Saturday, November 15, 2014

Critters and Catch-ups

This is a catch-up post (Wednesday to Friday), with critters for Eileen, though her meme is out of commission due to some technical difficulties that have plagued her for the past week or so.  Sending empathy and hugs, Eileen!  We know how frustrating this sort of thing can be.

On Wednesday afternoon, we rode our bikes to Beaver Lake in Vancouver's beautiful Stanley Park.  We have learned to stop on this little bridge for a couple of minutes.  It is by the entrance to the park, on the Cole Harbour side of the causeway.  Black Jack is very keen.  She knows we are headed to one of her favourite places.  Bill may look a bit unhappy, but that isn't the case at all.  In fact, we were both just catching our breath after riding..  
up this hill.  It doesn't look challenging, but it leaves us both winded every time we brave it.  
The good thing is that as we rest, we get to take in some very nice scenery and from there, it is just a short ride to Beaver Lake.  Looking over the wall, we could see the Lord Stanley monument, finally unveiled in 1960 after a promise made in 1889.  It gave me chills this morning to hear Lord Stanley in one of the earliest recordings made of a human voice. Lord Stanley loved the arts and the outdoors and yes, he is the same gentleman who, in 1892, gave Canada "a treasured national icon" - the Stanley Cup. He originally donated the trophy as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur hockey club. 

I love the words on the monument: 
"To the use and enjoyment of people of all colours creeds and customs for all time."  
You can read about the history of the monument here and lots more about Lord Stanley here.  
Once we caught our breath, we were on our way.  A Wood Duck,
and a Towhee.. 
were our first critter sightings as we made our way around the pond.  (Though "lake" is in its title, I see it much more as a pond.)
We had fun..
hiding behind..
this large leaf..
and Bill made my heart sing..
more than a few times.  I know these next two photos have nothing to do with critters but the moment needs to be recorded and where better than on this, our personal blog.  Though I never stop appreciating my physical health, celebrating my hair or any other part of my "looks" has never been one of my habits.  When Bill commented that the sun had caught my hair, asked for the camera, and then..
spent what felt like ages trying to capture the exact shimmer that he was seeing, I was overwhelmed with love for him and appreciation for his ability to make me feel beautiful.  
Black Jack was far more interested in a different sort of shimmer :)
I was enjoying the reflections,
and the lily pads..
when we came up to a tiny bridge and a small gathering of people.  These two gentlemen..
were just so happy to have chick-a-dees landing on their outstretched hands.
A lady who clearly has spent many hours at Beaver Lake had a bag full of peanuts, and she was delighting in sharing her much-loved critters with nature-loving passers-by.  The interactions were heartwarming to me.  With horrific events in war-torn parts of the world, I can't help but feel hope when so much pleasure can be felt in the touch of a bird.  
A few minutes later, I saw a Stellar Jay.  BIG happy moment for me.
As said, the lady delighted in people's pleasure,
and pretty much insisted that everyone share in the experience.  Those birds were quick!
When she saw that I was particularly..
excited by the Jay, 
she threw some peanuts..
on the ground, and the Jay's expression..
brought a lot of smiles.
Whether in the tree..
or on the fence,
I find these rascally birds beautiful.
As you can see, 

I was fascinated..
with the chick-a-dees..
as well.
Bill inspired another smile here.  A fully alert Black Jack..
in one arm, he felt the touch of this chick-a-dee but wouldn't look at it, because, as he told me later, he didn't want to alarm it by staring.  He froze, wanting the chick-a-dee to be as comfortable as possible.  Amazingly, Black Jack's stare doesn't appear to have been a problem :)
This Douglas Squirrel..
was another well-fed critter much enjoyed by all of us.
Admittedly, we were a bit less welcoming of this lone racoon, though that does seem unfair.  
We finally bid our new friends "good-bye" and made our way around the rest of the pond.  Darkness falling, and a thin layer of ice on puddles,
we were aware that our ride back to the Harrison Galleries cafĂ© would be a cool one.   
There they go, two of my favourite beings.
On Thursday, my small lens was finally returned to us after repairs.  We rode from the camera store to a spot near the Cambie Bridge to test it out.
I will hold off for now on my assessment of that repair, but I did enjoy finally being able..
to give a more realistic perspective of that particular section along False Creek.
We have struggled a bit with the cold this week, though I haven't yet convinced Bill to buy fleece-lined bike pants :)  The good thing about colder weather, though, is the sunshine.
When we arrived at Harrison Galleries, who should be there but our wonderful friend, Jock.
Black Jack greeted him with enthusiasm and then proceeded to do her "cute" look from the vantage point of Bill's knee. 
That expression quickly mutated to one most kindly described as insistent (okay, spoiled).
Is it time for my treat yet?
And, that takes us to yesterday.  We stopped by a camera repair shop (no, not for the newly repaired lens) recommended by the people at our camera store.  The battery cover had gone missing from my (almost) brand new camera and we were told replacing it is impossible unless we get lucky and find someone with spare parts.  I thought of my father many times after arriving home one day to find that small but vital plastic piece missing.  Things these days (as he noted many, many years ago) are simply not made to be repaired.  I hope, one day, we will "get it" that this is a mistake with serious consequences for our world.  But, back to the matter of the small plastic piece.  We were in luck!  While waiting for the repair person to find the piece, Bill noticed this cone on the window ledge and offered it to Black Jack for inspection.  It had little red sort-of-dried berries hanging from it that we thought looked like goji berries.  I haven't been able to confirm that identification, though.
Camera repair shops are interesting places; this gold-painted Nikon sure caught my eye.
And, back to the same place we had enjoyed the day before, Black Jack, dressed for the weather, had her run.  She normally dislikes wearing a coat, but I could tell she appreciated it yesterday.
Still testing the lens, 
and still trying to figure out whether..
it is A-Ok, I continue to appreciate its perspective.  I've been involved in a  black and white challenge on facebook (today is the final day) and so have been playing around with various scenes. I'm not sure if this one will be my final entry. I think it isn't too bad, though I do confess that, for the most part, I continue to love colour.  That's it for today, folks.  As always, many thanks for stopping by.  I hope you are well into an absolutely wonderful Saturday! 


  1. Nice pictures all but it takes so long to get into your pictures . To scroll down and then make comment. Maybe my blogs do also.

    Cute how the bird sits on the hands.

  2. love the chickadee! like its tri-color plumage! always nice to see wood ducks and your pretty towhees. cute jay, too! and always love little black jack. :)

  3. Such lovely bird pictures. Chickadees must be very friendly. We used to have a friend in Ontario who would put seed between his lips and they would come and help themselves! Our towhees are not nearly as colorful as yours. They are mostly a nondescript brown. I haven't seen any wood ducks down here but I suspect they are out on one of the lagoons. Our cooler weather is here and I'm beginning to hunt up a couple of old lightweight table cloths with which to cover our African Tulip tree and my plumeria on the couple of nights when we do have a nip of frost in the air (usually in January).

  4. I loved hearing the voice from another time … it seemed like something from outer space. There is something animated and Snow Whitish about this post with so many little critters all around. How neat that you cycled to Stanley Park and tackled some hills, which usually are far steeper than what they appear in a photograph. :)

  5. You captured some stunning shots of the birds and wildlife! So neat that the chickadee would actually rest on that man's hand. I also liked the shots your husband took of your hair--beautiful!

  6. Transported back 35 years ago Carol, that's what you have done, to and for me. The bike ride over that hill is just like yesterday. Then Beaver Lake, right there in front of me ~ I do remember swans but by the looks of it the weather is chill-wills in Vancouver. Ice!
    The Jay is quite remarkable. I do like the black and blue so much different than ours. The chickadee lineups are quite fun indeed.
    Black Jack is one smart pup for sure, just like Sophie except HRH is a little too pushy waiting for her treats. So I have to be on guard and ready to pounce on her literally.
    The Black and White Challenge was fun I thought. Some peoples' choices were varied and quite remarkable. I wasn't sure about it at first either but am a convert now. I keep looking at scenes etc and wonder ~ will this work in B&W? I also play with the monochrome choice on my camera while I sit on a drive home , testing the B & W effect. If it looks good as a small pic then perhaps it'll work in a larger format. Fingers always crossed.

    So enjoyed your 3some trek these days and refreshments with a friend in a wonderful cafe. Now that is perfection!


  7. Those leaves are so big! I love your black and white photo, although I too prefer colour! Have a great week :)


  8. Wonderful photos of the jay and other birds, and of the raccoon and scenery! You look like you are having a wonderful time. Interesting info on Lord Stanley also.