Birds and Kids
Queen Elizabeth Park
The kids have gymnastics, I go for walks.
I've previously seen owls and Hummingbirds nesting, but it's high
tourist season so the birds seem to be thinner on the
ground. The gardens at QE are in a full bloom and you are
starting to see roving weddings trying to get a tourist free
background while keeping their dresses clean.
There is a small duck pond and I was quite
surprised to see only one family. I've heard that the
coyotes really like eating chicks so perhaps there were more
earlier in spring. This babies are about a week away from
fledging - in less than two weeks they can probably fly
away. They are high socialized to people - they didn't care
that I got close to them or their mother.
Pitt Addington Marsh
There have been a lot of Osprey's in my life
recently. When I was in Hong Kong in March, I saw an Osprey
in Deep Bay. Back in Vancouver, I saw four to six of them at
Iona Spit (but they were in Vancouver). It occured to me
that I had no photos of Osprey's where they are any appreciable
size in the frame - all my photos are of smudges of pixels that I
happen to know are Ospreys. There is a very visible Osprey
nest at Pitt Addington Marsh (in Pitt Meadows) - all I had to do
was drive out and take a look!
I arrived just before 6am when the gates to the park opened.
(Nara had Chinese class at 9:15am, so I had to be home by 8:30 to
get her to class). I walked out to the nest (it's over the
water but there is a dike top road very close by) and spotted a
bird apparently keeping eggs warm. I hung out for about 45
minutes to see the mate come back with fish and the animals switch
positions on the nest.
Colony Farm, Coquitlam
Nature Vancouver organizes birding walks on
most weekends. Last month I tried on at Iona Spit, this
month I thought I would try Colony Farm. I've wanted to go
to this park before (it's good for biking if you are comfortable
with dike top riding), but I've never had the event to make it
happen. Saturday morning, 8:30am we got started.
The Lazuli Bunting is "The Bird" this walk
is known for. It was the first bird we saw, just across the
street from the parking lot and after we saw it (8:40 am), the
organizer announced he wouldn't be offended if people left
early. Almost everyone stayed. To help us find the
bird, the organizer used his phone and played back the bird song
so we knew what to listen for. It's the first time I've ever
seen that done - it really helped my brain key in on this birds
sound, but I wonder about the side effects of playing a birds
After "The Bird" we walked into the park
proper. The plan was to cross the river and spend time in
the East side of the park. As a group, we moved slowly
trying to identify every bird the rustled a leaf. This
bridge over the river (which is only a few feet deep) gives a
great view of the marshy margins where we saw Common Yellowthroat
Warblers and Marsh Wren.
When the longest lens I owned was a 200mm lens, I used to think of
"birds" as owls and hawks and things you could get close to, and
everything else as a "Brown Jobby" - too difficult to photograph
well. Now that I own a longer lens there is a much larger
world of birds to see. Birds that I used to think of as
exotic (basically anything yellow) are turning out to be more
common than I thought. I have new appreciation for how much
diversity there is out there.
The Play Palace is an Arena in Kerisdale
that they convert to a kids bouncy castle park for the summer
months. It usually opens around the May long weekend and is
a popular destination for birthdays and rainy days. We had a
rainy day and we know the kids like to play on bouncy castles so
we went for a rainy Saturday Morning while Mom went grocery
I was surprised how much had changed from last year. It
looks to me that they lease the bouncy castles because they were
all different (and some brand new) from last year, but each castle
served roughly the same purpose - a double height slide, an
obstacle course climber and two smaller younger kids play
areas. The plasma cars look like they are reused as is some
of the sports equipment. The kids played for two plus hours
before they needed a snack and started to wind down.
Yellow-Headed Blackbird - Iona Spit
Vancouver has a few "If you want to see
this, go here" kinds of places. Colony Farm is known for
Lazuli Bunting, Iona Spit is known for Yellow-headed
Blackbirds. I had no idea they were a thing until I saw
looking up the history of Iona Spit and it turned out there has
been a population of Yellow Headed Blackbirds for quite some
time. It was nap time, and it doesn't take that long to
drive out there so I went out to take a look. A bright
yellow bird is easy to see - I found it in 5 minutes. The
other five photographers with big lenses all pointing in the same
direction might have helped too.
If you say to yourself, "The Aquarium
won't be that busy on a holiday Monday afternoon" you will be
wrong. My thinking was - go to Stanley park for a bike ride
(that part was fine) and after a bike ride, go to the Aqarium with
two hours of closing when you can find a parking spot. We
got to biking, biked for 10 minutes and then Claira announced she
had to go poo. When you get to the aquarium at 2pm, the
parking lot is lost cause and you could spend hours spewing carbon
into the atmosphere.
In our 5 minutes of biking, the kids did see baby ducks and a
bullfrog. They do enjoy biking, but we didn't make it around
the lake. We have previously spotted bullfrogs in the lake -
we found one today in less than a minute.
But Claira had to go. We packed in the car, I dropped the wife
and kids off and circled like a vulture.
The kids 1,2,3 list was Chester,
Beluga and frogs. Chester was mostly sleeping. We
watched a Beluga show and then we headed to see the frogs.
The aquarium has a mix of frogs on display. The Bullfrog
display lets you really look into the eyes of this invasive
species. They have a 360 tank loaded with medium sized
frogs. They have a number of small tanks with tropical
frogs. I was surprised the kids dwelled at each one.
Last week I went out to Iona Spit to take a
photo of a Yellow-headed Blackbird. I got a photo.
While I was there, a photographer came up and showed my an image
on his camera and asked me if I knew what it was - he had a photo
of an American Goldfinch. Last week I found the bird I
wanted, I figured I would try and find the bird I wanted again,
this time smaller.
Sadly, no luck. I heard the bird, but it likes to live in
the bushes (I think) and I never even saw a flicker of one.
The tree swallows were really entertaining and the yellow headed
blackbird landed really close by, but no luck with the Goldfinch.
Terra Nova Adventure Playground
After Nara's Chinese class, we try to do
something fun. We grabbed lunch and then went to Terra Nova
Adventure playground for some serious playground time. Nara
and Claira are at different levels in this playground (we let Nara
go up the three story slide by herself, we go with Claira and only
if there isn't a crowd). Nara really likes climbing on the
logs (Claira likes the stones). Both kids like the zipline
and the slide.
Tags: play gym(5), Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment(5), bouncy(4), Iona Beach Regional Park(4), Stanley Park(3), Vancouver Aquarium(3)
People: Claira(10), Nara(8)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2016 to 2005 > May 2016
Last Modified Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 at 22:07:58 Edit
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