the entire way, all the while, thoughts running through my head of how grateful I am for Bill's presence in my life. Thank you to our good friends who helped celebrate that presence, and to you, for taking time to read this post.