Sunday, May 8, 2011

Back to work but out and about

Over a week ago, I uploaded these pictures, and did about half of the commentary.  Then, life became too busy to blog, so this is yet another catch-up, beginning on April 26th and ending last Saturday, April 30th.  Another post will follow shortly with more current adventures.  
The new semester at work is underway, and there has been lots of rain this past week, so most of my bird-watching stops have been very short.  On Tuesday, April 26th, Olivia was sitting on the nest, while Lawrence (I didn't get a picture of him) sat on the next pilon.  The nest was definitely coming along well.  I read that the courtship period goes on for about three weeks, even if they are returning to the same mate.  By my count, perhaps Lawrence has another few days to woo Olivia.   

That evening, when Black Jack and I went for our walk, the camera seemed to catch more detail than usual in the cormorants.  This trio sat together for quite a while.  The one on the left appeared to be ready to take off, perhaps because the one in the middle was laughing at him/her.  The one on the right seemed very serious, perhaps because there were little white feathers sticking out from his/her head.  

The one on the left became headless, the one in the middle progressed to a full belly laugh, and the one on the right remained very serious.

 "Hey Pal, not to worry.  The little white tufts on your head don't make you look old.  Honest!"

Then, s/he waved so fast and so furiously, the wings were just a blur.

"Well!  How embarrassing!"

As I watched the cormorants, the clouds created patterns in the sky, and the Cavalia tents looked like they were sitting on the Cambie Bridge.

My lens was too large to include all the words of this art piece on the railing by False Creek.  By Henry Tsang, it is called Welcome to the Land of Light and I have been attracted to it ever since moving into the area.  As explained at the link, the language is a Chinook jargon used by inhabitants of the area two hundred years ago, incorporating English, French and Asian words.  A literal English translation for each word is underneath.  Each time I walk by with Black Jack, I find myself learning some of the words.  For example, I have learned that tumtum = heart and maika = you.  I roll the words over in my mind, and they feel warm and familiar. The full statement above, translated, means If (Spose) You (Maika) Heart (Tumtum) Mind (Chako) Open (Hahlaki) You (Maika) Receive (Iskum) New (Chee) Knowledge (Kumtux). 

My last photo for that evening was of these nearby flowers.  The beautiful pattern at the centre is so intricate, it seemed to me as if it had been hand-stitched.  

The next day (April 27th), I took a quick walk at lunchtime to check on the ospreys.  Lawrence was nowhere to be seen, but Olivia appeared to be working on the nest.

There is quite a hole at the centre of the nest, probably because the pilon is actually three posts wired together.  Here, she seemed to lose her balance and fall forward, but she recovered quickly.

I looked behind me, and this crow was trying to get into my camera bag that I had left on the picnic table.  The crows in the area know me.  They've been watching me watch ospreys for three years now.  As soon as s/he saw that I had turned around, it flew to the ground.

I snapped the photo, at the same time quietly telling the crow that there was no food in the camera bag.  It gave me a knowing look.  I always feel crows can read my mind.

A Canada Goose skidded in for a landing, a sight that always makes me a bit envious.  That must be so much fun!  

These flowers caught my eye as I headed back to school.

And, these flowers caught my eye the next day, during an even shorter break.  This time, I checked out the other osprey nest, over the shipyard.

Jewel and Jonny were working on this season's offspring.  Several people have told me that they must be quite old now, and I know a successful mating is never guaranteed.

Jonny flew off after mating, presumably to find a fish for Jewel.

On Friday, April 29th, I looked forward to meeting Bill in Stanley Park after school.  We had planned to picnic there with Black Jack.  On the way home, a quick check showed Olivia in the nest.

Seconds later, Lawrence flew in to join her.

Lawrence lay low in the nest, but Olivia did not take him up on his offer.

A crow (perhaps the same one as the other day?) perched just over my head, holding what looked like a piece of wire.  I worry sometimes about the garbage birds pick up.

Lawrence flew off the nest, and I headed over to Stanley Park.

Bill and I shared a delicious roasted veggie filo from Acacia Fillo Bar.  We sat near the heronry, Black Jack so entertained by nearby squirrel action that she didn't even show interest in our meal.  I didn't take many pictures, but tried to capture these little blue daisy-like flowers.  I love the yellow centres.

After eating, we walked with Black Jack.  A tiny bit of sun peeked through the clouds and caught this lovely branch.

The heronry was very quiet.  Stella was hunkered down, most likely on eggs.  Stanley did not appear.

On Saturday afternoon, April 30th, Bill and I rode our bikes around the seawall to Granville Island to see The Graduate.  This squirrel was near the theatre.

The play was excellent, with flawless acting and beautiful sets, but I was left with a bit of a let down feeling.  I wonder if so much was made of the movie at the forever ago time when I saw (and enjoyed) it, that unfair expectations were set up.  Somehow, the script seemed wanting, although there were some very funny scenes, as well as a few that inspired more serious thought. Still, I would recommend it.  It is on until May 16th.

Riding home along the seawall afterwards was my favourite part of the day.  This goose was near the pond at the entrance to Granville Island.

When it turned, I could see that it had lost an eye, but it appeared to me to be doing well.

These turtles (my first of the season) were also in the pond.

Bill held my bike (his has a kick stand) and waited patiently while I took pictures.  

The seagulls were really active, but most of my pictures were poor.  This one landed on a red roof, and I liked the delicate patterns in its wings.

There was a lushness to the surroundings that didn't come through in the photographs.  Bright sun seems to be the most challenging light for me.

This seagull watched us from the bridge railing.

The cherry blossoms started earlier this year, and have lasted longer than I can remember during 11+ years here.  They lined the bike path and still continue even now (May 8th) to flourish in many parts of Vancouver.

There you have the last few days of April.  The first days of May to follow soon.


  1. Another beautiful post. The pictures of the cormorants and crows are so detailed. I have never seen those little white feathers on cormorants before either and the interaction between them is quite amusing. Thanks for the bright start to my day.

  2. Oh, your photos and perspective of the tents are wonderful, Carol. I had no idea they were called Cavalia. Looks like we were hanging around the same places recently. Also, very much enjoyed your funny take on the white tuffs sticking out of the bird’s head. And the crow capture is amazing … I have never seen one so up close and personal. All the nesting photos remind me of a site I’ve been viewing lately. The Hancock Wildlife Foundation site has a camera focused on an eagle’s nest in White Rock. It can be a little nerve racking as a weaker offspring of two appears ill treated at times. Thanks as always for sharing your beautiful Vancouver scenes. :)

  3. Oh, look at those cherry blossoms! Fabulous. Of course, your photos are always fabulous. Am flying down your way next week, but don't think I'll have time between meetings for a Stanley Park / Seawall walk. Guess I'll just have to keep reading your blog to get my Vancouver fixes!

  4. Stunning photos and great narrative.

    Thanks for sharing.