Monday, January 7, 2013

Critters and birds

Eight days of photos gathered late for a Camera Critters post, but I can't let them fade into obscurity.  Those moments when my eye and camera worked together to register a fleeting appearance were pleasurable.  Sometimes an expression in the eye, sometimes a flash of colour or movement, sometimes just the chance to exchange "hello's" with a non-human.  If you only have time to look at two pictures, my favourite is the seagull (#22) about a third of the way down the post.  There was an uncanny communication with it that I still think about.  The other bird is shown in the 10th-12th photos from the end.  I saw it at Beaver Lake in Stanley Park and am looking for identification help.  In my book, it seems closest to a Godwit because of the two-toned bill, but that species is not on the Stanley Park list. Edited to add:  Thank you, TexWisGirl for letting me know that it is most likely a snipe.  You are so wonderful!  The Stanley Park bird list has Wilson's Snipe on the list, with an R" rating for less than 10 sightings per year.  I feel honoured to have had the chance to see it!

Here are the critters and birds.  I hope you enjoy them:
Chestnut-backed Chickadee at Raven's feeder 

Black Jack making herself at home (and anticipating a treat) in Raven's living room.

Lots to catch her attention in the backyard and the ocean behind it.

Still hoping to get a better photo of the resident raven pair in flight.  
Just one of them in silhouette here.

This deer was by the property fence.

Makita is a much loved cat.  Can you guess how he earned his name? 
I met him in his home, a Salt Spring Island hardware store: Windsor Plywood
He appears to be a happy camper.  My photo doesn't do him justice, 
 but you can see better pictures of him at Windsor Plywood's Face Book link.

A seagull landing

A Burrow's Goldeneye pair

an Anna's Hummingbird at Raven's feeder

Buck seen during a walk along a Salt Spring road

There was steam/rain on my lens but his steady gaze was still mesmerizing. 

A House Sparrow.  Loved the (mystery) colour in the background.

So, where's breakfast?

Young House Sparrow?

The biggest Starling I have ever seen!  It sat for a moment on the balcony railing..
and then moved to the tree branch.  I always think their beauty is under-appreciated!
Cute upside down glance from this lady finch.

Her "hubby" was nearby.

Mrs. Barrow's Goldeneye gives a lecture on how she earned her name.

A cormorant's wings looked sort of like a cloak.

There was something special about the way..

this seagull's eyes followed me.

A moment of very bright sun shone through the mist to turn the water a deep blue.
The seagull appeared to be leaving, but turned again and again to follow me.
I finally left, but this encounter haunts me (in a good way). 

We began watching the finches in David Lam Park

There was both mist and bright sunshine..  just amazing light!

"Don't look at them.  I'm much prettier."  (See what I mean about the mist?)

What a wonderful day!

Gathering nest material.  A serious mission but comical to watch.

Here we go!
Now by Sunset Beach..  geese..

on a mission..

to the other side of the bay.

This crow stared for a second..
and bid me "good-bye"

The same Mrs. Barrow's Goldeneye?

By the heronry in Stanley Park, I saw my first robin in quite some time.
The herons haven't started to nest yet..  but soon, I think.
A very tame squirrel!  It was about to go up the tree..

but turned and came toward us.  I had to stop taking pictures because of Black Jack's hysteria.  

We continued on to Beaver Lake.  There were some very cute Wood Ducks..
and more tame (and chubby) squirrels.

Black Jack froze in quivering shock..

while this one darted..

around us.  No fear at all!

The lake is more like a marshland.  These Common Mergansers were quite a distance away.

Through the mist, and in the distance, three horses appeared.

They turned onto a small trail, so we never really met.
I am always interested to see the way people respond to animals.
The person in the purple jacket was uninterested but  the fellow beside her..

stared longingly, or at least, curiously.

I'm not sure about these..  perhaps, Hooded Merganser males in their first Spring?
Edited: another big thank you to TexWis..  of course:  female Hooded Mergansers..  
should have known that one! 

I had to zoom and then crop to get this close.

Love those spiky hairdos. 
Then, a rustle..  a tiny movement in the water grasses, and this lady (?) appeared.
She was rocking back and forth..  perhaps laying eggs?

There was only one fleeting moment when s/he faced me.
Sandpiper family, I would think, but lacking the white breast.
The legs are hard to distinguish between the orange grasses, but in the 3rd photo, appeared to be brownish.  The bill is two-toned like the Godwits in my book.  But..  help :) 
One more time, my thanks to TexWisGirl for identifyng this Wilson's Snipe!

A second or two after this photo, she disappeared downward into the grass nest.
I watched and watched, but didn't see her again. 

This Wood Duck climbed up..

to show me his red side feathers..

and then turned so that I could check out his awesome stripes.

Black Jack, who had little food in her stomach (I was fasting her in an attempt to conquer a persistent stomach bug) was as energetic as could be, but I was starting to flag a little by this time.  We headed up a trail called "North Creek" and to my surprise, ended up at the Prospect Point lookout.  Yikes!  That was a surprise, and to be honest, it was beginning to feel like it would be a long walk home.  (Note: I have just discovered this little 4-minute video made by a cyclist. It shows Beaver Lake and some parts of our walk.)  We made our way back down via the Siwash Rock trail and then along the seawall.  More pictures in my next post, but for now, just one of.. 
some Surf Scoters (only identified with the help of the zoom lens),

sticking very close together,

a flock of Barrow's Goldeneyes a bit further along, and..

a very distant view of some Oystercatchers (hope to get closer to them one day soon).

So, here I am, doing a Saturday Camera Critters post on Monday.  Better late than never?  I don't know.  Just the way it is.  I'm going to try to do two more posts today.  With quite a steady rain outside, perhaps it is the perfect time for catching up.  Oh, and just to let you know that Black Jack's "bug" seems to be much better.  Once home from that very long walk, I was prepared for a nap but Black Jack had the zoomies and ran crazily around and around my apartment.  Strange about these bugs.  She never appears sick, continues to want to eat, but let's just say the evidence insists on a stomach rest.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  Wishing each one of you an excellent week!


  1. A delightful series of photographs. I saw one and said that's a favorite, but then I saw another and said the same thing, and then another. Truth be told it's hard to pick a photo among these, they are all wonderful!

  2. what an awesome (and loaded) bunch!

    i think those unknowns are female hooded mergansers. the males have black and white heads but the females have that spiky brownish head. then i think that's a snipe next. :)

  3. what a marvelous collection of photos!!
    Have a great week!

  4. I love the first starling one, the finch series at David Lam park, oh, the snipe, the seagull, the Barrow's many wonderful shots.
    I think I need a bigger zoom lens. Or more patience. :)

  5. Hi, Happy New Year, thanks for visiting my site i was led here! And thank you for leaving so kind words. YOu are an excellent photographer, i am envious of your bird shots. Would love to do that too because we have many lovely birds too, but my equipment will not do justice to them.

  6. thanks for the newsy post with so many lovely birds, you seem to find nature even though you are living in a big city!!

  7. Hi Carol! This is a wonderful post with all these creatures! I remember Vancouver being abundant with wild life but have forgotten that fact. Your photos are really good and I liked the Finch series with the rusty colours....simply beautiful.
    I like your exuberance which is palpable in your posts. Your excitement and the care you take to capture each shot is very obvious and appreciated. And the Cormorant photos!!! I always wanted to get photos of them spreading their wings like that! Great job!

  8. What good pictures you took! I especially like the bird ones up close.