Sunday, July 26, 2015

Critters for Eileen's Meme: Post #84

It's Saturday (well, actually, it's Sunday, but it was Saturday when I started this post), and time for Eileen's critter meme.  Her post #84 shows beloved pets and interesting wildlife from many different parts of the world.  Perhaps, you even have a critter or two you would like to contribute.

We happened by an art studio last Saturday (the 18th).  A program called ArtStarts brings students and professional artists together for some very effective ways, I think, of encouraging young people to respond artistically as they observe their world.  Black Jack, Bill and I were welcomed into a most inviting space.  Bill started out with some serious self-expression of his own that captured Black Jack's interest and made me laugh. 
 Then they both got serious about posing for the camera.
 Black Jack was completely at home in this "artsy" atmosphere.
One critter-related project specially caught my eye, but there were several others of interest that I hope to share in future posts.  It seems to me that sculpting nests would be a great way to foster respect..
 for a feat of excellence in the wild that escapes the notice of many.  Watching..
herons build nests was my first true realization of the time and effort that go into building a home that will withstand the elements, cradle eggs until they hatch and support tiny newborns that must make it through an often rambunctious adolescence before they are ready to fledge.  You can see photos in this post from 2009 (photos were small but clicking enlarges them) of the building process of one heron nest that fell many times before it was completed.  In the end, I think that nest was abandoned.  Perhaps, the heron pair were using it for practice :) There is also an eagle pair at Jericho Park whose young had to be rescued over and over again because their nest fell to the ground every year when the juveniles became larger and more active.  This story tells how the residents gathered together to help the "architecturally challenged" eagles in 2011.  They have born quite a number of healthy chicks since, so the plan turned out to be quite successful.  All to say I'm betting the construction of these nest sculptures was quite a lesson in understanding a few of the inherent challenges in nest building.
Later that day, Bill and I went for an evening walk.  The Canada Geese had taken over the soccer field in the park across the street.  Even on the pathways, we had to pick our steps very carefully to avoid goose droppings.
The following day (last Sunday), we spent a bit more time watching the geese, while Black Jack used the time to investigate nearby bushes for other critters.
At sundown, the geese prepared to swim (or fly if they were able) to the other side of False Creek.  I'm not sure what awaits them on the other side of the water.  Safer sleeping quarters, perhaps?
I think this could be two family groups.  It is hard to tell the young from their parents at this time of year, as most have reached their full size.  I learned at this site that the mother generally leads the young to "new" territory (I think these non-migrating geese go to the same location  each evening and return to their grazing area in the morning) and the father supervises from the rear.  It seems to me that the adults are stretching tall, investigating territory before leading the way.
Some of these geese appeared to be working on their flying skills.  Even the..
parents have to get back in shape again, as they moult and cannot fly during the child-rearing phase.  No flying "V" shapes yet for this gaggle of geese..
but they appeared to understand the concept in the water :)  Here, they passed under the ferry ramp.  I watched them approach, 
swim under us, proceed through the other side,
and head to their destination across the creek. 
They had passed the halfway point when Bill saw..
this boat increase speed and head deliberately into their midst.  I have to admit that a beautiful evening was marred with the reminder that  everyone does not feel the same respect that I do for wildlife.  There were three (possibly four) people on the top deck of the boat, and I imagine the driver saw this as a show-off manoeuvre to impress his pals.  They were too far for me to get a photo of the boat name, but if I had, I would have sent it to authorities with a description of their behaviour.  With darkness falling, neither Bill nor I could make out if any of the geese were injured or killed, but their confusion and distress was obvious.
The next day, we rode our bikes to Stanley Park and walked around Lost Lagoon.  I smiled to see this swan approach what I think of as a fence,
gracefully float under it,
and meet his/her mate on the other side.
Sometimes, I wonder if Black Jack wishes she had a vote when Bill and I are deciding on our destination each day.  It does seem to me that she finds every place we go tantalizing.  She is as happy exploring city streets as she appears to be in more rustic settings.  For sure, she is never bored at Lost Lagoon.
Nor am I :)  This dragonfly gave me only a second, and then..
was off in a blur.
The seagulls flew back and forth,
while herons perched alone,
or together,
all most likely sharing a common goal of finding food.
Something about those tufts of hair flying that always make me smile.
These six seagulls were peacefully doing their thing,
but it seems a 7th was..
a crowd.
As we headed back to our locked bikes, I took a last look at the lagoon..
and thought that the inhabitants would really welcome some rain.  Happily, we are on our second day of light but steady rain, so perhaps their wishes were granted.
As Bill was preparing the bikes so that we could put Black Jack in her basket and depart, a very quiet stream of geese emerged from the woods and crossed the bike path.  It seemed the line would never end.  They even appear to have a buddy system, perhaps directed by their parents.
This past Thursday, we rode to Granville Island.  We were only going to stay a few minutes, but busker Jonas Wilson really captured our attention.  Bill found us comfortable chairs in the shade, and we watched his entire show.  The focus had nothing to do with critters but we enjoyed his act so..
much that I wanted to share it with you, and if you look really, really carefully, you will see some pigeons in the photo above, a seagull in the one below,
and two teeny specs of black in this one that could be cormorants heading to their nests under the Granville Bridge.  The gentlemen supporting Jonas were chosen from the crowd.  I'd say from their averted heads as they ponder the chances of error in the sword throwing act, that this was not a set-up :)  I will share more photos of Jonas soon.  Super talented and very funny fellow, for sure.
That's my critter post for this week.  Many thanks to Eileen for inspiring us to share our pets and wildlife photos.  Happy Sunday, everyone!


  1. Hello Carol, you do live in a great area near the water. There is so much to see and do there. I think it is wonderful that the students are able to participate and share their art work. Adorable shots of Black Jack. And the geese population seems to be doing very well there. The behavior of the boat drive was really mean, I hope the geese were OK. I do love the sunset/moon capture. Great captures of all the birds, the gull, herons, geese and the beautiful dragonfly. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy new week ahead!

  2. Hi Carol,
    This post touched upon many topics that are close to my heart, such as love & respect for nature.
    I loved all of your photos. I noticed, finally {:)}, that Black Jack is a well-appointed dogo - very cool.
    And, he is photogenic!

    The geese (and other critters) are also friends of mine.
    I have recently found some roaches in the house.
    I am working on getting to go away.
    I am not sure if I should catch and release or use a roach bait.
    After admitting my ambivalence on killing even 'pests', I am definitely not for harassing the poor Geese. That will be akin to one of us driving a 4-wheeler into a group of children and terrorizing them, in my opinion. All we can do is to meditate/pray for peace and happiness for all. I know you are already doing that, which is great!

    The human pyramid, in the Jonas show is cool, and I bet the rest of the show is as well.

    Glad you're out enjoying the great weather, with friends and family!

    Have a Great Week!
    Peace :)

  3. Always a pleasure to view your posts. - I love the serious shots of Bill and Black Jack.
    What a great place to view art and learn new things.
    Loved the shots of the geese under the Ferry Ramp.
    Also the shot of the Heron and it's fuzzy top.
    I bet watching that man perform was interesting. I just recently learned the term (Busker) from a book I read. We just call them street performers.

  4. Thank you, Carol, for your kind message. What a superb post here ... really makes me want to pick up my paintbrush. I have done a few quick pen sketches this holiday, but the only painting was on my insect hotels! As for the frog-box in the castle grounds, well, to be fair, someone had made a marvellous underground world of darkness and damp, with earth, stones and airy places. It was more like a cloche/cold frame than a 'cage', and I feel sure the amphibians had chosen to be there, and probably to come and go as they pleased. Newts are protected under UK law, so I feel sure all was in order!