Saturday, January 15, 2011

A week ago

Last weekend, we walked at Jericho Beach. It was the first time to go back in quite a while, and it occurred to me that there is no other park in Vancouver that offers such a perfect combination of ocean, pond, and forest life, and with such a variety of terrain. It is definitely one of Vancouver's treasures.

For some reason, although we have walked along the shore over and over again, this mountain peak seemed to appear for the first time.

We spent most of our time by this wharf (soon to be removed) and the fishing dock.

I found this information about the wharf.

The wharf was built more than 60 years ago as part of the former Jericho Seaplane Base. Jericho Beach was home to the Pacific Coast Station of the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1921 to 1945.

The wharf's perimeter was installed during the 1976 United Nations Habitat Forum, which took place largely on and around Jericho Beach. During the conference, Clapp convinced then-Premier Dave Barrett to donate the railings, which had been removed during reconstruction of the Lions Gate Bridge.

"I said to him, 'What are you going to do with those railings, because we need them?' And then I told him how many feet we wanted," said Clapp. "He said OK, and then sent them. They came in these trucks and they were humungous and there were big piles of them. Oh my God, I had no idea how far those posts went down."

Clapp then contacted Garde Gardom, then B.C. attorney general, about getting help from young offenders to install them. Gardom complied and a small group of young men was sent over to help. "They sent us four or five and they were basically kids," said Clapp. "But we trained them and they did an incredible job. And that was their job--they didn't want anyone else to touch those railings."

Although I sympathize with Alan Clapp's desire to save a landmark that he and some at-risk youth invested enormous energy in, this Globe and Mail article makes several good points in defence of the Parks Board decision to do away with the wharf. If you have time to read the comments included at the end of that article, there was considerable food for thought in the opinions. In the end, the decision was approved, and the wharf will go. I haven't hated it. Strangely, in spite of the rusty railings, it provided quite a few rather lovely photographs, and it gave at least one King Fisher a place to perch, as shown at the end of a long post in September 2009.

But, to continue on with our walk.

A crow on a lovely log.

A Barrow's Goldeneye flying in, to join a..

..row of fellow citizens.

Cute little orange feet paddling madly.
(I know you can hardly see the feet, but perhaps you can imagine the churning motion along with me.)

A seagull on a post by the fishing dock.

There was quite a stiff breeze that day, and I took a lot of shots of seagulls hovering overhead. (Brace yourselves.)

One female lording it over three prospective suitors.

This female had four suitors. The males were doing their best to show off their manliness.

Three males here, one almost under the pier while the two females assess the field.

One male successfully extracts a clam (mussel?) from the log.

And, away it goes, the second in hot pursuit.
I learned at this site that males leave the females during the nesting season. They fly at incredible speeds, often to northern areas (Yukon, Alaska, or Norther Quebec), with some covering 1000 km in two days, to moulting sites. They are then flightless for about 30 days, while they grow new flight feathers. It is also interesting that the young are precocial, and immediately after hatching, dive from their nests, built in high-up tree cavities, to find food. In David Attenborough's The Life of Birds, there is a wonderful sequence showing the young taking their first dive. That scene was unforgettable.

After watching the ducks for a long time, I turned to look over my shoulder, and saw this eagle disappearing over the roof of the The Galley. A distant shot, but hopefully indicating that the Jericho pair will nest again this year.

The tide was very low, and Black Jack saw an opportunity to go under the fishing dock. She has wanted to do this for a long time. Bill, at first, was foolishly heading in a different direction, but Black Jack soon..

..brought him to his senses.
She had a wonderful time..

..exploring the rocks,

..her sense of adventure fully satisfied for the moment.

She didn't even seem to object to sharing her chosen rock with Bill's foot.

I think Bill was having a good time, too. Don't you?

No, really, he was. That was just a momentary lapse of attention while he regained his strength. (For some reason, of four close-up shots of the two of them, I could only get one or the other, but never both, in focus.)

I did warn you that I was having an excellent time with the seagulls.

One more of the Barrow's Goldeneyes, this one a 4-1 shot. For some reason, this distribution of male to female was mesmerizing:)

As we walked back to 4th Avenue, a Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) caught my eye.

I enjoyed watching it, but also wondered about a bird I have seen flitting in the underbrush as i cycle along the Stanley Park causeway. Several times, I have felt that I might be seeing a Yellow-shafted Flicker. That would be somewhat unusual, as they are supposed to reside in the East and far North. One of my distant hopes is to one day have light, camera and that yellow flash that appears every once in a while all come together for a photograph. In the meantime, here is a look at the Red-shafted's other side.

There were what seemed to be hundreds of American Wigeons hanging out around the park. I observed that they always seem to keep their distance from the Mallards. This one agreed to pose for a photograph.

Bill and I noticed some kiteboarders (kitesurfers) having what appeared to be a great time in the considerable winds. We decided to drive over to Spanish Banks, hoping to catch a better view. When we arrived, there was only this one fellow left. He was a long distance out, but still fun to watch. That's the Lions Gate Bridge in the far background.

As I watched through my lens, it seemed the kitesurfer had disappeared. Later, when I began going through my photographs, I saw this little yellow spec, and realized the fellow had gone almost totally under water. He was wearing a wetsuit, but I wouldn't have been keen to change places.

He was up in a flash - so fast, I didn't really see the process of his rising out of the water. One minute, he was gone, and the next, back in the viewfinder. I found this video showing how one can train on land before braving the water. I used to do fairly well on a sailboard, but I admit (with a touch of sadness) that those days are probably behind me, and I may never try kitesurfing.

In this final shot (definitely in need of the "straighten" function), the cityscape provides a nice backdrop for the kitesurfer's lovely yellow sail.

On Sunday morning, I woke up and admired the new bloom on my African Violet. My mother loved African Violets and did quite well with them. I have only one, and it blooms quite infrequently, so this was an event.

Black Jack and I played a little ball in David Lam Park. I'm not sure what this expression is telling me, but it made me laugh.

This ball has since met its demise, something that never happened when she first arrived. Initiating a ball game with her in those days was quite a challenge. She always looked perplexed when I tried to get her to play. Now, she is very enthusiastic about her various toys.

We walked a short distance along the seawall, and suddenly, way up in the sky, appeared this young eagle.

It was flying with an adult, and both were being chased by crows.

We walked a bit further, and I enjoyed the reflections of the Granville Bridge in False Creek.

A first bicycle reflection for me.

I liked it so much, it seemed a good idea to isolate the reflection in a second photo.

On the way home, the finches made a lovely contrast with the blue sky.

Sometimes, the combination of tree, bird, and sky almost made a painting.

I also enjoyed a pleasant conversation with a fellow and his dog, while watching my much loved Cormorants.

As I was about to go up the steps, I noticed some berries at the side of my building. They had magically appeared in what seemed to be an overnight happening.

Later in the afternoon, Bill, Black Jack and I again walked at Jericho. This memorial of blue tree decorations goes up every year around this time. We noticed it last year and talked to the people. I believe they were remembering a brother. The sense of familiarity and my love of the colour blue combined for a good feeling.

The morning's blue skies had disappeared, and I didn't take many photos. However, a few minutes observing the American Wigeons was amusing.

As we were leaving, the sun caught these buildings across the water,

and there were some dramatic colours in the sky.

It has been enjoyable to review the fun of last weekend, in the midst of what is turning out to be quite a rainy Saturday. Black Jack and I had a good walk this morning before the rain started, so she is happy to sleep now, as I blog. Bill and I are catching up on a little culture, with a concert planned for this evening and a play for tomorrow afternoon. As my friend, Mali, would say, "It's all good!" Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.


  1. Sounds like a lovely weekend!
    I think Black Jack is saying: "You want a piece-a me? Bring it on!"

  2. Black Jack is a cutie. Lovely photos, I enjoyed my trip around your blog