Friday, March 25, 2011

Officially Spring

On Saturday, March 20th, the sun crossed directly over the earth's equator, marking the Vernal Equinox, and the official start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The Cormorants were catching a bit of sun when Black Jack and I began our walk along the seawall that morning.

The Aquabus staff were practicing rescue techniques (I think).

The buds on this mystery tree (to me) looked like orangey-ink blots.

We stopped at the dog beach by the Burrard Bridge, and enjoyed a conversation with a friendly lady. There was a Dachshund convention (well, okay, a meet-up) going on, and although Black Jack didn't quite fit in, she was at least close to the right size, and she insisted on checking out the action. My pictures of the dogs were poor, but..

..the lady was very generous in letting me photograph her beautiful red shoes.

It seemed that every possible variety of Dachshund was represented. It also seemed that no two dogs were alike - red, light brown, dark brown, long-haired, short-haired, wearing coats, unadorned.. they were all there. This one enjoyed a quiet moment, and allowed me my only somewhat in focus shot.

We continued on to Stanley Park, where the flowers announced..

..Spring's arrival.

The "I-can't-believe-it" expression in this heron's eyes really made me laugh.

There was a lot of action at the heronry. After my post about the herons' arrival a couple of weeks ago, there was a strange phenomena that I haven't seen before. The ones at Stanley Park all disappeared! I checked on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, but there wasn't one to be seen. Then, on Friday, a few returned. These pictures are taken about a week after their second arrival, and as you can see, they were really active, flying in and out,

choosing mates, and working on the nests.

This was one of my favourite shots from last Saturday.

On the way home, I stopped along Beach Avenue, and took this picture of some bright red berries. They were across the street, and partially hidden behind a house, but their brilliance was impossible to miss. I zoomed in for a close-up shot.

Saturday evening, Bill and I went for a short walk before attending a concert at The Roundhouse. Here are Bill and Black Jack, looking suave:)

There was a glisten on the water, and a sense of peace in the sky that added to an "all-is-right-with-my-world" feeling.

The concert was part of the Vancouver International Dance Festival. Kokora Dance, members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Waterhole Band combined to make a very entertaining and stimulating performance. The first number, Essence, was my least favourite but Jay Hirabayashi's solo dance had unusual and thought-provoking expression that I can still see in my mind's eye almost a week later. The second, "Music of Amber, " by Joseph Schwantner, was absolutely lovely, with the dance and music bringing a mood of playful shadows in deep forests, as described in Schwantner's lyrics. The third number was a thrilling conclusion to the evening. I loved the combination of Waterhole Band and the VSO. The trombone player, Scott Good, had a mesmerizingly rich tone, and a sense of musical line that transported me to somewhere far above the buildings shown in the above photograph. The guitarist, John Oliver, the bass player, Toby Carol and the drummer, Ashley Chalmers, were equally incredible. I confess that I was so lost in the music, the dancers seemed almost to play an "accompaniment" role, but that worked well. The musicians and dancers communicated in a seamless and sensual portrayal of a singing body. However, Bill sent me this review from the Georgia Straight, and as you will see if you have time to check it out, the critic's opinion was very different from mine.

After the concert, there was one more show that I didn't want to miss. Supermoon! Not since 1992 had the moon been so close to the earth.

The closeness of the moon to earth has been connected by some people to natural disasters, but this article disagrees with that theory. I cannot speak to the disaster theory, but the moon was stunning to witness, and its pull on the ocean created a super-low tide that my students and I enjoyed a couple of days ago (post to come soon).

I'm just about out of blogging time, so the rest of this post will be limited to some short captions. Only to add that our trip on Sunday to Deer Lake in Burnaby was co-o-ld. Fun too! But, freezing fingers on this first official weekend of Spring were a bit of a surprise. We checked out the heronry, and saw this Bald Eagle keeping a close watch over the herons. Seconds later, a flock of 30 or so herons flew together over the trees, and off to a mystery location.

Incredible though it seems, I managed to miss this flight. I was focused on the eagle when Bill called to me, and caught only this last heron as it flew off into the distance. We met Gwen, from our trip two weeks ago to Deer Lake, and she also told us about an incident like this. Herons normally do not fly in huge flocks, so something was definitely up. Perhaps the eagle?

Tree branches over the lake

Sparrow, frost and log designs

Spring or Fall?

Moss covered branches

The Lions as seen from Deer Lake


..with an agenda

Mallard mates

The hybrid

A hawk's silent call (or yawn?)

Brown Creeper? So hard to catch!


There's that eagle again, looking a bit bedraggled. There was only one heron in the trees when we left the park. I wonder if they have returned since.

Happy, happy Black Jack


Sulphur adds colour to the seascape as I ride the seabus home (with my bike)
(Bit of a story here. I left school on my bike, got as far as The Lions Gate, remembered I had forgotten my laptop, went back to school, and decided to take the seabus rather than retrace my steps.)

"Blue" evening walk along the seawall


Blue skies in North Vancouver

Mountains as I bike up Fell Street

Riding the Prospect Point route through Stanley Park
I took the next two pictures (very carefully!) with my new Coolpix while riding my bike.

Trees more important than walkway.

Heron mating ritual

After mating - immediately begin working on the nest!

All for now. Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. Those red sneakers would definitely have caught my eye, too. They have a bit of a Dorothy in Oz quality to them, don’t they? Oh, and the dog in the deep sand … he really will need a bath later on. That is strange about the heron in Stanley Park disappearing. Could be a predator or they sense something humans don’t. Hope they come back. Your moon shot is incredibly clear and mystical. And the mallards mid-flight make such a pretty picture. It occurred to me that all your bike riding must make you one of the fittest people on the globe! Thanks as always, Carol, for sharing your journey. :)

  2. Carol, once again you have got amazing bird shots, I especially like the herons. I think that the makers of Concorde must have used the heron as a model although they did not match natures beauty. Black Jack as always looks delighted with the walk. It is great to see more definate signs of spring isn't it.

  3. Isn't it wonderful to see so many signs of spring? Our weather has turned wet and cold again - hopefully some of your milder weather will soon make its way to the island.
    Great photos, Carol. I missed the supermoon - so glad you photographed it for me!