John Harvey Photo

April 2021Go to Slide
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Really enjoy those rare sunny days!


Happy Easter!

Yeah, Covid!  We normally go to my parents for Easter, but not this year.  The kids did get a chance to decorate cupcakes and make some Easter Eggs.  This is the first year the kids got to colour blown eggs - previous years have been hard boiled eggs.

Cupcakes With DecorationsDipped Eggs Drying

The kids did a good job with the eggs.  The kit came with a clear crayon so they could do masking - it worked pretty well.

Working On Eggs

Not as much fun as a trip to Victoria, but a whole lot safer!

Colony Farm

Storm In Background Kids Playing
When you get good weather, you feel the urge to get outside and make the most of your day.  When we left the house the parking lot at Colony farm had a "Very Busy" warning in Google maps, but a cloud burst had rolled through and drenched the place, probably sending many people to their cars.  No problem parking and we got sunny skies!

Kids Playing On Wooden Bridge

I have visited Colony Farm once before and I think this is the first time for the kids.  Most of the walks are near water so you want to keep an eye open for wildlife in river and the drainage channels.

  Female BuffleheadGreat Blue Heron With Backlit Beak

Muskrat Just Out Of Water
A surprise for me - we spotted a muskrat swimming and then coming out of the water!  I have seen a muskrat once before when hiking at Manning Park, at the time I didn't have my camera out and the muskrat was gone in a flash.  We were further from the muskrat, but I did have my camera handy.  I was quite surprised to see the animal out of the water.


We walked to the pond hoping to see an American Bittern, but no luck.  I might have seen a Virginia Rail, but it was just a flash and I have no photos so no credit for that one.  As we started walking back we saw a crowd coming towards us.  Turns out a river otter was swimming along next to the road and didn't care that half a dozen people were watching him.  We hung out and watched it get out of the water.

River Otter In GrassRiver Otter Looking At MeRiver Otter Top Of Bank
 
Near End Of Walk
They are fun animals to watch.  He did catch something to eat but if was too small for us to tell what it was.  We made it back to the bridge and then walked to the parking lot.


Bad Day For Small Fish
Meters from the parking lot, I looked though the blackberries into a ditch full of water and spotted what I first thought was a Chinese Pond Heron (which I have seen a lot in Asia) but I quickly realizes was the American Bittern people were out to see.  The bird has giant green feet and was walking among the weeds trying to find a meal.  He came up with a small fish.

American Bittern Walking Hg

We had a great afternoon.  I don't think the kids would have wanted to know that I would have been happy just seeing the Bittern near the parking lot.
 

City Timelapse


There are at least four different phases of Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver. The earliest are the trees near the Burrard Street Station - they are warm and loose their pedals early. Next up are the trees over the fisherman wharf - again, quick to lose petal.  Next are the trees at QE Park - they bloom later and finish later.  Finally are the thick flower trees on 6th Ave - they bloom the l latest and hold their flower even when they start to leaf in.  The early trees are easy to miss because they don't last long.  We happened to walk by and I saw the Fishermans Wharf trees were in great shape and I wanted to include them in a timelapse.

My first thought was to include a branch, but that didn't work as well as I had hoped - the branch moves through most of the video and the light on it isn't nearly as bright as the city.  When I was leaving (in the dark), I noticed the scene was quite a bit different from another angle so I decided to come back and try again another night.


Still not quite what I wanted, but the flowers are now gone so maybe I can try again next year.

Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is a fickle friend.  It's the highest point in the city of Vancouver so it's a pretty good place to find birds during the migration periods.  That said, it can be quite busy so walking around with a tripod and a big lens can make you look like an idiot.  April is the mid to later part of the spring migration so a morning in the park is definitely worth it.

American Goldfinch In TreeYellow Rumped Warbler With Fresh Buds
 
While most of the park is a garden, there are a few special spots.
 
Pink Fawn Lilies Coming Up Through Leaf Litter
One of my favorites is corner near the arbutus tree where you can find Pink Fawn Lilies in the spring.  The come up every year and I doubt there is a city worker planting them. 

Pink Fawn Lily In Sun
 
It was such a nice day (we had a run of unseasonably warm days) that we decided to have a picnic in the park.  We were far from alone in this idea, but QE is large enough that we didn't feel crowded.

Cherry Blossom In Full BloomTakeout Under Cherry Blossums

 
In my walk in the morning, I notice a small crowd of photographers photographing a Hummingbird on it's nest.  A few years ago there was a hummingbird nest really close to a walking trail and the nest failed because of the attention.  Seeing the crowds, I was really worried how this nest would survive, but the mother was feeding it's babies and the babies were active. 

Photographers Watching HummingbirdPhotographers Not Socially Distanced

Two Hummingbird Chicks On Nest
Nara and Claira wanted to see what everyone was looking at so I setup my camera and Claira took a photo.  Even if hummingbirds are close they are quite difficult to spot so I understand how they can raise babies in an urban park.  I have seen hummingbirds on nests before at QE Park and before at Outerbridge Park, but this was the first time I've seen the babies so large.  I came back a few nights later the nest was empty - presumably the babies had flown.


It's been a while since Helen mixed up bubble formula so the kids were quite happy to see the tubs and sticks come out.  After dinner and a brief walk around the kids started making bubbles in the dying sunlight.  It's hard to know what is more fun - making the bubbles or breaking them.

Claira With Her BubbleNara In Bubble WindowNara Leaving Long Streak Of Bubble

Nara Showing Claira BubblePeople Through Bubbles

We were home a little late for baths (it was a school night), but I think it was worth it.

Happy Birthday Nara!

Nara's birthdays have been challenging with COVID.  Last year restrictions peaked around late April.  This year, the restrictions got worse and worse as her birthday approached so we decided to do another zoom birthday.  Each kid gets a box of supplies delivered via the Mom network and they all do the same things at same time and chat on the zoom.

Claira Starting To Dye BeadsClaira Starts Second BottleNara Adding ColourNara Lanterns Setup
 
Every kid got a cupcake but Nara got a sparkler.  Later that night we had a family birthday with a full sized cake.

Claira Smells SparklersNara Blowing Out Candles



American Goldfinch In Tree
Species: Spinus tristis (American goldfinch)
River Otter In Grass
Species: Lontra canadensis (northern river otter)
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Colony Farm
Takeout Under Cherry Blossums
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: cherry blossoms, hanami, Queen Elizabeth Park
Working On Eggs
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: decorating, eggs
Claira Starting To Dye Beads
Photographers Watching Hummingbird
Tags: camera gear, photographer
Nara In Bubble Window
Person: Nara
Tags: bubble, window
Claira Smells Sparklers
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: cup cake, sparks
Kids Playing On Wooden Bridge
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge, Colony Farm
River Otter Top Of Bank
Species: Lontra canadensis (northern river otter)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Colony Farm
Dipped Eggs Drying
Tags: decorating, eggs
Near End Of Walk
Person: Claira, Helen, Nara
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge, Colony Farm
Nara Showing Claira Bubble
Person: Claira, Nara
People Through Bubbles
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: bubble, Queen Elizabeth Park
Yellow Rumped Warbler With Fresh Buds
Species: Dendroica coronata auduboni (Audubon's Yellow-Rumped Warbler )
Claira With Her Bubble
Person: Claira
Tags: bubble
Great Blue Heron With Backlit Beak
Species: Ardea herodias (Great Blue Heron)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Colony Farm
American Bittern Walking Hg
Species: Botaurus lentiginosus (American Bittern)
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Colony Farm
Pink Fawn Lilies Coming Up Through Leaf Litter
Species: Erythronium revolutum (Pink Fawn Lily)
Cherry Blossom In Full Bloom
Tags: cherry blossoms, Queen Elizabeth Park
Pink Fawn Lily In Sun
Species: Erythronium revolutum (Pink Fawn Lily)
Tags: flowers, Queen Elizabeth Park
Storm In Background Kids Playing
Person: Claira, Nara
Location: Go To...
Female Bufflehead
Species: Bucephala albeola (Bufflehead)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Colony Farm
Cupcakes With Decorations
River Otter Looking At Me
Species: Lontra canadensis (northern river otter)
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Colony Farm
Nara Lanterns Setup
Muskrat Just Out Of Water
Species: Ondatra zibethicus (Common Muskrat)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Colony Farm
Bad Day For Small Fish
Species: Botaurus lentiginosus (American Bittern)
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Colony Farm, fish
Nara Adding Colour
Two Hummingbird Chicks On Nest
Species: Calypte anna (Anna's Hummingbird)
Tags: nest, Queen Elizabeth Park
Photographers Not Socially Distanced
Tags: camera gear, photographer
Nara Leaving Long Streak Of Bubble
Person: Nara
Nara Blowing Out Candles
Person: Nara
Tags: birthday cake
Claira Starts Second Bottle
Tags: Colony Farm(10), Queen Elizabeth Park(5), bird(4), cherry blossoms(4), bubble(3), eggs(2)
People: Nara(11), Claira(9), Helen(1)

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Last Modified Sunday, May 16th, 2021 at 16:30:18 Edit
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