An afternoon walk along Vancouver's Sunset Beach a week ago Wednesday yielded the first light in the sky for several days.
so when Bill suggested we visit Boundary Bay, I didn't have to think twice about my response. Do I ever? :) We saw this young Bald Eagle sitting on a telephone pole just before we arrived at the dyke.
American Wigeons and mallards were gathered in the mud fields. I wonder what it is that they find so delicious in all that muck.
Random arrangements of driftwood, especially in beautiful light, seemed like rare sculptures.
The driftwood made great perches for the hawks and owls to watch for..
All of my identification guesses are just that.. guesses. I spent some time going through my book but still would appreciate any help from readers. The three species..
mentioned most frequently by those who appeared to know were Short-eared owls, Northern Harriers and of course, the Snowy Owls. I would guess Short-eared Owl in the photo above and probably below as well.
I had the feeling all day of being inside a beautiful dream.
Robins gathered wherever they could feast on berries.
Black Jack was as keen as the birds of prey to investigate critter activity. She stayed as close to the ditch at the side of the dyke as Bill would allow.
I saw this as art but it was Bill who spotted..
One of my favourite bird-photographs of the day was this little Fox Sparrow.
I have added this one for my sister because I think the wide stance will remind her of someone and make her smile.
of action throughout the day. (Northern Harrier above, Bald Eagle below.)
Bill not only talked with people and entertained Black Jack but he was also invaluable as a second pair of eyes. This hawk (id?) was in the ditch practically at my feet. My big lens was finding it very hard to focus, and the bright sun was making it just about impossible to follow the action. Bill (I loved the excitement in his voice) was guiding me..
to such an extent that most of the time, I shot blindly in the direction he indicated..
and hoped that some of the captures would work. These aren't in focus but I so love the foot action. Happily for the hawk, its sharp eyes did result in a catch. The prey did not fare so well. I have some graphic pictures that I may show on the wild bird site where people are a bit more accustomed to the reality of wildlife. But, check out that stride! Magnificent! No?
Many people were enthralled at the chance to witness nature..
and Mount Baker wasn't bad either :)
As the afternoon went on, Leontien's light, my way of describing what some call the golden hour, flowed over the land.
Bill pulled his shadow close to mine and I was happy.
as did Black Jack's eyes. Those are Bill's feet and hands in the background. He is holding her coat and has just sent her off to me for one of her favourite "run-back-and-forth-between-Bill-and-Carol" games.
When she becomes a little bit tired, she asks for one of Bill's super-duper-special massages.
This was the view as we finally tore ourselves away.
As we drove off, Leontien's light radiated to every corner of the field behind us and it continues to shine in my memory.
The next day (Friday), a visit to my old stomping ground in North Vancouver (this beach is in front of the school where I taught for 13 years) was fun.
It was great to spend a little bit of time with Dianne, a friend we don't see often enough. I didn't take pictures of her that day, but love this one, taken in August on her birthday. She was clowning around with the plant in front of her face but finally relented and allowed me to catch her wonderful smile. Her garden is a delightful oasis of colour and bird song.
But, back to Friday's visit to North Van. The park benches,
with their perfect shadows, were hard to resist,
although Haley reminded me that no shadows could compete with her own sweet face.
a friendly crow,
some Hooded Mergansers (the male on the left was outdoing himself in an effort to be the best option of four available to one female),
and a posing Blue Heron brought back some happy memories.
Barns were calling as well and I have quite a few that I hope to show in a separate post. I'm not sure this little one qualifies as a barn but it does provide shelter for two.. or..
the next time I looked.. three horses. I loved that they seemed to come and go as they chose. At least, I assumed and hoped that there was a larger space behind the barn where they could wander freely. The day was quite chilly, and I had the feeling they were all enjoying the rays in that sheltered spot.
There were many, many Trumpeter Swans and they were very active. I had some problems with over-exposure on almost all of my shots, but this one..
and the following sequence were..
some of my favourites. The coordination and communication..
as this pair landed blew me away.
Their running stop, the delicacy of their wings against the grass..
and the "I did it" attitude left me smiling and touched and feeling (yet again) grateful to Bill for another gift of a day.
We had driven to a different spot here and were in a lane between two farmers' fields. I was watching a small hawk when I heard Bill call. Doesn't he look pleased with himself? He was delighted to have found this sign and I loved it too.. but not as much as I loved yet another example of Bill's sense of humour and of fun. In case you are wondering we didn't see any snakes, but how neat that the farmer was concerned for their safety.
Neither of us noticed this two-part truck, but when I went through my pictures, it was lurking at the back of one of the scenery shots. I cropped for a closer look. Have to say that's a first.
More ice patterns. Do you see someone sitting and facing to the left of the screen? The face could be a dog's and, for some reason, the posture makes me smile.
We watched trains quite a bit. I do find them romantic and was happy to catch this one as it sped by.
I also took many shots of the structure under the bridge.
We stopped by an old favourite haunt hoping to see some Blue Jays but it was late afternoon by then, and the jays were nowhere to be seen. This icicle-waterfall was lovely, though..
and I particularly enjoyed the two-headed dog that watched us from a distance.
Soft light followed us..
as we headed homeward.
The new Port Mann Bridge, crossed shortly afterwards, was also a challenge to photograph but at least we weren't hit by flying ice. Its first couple of months in operation have been tempestuous, to say the least. I have to say I feel quite sorry for some traumatized motorists but happy that at least no one was seriously injured. I also feel sorry for the engineers as part of the problem with ice falling from the cables is the result of a design flaw. I can imagine there are a few people who are not sleeping well at night over this situation. In the long run, however, as stated in that linked article above, the problems will be sorted out.
Almost home now.. how I love the variety of vistas that city/country life offers.
Bill's willingness to explore wildlife, barns, city streets and such a variety of culture with me makes my life a daily adventure..
and I am forever grateful. I thought of that the next day, when these hearts appeared along the False Creek beach near my apartment.
I never stop appreciating where I live, but I also must hasten to add that there are so many places that I have not thus far had the opportunity to visit. Our World Tuesday is especially exciting for the way it takes me around the world and into the lives of people I might otherwise never meet. And, all that at a very reasonable cost :) Try it.. I feel quite sure you won't be sorry.