Sunday, May 29, 2011

A day at Reifel Bird Sanctuary

I first encountered Rock Paper Lizard while doing a web search for some kind of animal (I don't recall which one now).  On browsing through his archives, I discovered the Interpreter series, a fictional work focused less on nature and more on the unintentionally hilarious actions of human beings.  I further discovered he lived not too far away from where I used to live, earning his blog as one of the first I subscribed to.

From the comments in his blog, I found Wanderin Weeta, a youthful spirit whose desire to bring the animals of our muddy beaches home with her (and learn just about everything about them) is inspiring to me.  She and her partner Laurie never cease to find interesting animals to photograph and research to share with the rest of us.

Today, I met up with the three of them for the first time at Reifel Bird Sancuary. I've been meaning to go for some time.  In fact, D and I even tried looking for it once, but got lost in the residential streets.  But today, I was with pros who have been there many times before.

First wildlife of the day, and I wasn't even out of the carport yet, where this dragonfly hung above my car
It was a wonderfully warm day to discover Reifel.  The parking lot was full when we arrived, an unexpected sight for a long time resident such as myself who didn't know about Reifel up until reading the above blogs.
Carp, battling it out for food

Mallard-Domestic duck cross (Hugh's guess)

Duck duck goose duck goose duck goose

Female brown-headed Cowbird

One usually expects that constant exposure to dampness would lead to diminishing "beading"...not so on the bottom-side of this female mallard (click to see the beading) (don't be embarassed, Donald Duck doesn't wear pants, and nobody ever got in a hissy fit about that)

The problem with beaks is that one can never tell if it's smiling at a joke the duck told or just grimacing at the poo it just stepped in

Damsels, evidently not in distress

Cedar Waxwing

Squirrel alley...they are the seedy underbelly of the park, dealing in the currency of seeds and grains

How many ducks could a wood duck chuck

They were all looking the wrong way

Yes, they really are this showy

Horse chestnut flowers.  Who knew they could be this beautiful

RockPaperLizard and Wanderin Weeta

Tree Swallow nervously scoping us out

...and he's off

Black capped chickadee checking out them cones hanging on the Douglas Fir, if you know what I mean

Brown headed cowbird

Blackheaded Grosbeak
 and what it sounds like calling:


What's that shadow I see in the sky?
Our one bird of prey sighting today
A great day to check out some birds, and meet some new people.  Birders use the term "lifers" to designate birds that they see for the first time.  As someone who has never birded, I think I can use that term quite generously today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

blue trees of Richmond

I drive past these every day, but not until couple weekends back did I get a chance to see them up close. The trees are part of the Vancouver Biennale art installation. The paint is water-based, and is expected to wash off eventually, but until then, you can check them out at the Garden City Arboretum.
Posted by Picasa