Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Month of May - Part 1

There's a Part 2 coming for this post, but for now, here's Part 1, broken down as follows: Entertainment, Blooms, Stanley and Stella Update, Jewel and Jonny Update, Lawrence and Olivia Update, and a Canada Goose and Goslings account.  

We have seen a play, two movies, a car show and a concert since my last post. Snippets from each event drift in an out of my days, sometimes even waking me in the night. I am thankful for the artists who enrich my life with their realized dreams. 

"The Geography of Yearning" directed by Nicole DesLauriers at The Havana

This was a quirky one! It took me time to get into it, and I was awed by the sheer volume of words that the actors (Patricia Johnson-Brooke, Frank Nickel, Kerri Norris and Kathleen Pollard) rolled off their tongues with nary a hint of confusion.  Frank Nickel, at the left of this picture in the shorts. was unbelievably versatile, and truly hilarious.  This review in the New York Times discusses the play.  I could not find a review of Vancouver's performance, but felt that it was brilliantly executed.
I am always amazed at the sets.  The Havana has a very small space but it truly works, thanks, I suspect, to stage crews that plan long and hard to come up with ingenious designs.

The movie, Bill Cunningham New York, touched me so profoundly, that even after several weeks, it stays in my thoughts. It is playing for another few days at Cineplex Odeon at 88 West Pender.  If fashion, human nature, New York City, or just plain passion for one's life work interests you, then I highly recommend it.

This photo came from the following link to The New York Times.  It is well worth checking out for more information about Bill Cunningham.
The movie, Mighty Jerome, was also thought provoking.  I took this picture last summer of the statue of Harry Jerome in Stanley Park.  It is sad to see that it hasn't been kept clean.  I guess upkeep is difficult (and expensive), but it must bother Harry's mother, his sister, and the others who loved him.

Before we saw the concert, Sweet, by Vancouver Symphony members at The Roundhouse, Bill and I walked with Black Jack.  It was a beautiful night, and I was happy - looking forward to the concert, enjoying time with Bill and Black Jack, and just wanting to record the moment.  Four contemporary composers were featured, Scott Good, Emily Doolittle, Tim Brady and Dorothy Chang.  I found much of interest in every piece, but both Bill and I have become especially fond of Scott Good's music. This was his last performance in Vancouver for a while, as his stint as composer-in-residence for the VSO is over.  He'll be returning to Toronto but I hope we'll hear more from him soon.  Janice Jackson, the featured soprano, gave an outstanding performance.  In sports, I often hear players told to leave everything on the field/rink.  Janice did that for us on Saturday evening.  

Above, Black Jack totally relaxed in Bill's arms before the concert.
Below, yours truly, with crossed feet.   

We spent a soggy but enjoyable and fascinating couple of hours with our friend, Jock, at the All British  Field Meet at Van Dusen Gardens on Saturday.  Cars and mechanics are not my first love, but I always feel as though my dad is looking over my shoulder at events like this, and that is somehow a good thing.  And, Jock's thoughts about the people and trips of each car's time really resonated with me.  I love his photo of my favourite car, the Lotus 11.  It was a purely gut reaction on my part to choose this car, but apparently, my instincts were good:)  I laughed at Jock's acronym for LOTUS: Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious.  

This photo was also taken by Jock.  Bill enjoyed this car, built at the turn of the 20th century.  I've forgotten the make, but remember the interior vividly.  I could almost see the family, dressed in their very best, arriving proudly at their destination.

In Stanley Park on Sunday, May 8th

Along English Bay on Sunday, May 15th
Now, all the tulips are gone, and there is a field of blue.

Along Beach Avenue, also on May 18th

By The Roundhouse in Yaletown

In North Vancouver..  

..across from my school.

In David Lam Park, Yaletown

Near David Lam Park

In David Lam Park.  I played with this one to highlight the pinwheel affect.  

Seen May 23rd in a tiny garden at the corner of Beach Crescent and Richards Street.

In the same garden.

By Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park

Near the heronry in Stanley Park
My observations of Stanley and Stella seem to indicate a huge change of status in their relationship.  I think the eggs Stella was (perhaps) lying on may not have been viable, and I have a feeling she may have chosen a new Stanley.  Do keep in mind that I stop by most days, but do not stay long, and so my interpretation of their story is made up from a tiny portion of their life.  Here is how I see things, but please do not take my account as the final word.
This was taken on Sunday, May 9th.  There had been a very, very heavy rain the day before.  Stella seemed to be cleaning out the nest, and here, seems almost violent in her way of flipping out material (non-viable eggs?).  She had been sitting almost without moving for days before that, and Stanley's visits had been very few and far between.

Then, she walked away from the nest, the first time I had seen her do that since beginning to incubate.  She lost her balance a bit here, and dropped one wing, perhaps to steady herself.  Then she was gone.

The following Monday afternoon, she appeared to be sitting in the nest.  Stanley was sitting on the end of the branch, completely ignored by Stella.  Suddenly, they both looked up.

A male rushed in, and aggressively chased Stanley #1 off the branch.

He then approached Stella boldly.  I've chosen not to post pictures of their mating, but honestly, it was passionate.  Try not to laugh too hard:)

Then, he groomed her feathers for some time.

Their feathers were absolutely magnificent as they stood together for a few minutes after that.

Then, Stanley #2 left, returning moments later with a small branch for the nest.  

Five days later, I checked on them.  Stanley #2 was flying in and out with offerings for the nest, and it was obvious they had done a lot more work on it.

They mated several times, and engaged in "bill clacking"

On Wednesday, May 18th, on my way to school, I saw one heron in the nest (I assumed this was Stella) and one close-by, on a branch (I assumed this was Stanley #2).

Suddenly, the one on the nest stood up.  They seemed to greet each other and then changed places.  Hm..  perhaps Stanley had been on the nest, and Stella resting on the branch?

I think that must have been the case, since Stanley #2 left, and..

returned moments later with a stick.

Stanley #2 is hard to see in this photo, but his eager face is in the upper right hand corner, as he checks on Stella to make sure she uses his offering appropriately.  All the best, Stanley #2 and Stella.  I hope you raise one or two beautiful chicks this summer.
Jewel and Jonny appear to be on track.  Their old nest looks as stable as their relationship.
Jonny sits near the nest, and close to the tree branch that was apparently set up by shipyard staff.

Jewel, low in the nest, with just the tip of her tail showing.  Perhaps she is sitting on an egg (or more).

This picture was taken on Sunday, May 22nd.  There was no sign of Jonny at that time, and just the tip of Jewel's tail showing over the nest.  Hope all goes well for them!
Sunday morning, May 8, Lawrence flew in with nesting material

Lawrence and Olivia at first appeared to be setting up housekeeping on their old pylon by the Fell Street lookout, but there was a ten-day gap between these first two pictures taken on May 8th and the ones taken the next time I saw them on the 18th.

Olivia flew in to meet Lawrence on May 8th, but didn't stay long that day.

Lawrence, on Wednesday, May 18th is shown below.  The picture above was taken the following day, May 19th.  He was on the nest, but fled to the marina with his fish, perhaps spooked by a photographer.  I've been keeping a distance, in the hopes of encouraging him to use his old nest with Olivia, but perhaps he has chosen a new home, far from the prying eyes of those of us who love to watch. I wonder if the old nest will be used only as a place to occasionally hunt, or to eat his catch.     
Although I check frequently, most days, it is only possible to stay for a few minutes.  Lots of missing information here, but you won't be forgotten, Lawrence and Olivia.  I'll keep watching from the lookout, and will resist going on the shoal, just in case it's privacy you are looking for.  Whatever you choose to do, I sure hope the summer will be a good one for both of you!  
Geese and goslings have been hard to miss during the past couple of weeks.  One morning, cycling to school, I counted 27 goslings as I rode by, just in one small area by Lost Lagoon.  Questions came up, as I watched them.  When do they learn to swim?  How old are they when they fledge?  Are the adults monogamous?  This site, designed for school students, provided some answers.
Turning their backs in North Vancouver at low tide

Some of the information was surprising to me.  I suspected and was right that the adults are monogamous, but had no idea that the young are born able to swim and can dive 30 to 40 feet under water.  And, did you know that the adult male begins to moult right after mating, and is unable to fly during the time that his mate is expecting?  The female moults five weeks after the goslings are born, and only regains her ability to fly at about the same time that the babies are ready to fledge (9 to 10 weeks).  Nature's plan makes a lot of sense in some ways.  Dad has to stick close by while Mom is sitting on the eggs, and I can't help but think that having Mom regain her ability to fly just as the babes first try their wings will give her greater empathy for the challenge they face. 
All in a row: McKay Creek, North Vancouver

Some other things learned: 
  1. The parents usually go at the front and rear, lining their children up between them.
  2. The goslings turn grey after only one week.
  3. It takes a little over a day to lay each egg.  Not an easy thing at all!  Average clutches are from 5-7, but from 2-12 can occur.
  4. It takes a month to incubate the eggs.  The chicks break out of the shell by using a special egg tooth on their bill.

Close-up of the three yellow balls of fluff on McKay Creek

Adolescents by Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park
Only a trace of yellow left, but wings now lined with aqua blue


Three families on Lost Lagoon - May 18 on the way to school

What was that about 2-12 being the outer range of family size?  She's at least four over the limit.  I wonder if she was babysitting.

Another broken rule.  Where's the straight line?  I get the feeling the parent in the rear is saying, "Will you help me out with the kids?  I can't do a thing with them!"

Thanks for reading and a Happy Monday to you.  Stay tuned for Part 2.


  1. What fascinating information about Canada Geese! I love reading about your adventures in nature and in the cultural world!!! Phyllis

  2. OMG, what fantastic photos! I love the one of the contortionist, and the triplets above.