Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday Travels

With rain falling most of the day on Saturday, travels consisted of short walks, and lots of play afterwards during Black Jack's much loved towel-down time.

A movie, Bebes, with my friend Kitty, was an excellent way to spend a rainy afternoon. There were some really thought-provoking comparisons of child-development in different parts of the world, although I confess that the movie didn't hold me captive all the way through, as I had thought it might, after loving the initial scenes.

On Sunday, this rock caught my eye as I walked along the beach near Jericho.

I wonder how long it has balanced in that precarious position.

These sweet-pea blooms brought colour to the shore-line.

There were lots of roses too, their aroma hanging on the still moist air.

I've taken photos of this tree stump before. I think it was Bill who first pointed it out to me. I wonder if someone has helped the sculpture along a little bit. Either way, I find it beautiful.

I checked on the eagle nest, and found just the one adult at home. Another observer told me there are still two chicks in the nest, but the occasional flicker of a wing tip never happened when my camera was ready, and I'll have to make some more visits to verify that he was correct. Here, the adult is watching a very persistent crow above.

I missed the adult's departure from the nest, but caught a few shots of the crow and its two seagull accomplices chasing it back and forth across the sky.

On the way home, I admired the flowers and enjoyed a conversation with a person who walks regularly in the park. He said that he is very "visual" and yet could swear those roses behind the lupins were not there on Saturday, and must have sprung up overnight.

Raindrop patterns in flickering sunlight.

A mother herded her two ducklings through the pond, trying unsuccessfully to..

keep this one from going off in its own direction. Kids these days:)

Another mother picked lice off her quickly-growing offspring.

In the afternoon, I biked over to North Vancouver, to stand for an hour on the shoal at low tide. There was no sign of Lawrence and Olivia, but I had several really enjoyable conversations with people who had stopped by. A teacher from Seattle, a lady I had not seen since last summer (Bettina), a couple with their dog, Mia - all enjoying the low tide and local wildlife.

This cormorant (Pelagic, I think) provided a lot of entertainment. There is something both beautiful and comical about these birds.

So many shades of greenish purplish blue.

Something insistent in the eyes.

Maybe spotted a fish?

A quick flap to dry the wings, and a little wiggle of the tail..

and it was off!

Quite a distance out in the water, I saw it dive, and then it seemed to have a white head. This is not a good photo, but there is a white fish wrapped around the cormorant's head.

An amazingly large fish, it seemed to me. Bettina mentioned that she is constantly amazed at the variety of fish in the water, and it occurred to me that we never see them, except when they are caught.

It was a struggle to get that fish down.

Quite a bulge in the neck! I was amazed that the cormorant managed to fly away right after this photo.

There were about five different gatherings of Canada Geese, but unlike last weekend, they seemed to get along with each other. I love watching them slide into their landings.

The seagull couple had a little tug of war over this food item. That is the very first disagreement I've seen between them, but it was settled quickly, with the one on the right deciding to go look for its own food.

This seal spent a few moments observing me.

I enjoyed watching Mia.

She is a strikingly beautiful dog, and she was really enjoying the day.

I stopped on the way home to check on the heronry at Stanley Park. There was no sign of action in Sue and Stanley's nest, but lots it in some of the other nests, with the chicks growing quickly, and competing noisily for food.

It is amazing to me that the siblings and parents manage to survive in what is becoming a smaller and smaller space.

Poor photo here, but this chick was watching a heated debate/squabble in the nest above it. I thought I detected horror in its eyes, and the straight-up topknot seemed to support my idea.

The rain began in earnest as I headed for home, and I hear it is going to last for much of the coming week. Not the best beginning to Bike to Work Week, which is a shame as I know the organizers have worked very hard, and I really appreciate their efforts.

Safe travels, however you get where you have to go this week.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Olivia makes an appearance!

Thursday and Friday were exciting days around the two osprey nests in North Vancouver. For any new readers, I call the pair in the more easily viewed nest Lawrence and Olivia, and the pair in the nest over the shipyard are Jonny and Jewel.

At lunchtime on Thursday, my friend, Dianne, came rushing into the music room at school, to tell me that the tide was very low and that she had seen both Lawrence and the otter. (S/he is unnamed as yet, but Bill has suggested Frankie - "Frankie and Jonny" has a nice ring to it, don't you think?) I hurried out of school with Dianne, still in my teaching shoes. They are not the best for climbing down rocks, but I was so excited, it didn't seem to matter. When we arrived, the otter was no longer there, but we could see Lawrence coming in with a branch for the nest.

It is a thrill every time to watch him land.

He worked hard arranging the stick just so,

and then left to fetch another.

This sequence was repeated over and over, and when I had to leave to go back to school, he was still at it.

Look, Ma. One talon!

Is this my good side?

Gotta fill up that hole!

It was hard to tear myself away, but there was no choice. During a short break later in the afternoon, I stepped outside the school, thinking to take a quick look around. There was no time for the ten-minute-or-so walk to Lawrence's nest, but right above me, I saw an osprey. I thought it must be Jonny, as Jewel was watching from afar, and I could see some missing primary feathers in his right wing. Unless Lawrence had lost feathers in the last couple of hours, this had to be Jonny. What a show he put on, Jewel calling to him all the while.

He hovered, dove, rose high, and dove again.

See this, Jewel?

Much of the time, he was so high in the sky, I could barely make him out. I appreciate my long lens so much at times like this!

I wondered at his ability to fly so beautifully, with such a gap in his feathers. I wondered as well whether they had been pulled out in an altercation, or whether this is what is called moulting. Either way, I hope they grow back. I looked up a couple of sites to get a bit more information about feathers, and found this heart-warming rescue story about a case where people actually used epoxy cement to replace some feathers to help an injured osprey fly again. I was curious about how to name the various feathers in the wing, and found this site with some information about body parts and feather tracts.

On Friday around lunchtime, the weather was quite dismal. I had my camera in my bag, but decided I would just do a quick check on Lawrence's nest, without taking photos. However, the tide was out, and Lawrence flew in just as I was leaving.

How can you resist me?

He took a look at me, but seemed more preoccupied with something in the distance. I looked in the direction of his gaze, but saw nothing.

Suddenly, Lawrence took off, putting on a show such as I have never seen before.

He called and called, and flew higher and higher, hovering, diving, and rising again.

Like Jonny, he seemed to be checking for confirmation that his show was being appreciated.

The display went on for a very long time. He flew higher, and hovered longer, than Jonny had. I will never forget his cries. Even when he was so high I could barely find him, the intensity and urgency came through so expressively and insistently, there was no mistaking his message to Olivia.

I felt a presence behind me, and there she was! Oh, Olivia, I am so happy to see you!

There was no question she was aware of, and I hope, appreciating, Lawrence's show.

Here, I thought she was about to join him, but she settled down again,

as he flew almost completely,

out of the camera's range.
Suddenly, she was gone. I had missed her take-off, but saw her heading over the marina, and then saw Lawrence follow her.

A moment later, I saw another aerial display, and wondered if Lawrence was doing an encore. But no, there were the missing right wing feathers. What was Jonny doing over Lawrence's nest? I often wonder if Lawrence and/or Olivia are offspring of Jewel and Jonny. Since the JJ nest is much more established, it seems possible that some of their offspring could return to the area. Although I'll never know for sure how the two osprey pairs relate, it certainly did seem as if Jonny was trying to show Lawrence a thing or two.

Suddenly, there was Lawrence, returning to the nest.

I checked out his right wing to make sure I was identifying him correctly. All the primary feathers were in place.

He looked up at Jonny and I feel certain he was making a statement.

She's mine, and this is our home. Go back to your own lady. She's waiting for you.

That was how things stood on Friday. I hope to get over to check on the nests again tomorrow. I can hardly wait!