Saturday, June 5, 2010

Remembering Oliver during a bike, bloom and bird week

Sometimes, I think this blog should have a clearer theme, but in the end, I realize that each post is just a gathering together of my thoughts (job and personal life mostly excluded) over the days since the previous one.

This week, after hearing the sad news about Oliver's passing and then reading Jean's beautiful post about Why the Sky Turned Orange, Oliver's joyful spirit has lurked in the background throughout my daily comings and goings. It hurts a lot to lose him, and my heart goes out to Jean and Kelly, but at the same time, I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to know him through Jean's stories, photos and videos. You will not be forgotten, dear little Polar Bear.

On Monday, there wasn't a bird photo to be had, but a long, evening walk with Black Jack, after a very rainy bike ride home, yielded bloom after bloom that I couldn't pass by. The sun was all the more magnificent after that full-out soaking, and it seemed the flowers were celebrating with me.

We sat for a few minutes at Kits Beach, and I thought a bit about the different kinds of energy that propel us across the water,

and, the land.

These blooms carefully arranged themselves after falling to the ground.

This was a branch of a tree, photographed from almost directly under. Bill commented that it could have been turned "right side up" and taken for a complete tree.

On Tuesday, there was more rain, and only time for a quick look by the osprey lookout in North Vancouver. I took this to be Lawrence, but am wondering now if I was mistaken, and that it was actually Olivia. The behaviour was slightly different than usual, but my shots were not really clear enough to be certain.

On Wednesday, there was a little more time after school, and the rain held off. Robert, a photographer, and long time observer of the area, was there, and we both enjoyed the rare sight of these two Harlequins (I think). They were standing on a log by the pylon next to the nest.

The expression on this Merganser's face made me smile.

She had quite a struggle here,

but the bulge in her neck is testament to her triumph over the poor fish.

All the while, we had been watching Lawrence, sitting on a mast a long distance away. Suddenly he began one of his sky dances.

He called and called, and I knew

Olivia had to be nearby. She did a short fly-by and I was happy for Lawrence.

I left for home, and stopped on the Lions Gate Bridge. Looking down, I could see cyclists, perhaps inspired by Bike to Work Week, going around the seawall. Bill doesn't like this picture because of the port-a-potty and the graffiti on the lighthouse, although he agreed with me that the arc shape at the bottom was quite appealing. The bottom line is that he is saddened when human touch mars natural beauty.

The Valendam Rotterdam cruise ship passed under the bridge, on its way to Alaska. I would love to see Alaska, but I'm not sure this sort of cruise would be my choice method of travel.

On Thursday, I was outside quite a bit with my camera. A walk during a school break showed Jonny (I think), very high in the sky, carrying something (maybe a fish or a crab?) in his talons. Lots of questions. It could possibly have been Lawrence, perhaps still trying to entice Olivia.

I took a moment to admire this rose, and the next moment..

I saw Jonny in the nest with Jewel. You can just see her to the left of Jonny, low in the nest, sitting, I'm quite certain, on eggs. In this photo, Jonny is just about to fly off again.

In the distance, I caught a glimpse of another favourite critter. I have learned from Vera, another longtime observer, that the otter is a she. I believe I will call her Frankie.

Head up, and fish down the hatch.

On the way home, I stopped at the Stanley Park heronry. It is bedlam there. No other way to describe it. Young ones screeching, fighting with each other, and demanding food - NOW!

Walking in the evening through a lane near Jericho, I stopped to admire this flower,

and captured my first hummingbird photo ever! A poor photograph, but it made me happy. I'll be looking in that lane again soon.

On the way back from our walk, this snippet of beauty caught my eye.

On Friday, there was only time for a five-minute stop by the osprey lookout. I was quite sure this was Lawrence, but now am second-guessing that id. Could it be Olivia! Could she be just about ready to lay some eggs? Sorry that I cannot give a definitive answer, but I can promise that I'll be watching the area closely, when I travel over to North Van tomorrow.
As always, thanks for reading. May Oliver's happy dance follow you through the weekend.


  1. I, too, am not one for cruises, but I mentioned to a dear friend in Anchorage that if I were ever to take one, it would be the inside passage to Alaska. She told me you can get all the same thrilling views, with none of the artificial scheduled-ness and forced social interactions of a cruise, by riding the Alaska ferry up the coast. It's a little more "rustic," as you must camp out in you vehicle or on the observation deck, but you can take side trips wherever, whenever and however long you like on your way north. And it's a whole lot cheaper!

    Lovely photos, as usual.

  2. Having also lost pets, I can appreciate the heartbreak Oliver’s family must feel. He really came to life for me after reading the creative Polar Bear story and seeing the video. This precious dog left many beautiful memories!

    Thanks for sharing your week, Carol. The radiant rain-soaked flowers really stood out as did the expression on the "feed-me" bird … I can image the racket if it missed a meal. Also, very nice hummingbird photo. I rarely see these birds so still and minus the flurry of wings.

  3. Carol, boy I love your photos and narration. You always have so much to show, isn't nature so wonderful. The story about Oliver sadden me, he had such an innocent look in his eyes. BTW thanks so much for you nice comments on my blog, always appreciate them, and yes down the road comments too bring nice addition to my post about Matthew. Anna :)

  4. Carol, thank you for remembering Oliver in this way. I miss him terribly - he was such a special dog and brought such joy to my life.
    I, too, am enjoying the beautiful blooms this time of year - I think the cooler weather has enabled spring flowers to last much longer than usual. And the baby birds are such fun to watch. Enjoy your Sunday.

  5. Beautiful photos, as always! Sure makes me miss the coast.

  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    EvenSong, great idea!

    Penelope, Jean's wonderful stories and photographs will keep Oliver - and now, Belle:( - in many of her readers' hearts for a long time to come. And, glad you liked the photos. I met the elderly gentleman whose beautiful garden, hummingbird feeder and birdhouses are creating a wealth of bird activity along that lane.

    Yes, Anna, nature enriches my life immeasurably!

    Jean, my thoughts remain with you. I'm so glad that, in spite of your heartbreak, you are taking great pleasure in the new life and beauty around you.

    LDF, weather along the coast has been iffy for the past few weeks. Bet you are loving it right where you are at the moment:)