Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year's Day Critters for Eileen

There was a heavy frost on the ground and mist over False Creek when I woke up on New Year's Day.  By breakfast time (8ish) the fog had rolled in and the high-rises were faint shafts of light in the distance. The lady in the apartment above us feeds the birds.  We're not actually allowed to do that, but I'm happy she does as we love to see them gathered in the tree outside our balcony window.  She takes care of the Dickie Birds (as Bill calls them) and we take care of.. 
the hummingbirds and a few of the crows.  When a hummingbird first appeared in the tree outside our balcony window on September 4th, we decided to go that very day to Wild Birds Unlimited to buy a feeder.  The one we chose has suction cups that hold it against the balcony window.  I filled it with sugar water (4 parts water to 1 part sugar), and changed it every few days as recommended, but it wasn't until two months later, on November 3rd, that we celebrated our first visit.  Now, we see them regularly at breakfast time and at various intervals throughout the day.  We're not sure how many use the feeder as we can't tell them apart.  To date, there has never been more than one at the feeder, though we've seen a couple chasing each other past the trees.  We noticed two styles of feeding. Some take a quick sip and then hover, usually at the left or centre of the feeder.
Others sit for a few minutes on the right side, taking long sips,
 and then stare into the window as we eat breakfast.  We call the "flitters" Henrietta and the "sitters" Henry, but the gender is a guesstimate only.  
The above photos were taken in early November, on the same day as the ones of this crow.  We are still trying to settle on a crow-feeding system that will be manageable. I was hoping to feed just a couple of crows, but they tend to tell their friends, and some of them can be a bit aggressive, dive-bombing us as we walk along the street if they feel we're a bit too slow with the hand-outs.  I don't know about Bill, but I feel wracked with guilt when I forget to bring treats with me.  I had to have a heart-to-heart with this one, when it found the balcony and thought that would be the perfect feeding spot.
 S/he was so close to me, I had to back away to get this shot.  S/he stared,
 trying to understand my words, and ever since, has been especially cooperative.  S/he doesn't fly onto the balcony any more, but knows that I leave the apartment around 9:00 (I go to a gym class each day at 9:15) so s/he usually flies to a spot where I can drop some of Black Jack's salmon treats at the base of a tree or by a parking metre.  Lately, she flies when s/he sees me to a spot on a cement ledge attached to the neighbouring apartment building.  That ledge is the perfect height for face to face contact.  His/her stare is eery and wonderful because it's so direct and so..  knowing. S/he never caws at me, doesn't dive-bomb, and when I say there are no more treats, she leaves quietly.  S/he has excellent manners :)
But, getting back to our day yesterday :)  The fog lifted and the sun caught some lovely detail in Henrietta's head before she..
headed back to the tree.  
There, too, the sun was able to reach through the branches to highlight her aqua-green feathers.
 I wonder if she catches insects from that perch.
Her bill and the branch lined up so perfectly in this next shot, I thought at first I was seeing the longest-tongued hummer on the planet :)
 The chick-a-dees looked to the apartment above, waiting, I guess, for the..
 the feeder to be filled up.
 My last "hummer" shot of the day was of Henry, or perhaps Henrietta, now high in the tree, and hopefully warmed up after the sugar water.
 Bill and I took the aquabus across False Creek in the afternoon.  With the fog..
 lifted, the bright blue skies yielded amazingly detailed reflections.
This was taken through the boat's plastic window so it isn't the clearest, but you can see the Cambie Bridge in the background.
Our #2 route took us from the Yaletown stop to Spy Glass.  If you can make out the print on this map, you will see it's a very short trip.
There's Bill by Spy Glass landing.  He carries Black jack's coat, my hat, and often my mitts (that he picks up from the ground when they fall).  He is ever ready to save the day, the minute I appear cold, or Black Jack shivers.  Just one of a kazillion reasons why I love him.
From there, we walked to Broadway Street to meet our friend, Jock. It was Bill who spotted this lovely hat perched on a pole.
I hope the person that lost it will eventually find it.  (They clearly need a "BIll" in their life!)
Black Jack wasn't allowed in the Blenz café, so we sat outside for our treats.
It was pretty cold (for Vancouver) and Black Jack, even with her coat on, began to shiver until Bill tucked her inside his down jacket.  It was great to touch base with Jock on New Year's Day..  he's a good friend and time with him is always fun.
We decided to walk home over the Cambie Bridge rather than take the ferry.  There was just enough sun, and we walked just quickly enough, that we managed to stay reasonably warm.
The last burst of sun caught the side of our building.  There's that glass partition I was telling you about yesterday.  This time, I took the whole panel, and loved the beams of sunlight filtering through and around it.
Well, 15 minutes left before the third day of 2016.  Just time to show you a couple of photos taken at the end of October that were never shared.  Below is Cathy, one of our wonderful neighbours with her little dog, Frankie.
That day, the hedge between the walking path and the bike path had just about shed its beautiful red leaves but I thought it made a wonderful backdrop to..
highlight a sweet dog and a delightful friend.
I don't know the name of this hedge.  Perhaps a reader can id it for me.
And since we're talking critters, here's a poodle that Bill and I saw later that afternoon.  Poor thing really wanted to play but all the dogs in the park ignored him.  Could they have objected to his haircut?
A little further on, we watched this squirrel..
and marvelled at the size of the nearby mushrooms.
That day, we walked along the seawall.  I loved this shot of wide-eyed Black Jack.
We had some fun playing on the beach.
Bill got a bit wild and crazy with these bull whips that had washed up on the beach, but I promise no one was injured..
in the taking of this photo :)
We walked back up this path.  It is one of my favourites,
with the red berries at the top always seeming to welcome us.  That's it for today.  Rushing to post before midnight.  Many thanks to you for stopping by, and to Eileen for her wonderful critter meme.  Check it out.  It's a great one.  Whoops, the clock just struck midnight.  Furry Gnome (a fascinating blog to check out as well), I think of you these days whenever my posts are too long.  Promise I'm working on it.  Will try to stick to the plan tomorrow :)


  1. Hello Carol, I am so glad you put up a Hummingbird feeder. They are such a treat to see these adorable birds up close. I think your photos are of a male and female. The male has some color under his chin. The long tongue photo is of a female. Love the crow and the chickadee. Black Jack is always a cutie. Your neighbor Cathy has a cute dog too. Is the bush a Burning Bush, they have those pretty red leaves. Great post and photos. Happy New Year to you, Bill and Black Jack. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  2. They may be long, but they're fascinating! Great pictures of the birds - crows are so smart! And i love maps. I always enjoy trying to figure out approximately where other bloggers live. Nice part of Vancouver.

  3. such sweet hummers! we don't keep ours thru winter. love the crow shots!! beautiful! happy neighbors and pups. :)

  4. We have the same hummingbird feeder on our dining room window and watch a steady stream of at least three hummers. I wonder if they are the mother and two babies ( from egg to fledging) which entertained us for six weeks this summer! They are Anna's hummingbirds! Hugs for you both. Phyllis

  5. Lovely birdie shots and nice dogs.

    There are lots of those bushes in Ohio. Eileen is right, it's Burning bush (Euonymus alatus).

  6. So jealous that you get to see humming birds this often! Will trade for a couple of kangaroos!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  7. Fantastic hummingbird and crow shots! And I love your time at the park. Great squirrel too. Looks like a great day!

  8. So nice to see your post. Fabulous shots of the hummingbird and crows. I see another post below, going to go and read and look.