Shortly after I came out to British Columbia in early 2006 I had a case of severely high blood pressure. It wouldn't have been fair to an employer for me to work for them until I got my health situation sorted out. I was on medications to lower the blood pressure and it took until early 2007 to find the cause. I finally went to a naturopath who found that a microscopic parasite was the cause for all this.

While getting my health in order, I took up blogging to share my photography. This way I wasn't wasting time and others got to enjoy the photos, not just me and those close to me.

In May of this year I had a mini-stroke cause again by severely high blood pressure. I may end up gong to the naturopath again since the specialist and other MDs can't seem to find the cause. This has only been a problem out here. Before that in Ontario, the blood pressure was only marginally high, not severely high like in BC.

Knowledge is good because being forewarned is forearmed!

All that said, enjoy this blog and all the photos I share with you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What's in flower at Bear Creek Park - Surrey, BC

Purple lilac in bloom

Korean fir

Lupins in flower (above and below)

Columbine flowers


Cornus in bloom

Fish in pond (fry)

Male Mallard duck

Pond and view of the gardens

Rhododendrons in flower

Deciduous azalea in bloom

Perennial cornflower, Centaurea montana

Pine tree in flower (male) with plenty of pollen

Another shrub in bloom


The back gate to the garden has these wisteria flowers in bloom. Bear Creek Park is a nice quiet place worth a visit if you're in Surrey, BC. I hope you have enjoyed these photos. More to come!

Where are the bees???

So where are all the bees??? Well, I've seen a few around both wild bees and the odd honeybee but not any where as many as I remember seeing back in the 1960s in southwestern Ontario. Up until I sold my house in London I had a garden with plenty of flowers and various bees, butterflies and hoverflies to go along with them. The garden was alive with flying insects of one sort or another from the time things warmed up in the spring until the snow started flying in late autumn. The bees had lots of nectar from spring and summer heather, scotch broom, genista, roses, thyme, veronica, perennial cornflower, false indigo and many other flowers. Then I didn't use insecticide, herbicides and pesticides on any of my plants but rather organic methods more environmentally friendly than those sprays mentioned. So that meant pulling weeds by hand and companion planting instead. This means more work but it's better for the environment and all the creatures that live in it in the long run!

So back to the bees in the Greater Vancouver area. Both Wednesday and Thursday I paid a visit to Hawthorne Rotary Park and Bear Creek Park in Surrey. There were some wild bees but few of them and they seemed to be skittish. I haven't seen any honeybees lately. The last one I saw was about a week or two ago. This series of photos show a bumblebee on a perennial cornflower, Centaurea montana, taken at Bear Creek Park on Thursday afternoon. This is a solitary wild bee going from one flower to another in search of nectar. I did see another couple of bumblebees around a planting of rhododendrons but they made themselves scarce. No honeybees were spotted at either park or enroute between them. Well, enjoy seeing this one anyway!

Here's a little further information on the perennial cornflower, Centaurea montana. Go to for more details on this species and the more than 350 - 500 species found in the world.
Centaurea montana (common names include perennial cornflower, mountain cornflower and mountain bluet) is a species of Centaurea endemic to Europe. It is widespread and common in the more southerly mountain ranges of Europe, but is rarer in the north. It escapes from gardens readily, and has thereby become established in the British Isles, Scandinavia and North America.

C. montana grows in meadows and open woodland in the upper montane and sub-alpine zones, in basic areas. It grows to 30–70 cm (12–28") tall, and flowers mainly from May to August.

A flower head of C. montana seen from above
C. montana may be distinguished from other Centaurea species in the region by its usually entire leaves, and the blue-purple colour of the outermost ray florets. It may be distinguished from the cornflower, C. cyanus, by having a single (rarely up to three) flower heads, and by its being perennial, whereas the cornflower has many flower heads and is annual. The closely-related C. triumfettii has more narrowly-winged stems, narrower leaves and grows in rockier areas.

This plant is inedible; however, it is a popular medicinal plant in Central Europe.

Monkey dead from bubonic plague in Denver

Here's a little news from Reuters that might get you thinking!

Monkey dead from bubonic plague in Denver
Mon May 21, 8:58 PM ET

A Denver Zoo monkey has died of bubonic plague, apparently after eating a squirrel stricken with the disease, Colorado health and zoo officials said on Monday.
Five squirrels and a rabbit found dead on zoo grounds tested positive for the flea-borne disease in recent weeks, Denver Zoo spokeswoman Ana Bowie said.

Read more at:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's raining, it's pouring but I don't hear the old man snoring!!!

Well, that's not exactly how the words go but humour is helpful on a day like today. Outside it's pouring rain. The sky is overcast and certainly dull-looking. The weather was warm, sunny and very summer-like during the week but yesterday the rain clouds returned and began dumping that wet stuff on us once again. Yesterday it was occasional with the sun trying to make it's appearance but today the rain is pretty constant and heavy at time. Hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday will be much better weatherwise!

That being said, I guess this is a great day for indoor work. There are files to download onto CD and images to download onto the computer, so expect some posts in the very near future with recent photos taken at Bear Creek Park in Surrey. Of course, the weather was not at all like today. These photos will show clear blue skies, sunny weather and many other things, floral and otherwise. It's the Victoria Day weekend here but I hope mother nature is more co-operative where you are. Have a great weekend! Come back soon for more!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Alarm Clocks, Cuckoo Clocks and Time in General

This is a photo found on the website of The White Swan Guest House (Á Hvíta Svaninum) in Reykjavik, Iceland. I thought it was hilarious but then what are vacations for?!?!

Á Hvíta Svaninum ræður þú ferðinni, það er ekki okkar að setja þér tímamörk.

I’m not fond of alarm clocks and I've encountered people with the same issue. The one I have (that works) is a wind up clock. The racket from that thing was so bad once that I put it in the next room! I was trying to sleep but the noise was keeping me awake. There have been other times where the alarm would ring and the thought of taking a hammer to it came to mind. Good thing there wasn’t one handy because I would have put the alarm clock out of its misery. There have been other times when I’ve awakened and spent the next hour or so looking back at the clock unable to return to sleep. Back in the early 1980s (my mother was still alive at the time) a friend stayed over for the night and slept in the spare room downstairs. That room had a fully functioning cuckoo clock on the wall in the corner near the couch that opened up for sleeping. When my friend was comfortable and had fallen off to sleep, this clock rang. Midnight was something awful for her. It didn’t bother me because I slept through all that noise but then I didn’t share my bedroom with the clock either! Now I sleep with out a clock and just get up when I’m awake but that might change once I’m back to work. The electric alarm clock with radio that I have is broken. It didn’t last too long after I had bought it. I only lasted six months or so as opposed to the old one that lasted for years and is probably still working at a friend’s place in London.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Invisible technology one step closer

Physics and science in general has long been of interest to me since public school days. Today I received news that Dr. Sébastien Guenneau with Dr Frédéric Zolla and Professor André Nicolet from the University of Marseille in France have proven, using a computer generated model, that objects can appear invisible. It looks like that Klingon technology from the original Star Trek series (remember "cloaking') is one step closer to reality. Read the article at the link below for more information. There will be more in the sciences field from time to time.

An article at reveals that scientists are one more step closer to realising invisible technology [from "Science and technology news"]. A unique computer model designed by a mathematician at the University of Liverpool has shown that it is possible to make objects, such as aeroplanes and submarines, appear invisible at close range.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Nesting Swans

There is a nesting pair of mute swans at Lost Lagoon in Vancouver's Stanley Park. Here is a series of three photos taken of them earlier in April. I hope to have more photos later once the young are on the scene. Enjoy these for now!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Turtles, did anyone say turtles???

Did any one say turtles??? Well, its not often that I've seen turtles and certainly not three of them sunning themselves on a rock in this case at Lost Lagoon in Vancouver's Stanley Park this past Sunday. Here are a few shots including a close-up of two of them after the one in the middle decided to vacate and return to the water. Enjoy!

The Bald Eagle

This blog takes its name from the Latin name of the Bald Eagle and as luck would have it, I saw one while walking the seawall on Sunday. The bird was sitting high atop a tree over looking the bay. The view must have been great from there. At first I thought it might be an owl but then I was thinking, what would an owl be doing out in the daytime. Then the bird looked down and I saw the yellow beak and the white head. That said it all. I looked the bird up in my bird guide when I got home to find that this was probably a young eagle in its first year. It was the colouring of the plumage that had me fooled at first until the head was seen. So, you never know what you might see while walking the seawall or hiking through the park.

Spring Colour Everywhere

Sunday afternoon was so warm and sunny that I decided to go into Vancouver to enjoy the weather. A lot of other people were out with the same idea as you can see by the crowd at the main beach at English Bay. As people entered the beach area from the street they were greated by a colourful planting of tulips complete with an underplanting of forget-me-nots. The photo below gives you an idea of the colourful display. And yes, those are fan palms in the planters! The temperatures were very summer-like and worth getting out to experience.

Below is a close-up shot of the colour. I hope it helps perk up your day.

Scotch broom is also in bloom everywhere. It starts blooming about two weeks earlier than in London in southwestern Ontario. A member of the legume family it makes an excellent nitrogen fixer in your garden. The scent from the blooms carries far when the plant is in flower.

Not everyone looks up but this is the rock face on the western end of Stanley Park facing English Bay. I am standing on the seawall. The photo below shows a couple of crows flying overhead. When the weather and the wind is co-operating, you might even see eagles soaring overhead.

The fresh green growth is really shooting out on the larch trees since I was last in the park two weeks ago as can be seen in the image below.

There is a never ending show of colour it seems when viewing the display from the rhododendrons as can be seen in the last two photos.

Hopefully you have enjoyed the colourful floral display. If you live in the Vancouver area, perhaps you might consider coming out to see the colour while it lasts.