Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting it right is not so easy

On Sunday, May 1st, we spent a most enjoyable few hours watching the action around Harbourside Drive in North Vancouver.  Over and over again, I am struck by the challenges wildlife must overcome, with little guidance.  Birds do observe their parents, but when it comes to procreating the species, there is little to guide them except instinct, trial and error, and persistence.  At least, humans can consult a manual if all else fails:)  Here, Lawrence approaches Olivia from the wrong direction.
Here, Lawrence is almost on Olivia's neck.

Perhaps he gets it right here?

He seemed mightily pleased with himself after this particular episode, and flew off, to return with a huge chunk of mud for the nest.  It appeared to be so heavy, I worried he would be pulled under water.

Each time they attempted copulation, Lawrence circled the nest as if to show his flying prowess.

Then, he lay very low in the nest, seeming to beg Olivia to accept him.  In this picture, he is flattened down so much, he almost disappears.

Sideways this time.  Olivia mostly seemed stoic, but I could almost swear she rolled her eyes here. 

Lawrence spent considerable effort proving his worth as a provider and nest builder.  Unfortunately, in this particular sequence, Olivia had spotted a Bald Eagle that dared to fly in osprey territory.

She ignored Lawrence (who remained in his subservient pose) and flew off to declare war. 

I love you!

Are you sure?  Raising kids isn't for lightweights you know!

I'll have to get back to you on that!
This time, Lawrence was the one to fend off an eagle intruder.

Bill watched from the wall above me, while I sat on the big rocks by the shore.  He entertained Black Jack, and called warnings to me when Lawrence was returning from the lot that will apparently be used for a hotel. Lawrence was happy to grab sticks and clumps of mud that have been gathered there in what I guess is a preparation and clean-up process.

This was another case where I wondered how Lawrence could possibly manage.  The stick was too long to show all of it in my lens, and it appeared to be very heavy.   

Bill was also the first to spot this heron.  It was having great success hunting.

Often, I watch herons return to the nest "empty-handed" and wonder why they don't bring a fish to their mate or offspring.  It occurred to me on Saturday that perhaps they gather a few of these small eel-like creatures and feed by regurgitating them.  Just a guess, but it does seem the heron's neck is bulging here.

Lawrence suddenly flew up and then did a spectacular dive in the water (that I missed).  He didn't come up with anything, but both Bill and I felt this performance was for Olivia.

The heron flew to a spot on the other side of the shoal.

A seagull came by as I tried to follow the heron.

The heron dropped its landing gear,

and leaned back,

for a perfect touchdown (although I didn't do so well with focus).

My friend Dianne arrived and we walked together along the shore.  She spotted this in the sky.  It trailed behind a small plane, and I thought again about the similarities between human and wildlife relationships.

Haley (Dianne's dog) was absolutely gorgeous after a recent grooming.

I was really happy that Black Jack was being extraordinarily well behaved, coming when called, and exploring the rocks a bit more calmly than usual.

I thought she looked rather wild in this photo, but it was an illusion.

A second after that photo, she was thrilled to receive a beautiful massage from Dianne.

Jonny, the male from a second osprey nest also made an appearance.  I am told that he is getting very old, but thought he looked strong and beautiful here.

Since I am over a week behind with posts, things have changed on the osprey front.  On Sunday, May 8th, a week after these photos were taken, Lawrence and Olivia were spotted only briefly in the morning.  As far as I can tell after talking to people in the area, they haven't been seen since.  Perhaps they have chosen a new nest, or perhaps they are hiding out for a few days.  I am learning to appreciate each wildlife encounter for the gift that it is, beautiful in the moment, and never coming with a guarantee to be extended.

*I have had a lot of difficulty with Blogger today and had to completely restart this post.  I guess there are some bugs with the new editor to work out.  (Just a warning for anyone thinking of switching.)
Thanks as always for reading, and Happy Wednesday to you!


  1. Oh Carol the I love you photo is heart breaking. You are so lucky to witness all that. These are stunning images. Lucky us here in a small town, we only have one Osprey, lol, and it move closer to the boardwalk, so finally after three years looking for him, I was able to snap some photos of him eating a big fish. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos again - excellent narration. Anna :)

  2. Hi Carol:
    Outstanding shots and sequences! The Ospreys, Herons and ... yes ... even that beautiful Seagull, are all so well "caught".
    The Heron is not "leaning back", he's flaring in the final stage of his landing, and it sure looks like he knows what he's doing. OK, he's "leaning back!"
    Your blog is inspiring

  3. Hi Carol,

    Thank you for the card and I am glad we were able to provide you a solution last friday when you had some computer woes.

    When you have any questions, queries or concerns, please feel free to call, email or drop by.. and of course the four legged is always welcome too! ;)

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Best regards