Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Birds and Critters in the first half of September

We enjoyed lots of of critters over the past week that I hope to share with Eileen's Saturday's Critters meme when it comes up next Saturday.  Though I missed this week's deadline, I encourage you to check it out if wildlife and/or pets are of interest to you.  She has a loyal following of avid and very knowledgeable critter fans.  This was her 91st post!  Many thanks, Eileen!

There are quite a number of birds here that I'll post to Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday.  If you are a birder, or if you just enjoying seeing some wonderful photography, that is another highly recommended meme.  Thanks so much, Stewart, for the time and effort you put into maintaining it.

Saturday, September 5th - Olympic Spirit Park
For several weeks, I have been watching juvenile seagulls beg their parents to continue feeding them.  Their heartrending cries are etched on my soundscape.
 I've begun to realize the parents may not be trying to evade the youngsters..
 so much as leading them to the discovery that they can fly,
 swim, and find..
Come back here right now!
 food in their surroundings.
See?  This is how you do it.
 Still, a handout once in a while is really, really appreciated!
The small stream in the park is filled with duckweed.  At least, I think that's what it is, and not the algae I was calling it.  I learned this after reading TexWisGirl's blog. (Thanks, Theresa!) A link that I found this morning informs me that duckweed is nutritious and a positive addition to small ponds and streams.
Sunday, September 6th - Downtown Vancouver
We were on the way to a Jazz Vespers concert when we encountered this girl with her cat.  She told me her previous cat had been stolen.  I am thinking a well-meaning animal protection person took the cat.  The girl looked like she had some problems but she was clearly determined to keep a cat for company.  The cat was a little stressed at seeing Black Jack, but otherwise appeared healthy.  Perhaps, a better approach on the part of the animal welfare person would have been to encourage/help the girl to take the best possible care of her pet.
 This is Black Jack on Bill's knee at the Jazz Vespers concert.
Monday, September 7th - Jericho Park
A cute duck in the pond probably joined..
 these others when a family threw a seed mix into the water.  (Yay! Not bread!)
 In a few seconds, every duck in the pond was heading to that spot.  It was a gorgeous day.  You can see a large gathering of picnickers in the background.
 We walked up a hill and were really excited to see this tree frog.  A first for both of us!  I hope I identified it correctly.
 I don't think I would have recognized it except for TexWisGirl's post a week or so ago.  Thanks again, Theresa!
 It was so tiny, I thought it was just a leaf blowing in the breeze but something about Theresa's blog post made me take a second look.
Bill couldn't believe this was his first tree frog sighting in his entire life.  I'm more used to surprises like this as I seem to have led a rather sheltered youth :)
 I'm wondering if these green frogs noticed next were juvenile tree frogs, or possibly using their camouflage talents.  Or, were they a separate species?
 I think they are about as cute as "cute" gets!
 Here are three on a tree branch to give you a better idea of their tiny size.  We were watching the one in the middle when a..
 little head appeared over it.  These little guys were such a highlight.
 We laughed and laughed as we watched them.
Bill inspected this fallen hornet/wasp (?) nest lying on the ground near the frogs.
 So beautiful, but I was very glad it appeared to be unoccupied.  Doesn't that look like the eye of an aquarium fish peering downward?
We also loved watching this Blue Heron in the pond.  The light brought out the blue in his/her head colouring.
 There was a second heron on the other side of the pond.
 Reflection shots entertained us..
 for quite some time.
 I watched this Bushtit with attitude..
 Ah, shucks.  Whaddaya mean..  attitude?  
 while Bill and Black Jack communed with nature on this park bench.
 I zoomed in with my large lens..
 and they played to their..
 most avid..
 fan!  The cuteness factor rivals even that of tree frogs :)
Jericho is the rabbit capitol of Vancouver but we didn't explore the rabbit bushes as we usually do.  This one was hanging out with a crow.
Wednesday, September 9th, Stanley Park Seawall
This was my only squirrel capture for the entire week.  S/he played hide-and-seek with me, moving to the other side of the tree every time I approached.
We sat on a park bench under a tree looking out to the ocean for a while.  This spider was very tiny, and my eyes couldn't pick out its web at all.  By cropping and adding iphoto definition, I barely make out the web and a few of the victims.
 No time to identify these so I'll call them water beetles.  There were kazillions..
 of them on the rocks by the shore, and it was fascinating to watch them interact.
 This seagull nestled into a curve of the rock as though into a luxurious pillow.
 A crow basked in the sun as well.  It was just that kind of day.
An ocean liner and a sailboard hung out in the background,
as cormorants made their way back and forth across the ocean.
We thought a giant turtle was climbing over this log toward us, but when the log rolled over, we realized we had been fooled.
In yesterday's post, I showed this driftwood in its entirety.  Today, just a couple..
of the animals I saw in its make-up.
Thursday, September 10th - bike ride to Vanier Park
We stopped on the way to listen to this pianist near Olympic Village Park.
Each piano in the Keys to the Streets program..
10 piano locations around Vancouver shown below.  We were at #6.
has an interesting artistic theme. Can you spot the critters in the piano's decor?  
An adult Vizsla and a puppy  appeared to be enjoying the music as well.
The lady with them was texting while keeping close contact with her dogs.
Bill was watching another dog, this one in a kayak.  S/he appeared to be nervous,
and was perhaps being trained for future kayak runs.  Happily, a life jacket was worn by the dog (though not the people!).
After some very nice music and some critter watching, we got back on our bikes to continue to Vanier Park.  The Vizslas left as well.
When we arrived at Vanier Park, we left the bikes by the eagle tree (no eagles in sight) and walked with Black Jack to her favourite sail boat,
the North Star.
Admittedly, it is not the boat but its feline residents that catch her attention.  Bill gave her a "leg" up so that she could peer into the cabin..
but in spite of their intense focus, the cats, like the eagles, remained out of sight.
I know they're there somewhere!
"I'll 'comb' them all right!  Here, kitty, kitty, kitty!"
After giving up on locating William and Abby (you can see pictures of them in the latter half of this post), Black Jack relieved her frustration by exploring the rocky shore.  I caught lots of views of her tail..
but once in a while she came up for air :)
This white beauty chose to lie in the sand, completely calm amid canine chaos.
This man finally had to remove his dog from the ocean by force, as the dog had no plans to return to shore with the ball.  I don't think the gentleman was pleased.

Friday, September 11th - 14th anniversary of 9/11

A Quote by Desmond Tutu

“Do your little bit of good where you are; 
it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  

Bike ride to Stanley Park and a walk around Lost Lagoon
In the morning before we left for the park, I took a photo of this spider web that was hanging from the corner of the balcony.  
We were shocked when we arrived at Stanley Park to see that the stream leading into the lagoon had become a mud flat. Rain a couple of weeks ago was welcome, but sunshine has again been with us for days.  A little bit of rain is expected tomorrow.
The play of light over wet mud brought a magical feeling to the landscape.
Far across the pond, my lens picked up what my eye could barely make out.
We saw this sign on a park bench and I guessed that the bat may have had rabies.  This newspaper story confirms that.  It is probably important to read it if you are unaware of the ways rabies can be transmitted.
We haven't seen many American Coots lately.  This one seemed to be alone.
Double-crested Cormorants competed with seagulls for space on this log in the middle of the lagoon.
The geese were squabbling quite a bit..
amongst themselves.  
I'm wondering if that is normal at this time of year.  Even the Wood Ducks seemed to be involved in lots of posturing and disagreements.
I never take the majesty of birds in flight for granted.
Though I found this Blue Heron's expression comical, I knew..
the high-alert posture was likely caused by an eagle or other threat nearby.
I was happy with my dragonfly shots until I investigated Terry Thormin's blog.  His spectacular photography and his information about wildlife on Vancouver Island are not to be missed.
I'm wondering if this may be a Paddle-Tailed Darner, only because Mr. Thormin remarks that that species hovers for longer than most dragonflies.
This racoon stepped across our path and into the pond,
with absolutely no fear.
So cute, but definitely not to be trifled with.
We sat on a park bench watching the Wood Ducks for quite a while.
Sometimes, they would catch the sunlight..
in just the right way to bring out a particular colour or feature.
Whether trying to catch reflections,
or just the little mauve stripe at the back of the males' heads, 
I was completely engrossed..
in their beauty.
Many thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  1. Hello Carol, what an awesome post, just filled with all kinds of critters. I just love al the doggies, ducks, herons and gulls. But, my favorites are of the cute tree frogs. They are adorable. Great reflections and wonderful series of photos. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

  2. WOW! What an awesome filled post with 'all kinds of everything' in it. The Heron shots are marvellous as are all the photographs.

  3. Wow! Great series of photos!
    You helped me ID a bird - the Coot. I saw one, got a photo, but was not sure what it was. Now I know - an American Coot. Thanks!

  4. Hi Carol. I believe the critter on the rocks is a rock slater or sea roach. B.

  5. Your dragonfly shots are amazing, Carol. I have yet to get a single successful shot of this creature. Am also impressed with the colourful feathers you found on the wood ducks that can’t help looking adorable even when in an argument. The tiny frogs (green and otherwise) are sooo sweet … I’m not sure I’ve seen one this up close and personal ever!

  6. adorable froggies, doggies, duckies, birds, critters. :)

  7. What an epic post! I do like that shot of the duck with the green weed - which I think is Duck Weed!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne