Friday, November 19, 2010

August 1st to 13th

This was the longest blogging break ever.

Excuse #1 : a move to a new apartment near the end of September.

Excuse #2: Busier work schedule.

Excuse #3: Too many photos. In spite of a few weeks when my camera spent most of its time lounging around at home, it must have been busier than I remember, because, when I finally found the energy to begin thinking again about blogging, there were100's of photos to go through, each bringing back memories that I couldn't bear to skip. Now, there are four posts just about ready to publish, so hold on to your hats! This one covers the first two weeks of August.

Buntzen Lake - Sunday August 1st

I can't remember any more whose idea it was to take a hike around Buntzen lake. We just wanting to explore the surroundings a little bit, since neither Bill nor I had been there before. There are quite a few web sites describing the variety of trails in the area. The history is interesting too.

Formerly known as Lake Beautiful, the lake is named after the first general manager of B.C. Electric Co., Johannes Buntzen. In 1903 the Buntzen hydroelectric project was put in service by the Vancouver Power Company to provide the first hydroelectric power to Vancouver. Previously, the city had to depend on a 1,500-kilowatt (kW) steam plant for its power supply.

The project involved raising the level of the dam on Coquitlam Lake and excavating a 3.6 km tunnel to carry water from Coquitlam Lake to Buntzen Lake. The tunnel runs under Eagle Mountain, reaching a maximum depth of 1.2 km below the surface, and empties into the north end of Buntzen Lake.

Our day started off with a chipmunk sighting. I see lots of squirrels in my daily travels, but chipmunks are few and far between. This one kindly posed for a couple of seconds.

Black Jack's eyes pretty much say it all as far as her response to the chipmunk. I think Bill's indicate a combination of amusement and determination to keep her away from the chipmunk.

There were a variety of trail options, but we found ourselves doing the one around the lake called, Buntzen Lake Trail, perhaps a four or five-hour hike. Since the birds seemed to be hiding, I did a couple of branch shots.

Black Jack enjoyed the many different types of terrain, here opting to perfect her balancing act.

When we reached a beach area (not shown) at what I thought was the half way point, we decided to continue around the lake. By the time we were on this path, my knees were beginning to object, but Black Jack was keen, and Bill looked fine. He took my backpack, carried Black Jack whenever she became a little too enthusiastic about small critters, and as far as I could tell, was enjoying the day.

There were many small bridges with lovely views, and one interesting suspension bridge.

There goes Bill, with my gear on his back, and Black Jack in his arms. I was following, and beginning to wonder if the trail would ever end. Only later, did Bill tell me that he had been silently "whining" for a while. That made me feel much better, since I had the comfort of knowing that I wasn't alone in my "are we there yet" wonderings.

This Scotch Thistle was my last picture before we left Buntzen Lake. When we exited the truck later on, we were both quite stiff, but by the next day, were completely fine. I now look back on the day as a wonderful one. Bill and I haven't talked about it for quite some time, but I do remember him saying we walked in the wrong direction, and that it would have been much easier going the other way. Perhaps, we'll try it out again next summer.

Jericho Park - Monday, August 2nd

The next day, Black Jack and I did one of our regular Jericho Park walks, and I was happy to see lots of these Goldfinches.

At one point, I had identified this as a Great Southern White butterfly, but on checking in my book this morning, see that its habitat is along the Atlantic Coast. Anyone able to help me identify this Pacific Coast version?

These Cedar Waxwings appeared, from this angle, to be sitting one on top of the other (an optical but amusing illusion).

I enjoyed seeing the juvenile eagle land on this roof, sit for a while, and then do a beautiful take-off. This was one of a pair that I had watched over the course of the summer. Since the nest had fallen out of the tree at just about fledging time, its mate had gone to rehab (and reportedly been returned to the area, although I never saw it again (as far as I could tell). This one managed, with lots of support from its parents, to weather a crash course in getting along without a nest.

Victoria - Beacon Hill Park - Tuesday, August 3rd

Bill and I spent a wonderful few days in Victoria, visiting with his sister, Phyllis and her husband Barrie. The first evening, we walked in Beacon Hill Park. The flowers were stunning.

There are some resident Peacocks in the park, and although it was almost dark, I was able to catch a shot of this one in a tree. I'm not sure if their wings are clipped, but at least, I am happy they can fly to a perch in the tree.

Victoria - China Beach with Barrie and Phyllis - Wednesday, August 4th

We had a great day with Phyllis and Barrie at this beach. Phyllis packed a delicious lunch, and Barrie patiently drove quite some distance to give us this experience of a beach with a wilder feel to it than the ones around Vancouver.

The wind was up and the seagulls seemed to enjoy testing their flight skills.

Black Jack was beside herself with excitement and happiness.

She didn't seem to mind playing with a ball coated in sand.

She stretched out,

and pranced,

and bravely took on the waves.

I met Nudge for the first time and found him to be adorable. He has a wonderful life with Phyllis and Barrie, running free much of the time,

and playing his own special version of


Downtown Victoria, to me, has the most beautiful flowers of any city I have seen.

We walked in the evening, enjoying the sunset, and the sights and sounds of the tourist area.

The following day, we caught the ferry home in the afternoon, but not before spending a wonderful morning at Witty's Lagoon. i thought we were seeing only Bald Eagles here,

but, as one flew toward us, it became clear there were Turkey Vultures in the crowd as well.

These pink flowers seemed to grow right out of the rock. I have tried to identify them, but must finally concede that research time will be limited until I retire (most likely, in just over a year from now).

Black Jack had a wonderful free run in an open field, lips stretched back in a huge grin.

We both admired the Arbutus trees. They always seem to be straight out of paintings,

gnarled branches tracing winding routes to their destinations.

There were clusters of seals gathered just across the water, a bit further away than the ones I watch in North Vancouver, but close enough for my camera to pick up expressions,
and interactions.

Sometimes, there would be a huge "thwack" given, perhaps, in warning. All my camera was able to catch was the splash of water and the last bit of disappearing seal.

Back in Vancouver - Jericho Eaglet - Friday, August 6th

It sat for a long time on this perch, hoping for its parents to bring a nice fish. I have a feeling they were beginning what I imagine must be a painful process to teach it to hunt for itself, after months of delivering food on schedule and in perfect portions.

Sky - Monday, August 9th

The sad thing about letting blogging go for so long, and not always labelling pictures as they are downloaded, is that I now forget where I saw this sky. My guess is that it was at Jericho.

Walk at low tide - Point Grey - Tuesday, August 10th

Bill and I set out one afternoon with no plan except to enjoy a walk along the beach with Black Jack. It turned out to be one of those days that stand out in my mind for the fun, relaxed atmosphere, and even without the pictures, the colour impressions linger in my mind's eye.


a comical heron,

a resting seagull,

and Black Jack's antics as she traversed the rocks,

walked on water,

licked her chops,

and did more rock-hopping, made us smile often.

We walked up the steps to Point Grey avenue, and then meandered through Vancouver streets on our way home, stopping for a delicious latte, and occasional flowers shoots.
The mauves..

..and pinks made me think of my mother, as these became her favourite colours in her later years.

Jericho morning walk and afternoon concert, Thursday, August 12th

Another sighting of "my" Jericho eaglet, circling and soaring very high in the sky, and looking, to my eyes, beautifully confident.

These dragon flies are the first that I can remember capturing. I had hoped to identify them, but will have to go with "beautiful blue with green head" and

a "double-winged helicopter brown" variety. Or, was this a case of one sitting on the other? I'm not sure at all. No time to check, as I am determined to post this morning.

The concert at Christ Church Cathedral in the afternoon was really enjoyable. The beautiful windows in the cathedral, the unbelievable power in Yannick-Muriel Noah's voice and the astounding piano performance of a favourite Brahms intermezzo by Rena Sharon left me bowled over. I have been in Vancouver for more than ten years, and hadn't heard of either performer. How could I have missed them?

Stanley Park Pond - Friday, August 13th

A walk with Bill and Black Jack around Beaver Lake in Stanley Park concludes this post. I hadn't realized that the lake is in danger of disappearing as it becomes grown over with a variety of vegetation.

While Bill talked with a couple of people, I listened in, enjoying this wood duck and colourful lily pad, and learning that there is some controversy over whether the lake should be left to do what nature intended, or cleared, so that people and wildlife can enjoy it for years to come.
That concludes a description of the first two weeks in August. Since I had written about the final week of August in a long-ago post, there is just the third week to cover, an important one in my mind, because it shows Lawrence and Olivia working together, even though, as far as I can tell, they did not raise a chick this past summer. Hopefully, since pictures are already loaded, I'll be able to post that story this weekend. Thanks, as always, for taking time to read the blog. Have a wonderful weekend!