Saturday, June 25, 2011

Recording the days: June 3-June 8

FRIDAY, JUNE 3RD - continued from the last post
Lawrence continued his spectacular show for Olivia for quite some time.  I saw no sign of her, but assumed she must be fairly close for him to go to so much trouble.
My attention was caught for a moment by the Canada Geese on the shoal.  Perhaps, these were the goslings, a few less in number, and a bit more grown up, that I had watched a couple of weeks earlier.
Then, I noticed the tiny pink flowers near the shore, and a couple of dandelions at..
 the fluffy stage.
When I looked back again at the osprey nest, Olivia was sitting in it.  I guess Lawrence's efforts had been rewarded after all.

That evening, I walked with Black Jack along the seawall.  This mallard was standing by the path, probably doing guard duty.
 The seawall was finally finished, and being well used, after more than a year of work.  

In the morning, Bill, Black Jack and I headed over to Jericho Park.  This swallow had set up a nest indoors, under the Galley Patio and Grill.
It wasn't the best choice of location, as the doors to the building are closed each evening.  We wondered if there was enough space under the doors for the parents to gain access.  Lots of mud was used - more than I've seen in the other birds' nests I've had the chance to look at.
The mate (I'm guessing this was the female, but am not entirely certain) sat on a pipe, watching closely. 
We left the building, and walked outside to the fishing dock.  I was surprised to see an osprey flying overhead.
As usual, there were lots of seagulls, and I spent some time watching them hover on the wind.
We also checked on the Jericho eagle nest and could see one adult in it. It had been moved from its old place by the road, and I guessed this may have been done by some of the eagle-watchers in the area.  The old nest had fallen several times, and eaglets had had to be rescued and rehabbed at OWL, the sanctuary and hospital for injured birds of prey.  That was our only visit to the nest this year, so I do not know if new eaglets have hatched. (I am writing this on June 25th, and now have more info on this.  I will post pictures at some point of the two eaglets in the nest.  They appear to be just about ready to fledge.  I still do not know if there was any human intervention to help the eagle pair choose this new site for their nest, but Bill and I are tending to think not.)  
We headed back to the truck along one of our favourite wooded paths. The weather had been sunny for several days, and the footing was dry.  In fact, I think I can safely say the only puddle for miles around was the one you see here.  I managed, however, to find and step in it, completely soaking my right foot - just a tiny hazard that goes along with bird-watching.
Jericho is perhaps the best of all the parks we go to for finding Redwing-Blackbirds.  Here, a female enjoys the bullrushes.
Bill supported this plant, so that I could try to capture the delicate blossoms.  
It had been a beautiful walk, and with that last photo, we headed home to rest up for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final.  It seems strange to be talking about it now - June 25th - knowing the eventual outcome, but perhaps it isn't so bad to remember the good times when so many of us in Vancouver were caught up in Stanley Cup fever.  We could feel the energy in the air long before the game started, and decided, since so many people had enjoyed watching the first game on big screens at CBC plaza, to try it out as well.  Our walk to the plaza was entertaining.  Clearly, some were "counting their chickens before they were hatched" - something I had always thought a bit risky.
Everywhere we looked, Canucks shirts appeared.  I, too, wore one.  It had been kindly lent to me by a colleague, since we had been given permission at work to wear the shirts on game days.  My shirt had the number 17 and Kesler's name on the back.  I wore it proudly.  The photo below was taken as we walked by Yaletown Park.  These girls are sitting on one of my favourite art pieces.  It is by Igor Mitoraj, and I just call it "the head" but its more formal name is "Eros Bendato Scrippolato."  I've posted about it before, but a google search brings up this site with great photos and some fascinating information about it.
Although we arrived at CBC plaza about 45 minutes before the game, we were clearly too late.  The space was full and no more people were being allowed in.  The police were busy emptying liquor into the drains, but as with the first game, people were happy and getting along well in spite of the huge numbers crowded into such a tight space.
A bit disappointed, we tried Granville Street, hoping we could catch the action on the screens there.  Again, enormous crowds left very little room to manoeuvre.  Black Jack was as happy as could be in Bill's arms. She really is one of the most confident and relaxed dogs I have ever known.  Although I am not generally nervous in crowds, the thought of standing for the entire game did not appeal, and I couldn't imagine how Bill would do it, with Black Jack's dead weight in his arms.  We decided to stay for the singing of O Canada, and then head back to the comfort of home to watch the game.  We were impressed with everyone's behaviour. One very tall fellow stepped in front of me, and Bill laughingly suggested he was blocking my view.  He apologized and moved behind us, with not even a hint of annoyance.  Someone else's view was then blocked, and again, the fellow tried his best to adjust his position.  
There was a sea of blue and green all around us, and just as much positive energy.
The game was another nail biter, going to overtime and ending in a 3-2 win for Vancouver.  I think many of us knew that the first two games had been so close, they really could have gone either way.  The goalies (Roberto Luongo for Vancouver and Tim Thomas for Boston) had very different styles, but both did an outstanding job.  Tim Thomas tended to come very far out of his net, and many felt that had been his mistake in letting in the overtime goal.  As you can see, he is not in the picture here, and that is because he was unable to get back to the net when the goal was scored.  I, too, felt that he might have saved the goal if he had been in better position, but when he commented to one interviewer that he is not really looking to the masses for advice on how to stop pucks, it occurred to me that he was absolutely right.  How could any of us possibly presume to tell him how to do his job?
As calm as he was during the interview, I did catch this TV shot of him looking quite depressed, and I wondered if he may have been second-guessing himself.
There was one other notable event in that game.  Manny Malhotra returned after being sidelined in March when he was hit in the eye with a puck.  There were wild cheers for him when he skated onto the ice, many realizing that he had required two surgeries to save his sight.  Manny's return brought mixed emotions for me.  I was happy that he was wearing a full face mask, but also thinking about the amount of punishment a body should be allowed to take in the name of a sport.  Was he risking his doctors' hard work, and if the worst happened, would he consider the Stanley Cup to be worth that gamble? 

The Fell Street osprey nest in North Vancouver was empty, but we enjoyed watching this merganser pair swimming,
and then flying by.
There were several families of Canada Geese.  The young have grown so much that it is now difficult to tell them apart from the adults.  Here, one adult warns an approaching family (not in the picture) to stay away.  The young practice their neck-stretch warning system, as learned from the parents.
This picture is poor but the crane was pulling a huge, and very heavy, machine (grater?) up into the air.  Bill noticed it first, and by the time I had the camera on it, caught only the final moments of the action.  Honestly, I can't imagine how anything that heavy could be lifted into the air.
This White-crowned Sparrow stretched up to take a look at us.  I feel it may have been the same one noticed and photographed/blogged about in the previous post.  It seems to have a uniquely outgoing personality.
Johnny was sitting on the tree beside the osprey nest over the shipyard.  I'm guessing Jewel may have a chick or two by now, but I haven't been able to spend much time checking on her. That day, we could just see the tip of her head over the top of the nest.  The nest is over the shipyard, and it will take time for any chicks to grow enough to show up, even with my 500 mm lens.
This cormorant came very close to the edge of the river, and we enjoyed the way the sun brought out its colours.
New growth on the evergreens made a lovely contrast of greens.
We walked back again to the Fell Street nest for a final look before heading home, and were pleased to find Lawrence and Olivia.  It appears they will not raise chicks this year, but they certainly are staying in close touch.  I no longer see them working on the nest, but they often call to each other when Lawrence has a fish. 
That Sunday, they seemed to be enjoying the sun and their time together.
  There have been many starlings lately along my cycling route between Yaletown and North Vancouver, and I think they must have one of the most beautiful combination of colours in their feathers of any of the birds watched. This one was drinking from the pools of salt water between the rocks.
I wasn't totally successfully in capturing its beauty, but here's a look at it from the rear.
On the way home, we stopped for a quick check of the Stanley Park heronry, and I loved this shot of a tiny ray of sun singling out one flower across from Stanley and Stella's nest. 
 I didn't take a picture of Stanley and Stella's nest.  Actually, I haven't seen Stanley fly into it even once over the past few weeks.  Since seeing Stella mate for the second time, she has remained alone each time I have been there.  She sits waiting, and I yearn to see her receive some food from Stanley, or to see some indication that a chick or two have hatched.  I spend only a few minutes there on most days, so my interpretation could be very much mistaken.  Perhaps, sometimes, it is actually Stanley in the nest, relieving Stella who may be off finding her own food.  Or, perhaps, Stanley pays all of his visits at times when I am not present.  I did take a picture of this adult heron in a nearby nest.  Its quickly growing chick is in the lower right corner of the photo.  To me, the chicks appear rather scruffy and they have comically grouchy expressions.
In the afternoon, we visited Roedde House Museum, the place I had discovered a couple of weeks earlier.  We were looking forward to hearing Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe by baritone, Cliff Ridley and pianist, Anna Vavilova.  Before the recital, we checked out the beautiful gardens around the museum.  This palm tree was growing by the steps of Barclay Manor, next door to the museum. 
Neither of us could recall seeing such magnificent yellow blooms on any of the other palm trees in Vancouver.
 I also liked these blue blossoms.
The museum is a small but important Vancouver treasure.  If you ever have a moment, do drop in.  You will be heartily welcomed, and if it is on a Sunday afternoon, a small fee will include Sunday tea in delicate china cups from the turn of the 20th Century.  Those cookies at the front of the photo reminded me of some that my mother used to make.  My sister and I called them "railroad cookies" and loved them. 
Every room in the house is full of interesting items, and there are little notes posted around saying, "Please do touch."  
The recital was very intimate, and we admired Cliff Ridley's obvious love and respect for the music of Robert Schumann.  Before singing, he took time to talk about the Dichterliebe love cycle and the lyrics.  He also explained some of the events in Schumann's life at the time of composing.  It brought back memories of music school for me.  A piano accompaniment class given by Victor McCorry was one of the highlights in my first year, and Dichterliebe is the first lieder that I had ever studied.  I couldn't find a link to Victor McCorry, but did find this small ad at one site, indicating that he is living in Toronto, and possibly still teaching, although I couldn't find the date of the ad.
Victor McCorry

Graduate of the Royal Academy of Music (London, England) with further studies
at Vienna State Academy of Music.
Former lecturer and piano teacher at McGill University in Montreal and retired faculty member of the
Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and member of its Examining Board.
Location: Yonge Street / St. Clair Avenue West
The young pianist, Anna Vavilova, did a marvelous job of accompanying, and all in all, we felt it had been a memorable and enriching afternoon. 
We explored more of the museum after the recital, and loved the colours in this bowl and pitcher.
These unidentified ladies were photographed on Sam Greer's Beach (now Kitsilano) in 1898. I don't know if the writing will appear large enough for you to read on your screen, but I found this site if you are interested in learning a bit more about the area, and fashions of the time. 
The hat collection was absolutely amazing!
Some of the hats were behind glass, but there were others on tables with notes suggesting it would be perfectly acceptable to try them on.
There were a total of over 200 hats,
as well as lots of items of clothing to admire.  It would have been easy to spend another hour or two visiting, and we hope to return in the future for another visit.   

Managing to get out for a few minutes at lunch time was really rewarding.  I think this is the same male from the Merganser pair shown near the beginning of the post.  He seemed to be enjoying the sun.
As I was taking a picture of the merganser, I heard a snort behind me, and looked around to catch a glimpse of my first otter of the season.  His head was back and he was trying to get control over a fairly large fish.
He seemed to have things well in hand, here.
Suddenly, he (or she) dove, and I was interested to catch a view of the back feet.
He swam around the corner and settled on a rock to enjoy his fish.
Here, he holds the fish between his front feet.
Then, he turned,
noticed me (even though I was on the shore high above), and left right after this photo.
On the way home, I stopped at the heronry, and loved the light on this Red Maple tree.
Nothing seemed to have changed in Stella's world, but this baby in another nest was fun to watch.  I think it was looking skyward in the hopes of seeing Mom or Pop returning with a fish.
Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals took place in Boston, and the Canucks were soundly trounced in an 8-0 loss to their opponents.  It wasn't a pretty game, but as always, the Sedins impressed me with their class.  Here, Daniel resists running off to hide from the journalists, bravely dealing with the cameras and questions.  This catches up with the pictures that were deleted against my will in the last post.  As you can see, I have lots of catching up to do.  Until the next time.  Thanks for reading, and happy weekend to you!