Monday, April 25, 2011

Ten days in My World in April (15th-24th)

Friday, April 15th.
Two heron nests side by side in Stanley Park.

For any new readers, this is a first "My World" post.  I live in Vancouver, BC, and have been following Stanley and Stella, a Blue Heron pair that seems a bit inexperienced.  The above picture is of four other herons, just as my dog, Black Jack, and I arrive at the park.  Stanley has been slow to follow the normal male ritual of bringing sticks so that Stella can build up the nest.  
Stanley seems to inspect the nest.  I suspect there is an egg(or more) in it.
I see Stella and Stanley mate for the first time. 
I leave them and watch a nearby Chick-a-dee.
All around are blossoms. (maybe Rose hip?)  
On the other side of Lost Lagoon, a swan also sits on eggs.

The swan sits up when she hears me, but settles down a moment later.

Around the corner, a swan is bathing.  I wonder if it is the first swan's mate.


When it flaps, I notice its pinioned wing (on the right in the photograph.)

That wing makes me sad, but

the swan appears to be really, really enjoying its bath.

One more photo of the surroundings before we leave the park.

Saturday, April 16th
I have been following two other nests, these osprey pairs in North Vancouver, near the school where I teach.  This is Lawrence.  His nest is the closest and easiest to photograph.  I watched him and a mate (I call her Olivia) successfully raise a chick (Rose) two summers ago.  Last summer, he seemed to have a new mate but she didn't agree to raise any offspring with him, at least on that nest.  He called her and tried his best all summer, but it was not to be.  This spring, he appears to be in search of a mate.  I have no idea if the same female will return, but I will continue to call his possible mate Olivia.

This is Black Jack.  She loves to play by the beach when I am nature watching.

This is my dear companion, Bill.  He encourages my obsessions with infinite patience.

Lawrence is working hard on the nest in hopes of impressing Olivia.

Fetching a stick.

And, another stick.

This is the second nest.  It's very high up in a shipyard, and much more difficult to photograph.  I've named the pair Jonny and Jewel.  This is Jonny bringing a stick.  This pair has been around for many years, and seem to have the mating rituals down rock solid.

I leave North Vancouver, and we stop by Stanley Park on the way home.  Many herons are bringing sticks to their nests.

They all look so busy and confident.

But, Stella waits alone.  Stanley is nowhere in sight.

Another delivery,
coming in.

Bill finds this egg on the ground, and I place it for a photograph.  A Bald Eagle often stops by to steal eggs, much to the herons' distress.  I guess the eagle is just trying to survive too.  Nature has many lessons to teach, and some of them take a long time for me to accept.

Yet another stick delivery.  I wonder what Stella thinks and wish Stanley would show up.

This is a different heron pair.  They are just beginning nest construction.

That evening, I visited this eagle nest near Jericho Beach.  Last year I watched this pair raise two chicks but the nest fell out of the tree, although both chicks (one of them with the aid of rehab at OWL) survived.  This year, the nest is in a different tree.  I am wondering if humans have intervened.  Part of me is happy if this is so, but another part of me is slowly beginning to think that Mrs. Nature, for the most part, is better left to work out her own solutions.

This is most likely one of the eagle pair.  I have forgotten their names (given by regular watchers in this area).

Across from the nest is Jericho Arts Centre.  Bill and I were there to watch an excellent production of Rosmersholm by Ibsen.

Sunday, April 17th
Bill and I go back to North Vancouver to check on the ospreys.  First, I enjoy this sparrow,

and these seagulls,

and am happy to see my friend, Dianne, arriving with her dog, Haley.

I like watching Bill follow Black Jack over the rocks.  He is much more agile than I.

Lawrence arrives, carrying a fish.

Black Jack and Haley are good friends, and find the rocks (or what is under them) more interesting than ospreys.

Lawrence finishes eating his fish, goes to get a stick, and continues work on the nest.

Here, he spots an eagle above, and takes off to defend his territory.  (He is very feisty.)  He and the eagle fly too high for me to get photographs.

I take a picture of some geese, and we call it a day. 

Monday April 18th
I walk with Black Jack to Stanley Park and admire..

many beautiful flowers along the way.

Stella is sitting alone in her nest.

Today, the herons are very quiet, so I focus more on the surroundings.

Chick-a-dees are always busy.  For some reason, the picture below will not allow me to write a caption.  It was a sign on Davie Street.  Black Jack and I had left the park and taken Davie Street to go home.  My feet got tired, and when I saw this sign, something made me photograph it.  I was thinking of Bill because he gives the best foot massages.

I live in Yaletown near False Creek.  That evening, I took this picture during a walk along the seawall with Black Jack.

This next picture was taken on Tuesday morning, April 19th.  (For some reason, it also will not accept a caption.  I am going through a few growing pains with Blogger's new editor, but I think overall,it is working fairly well.)  This is a tiny portion of the new stadium roof at BC Place, taken during a walk with Black Jack.  I liked the geometric shapes.

A different section of the stadium roof.
After the walk, I biked over to North Vancouver, stopping first to check on Stanley and Stella, who were sitting in their nest.

Then, I checked on Lawrence's work, and saw that he had been busy, although he did not make an appearance while I was there.
The eagle flew overhead, and took a moment to check out the small white dog that someone was not keeping a close eye on.  Fortunately, it decided against that particular meal.  I cropped the photo, 

to show the pupil of the eagle's eye.  I don't usually manage to get such clear shots.

I did another stop by Stanley Park on the way home.  Stanley appears to be taking more initiative in the relationship, and was busy warning other herons to stay away from the nest.

His efforts worked, and he appeared to be proud of himself.
That evening, during a walk with Black Jack, I admired the clouds over False Creek,

and some purple flowers near my apartment.

On Wednesday, April 20th, I loved these flowers and actually set up the photograph a bit more carefully than usual, during another walk with Black Jack in Stanley Park.

You can't see Stella very well here, but she is lying low, I think over an egg(s).  Stanley did something I hadn't seen before.  He got her up, and 

and insisted on..

trading places with her.

She sat for a few moments, perhaps enjoying the chance to stretch.  She appeared to..

watch other males.. 

bringing in sticks, 

and then she went back to her place.

Shortly after that, they mated (2nd time I have witnessed them).

The male always holds the females neck.  Stanley appears to do this very gently.

After that, Stanley sat for a moment, and then..

..he went, found a stick and brought it to Stella.  I was really happy to see this.  Their nest was looking quite sparse.

He was on a roll!  He flew off again,

and found another one.

Stella took it from him, perhaps pleased with his efforts.

On the way home, I took a picture of this boat on English Bay.  I have never seen a boat like this before.

On Thurday, April 21st, I walked east along the seawall with Black Jack.  Somewhere near Science World, I saw a blue heron fishing.  I missed the shot (that happens often:) but I sort of liked the close up look at its feet. 

A moment later, it returned, and walked up so close to us, I couldn't even get all of it in my big lens.  It wasn't the slightest bit afraid of Black Jack.  I love the colours in this photo.

Black Jack and I left the waterside and investigated Chinatown.  The picture below won't accept a caption (again), but it is of a sculpture in front of Pacific Central Station.

My feet were tired, again, so we returned to Science World, took a picture of this beautiful carving, and then..

..caught the Aquabus home.  (Black Jack loves to do this.)  At the aquabus station, I noticed this lovely pigeon.

Later in the afternoon, I biked over to North Vancouver.  In the picture below, Lawrence is looking up in the sky..

at an eagle.

It was clear from his expression that this would not do.

He took off after the eagle.

Again, they flew too high for pictures, but he survived the encounter.

I watched a beautiful seagull, 

and then bumped into an old friend.  Some of you will remember Andy's story.  He is having a great time now with his new dog, Robin.  She is a star soccer player!  Andy does not have internet, but I'm hoping he will see these pictures.  I've loaded a few to show some of Robin's moves.  I won't put captions, but they beg for some, so if you feel so inclined, please do give some suggestions.

On Friday, April 22nd, I stopped to visit Stanley and Stella, before continuing on to North Vancouver

The appeared to be doing well, and were very involved with nest inspection.

When I arrived at the osprey nest, Olivia was in it!  You can tell it is a female because of the "necklace" marking.

Lawrence, with a piece of fish in his talons (I guess he ate the rest), did a dance for her.

Then, he came to the nest for his reward.

Beautiful light through his wings.

Then, he hovered in front of her, seeming to guard his fish.  I was really wondering at his behaviour.  He seemed so anxious to have a mate, but he wasn't doing anything that I could see to encourage her.  I thought his behaviour looked like mantling, a food-guarding posture that ospreys use.  However, I learned from this site that one of the ways a male shows a female that he wants to "get together" with her is to turn his back to her, spread his wings out and down, and hold the tail to the side.  

 Suddenly, both Lawrence and Olivia looked up.

Two other ospreys were in the sky.  Jonny and Jewel?  Rose, the chick raised two summers before?  (I read that ospreys return two years after fledging, to the place where they were raised.  I have no idea, but the dance they did..

was quite spectacular, although it didn't appear to be very friendly.

Shortly after that, Lawrence had to avoid a pesky crow.

The crow was really persistent,

but eventually, Lawrence took to the skies,

where he did a beautiful dance..

for Olivia.

 On Saturday, Bill and I were in North Vancouver, when this cutie decided to play with Black Jack long leash.

She was at least as persistent as the crow,

but much funnier.  

Bill tried tickling her tummy in an effort to dislodge her teeth, but in the end, we had to enlist help from her human.

Meanwhile, Lawrence and an eagle were duking it out, high in the sky.  The eagle gave up and flew off, while Lawrence appeared to be well satisfied with his win.

Black Jack was busy digging her way to China.

She was happy to take a break and go exploring with Bill.

Lawrence landed in the nest,

and Olivia did a fly-by.  (See her necklace?)

Then, we saw three other ospreys in the sky.  This one was clearly checking out the nest.

Lawrence was surprisingly quiet, but then..

he did that "invitational" posture again.

All of the ospreys disappeared, and I took a picture of this seagull.

Our friend Dianne arrived with her grandchildren.  This is Jackson.

Here, Dianne plays with Jonah.  (Spelling not sure.)  She is the very best "Gram" ever!

Suddenly, Olivia appeared.

Lawrence absolutely outdid himself.

He worked incredibly hard, 

and was unbelievably graceful.

Then, he landed in the nest.

His hard work paid off.  Olivia joined him.

More "invitational" postures.

But, in the end, Olivia flew off.  She really is hard to get!

We said goodbye to Dianne, Jackson, Johan and Haley, who were having a great time playing on the beach,

and decided to walk at Moodyville Park, a short distance away.

We saw a flicker,

an etching of a crow in the rock,

some lovely blossoms, 

and this stairway near Park and Tilford Mall.  Can you guess what the railing on the left is designed to do?  We have a theory, but would love to know if you agree with us.

On Sunday, April 24th, I took a walk with Black Jack to Stanley Park before Bill and I attended the play, "Mambo Italiano" at Firehouse Hall.  The play had both very funny and quite sad aspects.  Overall, I liked it (with a few reservations).  It made me think a lot about the similarities between Italian, Jewish and Newfoundlander parents.  More about that if anyone is curious, but I'm out of blogging time right now.  On the walk, I took only three pictures, since the herons were very quiet.  I liked the detail in this pansy, 

laughed at the sign on this crazy car,

and enjoyed these flowers on Pacific Street.

There you have the last ten days in My World.  Thank you for reading.