Sunday, April 3, 2011

Walks and thoughts and some fun with friends

Most of this post is a catch-up one going back to March 23rd, but the first six pictures were taken last evening. I want to post them quickly, so that the climbing friends we met can see their photos. We came across them as we took a walk with Black Jack before going to The Orpheum for an absolutely magnificent concert. (There will probably be another post to catch up with the past few days.)

It was a beautiful evening, and it did my heart good to see them enjoying every minute of it.

I zoomed in (with my little camera) for a shot of the top guy.

Each pose was rearranged..

in seconds, and highlighted quite a range of personalities.

Part of the reason I so loved watching them, is that it brought back a memory when Bill and I..

played a similar game on a beautiful day.

Back to March 23rd

Last Wednesday, I walked with one of my classes along the seashore in North Vancouver. A seal and a seagull were sitting on a log. They appeared to be comfortable with each other. I wondered if they were old friends.

A seagull floated by. I thought how they are equally comfortable in air or water.

Sunlight caught its wing tips. A couple of days ago, we talked in class about evolution and wondered how humans will change in the future. One of the students thought we might be able to fly, and I loved the idea.

When I looked back, the seagull and seal had turned to face each other.

They looked forward,

and turned together to look behind them.

Delicate flowered cones hung from a tree. I loved the mint-green tones and thought for the umpteenth time that I must buy a plant identification book.

A Merganser was on the river, its orange head also catching light. I never get tired of seeing them.

One of the students spotted this orange starfish (or sea star). It is the first time I have ever seen one, and I thought how lucky we were. It was spectacular in the sun.

Some Turnstones were very busy feeding.

They flit so quickly from one spot to the next,

and always seem to move en masse.

I was happy to see lots of seals, and since the tide was so low, we could walk out on the shoal to get a bit closer to them than usual. They didn't seem to mind our presence.

Is this one shedding?

The expressions on these two made me laugh.

On the way home, I stopped by the heronry and noticed this nest way out on a limb.

The heron pairs were spending a lot of time staring into each others' eyes.

Sometimes, they remained almost totally motionless for a very long time.

On Saturday, before we went to see The Last 15 Seconds, I spent some time watching the cormorants under both the Granville and the Burrard Bridges.

I realized that almost every little nook was occupied. I wondered when they adapted to bridge nesting, and whether they would have nested in trees before. I found many studies in a quick search, but need more time to find the answer to my question.

I wondered if these are Pelagic. My photographs here don't show it very well, but there was a distinctive white patch on their back.

I thought again how my camera acts as binoculars. Watching them in the air, I thought they were carrying fish back to the bridge, but later, I could see from the photos that it was nesting material.

This one took a bath.

Its process to achieve flight..

was fascinating to watch.

It is a beautiful time of year, with cherry blossoms,


and other blooms..

creating splashes of colour everywhere.

The tide was low, and Black Jack enjoyed exploring the rocks by the water. She agreed to look up only when I rattled the treat bag in my pocket.

This metal support beam for the dock leading to the Aquabus looked like a beautiful piece of art.

The white magnolias also formed art pieces.

A clever crow dropped its meal in perfect shell-cracking technique.

A Cormorant came close to the dock,

churning the water as it dove over and over again.

Bill and I ate at The Hurricane Grill that evening. We have been there three times, once for the carrot/ginger soup, and twice for the Fajita Feast (veggie version). It is a sports bar and not our typical choice of restaurant, but each time, we have loved the meal. The restaurant is near my apartment in Yaletown, and one becomes accustomed to pampered pooch sightings, but this one dining with its human on the outdoor patio caused us to take a second glance.

Ballet tutu and blue ribbons aside, she (I'm assuming fairly safely, I think, that she was a she) appeared to be a happy and well-adjusted little dog. She accepted my offer of a treat most politely, and here, licks her chops in appreciation of the gift.

After our meal, we were off for our second cultural event of the day. It hardly seemed possible that anything could equal the power of "The Last 15 Seconds" but the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in combination with the choir, Elektra, was absolutely up to the task. It was an incredible performance. Alex Waterhouse-Hayward has written a very interesting review. His blog, by the way, is one I recommend if you have any interest in photography or in a wide variety of strong opinions expressed in an absolutely unique manner. But, back to the concert. Alexander Weimann's conducting, harpsichord playing, full-out unabashed love for his art and vast store of knowledge about the music and musicians of the baroque era make him an absolute gift to Vancouver. You will not only love the music, but I think you will come away from any PBO concerts you have the good fortune to attend, with new food for thought. I took this photo of the organ and stained glass during intermission.

On Sunday (March 28th), Bill and I walked with Black Jack from David Lam Park to Stanley Park and back again. Some drummers were enjoying the beautiful day and I spent a few minutes trying to figure out their complex rhythms.

I know we have walked/biked/driven by this Aids Memorial many times, but for some reason, this was the first time we really noticed it.

We spent some time thinking about the many people who have died. Another couple came by. They, like us, were seeing the memorial for the first time.

Cherry blossoms were, and still are, making Vancouver delightful.

I caught a very blurry shot of this squirrel.

It was off in a shot, with Black Jack close on its trail, and Bill not too far behind.

From its vantage point high above Black Jack, I could imagine the dialogue going something like: "I'm the king of the castle.." and the response something like, "You just wait. One day... one day.."

Blossoms everywhere!

Each one seemed to say, "Take a picture of me. I am indeed the most beautiful."

I have chosen to follow a nest in the heronry for this season. It is the same nest that began this blog several years ago. I think at that time, I named the heron offspring Stanley and Sue, but for this season, I will be calling the parents Stanley and Stella. Lots of associations for those names, but no time to go into them now. The couple appears to be just getting to know each other. Last season, that nest was not successful. One heron waited alone for several weeks, but was never joined by a mate. This season, things look more hopeful. This is Stanley, preparing to leave.

I loved his delicate silhouette as he took off. I hoped he might bring back some material for the nest, but wasn't able to wait around for his return.

On the way home, we saw more blooms,

and blossoms,

and herons,

with reflections,

and I enjoyed each sighting.

Just about home again, I liked the flowers by this bench, and asked Bill to pose with Black Jack. There were some really funny shots of him trying to get her settled, but I'll just post this triumphant conclusion as she finally cooperates, and new subjects move into the picture.
That's it, that's all. Have a happy Sunday!


  1. I am in an office in Uspallata in the Andes mountains, close to the border between Chile and Argentina where I will begin my second four weeks of volunteering in schools and a college. Your pictures are wonderful... and I am almost sad that I am not in Victoria or Vancouver for the cherry blossoms. You would have a wonderful time with your camera here. The mountains are, on the whole, bare rock and the colours are magnificent. The trees are changing colour and so I am happily enjoying cooler temperatures than in Buenos Aires! Happy week. When I get back I would love to spend a day at your school and take some walks near your apartment! Hugs for you and Bill! Phyllis

  2. Oh, this slipped by me. You were obviously very touched by the play you highlight in your previous post so it must have been very well produced and performed. What fun seeing Bill’s playful antics on the bike and then climbing ropes in this new post. I think he (and your climbing friends) have a future with Cirque du Soleil!!! Your nature captures are wonderful as usual … the silver shimmering waters where birds do amazing stunts and the colors of spring, from the bright orange crab to clouds of pink blossoms. I wonder how the dressed up dog would feel if she knew she was wearing a tutu. She did look comfortable though. Thanks for sharing your optimistic journey. :)

  3. Carol, once again a feast for the eyes. The bird pictures are wonderful, the seagull and seal series is funny and the blooms and other signs of spring so welcome!
    We sadly did not get to see the play because the Friday night performance, which we were scheduled to attend, was cancelled due to cast illness. We got a brief tour of the Firehall theatre though and were impressed by the setting. We will keep an eye on their program for other interesting plays. Thanks again for the recommendation.

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