Thursday, July 1, 2010

It is Canada Day!

I've become less nationalistic as I've grown older, but always with huge appreciation for the treasures Canada holds. The motto at the international school where I teach is "Strength in Diversity" and I guess that might sum up my thoughts. The freedom to meet and learn from people across the world, and the opportunity to explore a land rich with wildlife, are not taken lightly. So, why less nationalistic? I guess it's that loving something so often seems to translate into fearing its loss, and that fear precipitates at the least, negative feelings, and at the worst, full out war.

The two pictures below were taken in the school cafeteria. The poster was one of several done by students, and that head of hair that you see at the side is about to be shaved in support of Cops for Cancer. One student and several teachers gave up their locks, to raise over $4500, and the owners of the school matched that amount.

I come back to my school's motto. I think it is a good one.

The rest of this post is an assortment of pictures with no particular theme. The only thing I can promise is that you will not see one osprey photo. I've put them all in a separate post, and hope to publish that one very soon. But, we'll see. As Jean once said, "After a while, blogs seem to take on a life of their own."

Two ladies on the little bridge at Jericho taught me something on Wednesday evening. If you lean out over the bridge, turtles notice your shadow, and come up to the surface, hoping for a handout. The pond water is very murky right now, but this one broke the surface just enough for me to catch a bit of brilliant red, and I do believe I see blue eyebrows.

These orange flowers were blooming along Point Grey Road, on the way to the park.

On the way home from school, I stopped to check on the osprey nest (I didn't say I wouldn't mention them). It was low tide, and these geese didn't seem to mind my presence on the shoal. This one, for some reason, reminded me of a young girl, wearing a party dress with a beautiful blend of muted colours, and walking awkwardly in high heels.

Towhees in North Vancouver have been very active lately. They have an assortment of calls that I am just beginning to recognize. Their red eyes always amaze me.

Below is my favourite picture taken two weekends ago, when Bill and I happened on an Italian French Auto Show in North Vancouver. Here is a link to a blog with some wonderful photos of that show. Most of the cars were shiny and new looking, but this original paint had matured gracefully in something of the manner I remember in my father's beloved collection of old cars.

Mechanical knowledge has never been my talent, but the show was appealing for several reasons. My first brand new car was a Renault 12. Also, someone gave me a lift in a Citroen once. It was in Montreal, and years ago, but I still remember how impressed I was with the design and the comfortable ride.

But, the main attraction for me was the array of stunning colours.

I also loved the names on the license plates.

This was Bill's favourite colour. He noted that my camera did a good job of capturing the shades exactly as he remembered them.

I haven't checked on the Jericho eagles for a few days now, but last week, I spent some time in the evenings observing them. There was a person visiting from Oxford, England, and we talked about photography and the wealth of birdlife here. His enthusiasm and love for this little corner of BC really left an impression, and because of his advice, I have started to use "Shutter priority" more often. I have begun to think, lately, that the parent eagles are looking a bit tired. The one on the left seemed particularly unhappy in this photo.

The crows have every right to do whatever they can to discourage the eagles' presence. Crow feathers are everywhere around the eagle nest. Still, I have to admit to appreciating the eagles' side of the story. They can barely move without a crow following.

The photographer from Oxford told me about hummingbirds at Jericho Park, but i didn't actually see one until another photographer helped me out. He showed me pictures in his viewfinder, and finally, I knew it was just a matter of waiting a bit more patiently. I wasn't successful in getting a sharp picture, but perhaps someone could tell me if this could be the variety known as Anna's Hummingbird.

Bill and I stopped to look at this colourful contraption in a field near Jericho. I was supposed to guess its function, and have to admit that, in spite of Bill's best attempt to give me hints, I was mostly unsuccessful, although I almost came close a couple of times. Three cheers if you can guess what this is.

Back to the eagles again. These pictures were taken a day or two after the ones you see above. The chicks are almost as big as the adults, and as you can see, the wing span makes the nest look very small. I would not be surprised to find that the next time I check on them, they may have fledged.

Here is Paul Luchkow, Bill's niece's husband, tuning his violin during the Summer Sonata Series. His partner, Michael Jarvis, is on the pianoforte. That series is one of the treasures of this city. Honestly, at the risk of gushing, every concert is a pure thrill. Their next performance is on July 9th at St. Mark's Church at 1805 Larch Street, Vancouver. Here's a small quote about the music they will play:

Concert III: July 9 at 7.30 pm (also at St. Mark's)
"To Miss Despard of Killaghly Castle, wherever she may be..."
with guest, Nathan Whittaker, classical 'cello

Music from a recently purchased music book [c.1815] of Miss Despard's:
(Piano trios by Haydn, op. 75 no 3; Hummel, op. 96;
and the first modern performance of the infamous "Battle of Prague", op. 23 by Kotzwara, with the rare original accompanimental parts supplied by the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.)

You DON'T want to miss this...!

Back to some flowers taken during another walk at Jericho.

My big lens wasn't the perfect choice to capture this ladybug, but not so bad either. Every once in a while, I think it might be fun to have a macro lens. Perhaps, one of these days..........

A gardener was out watering his flowers as we walked home. I couldn't resist taking the picture, and we enjoyed a pleasant conversation with him. He felt that planting flowers for passers by raises the endorphins for all involved, and that can't be a bad thing.

I can't remember when or where I took these. Just loved the colour.

A parent crow and two of her youngsters were fun to watch last weekend, during a walk in North Vancouver with our friends, Dianne and Doran.

A parent's care always warms my heart, and I love fuzzy feathers on babies.

I think this may be the same Towhee taken above. Doran said he was sure there is a nest nearby. For sure, this particular fellow has been very vocal for several days. Again, those red eyes!

I was locked out of my apartment for a short time last Sunday, and took advantage of the opportunity to photograph this beautiful finch. No problem being locked out, as long as my camera is with me:)

This is Leo. I have mixed feelings about him. He is a character who spends a lot of time unsupervised in the courtyard of my building. Mostly, I like him a lot, but sometimes, to Black Jack's horror, he jumps right onto my balcony. That would be no problem, but he can turn quite nasty when you gently urge him to leave. His human told me to use a spray bottle. I would prefer his human do a bit better job of supervising, but..
..have to admit, Leo is one handsome and fascinating fellow.

This is the cat who lives directly above me. S/he and Leo were both watching the same squirrel.
There you have my hodgepodge post. Happy Canada Day, everyone!


  1. Love, love that turtle photo!

    (Isn't that a football training thingy?)

  2. I agree … nationalistic pride does have its good and dark sides. I don’t want to be milk toast about my feelings for Canada but I don’t want to be a zealot either. I think Canadian’s in general share a healthy appreciation of country rather than an obsession with pride … perhaps because of the harmonious diversity that exists here.

    I love the bold colours in the cars, by the way, and found a bit of each hue in many of your wonderful flower and wildlife photos. Thanks as always for sharing, Carol. Happy Canada Day to you and Bill … and to Black Jack, of course!