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.
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.
Not as much fun as a trip to Victoria, but a whole lot safer!
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
While most of the park is a garden, there are a few special spots.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Every kid got a cupcake but Nara got a sparkler. Later that
night we had a family birthday with a full sized cake.