Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Critters for Eileen's 89th post

There are quite a few photos here, all from Thursday's outing to Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.  Vancouver was still in the midst of the driest summer on record (rain arrived two days later).  Our critter sightings were not rare or exotic but there was beauty and interesting behaviour to observe and we were content.  I'll share the post with Eileen's Saturday's Critters and Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday memes.  My thanks go out to both for the endless work they do to bring wildlife watchers together from across the globe.

I am doing a second edit of this post to show a hawk we happened to spot when we visited the UBC campus today.  I didn't get great photos but perhaps they are clear enough for someone to suggest what it could have been.
 After looking at my National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, I'm wondering if it could have been a Merlin.

Back to the description of Last Thursday's outing.
To set the scene for you, here's Bill standing on the little bridge that crosses a stream that flows from the right side of the photo to the left, and into the lagoon.
He looks back to take these two photos of me with a chickadee.
I love the feel of the chickadee's feet in my hand.
The chickadee only accepts a couple of peanuts, and then leaves.  We stand looking over the bridge to the lagoon.  One by one, the members of a Canada Goose family peer over the stone ledge, consider the descent, and then drop into the water to join the ducks.  They are so organized!
We walk to the right of the bridge and down to the lagoon.  Everything looks amazingly lush, given the drought conditions.  Bill doesn't realize he and Black Jack are in the photo.  He's waiting patiently for me to stop taking photos :) 
Wispy clouds drift across blue sky. 
We admire the Weeping Willows on the other side of the lagoon.
Looking back towards the bridge, we notice that the beavers have been busy.
One of the geese we had watched previously swims by us and into the light.
The Wood Ducks seem especially active and their colours are radiant.
We see this domestic duck hybrid (I think) every time we visit and are happy s/he appears to be content.
Something unusual is up with the Wood Ducks.  Perhaps, the young are trying out their wings.  They fly up into the trees, perching on the higher branches.
I wonder if they are challenging each other to gain status.
I love the blue shades in this one.
One of two American Coots swims by to hang out with the Wood Ducks.
There are many scuffles in the water.  I wonder if a predator (beaver? otter?) is swimming under the ducks.  We've never seen them so agitated.  Bill wonders if we are witnessing copycat behaviour. Sometimes, they argue,
and sometimes, they fly straight up, only to flop down again in the pond.
The water is in constant turmoil.
We sit for a while watching them..
but finally tear ourselves away to check out the rest of the lagoon.
This one is a short distance away.  Again, I can't resist the blue/mauve shades.
Droplets fly as s/he takes a bath.
This duck's topknot makes us both smile.
A photographer is willing to get down-and-wet for the perfect capture.
A turtle stretches up to the sunlight.
The dragonflies flit between blades of grass.
We see that work is being done..
to make this a better space for critters.
One of the resident mute swans peeks from behind a rock.
Black Jack is fully engaged.
One more irresistible Wood Duck calls me.
This Douglas Squirrel is just a blur, coming straight to us.
S/he sees Black Jack, hesitates for a second..
and continues in our direction.
Black Jack is not considered a threat (she's drooling in Bill's arms).
Once the squirrel is gone, Bill lets Black Jack explore the water's edge.
We stop in at the Nature House for a few minutes.  I didn't know Beavers have orange teeth!
This shot shows the area we have just walked, with the North Shore Mountains in the background.
That little spec in the middle of the pond is a log with five or six cormorants on it. 
The Weeping Willow seems to know exactly how far it can droop over the trail.  
We check to be sure :)  That concludes this week's critter post.  Thanks so much for stopping by!
Editing to add commentary for these last three photos that I seem to have forgotten this morning when I posted.  They were taken from the balcony that evening after our outing.  
I guess the beautiful sky was signalling a change in the weather and that was welcomed for sure.  Days and days of sunshine were wonderful for riding our bikes and walking the trails, but seeing the trees lose their leaves and the critters drinking from stagnant ponds really brought home the necessity of rain.
As I turned to go back into the apartment, I noticed the light reflected on the balcony roof and my shadow looking rather huge :)  We've had quite a bit of rain over the past few days, and I feel sure the trees are breathing easier.  Have a happy Wednesday, everyone!    


  1. Thanks for sharing your wonderful day. Love all the critters shots!

  2. Hello Carol, what a lovely place for a walk and great for the birds and duck sightings. I love all the wood duck shots, they are so pretty. ANd Black Jack is always a favorite of mine. Gorgeous sky captures. I like the last huge shadow shot, cool! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your week ahead!

  3. Hello Carol, Sorry I am not sure about your Hawk ID. There are some western Hawks that I have not seen and I am not really sure. Maybe Theresa (Tex) could help?

  4. What a great amount of animals, birds, etc etc. They are superb Carol.

  5. great waterfowl shots and adorable squirrel. :)