Saturday, May 28, 2011

Month of May - Part 2

Canucks, birds, a different view of the Stanley Park heronry, some other creatures and beasts encountered lately, some places along my route, and my latest Lawrence and Olivia (osprey pair) sighting - that's the round-up for this post.

Yay!  Congratulations to the Vancouver Canucks for making it to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1994. Kesler's goal in the last 14 seconds of Period 3, Bieksa's strange but "I'll take it" overtime winner, some spectacular saves by Luongo - a lot of factors played into the win.  Congratulations as well to a very competitive San Jose team and to their coach,Todd McClellan.  His calm honesty impressed me each time he was interviewed.  It's fun to feel the energy in Vancouver right now, so thanks, Canucks, for keeping that alive. My very best to you as you move on to the Boston Bruins series.

I finally saw this West End car in action. It may not go far but it does get around the block. 


Here are a few of the birds I have seen lately.
A crow in North Vancouver, checking out the new overpass.

An American Finch seen on the little trail near my school. 

First time to see a bird using one of the birdhouses from North Vancouver's Art Project 

A Grey-Crowned Rosy Finch, I think - a first ever sighting for me.
I spotted a flock of them in a field in North Vancouver, and had no idea what they were.  Bill rolled the truck window down and I snapped a few shots.  I love the pink lining in the wings.
Need a napkin?
A female Red-Winged Blackbird in Stanley Park, also May 8th

A Wood Duck in Lost Lagoon..

..joking with his mate.

A Yellow-rumped Warbler in Stanley Park, kindly pointed out by a bird watcher from Texas.

Anna's Hummingbird, also pointed out by the Texas gentleman. 

It was watching from the top of a very tall tree for insects.

On Wednesday, May 11th, I heard that some orcas swam in English Bay.   How could I have ridden by and missed them?  On the way home from school on Thursday, I left the Prospect Point road, and went down the Siwash Rock path to the water, hoping they were still around.  No luck, but I did enjoy these eagles..

soaring and diving against a blue sky.
There were also some Common Mergansers.  There are a lot of them around lately, but I only get to see them fly through the water like this once in a while.  

Lines as sleek and energy-efficient as a race car

A Savannah Sparrow - identification thanks to Dave of Island Spring

A Harlequin Duck in North Vancouver

A Pelagic Cormorant at Sunset..

..on False Creek

A confident pigeon
during a Victoria Day walk with Bill and Black Jack around Stanley Park's Lost Lagoon 

There were more Wood Ducks on the lagoon than I've ever seen before.

Female Wood Ducks are beautiful too.

Showing the male's sleek crest

Stream of water from its bill.

I became carried away and took shots from every angle.


On Tuesday, May 17th, I happened to run into Dalyce, the Stanley Park heron expert.  She was able to arrange for me to meet Maria, who lives in a building by the heronry.  Looking through a scope, I was able to see some of the newborn chicks and also some eggs in the nests.  What a thrill that was!  My pictures were taken from a long way up and aren't the best, but I'm very happy to have them.  (If anyone has suggestions for some way of attaching my Sigma 150-500 lens to the scope, that would be much appreciated.) Thank you so much to Dalyce and Maria!

Lots of broken egg shells and the "chuck-chuck" sounds
had given clear signs that there were now chicks..

..but seeing them from Maria's scope was my first actual sight of them.
These would have been just recently born, I think.

Even with my big lens, the pictures felt like aerial shots.

One of my students described birds as free.  He added, "Not like us."  Later, he qualified that statement, saying that he meant they can fly.  I understood his feelings.  The ability to fly is one I envy.  At the same time, I'm fairly certain that student was also thinking of the homework and responsibilities he and his classmates face to become educated, find good-paying jobs, and raise families.  It occurs to me that, were he to observe the herons for a while, he might conclude that their responsibilities are at least as daunting as the ones humans have.

Oh for clearer pictures, but perhaps a chick just born in this one.

The nests are in trees to the right, left and front of the tennis courts at the centre.

Showing the trees to the right of the parking lot, where there are also many nests.

Again, my heartfelt thanks to Dalyce and Maria for the opportunity to see the herons from a different perspective.


A few of the other creatures that have shown up lately.
This little guy was adorable to watch, but he was a relentless ankle biter,
and may need some training soon.

A dog named Pebbles, seen when I was looking for the orcas.
He and his human were traversing the wet rocks with enviable grace. 

Starfish at low tide, seen in North Vancouver during a walk with my students.

Seal, almost asleep, in North Vancouver on Sunday, May 22

Suddenly, it opened its eyes,

spotted something, flapped its tail hard, and dove.

Racoon in Stanley Park by Lost Lagoon

A beautiful turtle, also by Lost Lagoon
A River Otter in North Vancouver

It swam away quickly.  I'm always watching for otters, but they seem to be elusive.  This was my first sighting in a long time.


Just a couple of photos, one to show her new basket (she loves it so much, she didn't want to get out after this ride), and the other to show her running free on the rocks in North Vancouver.


Every once in a while, something along my route catches my attention.
A branch on the Lions Gate Bridge that traveled a long way on the wind.

A new overpass in North Vancouver that will make my ride to school..

even more pleasant!
A very sturdy tree branch in Stanley Park

I learned quite a bit about Lord Stanley recently.  He was our sixth governor general, gave us our Stanley Cup, and was also known as Derby.  When he traveled west, he loved the natural beauty so much that he dedicated Stanley Park (which was named after him)..
Thanks, Lord Stanley!

Work on the seawall is finally almost finished.
Another way my bike commute is about to become even more enjoyable.

I took this picture of BC Place retractable roof, as seen from False Creek, on Sunday, May 20th.  Bill and I had both noticed the curving arcs, and wondered about their purpose.  Again, last night (May 27th), as we biked home from a wonderful PBO concert (more about that in another post), we pondered the aesthetics of this roof against Vancouver's skyline.  I am back and forth on this, sometimes finding it beautiful and other times, not so sure.  Last night, I thought they should add lights along the spider-web lines.  This morning, I found this link and am feeling more and more confident that the roof will become a positive addition to Vancouver.


They were together on the Fell Street nest Wednesday, when I was heading home after school.  We had seen two Canada Geese on the nest the Sunday before, so this was a surprise.  Neither appeared to be happy, and I haven't seen them since, but here are a couple of photos.
Olivia nagged at Lawrence.

He picked up some nest material as if to remind her of his housebuilding skills.

She seemed unimpressed and finally flew away, leaving Lawrence alone.

That's it for now.  Have a wonderful weekend!