Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Contributions to Eileen's Critter Meme: Post #83

Here are a few of the critters seem lately in my world.  Thanks, Eileen, for your "Saturday's Critters" meme.  I highly recommend it and all of your blog posts to critter-loving readers.

We saw this Swallowtail (Eastern Tiger?) in Stanley Park on Monday, July 13th. 
It's the first one I've been able to photograph this year.
They flit around so quickly!
But the flower gardens convinced this one to settle a few times.
We continued from the gardens to Beaver Lake. I guessed this bird to be a young (maybe a year old?) Redwing Blackbird male.
This dragonfly gave me a fair amount of time to catch a photo.  I'm wondering if it could be a whitetail.
You can read about the lake and this Beaver Baffler here.
Bill and Black Jack contemplating life as they know it :)
Black Jack was as engaged as always.  Water of any kind seems endlessly fascinating to her.
Lily-pads cause the water to close in more and more  as the summer goes on.
Irises haven't appeared in any of our other haunts lately.  Loved this one.
So many hiding places..
for critters.
This chick-a-dee studied us intently, but wouldn't leave his/her perch for a peanut.
I was pretty excited to spot this woodpecker, the first one (seen) this year.
Then, we realized there were two, the female, I think, on the left.
 I was never able to get a clear photo.  Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers are so..
similar, with the Downy's smaller size the main distinguishing factor.  From the perspective below, the bill appears longish, but my first guess, I think, is Downy.
This pretty crow perched on a  branch with just the right mix of shade and light.
As we walked back to our parked bikes, we marvelled at the large numbers of geese and their intelligent use of..
the crosswalk. Well taught by their parents, they walked in orderly fashion.
All of the drivers we saw were courteous..
and kind.
I guess the youngsters below hatched a bit late in the season.  Bill and I have seen more geese this year than we can ever remember.  I took some photos a couple of evenings ago (may put those in next week's critter post) of a huge gathering that covered most of the soccer field in the park across from us.  As you can imagine, their droppings are annoying dog walkers, picnickers, sun bathers, soccer (and other sports) players and just about everyone hoping to enjoy the park.  Sadly, after watching the painstaking care parent geese took to shepherd their young across the field, into the water, and across False Creek, Bill and I witnessed a boater with a fancy yacht speed up when he saw the geese and aim directly at them.  Darkness was falling and they were almost across the water, so I couldn't tell how many were injured or killed, but it broke my heart to watch the confused parents trying to gather their brood together and take stock.  Though we may have to manage the nuisance factor of unusually large gaggles of geese, causing needless suffering to them is not acceptable.  I also abhor the idea of culling, a plan that has apparently been approved, according to this news story.  Reading up on geese at this site is quite an eye-opener.   Here's a quote describing how geese communicate.
"Scientists believe that there are as many as 13 different Canada goose calls for things like greetings, warnings and contentment.  Canada geese may be one of the most talkative animals after humans. Goslings, or baby geese, begin communicating with their parents while still in the egg! Once hatched, there is also evidence that they respond differently to different calls and noises from their parents, indicating a sophisticated level of communication."
Geese are intelligent and feeling beings and it is not their fault that their numbers have increased in urban centres to the point of annoyance for many.
On Tuesday, July 14th, I rode my bike to UBC for a piano lesson with Bogdan Dulu.  To stray slightly from the subject of critter sightings, I must say that the ride up the Point Grey Hill is becoming a little less daunting, 
Photo shows about a third of the climb and was found at this site.
and I am still loving those lessons! But, as with the lesson a couple of weeks earlier, I arrived on campus before the lesson and sat by a pond taking photos..
of dragonflies.  And, as with the previous time, they seemed to pose for me.
This is the path that I take into the UBC campus from 10th Avenue.  I'm not sure whether to call this a pond or some sort of variation on a fountain, but for sure,
the dragonflies..
love it!
Straying now, far from the critter topic, but Black Jack accompanied us on this next outing, so that counts.  Right?  On Wednesday, July 15th, Bill and I bought this musical instrument for BC Children's Hospital.  A request had gone out over facebook for instruments that would go on a cart that could be wheeled from room to room.  Greta, the child whose mom made the request, is very ill, but her dad is a musician, her mom an artist, and the family thought the cart of instruments would make a lot of children happy.  Oh, and there's another critter link.  If you check out Greta's link (above), you will see that a wonderful lady managed to get her two ponies to Greta's home to satisfy a 6th birthday wish.  Now, that's a beautiful story!  In the mean time, here is the "music" post by Greta's mom:

Heather Munro "So our family loves music and it's really helped Greta to get through this with grace and song. She sings every day, many moments of the day. If any of you have extra little instruments that you don't want or need anymore and want to share with either Greta or her friends please let us know.

We'd like to give back by making a little music cart for the music therapist to have to lend to kids while they stay here. Tim would also like to volunteer with kids playing music here and in Abbotsford hospital too. Please message me if you can share some instruments with kids (shakers, drums, ukuleles, rain makers). Tim hopes to have a little cart eventually that he can bring when he volunteers. Don't worry, Greta will let him 'borrow' her things. : ) 

I thought about the courage and generosity of a family thinking about others in the midst of their own pain, and about how donating musical instruments to hospitals is such a small and easy contribution to make.  More about this another day, but for now, just a picture of Bill with the instrument he picked out and a little about the store where we found it.  I love the way he, Black Jack, and the xylophone are lined up so perfectly.
We saw many wonderful instruments at Gandharva Loka World Music store.
The young lady at the counter gave us excellent suggestions.

At centre and right of this photo are Marimbulas and Kalimbas described on this page.  Their sounds and vibrations are gentle and magical.
The drum with the orange trim has little metal beads inside.  When you tilt it, it sounds like ocean waves.  Again, a magical sound.
I know I've strayed from critters a bit for this section of the post, but there are so many ways we can make a difference in the lives of people.  Greta's mom's post really made me think about that.   I'm betting there are tons of ideas that will be occurring to you as you read this, and I figure spreading her message to whatever part of the world you live in has to be a good thing.  My thoughts are with her and with all parents of sick kids.
Coming back to the critter theme, we saw eagles on Thursday, July 16th, when we rode our bikes to Vanier Park.  The male eagle that has been there at least since 2004 has undergone a lot of changes in his life.  The female that  bore him quite a number of healthy chicks over the years was killed (perhaps a power line?) and his new mate was also killed in her very first season with him (I think, again, a power line) but for more details, you can start at the end of this Vanier Nest forum and work your way back.  He found another mate, but she has a lot of stress to contend with in this urban setting and they did not manage to reproduce this year.  They do continue to hang out together.  I'm not sure which is the male and which the female, but we saw this one on the left side of the tree when we rode up the path from Granville Island.   
A different perspective of the same eagle here.
Then, I noticed another eagle on the right side of the tree.  Yay!  Evidence that they are getting to know each other.  Perhaps, next year, there will be chicks.
Bill found a better location from which to photograph the second eagle.  
We left the eagles and walked along the shore towards English Bay.  Cormorants sailed by, sometimes alone and sometimes..
in pairs.
We spotted this kite..
and then two people, a dog and a buggy.
We figured out that the person in front must have been walking his dog when he saw the kite buggy and asked if he could give it a try.  I guess he needed help.. 
a few times, but overall, I think he had a good time.
Here, the owner of the kite buggy gives some tips, but I guess the dog figures it is time to show the humans some real fun :)
I had my 300 mm lens and really struggled to get both the buggy and the kite..
in one shot.  I finally managed here, but I had to tilt the camera and perhaps the buggy and kite will be difficult for you to spot :)
Overhead, a seagull tried the usual strategies to crack open a clam shell..
and along the dog beach, people and pets..
frolicked in water bubbles that..
 competed with the dogs for "most effervescent" award.
And coming back to butterflies to conclude the post.  I think this is a European Cabbage Butterfly; we saw it this past Sunday, the 19th, at Olympic Village Park. 
Thanks again, Eileen, and thank you as well, dear readers, for finding the time to stop by.  Happy Wednesday to each one of you! 


  1. Hello Carol, your post is just action packed with critters, birds, woodies, geese, ducks and the cool eagle. Not to mention all the dogs on the beach. The mid-air dragonfly captures are just amazing. I am glad Greta had her wish fulfilled for her 6th birthday. I love the shot of Bill, Black Jack and the xylophone. It is ice instrument for the hospital's music cart. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. I hope you all have a great week ahead!

  2. You did a lot that day. A wonderful collection of images to view. Great critters shots of all kinds. Have a great week!

  3. Beautiful shots of the dragonflies! So far they've never seemed to cooperate with me. Also neat that you could shoot the butterflies; they really seem to enjoy the flowers in my garden, so I've been spending some time trying to photograph them. And the other day on a walk at Pine Lake, I was able to capture a swallowtail. There are so many waterlilies in your photo! I like the shot of the iris as well, and neat to see the woodpeckers and eagles.

  4. lovely blooms, lots of birds, and pups, too.

  5. I love the idea of the music cart for sick children! I will send a cheque so that you can choose something from this family. I love the butterfly and dragon fly pictures as well as the geese! Fancy using a crosswalk to guide your family across the road! Hugs, Phyllis

  6. My Goodness, Carol!
    This is a heck of a post, with all the beautiful flora and fauna; critters, dogos and people.
    I am fascinated by the Gandharva Lokha shop - especially the frame drums.
    They remind me of Tambourines. If you haven't watched Laine Redmond, please check out her videos on YouTube.
    I am always so happy to see the dogos, in this case playing so happily in the water.
    What a joy!

    Have a Wonderful Day!
    Peace :)