Sunday, February 10, 2013

Critters, Friends and Vancouver Scenes

On Wednesday, the day before my 66th birthday, I took pictures of a scene by my apartment.  Many described it as a dull day, but I liked the bulldozer tracks through the clouds.

A few steps further on, I zoomed in on those cloud tracks.  Under them, two "platters" were raised to the sky, as if in thanks.  I've never been quite sure of the purpose of those structures. The shelter provided is appreciated, but barely enough to protect my camera on days when I feel the urge to take a photo in the rain.  There are some steps under them where people sit for a few minutes to eat their lunch and watch the cormorants.  They almost seem like sculptures, but there is no inscription.  Several days in a row, a man carrying a huge backpack has curled up there to sleep, the hood of his parka covering his face.  Bill mentioned the other day that he has seen this man walking about town.  He appears to have good quality, warm clothes but we both wonder about his story.

On Thursday, I took Black Jack out for a quick walk before meeting friends at  The Naam for a birthday dinner.  There had been lovely light during that morning's sunrise (shown in my last post) but after that, mostly cloud.  Then, as we walked, a patch of blue opened up and an icily spectacular sheen slid over the view.

Suddenly, the seagulls began to cry.  The seagull blues, I call it.  Desperate, haunting blues, that I used to hear as expressive music, but at that time, with no comprehension of meaning.  Now, I hear the wail and look for the predator that I know is nearby.  I had to look a long way on Thursday to finally see two little specks at the top of the tallest high-rise in the area.  I'm guessing those specks were the eagle pair from the Vanier Park nest.  They've been around since 2005 and have successfully raised quite a number of chicks.  At least ten, I'd say.  They don't go far in the winter time.  Hunting is quite good around Vancouver, but there is a different feel around this time of year when they replay their mating dance and get ready for another tough season of chick-rearing.  They will take turns keeping the eggs warm, one hunting while the other sits, and then changing places.  Once the eggs hatch, it will be a feat of patience, commitment and supreme hunting skill to keep the chick(s) fed.  Vancouver is the first place I have lived where the cycles of wildlife within the city feel like the chorus of a familiar song that brings up a spectrum of memories. There is the whisper of gladness that a familiar couple is "at it again" but it is tinged with the queasy knowledge that their lives will be dependant on those of many critters also being raised with the best of intentions.  Seagulls, like crows and geese, are plentiful, and therefore often unappreciated.  In fact, all three species show exceptional dedication to the daunting task of raising their offspring.  When the seagulls or crows lose one to an eagle, they cry piteously, attack with all their might, and seem willing to risk their lives in hopes of making a rescue.  

I doubt there are eggs in the nest yet, since Mom and Pop are together, something that will rarely happen once parental duties (that eagles share pretty much 50/50) go into full swing.  

This last shot was taken from directly under the building.  One eagle watches for the attacking seagull while the other, I'm guessing, eats.  Because of that small patch of blue sky, people had emerged from their small apartments, eager to soak up some light.  A few stopped to ask me what I was looking at.  It's that old "if-you-look-up-others-will-too" thing :) 
A little bit later,  as I walked towards Kitsilano, thousands of crows crossed over the Burrard Bridge.  It's a sight that takes place every day as the sun goes down and the crows go home to roost.  I've never found a way to portray the awe of seeing the sky so full of common intention.  If I zoom out, each crow represents a spec of dust.  If I zoom in, there is no representation of the amplitude of black crow spirit.
On Friday, Black Jack and I walked along the seawall as far as English Bay and then home by Davie Street. This robin greeted us with a happy song just as we walked out the door.
Mrs. Gadwall was very busy catching up to her husband..

who headed west in a determined search for more grub.

We stopped before the Granville Bridge where I tried to catch the light and textures under the dock.  I smiled the next day when I saw a similar shot in a post by Penelope Puddles.  She lives in the White Rock area and I am downtown-ish Vancouver, but every once in a while, it seems our worlds are even closer than the distance on the map says.
When we arrived at Stanley Park, I was happy to see these snowdrops.  Just two little clusters of them, but a sure sign of spring.

As we walked home, I stopped by Gabriola Mansion on Davie Street.  Some of you might remember I posted about it recently.  It has become a friend ever since I learned its history.

Davie Street runs the gamut of every element of society in just a few city blocks.  

This house is only a few steps away from the mansion, and I think of it as a friend too.
In the same post about the mansion, I had shown these legs.  I can't walk by now, without looking up to see if they are still there.  This past walk, I double-checked to see if there was a body attached to them, and verified that, indeed, there was not :)

Still on Davie Street, and now almost home, I discovered a mural that I must have walked by hundreds of times.

It is in a lane and doesn't reach most of its public easily, but like the mansion and the neighbouring house, I think it will become a friend to check on from time to time.  From the picture, it is hard to tell if the car and the man leaning against the pole are part of the mural.  I can tell you that the car is not painted but the man is.

I took these pictures of Black Jack a couple of days ago.  We play a lot of indoor ball and other silly little games that keep either or both of us stimulated on any given day.
Sometimes, she even throws the ball at me.  I love it when she does that.  Other times, she teases me, and that's fun too.
Something outside the window caught her attention just as I snapped this one.

And lastly (but definitely not least), a photograph taken at The Naam with Bill and our good friends, Jock and Kitty.  I set the camera up for this one, but it was tricky to run into place..

and finally, a very nice gentleman offered to take a picture of the four of us.  Good food, good friends, some play time with Black Jack, an e-mail chat with my sister, time with Bill, some laughter to make the world go round..  and now the chance to share it with some much appreciated bloggers..  it doesn't get much better.  Thank you to all!  

I'm going to post this to a new blog meme called Scenic Weekends.  If you would like to check out some scenes in the lives of people across the world, take a minute to check it out by clicking here.  


  1. Happy Belated Birthday. I hope you had a happy day! Wonderful collection of photos. The Eagles are a cool sight to see. And your Black Jack is a cutie! Have a great evening and happy week ahead!

  2. Your walk sure sounds great, pausing to take photos of the birds and the mural and the houses along Davie. I haven't lived in the city since I was 7 years old so it is nice to see it from someone else's perspective.

  3. happy 66, dear one! love the eagles, but can only imagine how they prey on the seagulls. Yikes!

    those legs just make me laugh.

  4. Belated Happy Birthday, Carol! It sounds like you had a wonderful day.
    I love the 'legs' on the fire escape - such a creative mind (and beautiful sculpting) to come up with that!

    I've noticed many, many eagles around here this year - more than ever before. It is fascinating to watch the interplay between the eagles, crows, ravens, and gulls in our area.

  5. So love this scenic walk with you! Such gorgeous cloud patterns and water reflections! Those legs are a great street stopper bound to win a smile or two!
    And belated happiest birthday!

  6. Hi Carol, It is funny how we live a fair distance apart but are often taking pictures of similar scenes. I truly appreciate how in tune you are with the rhythm of life in this post. I also like the portion of the mural you captured where it seems one could walk right down the painting of a street into another era. And in the second photo from the top, the objects at the end of the walkway remind me of the giant tails of two whales! Thanks as always for sharing the vibrancy of your world. :)

  7. It just hit me! BlackJack reminds me of a dog my family had back in the 60's! His name was Sam and he had a spirit much like what it appears BalckJack has. I knew something familiar struck a cord when I first met you Carol and your dog. My Dad still talks about Sam.
    I so enjoy taking these walks with you seeing and hearing about familiar, yet changing sites in Vancouver.
    I would imagine that crow scene in the evening over the Burrard Bridge would be spectacular to witness. I like that shot of the crows.
    Good to see you had a nice birthday with Bill and friends.
    have a great week Carol.

  8. That was a great weekend Carol -- thank you for sharing your big day with us! And tx for the wonderful pictures as always.

    We are watching a pair of Eagles and their two nestlings near us here in Fort Myer FL -- they were born on New Year's weekend. Interesting to think about the seasonal differences between here and the Pacific Northwest!!