Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Seagull Story and Some Other Critters Enjoyed Lately

I have a seagull story, three Dachshunds, a Belted Kingfisher, a Blue Heron,  a few Canada Geese and happy Black Jack to share with Saturday's Critters today.  Sorry to be posting late.  Thanks, Eileen!  Such a fun meme!

A couple of days ago, Bill and I sat by False Creek watching a young gull. (I will name him Dylan and assume he is male for easier storytelling.  He was nagging the parent (I'll assume his mother) for food, as juveniles do when parents begin to insist that the kids become more independent. 
We guessed Dylan's home was a nest between the concrete blocks and rocks under the centre of the Cambie Bridge, halfway across the creek.  I went back to find two old photos of the bridge to set the scene for you.  We were sitting by this sculpture, but it was low tide so the concrete and rocks were more exposed.
 Here's another old photo of the bridge.
Back to the photos taken at the time. As we sat by the sculpture, Bill noticed..
that Dylan was in trouble.  We missed exactly what happened but he was stuck between two of the rocks.    
Then, Mom seemed to be pulling at the corner of his wing.  Perhaps, she was punishing him for the aggressive nagging, or perhaps, s/he was trying to help him regain equilibrium. (I've a hunch it was the latter.)
Dylan is at the bottom left of this next photo with his head peeking up from between the rocks.  He didn't move for several minutes and  I worried he was dead.  Mom watched him, but after a few..
minutes, he managed to stand upright (centre of the photo) and at that point,
she left him to take care of the other kids.
With my attention on her, I didn't see Dylan slip into the water.  Then, Bill told me he was swimming toward us.
He left the water and walked up the shore.
He was favouring his left leg.
Perhaps the injury happened when he was trapped between the rocks,
or perhaps even as he made his way along the shore toward us.
He calmly stopped to check us out and then limped past us and over to our right.
I zoomed in on Dylan's feet to see if I could detect the nature of the injury.  There was nothing obvious (to me) so I am hoping it was a sprain that will heal.  That right foot looks wonky but it was the left that he favoured.
I took some close-ups of him as he stood looking at us.
I feel pretty sure..
we were being sized up.
Whatever happened under the bridge, Dylan was no longer interested in..
nagging for a handout, even though..
his mom swam by..
nonchalently as though just wanting to check that he was okay.  They appeared to ignore each other completely.
After foraging in the hot sun, Dylan silently opened his mouth.
I cropped the photo for a better look at his features.
From the side, the tongue was easy to see.
I hope Dylan survived.  Stories like this stay in my mind but are rarely resolved. I have heard the "50% survival rate" theory bandied about quite a bit.  Several have told me that only 50% of fledging birds survive their first flight.  The last couple of days, I've done a little research to see if I can find more concrete evidence of survival-in-the-wild statistics.  This article made it clear to me that the subject is more complex than I realized.  Here's a quote from another article:
"Adult survival rates are usually between 0.4 and 0.6 with first-year survival rates often being between 0.1 and 0.2 - so roughly a half of all the adult birds and nearly ALL the baby birds you see will be dead in a years time. It’s a sad thought, but this has to happen if the population is to remain roughly constant."  
Dylan looks shocked at the implications of both articles.  Let's hope he defies the odds and goes on to live a long, healthy life.
We are fond of the sculpture, Time Top.  It was painstakingly assembled by the sculptor's widow (according to carefully documented instructions before Jerry Plethick died), and delivered to this area by barge.
Watching Dylan's story evolve through the sculpture's "feet" adds one more memory to those Bill and I have shared at that location.

As for the other critters seen lately, there was only one duck (a Gadwall, I think) in the Coal Harbour pond when we rode there a few days ago.  There were a couple of younger ones that hid most of the time; they managed to avoid my camera.
Because we have had so little rainfall in Vancouver, the water in the pond was stagnant, and there were thousands of tiny little flies around.  They were getting in our eyes so we walked across the path to look over the harbour.  With my long lens, I caught site of three Dachshunds through the openings in the fence.  They weren't brilliant shots, but they were clear enough to make me smile. The one on the right seemed okay with tail swishes in the face..
 and with being herded to the right, though..
 s/he did request a bit of alone time here.
They had had a little swim and a play in the sand and were..
enjoying the day immensely.
All three headed for that spot under the fence, tails wagging enthusiastically.
Bill and I walked along the seawall path, and were happy to see this Kingfisher.
After sightings almost every outing, s/he had disappeared, so the return was one to celebrate.
We took Black Jack down some steps to the beach area.
That always meets with her approval.
A heron..
floated by,
wings moving up and down so slowly,
I had time to savour the beauty of each position in space.
Black Jack..
was in fine form,
a big smile..
and perky ears adding to the perfect day.
I guess the geese thought if I was going to admire the herons, I might as well..
take a look at real beauty in the air :)
Thanks, as always, for stopping by to take a peek at the critters encountered over the past few days.  Happy Tuesday to each one of you!  Until next time!  


  1. Wow, what can I say, all of them are beautiful, thanks Carol.

  2. Hello Carol, Nice post of the gull Dylan. I am glad he seems ok and will survive. The dachshunds are cute! Love the heron flight shots. And of course your Black Jack is always a treat to see. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your critter post. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  3. I found that sculpture so interesting to look at. Showed it to my husband and he liked it too! Wonderful images! I finally added you to my list of blogs I follow. So that I don't miss a post anymore of yours!

  4. I loved the story of Dylan! I , too, hope he survives. The statistics are quite shocking! Hugs for you both. Phyllis

  5. Enjoyed reading about Dylan. It's interesting to see how his mom was watching out for him, even if he is one of those "teenagers." Hope all goes well with him.