Search because it has a song...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ardea Herodias

Squawking because Sparrow is on the beach...

     I took the dogs to Jericho Beach today. It's Monday so I knew it wouldn't be crowded. We walked down to the beach so I could throw sticks for Sparrow, who was already in the water - Hawksley beside me near my ankle.
He lands and watches a few tosses of chase the stick.
     We climbed over the last grassy bank to get onto the sand. I heard this guy before I saw him. A Great Blue Heron! My dad asked me if I have a picture of one in flight, so I keep trying. Today I got pretty lucky. As I said I heard him before I saw him, so I got my camera ready. He SQUAWKED a number of times, really loudly complaining that we were disturbing him. We were at least a hundred yards away - and only two other people on the entire beach! He probably thought my dogs would chase him, but they know better - besides this park is chalk full of coyotes, so if someone's dog did chase, I feel like the dog's just keeping whatever it's chasing on whatever it's chasing's toes. Most dogs are just into chasing, not catching. There's a German short haired Pointer and he just stands there, leg up like a statue- for twenty minutes at a time. It's so awesome, the first time you see it it looks a little alarming, the dog is so intently concentrating on the bunny- but then nothing happens and the bunny is just sitting there five feet from the dog, eating a discarded carrot. The Pointer- pointing.
     So I stayed there on the beach right where we were so he could either fish or fly and he chose to fly to the east of us, complaining the whole way! I thought about running a moment or two of video to share the funny sound this big guy made, but I really wanted to get the photos of the Great Blue Heron in flight, like my dad requested. Here's a good one:
Complaining loudly, he flies a few hundred yards east.
     You should be able to click on the photo to make it bigger- for a closer look. There are usually two or three of them here but it was getting warm already at 9:30AM. I noticed tracks all over the beach from dozens of different birds. They must have fished early. It rained pretty hard yesterday but the sunset sky ended with pink, so sailor's delight.
     This is the place to come if you really need to see a Great Blue Heron that day. It's a guarantee practically. I look for their feathers in a few spots and almost always find at least one. They groom in the trees above the duck pond. They fish in the pond all the time too.
     I wondered if they would eat a baby duckling and watched one fishing for frogs. I decided it probably would, and decided to stop wondering before I actually saw it happen. The Herons you see here now are the adults and offspring of the colony that roosts in Stanley Park across the inlet. If you read my previous posting, I Did Not Know That, I won't have to repeat myself here and describe the huge colony...
     We usually leave the beach area and walk towards the Blackberry brambles where the bunnies are. The berries are ripe and cover the vines. Sparrow eats them right off the vine, carefully avoiding the prickles. The pug waits for us to feed him his share. Both dogs love the berries. So do we! There are tons of birds and bunnies that fill this little area. a few weeks ago Eliza and I watched hummingbird fledglings getting flying lessons. Talk about adorable. I was unable to get any footage because it was the one and only day I didn't bring my camera on our walk.
     Lately we have been going to this awesome dog beach. It isn't over used or over run, with about a hundred and fifty yards of shallow water that even Hawksley can play in. Check out this adorable video of him looking for his ball after it sank. He was able to find it again by using his feet, he communicated to me that he had it between his back feet by looking up at me and not moving them and then slowly looking back and into the water - then slowly back up to me. I felt between his back feet and there it was! Smartie! Cutie!
     I have accumulated a number of Great Blue Heron pictures and here are a few. I hope you enjoy them. I don't mind if anyone* (*except for a company or corporation, or for profit or mass reproduction) uses my photos. (So if you are going to profit off of it or publish it please ask me first.) I don't watermark them. I would like the credit for taking them, and would love to hear how and why you used them if you do! I take pictures because I enjoy seeing these sights, and want to share the nature as far and wide as I can in the hopes that people who aren't aware of how important it is will become aware. We need to protect it and support it.
     BIG GREEDY OIL are currently doing something really bad in Alberta for profit. It's called the TAR SANDS. Basically it's a really messy and dirty way of getting oil out of the ground. It uses millions of gallons of  fresh water and created huge environmental catastrophes.
     This is happening and we need to stop it. There is a huge protest going on in Washington DC about stopping a pipeline from going all the way from Alberta Tar Sands to Texas refineries. This will be a major environmental disaster in more ways than one. This isn't just a treehugger (which I am, proudly) sounding off, this is the opinion of brilliant scientists and educated environmentalists alike.
     If you enjoyed my blog, and the photos, please take a moment to look into this threat and spread the word that it is not the direction we all need to be taking. BP's oil spill has destroyed the Shrimp, Pelicans are STARVING to death. The Tar Sands project has had safety issues, and pipeline breaks or oil spills all the time. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the pictures.
     When you are done, please take a moment to click on (if you haven't already) any and all of the coloured links above to better understand the importance of this information...
Fishing off Granville Island
His long head feather is so cool!

Extra! Extra a whole bunch of photos!

This sweet Red-winged blackbird is a fledgling!  He is so sweet, and so proud of himself....

Here are a few few shots from the feeders up around my place, and also of the Northern Ficker's nest...
  Flicker bolts back to her nest atfer feeding on the paddle full of Suet we have hanging on our back porch. The male and both females feed regularly off of the feeder.
The feeders are shared by a variety of birds and no one seems to mind the other... like the Sparrow & House Finch for example...
This fledgling Starling makes a lot of noise when his mom is feeding, demanding to be fed like a big baby. She often feeds him. When she flies away, he hops back onto the feeder and feeds himself. I remembered that when I was a nanny, the kids often would rather I would feed them than feed themselves, like it was an exhausting effort to put spoon to mouth. Unless it was dessert, of course...
I am helping Eliza get her ETSY page up today, so I will just quickly post a bunch of photos of birds from all around Vancouver. Eli & I like to go junking. Actually for a while it was a bit of a compulsion. But we aren't hoarders, so we put the brakes on. Besides, these days it's trendy and a lot of places were got cool stuff for reasonable prices (next to nothing) have jacked up their prices. That's not as fun anymore. Even Value Village raised their prices to stupid levels - donated stuff, someone's garbage- now at inflated prices! We have seen things priced more than if you bought it new in the store. Sure, in capitalist societies it's every money grubber for themself, but when thrift shops raise their prices like they are selling vintage clothing, and when they want five hundred bucks at the Sally-Anne because the levi's jacket has a big E, it means poor people can not dress nicely, not even in someone else's used give-aways.
   But back to the birds... We returned to the Great Blue Heron Colony to see if my cell was there. F(*&^. It wasn't... might go fully cell-less now. Seem to be saying I shouldn't have one since I have lost a cell about every 6 months or so.
     It was raining so hard, but this crow guy just perched here on the driftwood that looks like the sign for I Love You... so it must be Bawlckey.
I haven't mentioned yet that there is a giant bunny population at Jericho. They live in the blackberry brambles... Bunnies galore: black ones, red ones, blonde ones, spotted ones, ones that look legitimately wild... right now, of course - because it's spring and these are bunnies there about a million babies! Probably why this is also a place, where over which, you usually see an eagle or falcon flying...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hello again!

Happy summer! 
There is so much that has happened since I last posted that I think today we will just start with some photos.
Stellar Jay on Bowen Island

Stellar Jay successfully begging for handouts.

I worked on Bowen Island for a day last week and  it was such a  great day. The wildlife there is all around you. Birds calling each other, deer wandering everywhere, otters playing on the docks right next to seal cubs sunning on the beach waiting for their mothers to return.
The only real predators on the island, are humans. No bears, coyotes, wolves or cougars although from time to time one will swim across and have to be relocated or in many cases hunted by the human official types. So this makes the mule deer that are prolific on these types of islands, pretty relaxed. For example I was using a palm sander to sand down a few planters, and this particular deer, whose name is Vinnie because of his torn ear, was waiting for me to be distracted enough to loot the apple bucket.
Playing shy guy at first so I turn my back and think he's gone.

Hid behind the tree until the apples were alone.

Success! Took his own apple out of the bucket! See his torn ear?
We have been going to Jericho beach a lot. There are no longer Red Wing Blackbirds everywhere, they left when the Folk Fest took over the park for the weekend. I want to find out where they migrate to during this time. There are only one or to still at the marsh, they call out and are unanswered. It sounds lonely although I am sure they chose to be where they are...
The Gray Herons are still feeding in the marsh and along the beach. We see quite a few each time we go. They fly really high and the only way to tell them apart from eagles at a quick glance is the long legs hanging out behind!
This was one of the biggest Great Grays I have ever seen.

Still trying for the wide open wing shot...

Watching seagulls eat salmon heads @ the marina

Time for a quick grooming under the arm pit.
Hunting in the marsh while the ducks nap.
I was taking pictures of this last Heron when there was a commotion overhead! The Heron was distracted from hunting as something crashed into the tree above me. A branch broke off and fell down, knocking debris from the other limbs as it fell. Eliza saw the whole thing and pointed out the culprit...
This is Heron Looking up at commotion...

This male Belted Kingfisher was the noisy chaser!
I am making an effort to get back into posting each day. It was a hard loss when the Northern Flickers had their tragedy earlier this summer. As far as I know, two females survived to fledge from Gibson's Wildlife Rescue.
From time to time there is a Flicker outside in the Birch. She calls a few times and no one answers her so she flies off. A few blocks away she has a family that she stays near, they all call to each other. I wonder if she isn't the second Mrs Flicker looking for her Mister and Sister wife...