Saturday, October 4, 2014

Critters and thoughts on Saturday

Scenes along English Bay and Stanley Park's Lost Lagoon include quite a few critters today for the Saturday's Critters meme.  Just ordinary critters, seen almost every time we go, but they are never ordinary to me and I'm so grateful to Eileen for encouraging us to share them.  
And just a word to those of you who find time to comment.  I know it's not always easy to do, and I appreciate every single one.  This morning, Maria, a reader  but not a blogger.. yet :) suggested a hot water bottle for Black Jack so that she will stay cozy and warm when she's riding in the bicycle basket.  That triggered lots of ideas.  We are out for several hours at a time, so the hot water bottle might be cold at the end of the ride when she needs it most, but I'm thinking there may be a solution related to Maria's idea.  Hand warmers that one shakes out and puts inside clothing might work, though I have to check on the environmental impact of those.  One thing for sure, neither Bill nor I like to see her shiver, so we'll be on top of it.    
As you can see from the photos, we have been going on our outings fairly late in the day.  We start off with a visit to the café and ride afterwards, but I'm thinking we should reverse that.  Early afternoon when there is still good light should mean warmer temps, safer visibility and more fun for Black Jack (perhaps improved photography as well) , though I must say she's isn't complaining.  Often, her shivering is related to excitement when she senses critters around her.  If she could get in her basket without our help, I think she would.  She stands up when we are getting our gear together in her impatience to ride and when we arrive home, I have to just about peel her out of the basket.  
 This Douglas Squirrel was by the bridge where we lock our bikes.  
Big lens and low light means grainy, soft focus shots, but they sure are pretty little critters.
 It looks to me as though she may be nursing some young ones.
The bridge is a favourite feeding spot and it makes me feel good to see lots of seeds and grain about.  The junk-food-feeding tourists mostly disappear at this time of year and one tends to see more of the die-hard critter-loving folks. 
 There were lots of little birds around..
 and a good number of Wood Ducks too.  Looking down from the bridge, I thought I noticed some plaid markings on their backs.
 I think they are probably Vancouver's most colourful critters.
Even the female seemed to have some plaid..
 in her markings.
There was barely enough light to catch this black squirrel.  I learned from this site that black squirrels in BC are a melanistic subgroup of the eastern gray squirrel. 
 One Fox Sparrow (?) agreed to pose before we moved closer to the second bridge..
 in the area.
I was enjoying the light reflected in puddles by the pond when a gentleman approached.  He went into quite a tirade about the "abominable" state of the park.  Originally from Germany, he has lived in the area for 20 years, and is not happy with the management changes.  A beaver had felled a tree, and that caused the flooding of a normally grassy area and he thought that should have been cleaned up.  His words had me scanning the area for that beaver, but perhaps, it has already been relocated.  
 It is hard sometimes to be privy to negative thinking when all one wants to do is enjoy the treasures around us.  I know someone has to care.  My own concerns are more along the lines that we should interfere with nature's course as little as possible.  The gentleman told us that the geese, years ago, were gathered together in that month when they cannot fly and transported to an area a few hundred miles to the north.  That is no longer done, much to his regret.  I can't help thinking how stressful that must have been for the geese.  Moulting happens when they are raising their young and are already stressed.  And, perhaps their population wouldn't have increased so much if it hadn't been for the junk-food and other garbage left by humans.  Balance in all things, I guess.  Humans and wild life living side by side requires some give and take for sure.  Green grass for families to play and natural habitat for wildlife to flourish are both needs in a beautiful park.  I don't have the answers, but do have lots of appreciation for the efforts so many make.  That said, the lady who allowed her dogs to chase these geese did..
 annoy both Bill and me.  
 I don't think they went far, 
but their outraged cries and disruption to peaceful foraging seemed unfair.
 The mallards were enjoying the extra puddles..
 and I must say, 
 I did as well.
 The light seemed to give everything in its path a..
  warm glow..
that I wondered if the poor, angry gentleman had even noticed.  We bid him good night, and to his credit, he smiled and waved as he walked away.  Perhaps, as Bill said, he just needed a good vent.
As we walked back to our bikes, I admired the bridge..
and caught a few more ducks, these ones quite small.  I think TexWisGirl named them once for me (sorry to have forgotten and no time to look them up).
 Almost like mallards.. but not quite.  Love the patterns.
 Another encounter, this time with a fellow who came on his bike to feed the swans,
was more uplifting.  (the food appeared to be grain)  
 They are pinioned :(  and need support for so many to exist in such a small pond.
 I'm glad that a few people look out for them.  
 I enjoyed their graceful lines and beautiful reflections..
 and their contentment too.  A peaceful way..
 to conclude a visit to the park.  I leave you with two shots of my sweet Bill and Black Jack..
 and many thanks to you for visiting.  Perhaps, you will find some time to check out the many other wonderful critters at Eileen's meme.  Happy Saturday to each one of you!


  1. not sure about the ducks - maybe black ducks? love your sparrows and the wood ducks. and the late light in your shots!

  2. Beautiful tree in the light. Bill and Black jack are so photogenic ! I love the photos you include of Black Jack running -- she almost flies! You are such a prolific blogger I can't keep up with you to tell you which photos I especially love. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for Haley, she is still in need of them all. She has made a couple of small steps forward and a couple backwards. She is still in isolation -- some recurring infection, considerable pain, but has had some of the tubes removed. She has C-diff -- that is the name of the infection. It's going to be a long haul. I am encouraged every time I see Bill looking so healthy and happy after your long stretch of problems. We literally have friends around the world praying for her so we are able to stay positive. Thanks for your email. I was all set to reply when your new blog popped up, so hope this comment will suffice. Your prayers and interest are SO appreciated! Love to all three of you!

  3. Stunning wood duck photos. All are really wonderful.

  4. Hello Carol, what a wonderful outing.. I hope you are able to find something to keep Black Jack warm and cozy in her basket.. Reversing your activities would probably help..I love all the birds, especially is it a Junco and the Wood Ducks.. Great capture of the geese in flight.. And I love the sunset shots, the lighting and grasses are beautiful.. Thank you for linking up, have a happy weekend!

  5. Amazing photos! The light on the water, and that sweet little squirrel...all of your shots are just great! I think the idea of a warmer for Black Jack is a great idea. Maybe a warmed brick wrapped in a cloth, like we did in times long ago at the foot of our beds!

  6. I love the adorable squirrels! The wood ducks are beautiful and swans always make me happy.

  7. You did very well with the low light conditions. Plenty of variety in this post. Love the Wood duck and the swans.

  8. I appreciate seeing the female wood duck, there were a bunch this week but all of the male. She is quite pretty too, I can see the plaid on her back too. The swans are very beautiful in line, I'm glad they are also well-behaved. It's fun feeding waterfowl, my grandfather used to take us to do that.