Monday, February 2, 2015

Catch-up Critters

It's Monday morning, and I have some catching-up to do.  First, the critters.  There were a lot of them in my world last week and you can see even more from all across the globe if you are able to find a few minutes in your day to stop by Eileen's wonderful critter meme.  Well worth a visit for sure.

I think it was last Tuesday when I saw a dogwalker coming across the field in David Lam Park with ten charges linked to his belt.  There were no arguments between the dogs, 
and I know the social interaction is good for them,
but I feel that is way too many dogs for one person to take care of safely. 
I've included a lot of photos because the personalities of the dogs come through..
from one to the next.  I felt a bit sorry for the Shepherd.  It seemed to me that s/he was struggling a bit, but hopefully I'm wrong about that.  It made me smile that the Beagle's nose stayed pretty close to the ground at all times :)
The next 8 photos were taken by a favourite ponds along the Coal Harbour bike route.  The American Wigeons were resting out of the water.  The male seemed to be comfortable..
with our presence.  The female considered leaving, but then settled back down.
Our nickname for Black Jack when she is being somewhat mischievous is "Twerp".  To us, that means she's a tiny bit annoying but it's okay because she's also cute and loveable.  I just looked up a definition of the word and think we will have to find her a new nickname.  "Pretentious, insignificant and contemptible" are not words..
we meant to imply at all.  So sorry, Black Jack!  P.S. I love these two photos of her with Bill.
The mallards were squabbling quite a bit.  I think a male was being chased off by a competitor in this shot.
This is the same male a second later (makes me think of when I learned the Breast Stroke),
and a second after that.  Quick rinse, a shake-off, and ready for more action.
Bill doing his "you-will-be-calm" technique.
This next set of photos was taken by Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.  Though the day was sunny, three otters chose a dark spot behind branches, and there were about five of us trying to get photos of them, so my apologies for the quality.  First, there was one..
and then a lot of splashing as a second approached.
The first pointed out an "owie" or perhaps a parasite, to the second,
expecting, I think, a little sympathy.  The second was more interested..
in something on the other side of the log.
"Wait!  Help me out here, will ya?"
"Sorry.  Places to go and..
"things to see."
A third arrived, all slick and slimy (and uninterested in "owies").
1st: "Ah, now that's a day to celebrate!"
2nd: "Guess I'll have to be my own nurse."
A heron flew in,
landing close..
to the otters.  Poor shot here, but you can see the back of the heron and a couple of the otters on the log.  There seemed to be a mutual agreement to ignore each other.
The otters took to the water a few minutes later,
and the swans floated by.  The swans are pinioned.  I mentioned this in yesterday's post, but here is a little more info.  I'm hoping we will eventually stop taking animals from their natural habitat for our entertainment.  Even if we do not have the opportunity to travel, there are wonderful web cams now and many ways to learn about nature. Two swans were a gift to Stanley Park over a hundred years ago from England.  They procreated, and at one point, reached the way-too-large number of 14 (I believe we are now down to two pairs).  A pond the size of Lost Lagoon can accommodate only one pair, since they are highly territorial and very aggressive when their space is invaded. Since they are considered an invasive species throughout North America, they are not permitted to fly elsewhere.  I like to think we are finally beginning to recognize that pinioning is a cruel and unnecessary practice.  Speaking up is the way to go, I think.  It is now restricted in England and totally banned in Austria (Yay, Austria!!) 
This was perhaps my best out-of-the-water otter photo of the day,
but I also was pretty happy..
to get a couple of shots..
in the water.
I love the symmetry as these ladies come in..
for a landing.
Bill and I also noticed that this American Coot and Mrs. Mallard seemed to be good friends.
Wondering if these are Ring-Necks.  We saw only the one pair, the first I have seen..
around Vancouver..
in a very long time.
Mrs. Merganser and Mrs. Mallard had a little argument. 
There was a bit of a scuffle,
but I think Mrs. Merganser..
won that one.
"And don't you come back!"
"Do you see what I have to put up with?"
We moved on, admiring the green feet..
of this coot as we neared the bridge.
I think this may be Mrs. Mallard, sunbathing on the bridge while soothing her hurt pride.
Moving back a little closer to our apartment, I took this starling in David Lam Park.
And then there were two.  I never tire of the amazing range of colours in their feathers.
And, off to another of our favourite ponds, this one in Olympic Village Park near the Cambie Bridge.  This Hooded Merganser was the first I have ever seen at that particular pond.
We have had quite a bit of sun lately (though it is raining as I write).  Cool enough for a jacket, but all in all, given the weather around the country, we'll take it :)
I am still awed by the number of crows that gather every single afternoon by this park.
Normally, they chatter loudly to each other from the trees, and then fly off to Burnaby.  However, a helicopter seemed to spook them here.
A few chose to keep this seagull company at the top of a very tall and spindly pole/tree.
You met this 6-month-old Vizsla yesterday, but here are two more shots of him.
So very intense and with friendly energy pretty much bursting out all over.
And a final shot of Bill and Black Jack at English Bay on a very different sort of day.  We heard a cyclist call out, "Where did summer go?" as we rode by.  Somehow, I'm feeling pretty sure it's close by.  Many thanks to you for stopping by.  Happy Monday and happy critter-watching to each one of you.  Thanks, Eileen..  we sure appreciate your meme!


  1. wow, that's a mess o' dogs! yikes! nice ducks and coots, but i love the otters! so cool!

  2. Those are incredible otter photos.

  3. Hello Carol, I can not imagine walking 10 dogs. I have had my two old Labradors pull me to the ground..The otters are a cool sighting and your photos are great..And I love the wonderful variety of ducks.. Of course Black Jack is always a cute favorite..what an awesome critter post..Thank you for linking up and sharing your post.. Have a happy week ahead!

  4. Sure is a lot of critters! Great to see the otters.

  5. Oh, my goodness … the dog walking business is extremely successful for this one person! Wonder how the dogs like having so many companions along for the trek. It could easily get discombobulating but it is better I suppose than being locked in an apartment while pet owners are away at work all day.

  6. Awesome captures of the otters. They're so adorable.

  7. Got to agree with you about the dogs - the issue is not 'can the walker handle that many at one time when they are all cooperating' but can the walker handle that many at one time when the unexpected occurs - a fight, an aggressive off leash dog running up and attacking, a human fall, a dog collapsing. As for the rest of your post, I love the stunning shots of the Vizsla, the photo of the otter out of the watter (wish I could capture one like that!), the many great bird shots - and, of course, Black Jack in her jacket!.