Monday, April 30, 2012

Birds, Flowers, Scenes, Performances and Creatures in My World this Week.

Here are some birds, flowers, scenes, creatures that have made an impression on My World this past week. Thank you, Our World Tuesday, for giving me a place to share them.
This is Stanley and Stella, the only pair that I have named out of the many that are presently very busy in the Stanley Park heronry.  They appear to be attempting to set up housekeeping, although Stanley seems much less active as a stick-gatherer than many of the males I've been observing .  He disappears for long periods of time, and when he does return, he rarely brings an offering.  However, he does make the best of Stella's company during his brief appearances.

This heron flew over to Ted and Mary's garden where I've never before seen a heron stick gathering.  First, he had to crash around trying to find a landing spot, as the trees are very dense in that section of the park.  Then, he worked very, very hard to break off this branch.  In the end, he wasn't successful but the intensity in his eyes was most impressive.
The heron below lives in a tree by the parking lot.  He is a fine example of efficient  energy use.  He flies to the closest tree on a neighbouring street, barely  a ten-second flight away.  
Rather than struggle with the large branches like the heron above, he breaks off only the smaller twigs.  Here, he returns to the nest with his tiny offering.
His mate reaches up for it, quite satisfied, I think, with his work.  True, he had to make constant trips - one every couple of minutes while I was there.  Perhaps, that is all the more impressive, since his wife isn't left waiting alone for long periods of time.  I get the feeling they are a well-suited pair.
The heron below flew to a secluded spot by a tiny little pond that Black Jack and I had discovered on the other side of West Georgia Street.  We were sitting on the lone park bench, hidden from passers by, when it arrived.  It was as surprised as we were, and so close to us, the big lens on my camera was overkill.  Black Jack (bless her heart) didn't make a sound.  It was focused and intent on finding its (and perhaps, its mate's) next meal.  
We watched it for a long time, each one of us (bird, dog and human) aware of the other, and yet, somehow, the three of us in harmony.  What I loved in these two photos was the way the heron's elegant fascinator flowed in sync with its motion.  
Cormorant (Pelagic, I think)
I liked the blue-green patch, the wing pleats and the little shine in its eye.
Yes, I know this is a Canada Goose and not an osprey.  However, it is sitting in Lawrence and Olivia's nest (in North Vancouver), one that I have watched over the past three years.  For the past two years, it has not been used to raise chicks, but has seemed to be more of a meeting place for Lawrence and Olivia to share fish and talk over their life plan.  Three years ago, I was lucky enough to see their chick, Rose, survive her first flight.  It is a memory that still stands out as a highlight.
Bill had driven me to North Vancouver just so that we could check on the ospreys.  (Thank you, Bill!) Although there was no sign of Lawrence and Olivia, we did see the pair that I have named Jewel and Jonny.  Their nest is over the shipyard, and far from my camera's eye, but I did catch this shot of Jewel.  Her brown "necklace" marking is the giveaway to her gender. 
Jonny was on the tree branch, presumably put there for the ospreys' pleasure.  I am impressed that that branch appears to be in good shape after at least a year of service.
Jewel and Jonny, I'm told, are getting quite old, but they appear to be interested in raising another family.  They have raised two chicks for each of the past three years (as long as I have known them).
The rest of the birds here were also taken during that visit to North Vancouver.  We saw this  beautiful little Kinglet (Ruby-crowned or Golden-crowned, I'm not sure) just as we stepped out of the truck.  It was flitting around very quickly, and Bill worked hard to help me track its moves until it finally settled for a few seconds .  
We also walked under the overpass, a familiar haunt before I retired, as it was on my bike route to work.  I believe this is an American Goldfinch.  I heard its song long before I finally spied it behind the tree leaves.
I'm wondering if this  is a young finch.  It was another lusty vocalist.
My final shot for that trip was this White-crowned sparrow.
We also stopped to visit some old friends, an eagle pair in Bridgman Park.  They are also, we were told, getting quite old.  Although they haven't raised any chicks over the past couple of years, they continue (I think) to enjoy each other's company.

Some tulips in lovely pastel shades that I admired in David Lam Park.
I am grateful to the people at the UBC gardening forum for helping me out with six identifications this week.  This is a double-flowering tulip and I saw it at the entrance to Stanley Park.
Davidia involucrata (Dove Tree) is the name of this tree seen in David Lam Park.  
Bill liked this picture of some smiling (or maybe laughing) pansies, all gathered together.  I also see a kitten face in them.  I wonder if you see any other interpretations of those markings.  
This is Anemone Coronaria.  (Apparently, the word, "anemone" means daughter of the wind).  It was growing in a corner,  along the edge of a parking lot, looking almost as though it fell there by accident,.     
I thought it deserved a more appropriate setting to highlight its beauty, but it sure brightened my walk.
Black Jack and I walk by this seawall spot almost daily.  On this particular walk, I noticed for the first time the triangular lines of the flower beds, contrasted with the curved lines of the steps and landing.
This building is near Davie Street and another that we often pass by.  The other day, it seemed the cherry blossoms and the architecture were designed with each other in mind.
I think this is a cherry blossom, but the blooms seem a bit different than the ones I usually see.  It was in Stanley Park.
Bill loved the brilliant yellow of the blossoms on this shrub in North Vancouver.  UBC didn't offer an id on this one, so for now, it will have to be the mystery bloom.
These are right beside my apartment. Bill and I only noticed them after our day in North Vancouver.  I didn't ask for an id on them, but am guessing they are a variation on the tulip.
Just some lovely tulips, leaning in the breeze.
This was in Stanley Park and I thought it beautiful.  However, I learned that it is "naturalized urban invasive Lamium galeobdolon."  The English name for it is Yellow Archangel.
Also in Stanley Park, I learned that this plant is Native Sambucus Racemosa (The common name is Red Elderberry.) I stopped because of the lovely, curving bridge formed by the blooms.

One day, Black Jack and I walked along a small, desolate street that leads to Vancouver's Chinatown district.  This building, and a lone plant doing its best to survive, caught my eye.
The Mandarin Centre caught fluffy clouds, blue patches and greenery, in its windows.  
Another day, with rain threatening but managing to hold off, I looked across English Bay at Vanier Park, and thought the ocean and sky were almost a uniformly hazy grey. 
This scene was in North Vancouver.  Bill and I both wondered at the Seaspan loads of salt.  
And one shot, for old time's sake, of the overpass that was built a few months before I retired.  It sure made my commute a greener one!
I noticed this striped rock along English Bay a couple of days ago and wondered how those stripes occurred.

Vancouver Symphony and UBC opera chorus: "Trial by Jury" by Gilbert and Sullivan.
We are both new fans of Gilbert and Sullivan and we absolutely loved this performance. It is full of humour and wonderful opportunities to show off the voice.  All of the soloists and the chorus were strong.  UBC clearly has a fine program going. I found this cartoon in a magazine called "Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News."  It depicts one scene from the play and was published in 1875.  I won't go into it here, but there were some very funny misunderstandings for modern audiences due to changes in the English language.  If you are interested, this interview will fill you in on some of the details. 

Neither of us had been aware that it is a one-act play and that it would take up only the second half of the concert. The first half included a rousing rendition of "Crown Imperial" by Walton.  Watching Bramwell Tovey's joy as he led this performance was a treat.  He had at least as much fun as the instrumentalists.  We also heard a piano concerto by Ireland.  This was brand new for me, and I thought the soloist, Peter Longworth, did an excellent job of portraying the subtle harmonies and colours.  

We entered the Orpheum Theatre from Granville Street and I took this picture of the entranceway.  
This sculpture was at the top of the stairs.  It at first seems quite an ordinary design, but the more we looked at it, the more its lines and rich golds caught and held our interest.
It is called "Requiem for Yan" and was sculpted by Judi M. Young.  I haven't been able to find any other information about it.
With each event at the The Orpheum I find myself growing more in love with the place.  This is a small section of the wall by the stairs at the entrance.
I have taken pictures of the wall (shown below) before.  The sculpture is called "Symphonia" and it is by John Nutter.  Usually, I have seen it after dark, when the buildings and sky outside are hidden.  Last evening, there was still enough daylight for me to enjoy the "out-inner space" relationship.  Note: I am stealing the name of my favourite contemporary dance company in Vancouver, Out Innerspace
International Dance Week
This next picture may offend a few, and I will admit that seeing full nudity in a dance performance (male and female) was a new and just slightly uncomfortable experience for us.  According to the program, ADAMEVE/Man-Woman explored "issues of gender, identity, ethnicity and cross-cultural dialogue.  The dancers spent much of the work with their faces covered by the plastic you see in the photo.  The plastic made a rather scratchy, rhythmical sound that Bill thought might have been why that material was used.  I found myself distracted by wonderings if the dancers could breathe.  It also seemed to me that if they were depicting a time of the biblical story of Adam and Eve, using a material like plastic was incongruous.  Overall, this  dance left me with lots of questions.  Perhaps, it would take repeated viewings to understand it better.  I did admire, however, the obviously disciplined and well trained dancers, Alison Denham and Billy Marchenski.  The two photos you see below were taken from this review.  Clearly, the reviewer was a bit confused as well.  In fact, I quote: "I was quite confused by this work, and I’m not sure I really understood what they were getting at. Perhaps it was an extended metaphor that I just didn’t grasp, but I didn’t find it enjoyable as these naked figures moved about the stage in a frantic manner."  
Like the reviewer, I preferred the second work on the program, "Another You."  At times, I was mesmerized by the creativity and ingenuity of the choreographer, as well as by the unbelievable technique of both dancers.  However, as Bill has occasionally said about some movies we have watched, I felt "it could have done with some judicious editing."  My attention strayed at times and I found myself, towards the end, wondering if "we were there yet."  If you have any interest in contemporary dance, I recommend watching this video.  I would definitely want to see these dancers again, were they to perform in Vancouver. 
We also saw one more performance this past week.  Sometimes, I feel that I am making up for a lifetime of being too busy, and or too tired, in my working life, to attend live performances.  Endgame, by Samuel Beckett, was brilliantly staged and acted by Main Street Theatre.  I am out of blogging energy, but check out this company's site.  I suspect that anything they produce will be well worth your time to attend.  We also love the "talkback" afterwards.  So often, even after less than stellar performances, we have gained new appreciation for the talent, hard work, and intentions of theatre and dance performances.  In this case, the talkback brought the actors' personalities to our consciousness, something that I really appreciated.  Somehow, it was all the more impressive to see how far they traveled to portray their subject.  I took the photos below from Main Street Theatre's web site.

As I write here, I realize we saw one more performance.  No time to blog about it, but want to record the moment here and leave a link to A Last Resort by Rough House Production.

I loved this squirrel at Stanley Park.
It stared at Black Jack, who was frozen in shock and for once in her squirrel viewing life, silent.  The squirrel wasn't nervous, but rather assessing the situation.
A crayola moment.  (Idea from one of Penelope's comments on a long ago post.)
The wood duck passed by, clearly on a mission, and I marvelled for the umpteenth time that such beauty is for real.
My final photo for this post is of a wise turtle.  I'm convinced that expression indicates wisdom.  I believe it gazes on the passers by with as much curiosity as they do, it.  (Sorry that I cannot identify its gender.)
Thank you, as always, for reading about My World this past week.