Friday, April 30, 2010


Sometimes, thoughts trigger photos, and sometimes, it is the other way around.

Last weekend, Earth Day was celebrated at Jericho Park. A huge truck arrived with Port-a-potties, and that red truck off to the right sold specialty coffees and some healthy fast foods.

An army of volunteers rushed to have everything prepared in time. My thoughts: Earth Day is good. Do we really need Port-a-potties? There are washrooms within a five-minute walk. I wonder if the food stands and booths could have been set up at the entrance to the park, rather than right by the pond where so many birds are nesting.

A Red-winged Blackbird and a Blue Heron have been at each other for several days now. In lots of ways, birds and humans are not that different.

Last Sunday, I stopped and took a picture of the lions in their Canucks outfits, at the entrance to the Lions Gate Bridge. I am really, really curious to know who has been dressing up the lions, and what time of day the deed is done. (During olympics, they had outfits as well.)

This is the seagull couple that I have been watching in North Vancouver. They have since moved out of the osprey nest, and as EvenSong noted, smart decision. My thought: There is always (well, usually) something endearing about watching two beings in love.

The next 13 pictures were all taken as I stood yesterday, watching the empty osprey nest. I was there for about an hour, and did not see Dad. I wonder where he was and what he was doing.

Some thoughts as I observed other action around the nest:

1. We often miss the beauty of crows.

2. This heron is flying almost directly to me, with no sign of nervousness. Even in my pink bike jacket, I think I am beginning to blend into the surroundings.

3. Love that landing gear forward look.

4. Wings wide open like a big hug about to happen.

5. I saw you swallow something, but have no idea what it was. What is your favourite tidbit lying in that shallow water?

6. Flying right toward me again. I am honoured.

7. Heron physique reflects both nature's sense of humour and her eye for beauty.

8. I am envious of the ability to fly.

9. Landing gear coming down.

10. Windy day and the waves on the heron's back are rather like the waves on the water.

11. Set of three, as a cormorant drove the seagull off its post. Thought: the seagull doesn't seem to take it personally.

I stopped on the way home to take this picture by the bridge. One of the lions has lost its Canucks jersey, but gained a sliver (tin foil) cup.

My thought: Never count your chickens....

I noticed this Monkey Puzzle Tree as I was taking the picture of the lion. I wonder how long it has been there. How many times have I biked across the bridge, and never once seen this tree?

I decided to stop at the Stanley Park heronry. On the way, I saw two crows in this fountain. One seemed to be showing the other how to soften its food in the water. By the time I got my camera out, the crows were gone, but I reflected yet again on the intelligence of crows.

Behind the fountain, I looked again at the Yue Minjun "Amazing Laughter" sculptures. So many people were enjoying them, children posing in front of them, mimicking the postures, parents smiling as they snapped photos. I aimed my camera high, not to intrude. I have complained about these sculptures, but as much as it is a bit difficult to admit it, they are growing on me. My thought: There is a kind of rudeness in the gestures, and I understand where it comes from, but it still offends me. I almost feel Yue Minjun is laughing at my weakness in feeling the contagious laughter in spite of myself.

The heronry was buzzing with the rhythmical chuck-chuck-chuck of chicks. This male had just delivered food. It rested for about 10 seconds and then took off again. My thoughts: 1. Those little guys have musical drive without melodic flow, unlike most birds. 2. I wonder why herons have a squawking voice - it seems at such odds with their grace and beauty. Part of nature's sense of humour, I guess. 3. I wonder if the hard working parents ever complain to each other about the spoiled kids. 4. Beautiful, beautiful bird.

Plants right beside the heronry. My thoughts: 1. I am inspired to notice these because of Penelope's post. 2. No time to look up the name of these. Is it sort of irresponsible to post plants and birds that I cannot name? No, I hope not. Seeing them is a start.

Black Jack and I walked at Stanley Park after I arrived home from work. This Red-winged Blackbird chirped insistently at me. My thoughts: 1. It is demanding a photo shoot. 2. I have taken so many of these birds, but I can't resist. I can see the red inside its mouth. Amazing!

These Mallards flew by and I thought they were beautiful.

They followed a third one that seemed to have rather a flat head. Injured, or have I just never noticed that shape before? Almost a perfect diagonal line. Beautiful. Oh, to fly!

Almost home, camera put away, but taken out to catch the light on this flower. Penelope's influence again:)
These were some of yesterday's thoughts. Thanks, as always, for taking time to read them.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Osprey expressions

Dad continues to work really, really hard to find his mate. His nest-building skills have improved dramatically since last summer.

Penelope described the thoughts behind his intense expression like this:
“Here is a worthy house I worked hard to make strong.
Hope you come soon as I’ve lived like a loner for far too long.”

One thing for sure, he is not giving up. I watched him fly high in the sky yesterday, hovering, his wings a blur, and then diving straight down at incredible speed. It wasn't possible to catch that in a useable photo, as he put on his show at the other end of the beach, near the second osprey nest, but it made my spine tingle to watch him.

After each episode of circling the sky, he would come back to his nest, and those arrivals and departures were incredible to see.

I can't look at these pictures, now, without thinking of Penelope's words.

They just seem perfect. Here, he seems to have his hands/wings on his hips, in an, "I'm waiting," expression. I feel sure he is tapping his toe/talon as well.

This one seems a bit wistful.

I love the symmetry in this wing shot.

My friend, Dianne, arrived with her dear little grandson, Jona.

She pointed out this starfish, just behind me. I had missed it completely.

She and Jona explored the beach, and I thought about how Jona will remember these days. He is a lucky boy to spend so much time with his Grandma.

This pair of seagulls used to sit in Dad's nest, but they must have had a little talk, because they now use the only other pylon for resting and snoozing.

Dianne and I were both feeling quite emotional yesterday, as we watched Dad work so persistently to find his mate.

Shivers up and down my spine happened over and over, and I took that to mean that Mom's arrival was imminent.

That didn't happen, but I still wonder if she perhaps came after I left.

Mama Osprey, we watch and wait for you. Safe journey!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Watching and Waiting

Several of the osprey "keeners" were out yesterday, hoping to see the lone male (Dad, for now) find and dance with his mate. It didn't happen, but the camaraderie and action around the nest made the continuing experience very enjoyable. Henry Wong, Andre, Robert, Marianne and Bill were all there, as well as a few others whose names I have not yet learned. This is a quick post before school, and there is no time to provide links, but I am sure there are some wonderful pictures to see, and I hope to pass on some of those soon.

There are quite a few eagles around. This young one was flying overhead, as I walked along the shore to the nest. Occasionally, there are battles, and Robert told me that Dad has a small puncture wound under his wing. Fortunately, it doesn't appear to be bothering him. He is flying strong and expending lots of energy on the nest.

Seconds after I arrived, Dad flew to the top of a ship mast, quite a distance away. He stayed there for a long time. Birds are teaching me patience. They seem to have, from my perspective, unlimited quantities of it.

A Blue Heron came by,

flying very close to us, but not taking into account that the background wasn't the best for photos.

I loved its landing, chest out and wings back with a, "Here I am, like it or not" attitude.

This Canada Goose came very close, and the intermittent sun just happened to catch the water droplets on its face and neck.

Dad finally left the mast, and came to the nest.

Although we were out on the shoal, and quite close to him, he seemed perfectly comfortable with our presence. I love the intensity in his eyes, and the way his head bobs to the side when he is checking out sticks (or, sometimes fish) in the water around the nest. His neck moves independently of his body, rather like the young dancers I enjoy watching at my school.

I am hopeful that his hard work on the nest indicates confidence that either his old mate, or perhaps a new one, will arrive soon.

He brings quite a variety of sticks and material to the nest. You would need to click on this picture to see it more clearly, but it appears to be a piece of wood that he may have found lying around the dock.

I stopped at Stanley Park on the way home to check out the heronry. There is the chatter of chicks in many nests, and although it is impossible to see them, I thought I saw the tiniest hint of one in this picture.

This heron stepped very gingerly around the nest, probably tending to at least one chick.

Picture taking becomes more and more of a challenge, as the buds turn to leaves. This fellow had just delivered something (nest material or food, I'm not sure) and was preparing to go back to work.

That was yesterday, as I saw it.

If you get a chance, vote just above this post, for possible osprey names. It is difficult to see the poll, but if you click and highlight over it, it becomes much more visible. That problem is a blogger one that I have not been able to correct. If you vote, and then change your mind, there is an option to give you a chance to choose new names. I look forward to and appreciate each comment and/or vote, so many thanks for that input.