Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Photo-shoot, Flowers, Birds, Singers and Movies

There were flowers, birds, singers, and movies in my world this week.  Best of all, there was a photo-shoot by Neville Black Photography that I am proud to have initiated for my sister, her husband and their dog, Zoe.  In just a few pictures, Neville captured the essence of a relationship I have long admired. You can see those superb photos by checking out Neville's blog post.  

Here is a photo that I took of Zoe when Bill and I visited Ottawa last February.  I like the way she appears to be running almost off the screen, thanks to the snowy background. 
But back to my Vancouver life, and to a walk taken last Wednesday along the False Creek seawall. The powder blue carpet underneath this California Lilac bush stopped me in my tracks.
Perhaps, the flower residue is usually swept up or perhaps it blows away on the wind, but it seemed a brand new vision that day.
 These delicately crumpled flowers were nearby, 
as was this yellow flower, its red-tipped filaments jostling for air-time. 
We continued on to Stanley Park, and just before arriving at the heronry, saw this male (I'm assuming) hunting for food to take back to the nest.
At the heronry, the "chick-chick-chick" sounds were loud, indicating quite a few young in the nests.  Here is the best shot I could get of one of the babies under heavy foliage.
The next day, another "blue" view by English Bay was a "must-stop" moment.  
 This lone and very tall bloom was growing from a dismal-looking palm tree by the beach.
 My big lens often acts as a kind of telescope, showing what my eyes miss. 
Through it, the soft coral and yellows emerged.
Foxglove was in bloom on the other side of the path,
 and I zoomed in for a close-up of the bell patterns.
There was one heron fishing in Lost Lagoon.  It appeared to be thinking deeply as it nimbly scratched its face.
 Swallows flitted about, and..
 and the fragile petals of a Yellow Iris tried to decide whether to flourish or wilt.
Saturday morning, Black Jack led me to the  ferry dock, her eyes demanding a boat ride.  We took the False Creek Ferry to Granville Island, and walked along the path to Vanier Park.  I could hear the beautiful voice of this young singer long before I caught sight of him.  He told me that he has a band called The Knots and that its members are hoping to get enough votes to be chosen to perform at a "Live at Squamish" festival.  You can hear his band, and vote if you like its sound, at this link. I don't think the demo song does the versatility of Jeff's voice justice, but the build-up of intensity and emotion is powerful, and I feel the band has a solid musical foundation to build on.
Jeff Huggins (I'm fairly certain that was his name) also gave me a card advertising the Vancouver International Busker Festival taking place July 9th-15th.  Adding the link here made me think of "minstrels" and I did a small google to find more information about the history of busking.  Call them minstrels, minnesingers, troubadours, buscare, Chindonya, Mariachis or any other name, but I love the energy they bring to the streets and look forward to the festival.  Continuing on my way, I looked back to take one more shot of Jeff from the across the water.  He was already gathering quite a crowd.  
My next stop along the way was for another singer.  Again, this voice reached my ears before it did my eyes, and again, the sheer energy was compelling.
Some lilies on the manmade pond behind the sparrow were in their prime, 
and we sat on a bench for a few minutes to admire them.
Continuing on our way, these lovely yellow flowers reached out from a rooftop garden.
In a small park just before the Burrard Bridge, I looked up at a bird and stepped in this hole where a tree had been pulled out.  I like to think that will teach me to look where I go :)  I fell, and worried about my already not-so-great knee, but in the end, was fine.  Yay!
This young crow was waiting silently in the same park.  I learned some years ago that the parents are usually nearby.  Wildlife Rescue experts told me that juvenile crows are quite lazy, sometimes sitting on the ground for ten days after they are pushed from the nest. The parents have to use "tough love" to convince them to fly, spacing their feeding times further and further apart until the young ones get hungry enough to hunt for themselves.  As is often the case with nature, the best thing is to leave the crow alone.  The parents are usually well able to handle the situation.
At Vanier Park, I was excited to see one young chick in the eagle nest.
Then I saw a second one.  They both looked to be in fine form.
One of them is already starting to exercise its wings.  The next step will be branch hopping, and they should fledge at around 11 to 12 weeks of age.  A lady nearby told me that the first chick hatched on April 7th, and the second a few days later, so if that information is correct, the first could fledge as early as next weekend.  My guess is that it will be later than that - more like the end of the month.  
I tried to get a shot of the two chicks together, but the best I could manage is this one, with the chick in front nodding off, and almost completely hiding his/her sibling.
Once I know there are babies in a nest, I'm hooked, and find myself returning way too often to see how they are doing.  Black Jack and I covered the exact same territory on Sunday, and again on Monday.  These posts stretch between the  dock where the boats come in, 
and the platform above where the Granville Island shops and buskers are.  You can't see the  shops in the photo below, as I am on the dock and looking up.  In the above picture, you can see the ramp behind the poles.  Its steepness depends on the tide level.  There are also reflections in that photo that make it quite confusing. 
Some shadows and reflections on Monday made those same poles look completely new,
and rather like extraordinary pieces of contemporary art.
Granville Island has entertainment for every age group.  There is a Kids Market on one side of the pond that is very popular.  One store in that market is called "Granville Island Toy Company" and they specialize in traditional rather than high tech toys.  They even have a blog that explains the toys most appropriate for children's various learning stages.
The pond is presently providing a home for two Canada Geese families.  This one has five goslings and they seem to do their best to avoid..
the second family with 15 goslings.  I posted about that family a few weeks ago.  At that time, there appeared to be 23.
On Sunday, I watched the larger family for some time and wondered if the gosling by the pole had a problem with its leg.  It turned out to be just fine but perhaps a tad more flexible than most :)
As I watched, the parents suddenly began herding the goslings to the other side of the pond.
They were methodical about it, one adult waiting until about half of the goslings were in the water before joining them,
and the other adult waiting until all were in the water but one.  It motioned to that one, 
but when it didn't hurry to join the others, the adult left it on its own.
I soon realized why the entire family had made the trip across the pond.  I wondered about the last gosling, 
and was happy when it finally jumped into the water and swam to the other side.  I guess it had to be satisfied with leftovers :)
On Sunday, we happened across this female Mallard and her six ducklings.  They were in the manmade pond that we always pass on the way to Vanier Park.  
I'm fairly certain this was the father.  He didn't appear to be very interested in his family, but..
did keep one eye open, perhaps thinking that was his fair share of required vigilance.
Black Jack finds ducks and birds only mildly interesting.  She lay on the bench by the pond, soaking up the sun, rarely even bothering to glance at the ducklings.   
On Monday morning, there was one less duckling, and Mom had moved the others across the path and down to the waters of False Creek.  
She left them alone while she chased off a crow, and their peeps were quite heartbreaking.  I imagined how big that expanse of water must have seemed to them,
and was happy to see Mom return a few moments later.
When we reached the eagle nest, I could just see Mom tucked in a corner near the nest.
I walked around the tree and found an angle to get a better view of her.
One of the chicks popped up and checked us out.
As you can see, Mom is still keeping a pretty close watch on the kids.
I was finally able to get a shot of the two chicks together, but with light in only one eye at a time.  Here, the chick on the left gets the light,
and this time, the one on the right.
Satisfied that all is well with the eagles, we headed back to Granville Island to catch the ferry home.  I took some reflection shots..

in the manmade pond.
As we passed over the little bridge, I spotted this heron directly under me. 
It flew a second later to these traps, I guess hoping to share fish scraps with the seagull.
It was quite persistent in its effort, but..
finally gave up and high-stepped away.
A baby starling was begging for lunch by the ferry dock, but didn't get lucky.
I didn't get this busker's name, but he sang love songs in French in a very low baritone voice.  He seemed happy to throw a smile the way of my camera.  I liked that his bow tie wasn't perfectly straight, and I liked his voice so added a bit of change to the fairly large amount that had accumulated in his guitar case.
Crossing over on the ferry, we suddenly noticed that a racing kayak had tipped.  By the time I got my camera out, those who had taken a dunking were trying to get back in the boat.  It took a long time, but they seemed to have everything under control.
One more heron caught my eye just as we landed.
It took off and landed on a rock over the water.
In the park by my house, I noticed this ball, and thought it had chosen a harmonious resting spot.
I also admired the Dogwood trees, resplendent right now with blooms.
The movies?  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a feel-good movie with fine acting, and it made me laugh out loud several times.  Yet, in the end, I was disappointed a little bit.  Cliched, with a too-perfect ending, I tried to think what the writer could have done to make it truly topnotch.  I'm still thinking about that one, but for now, I would say that fleshing out his characters more (perhaps by concentrating on a smaller number of them) may have worked better.  The solutions he found for them were just too pat and, in my view, not at all realistic.  I'm glad we saw it, consider it to have been well worth the time and would love to know your thoughts about it.

The other was Prometheus.  I'm glad I saw it too, but struggled to remain engaged with characters that I didn't much care about, and a plot line that was confusing. I confess that I don't "get" most science fiction movies and  feel deficient in that many very intelligent and discerning people love the better ones (Bill included).  Perhaps, I have a "fantasy" gene deficiency that could be developed with time?  I read reviews last evening, most positive and a few less so.  I'm determined to keep trying until I figure out what I'm missing that other people see. I found myself strangely happy this morning as I thought back over the whole experience and my decision not to give up on science fiction yet.  As another friend often says, "It's all good!)

Thanks so much for reading about the past week's comings and goings.  Our World Tuesday will give you a glimpse of that same week, as experienced by many other people from countries all around the globe.  Do check it out if you can. 


  1. I like the natural setting where your sister and her husband were photographed. These two obviously share a heartfelt bond. Lots of wonderful sights and sounds (I could almost hear the musicians) as I viewed your photos. The goslings headed for the little boy would make a nice greeting card … nice composition!

  2. You had a busy weekend! I love the Lily shots - they remind me of watercolors. It's amazing that you could get photos of the eaglets, too.

  3. I love the style of your blog. It made me feel like I had been on a long nature walk with you. I really enjoyed that!

  4. Such wonderful photographs and very interesting account of sights and sounds. I love the photo of the song sparrow especially, but the others are way beyond outstanding.

  5. Wow, you certainly have had a busy week,judging by the number of lovely photos you had to share here with us.

  6. I loved your blog - all the pictures and the stories you tell of them - best regards to Black Jack from my dog Bluey - thanks for sharing - Jane UK

  7. I loved your blog - all the pictures and the stories you tell of them - best regards to Black Jack from my dog Bluey - thanks for sharing - Jane UK

  8. So many birds! Not once can I get a picture of a bird ... it may be because it´s my cell phone that I shoot with?
    Regardless, I like your pictures!

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