Blogging

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.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Video Clips - SkyTrain - Greater Vancouver

video video

Here are a couple of short video clips taken from the SkyTrain in the Greater Vancouver area over the past week. The first one is north bound from Scott Road to Columbia Stations going over the suspension bridge over the Fraser River. The second clip is south bound from 22nd Street to New Westminster Stations. Sorry for the quality of the videos. There were smudges and dead insects on the glass at the time. Both clips are 2 minutes long. I will have others from time to time to give you an idea of what the area looks like and what life is like. This will be in addition to the still photos that I have been posting up until now. Enjoy them and feel free to comment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!"

William Shakespeare wrote about horses. The quote above is from the play Richard III (1591), Act 5, Scene 4, Line 7. Unlike Richard III's experience, there seem to be more than enough horses in Vancouver's Stanley Park. Take a tour of the park on a horse-drawn trolley, wagon or wagonette the next time you are here for a visit. You can find information about the tours online. The wagons may be drawn by Grey Shire horses, Clydesdales, Belgians or Percherons. For those horse lovers out there here are a few lovely photos of this magnificent animal called the horse. Enjoy!





Roosters

Chickens, Gallus gallus, are a type of domesticated fowl believed to be descended from wild Indian and south-east Asian Red Junglefowl. They're usually found at farms and not associated with parks but the one above, a rooster, was found wandering the garden beds at Stanley Park's Rose Garden earlier this summer. I am not certain of the breed though. A peahen was following along as well. Both were raised at the nearby Children's Animal Farm. So next time you are in a park, expect the unexpected!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Summertime at Lost Lagoon

Summertime is when we see the Canada geese with their young charges and mallard ducks with their young all around the Lost Lagoon in Vancouver's Stanley Park. Unfortunately, it's also the time of algae bloom in the water which gives the water a greenish colour and an off aroma. The droppings from all the water birds give the algae a perfect catalyst for growth. Just the same I enjoy seeing the wildlife in its various forms. This might include the great blue heron, the swan, Canada goose, mallard ducks or turtles. This was certainly the case a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy these photos starting with the great blue heron above and a photo of the lagoon below.

I've been visiting Stanley Park for over a year since moving to British Columbia and this was the first time that I noticed that the swans were banded as can be see in the photo above and the close-up below.

The image above shows the water fountain in the lagoon and the photo below shows turtles lined up on a log sunning themselves.

I found a heron on the hunt for food and below are a couple of swans with a close-up below that.


There is another view of the Lost Lagoon from the west side looking toward downtown Vancouver. Below are photos of Canada geese, including their young goslings. I hope you have enjoyed these images. There are more to come!

Video Clips

I've started taking short video clips of wildlife, preferably with some action, and other scenes of interest in the lower mainland in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. One such clip with a peahen and a rooster was the first to be posted here. You will find that one, and future clips, in the sidebar. If you care to comment, these would be appreciated.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The flowering annuals are at their best now...

Recent trips to Vancouver's Stanley Park have shown the annual flowers giving a great show of colour. This is from the entrance on Beech Avenue between the main beach at English Bay and the Second Beach plus the rose garden and other sources of interest. Above is one such bed of annuals with English Bay in the background. The photos below offer close-ups of the flowers with visiting honeybees and bumblebees.



Then there is the blue of the hydrangea in the photos above and below. Although this is a flowering shrub, the flowers are lovely to look at. It's so nice to see some blue.

There are fuchsia-type flowers above and artichoke buds soon to flower in the image below.

Reds and orange are lovely colours to see in any garden planting. Sometimes there are some surprises, such as this Rufous Hummingbird seen in the photos below.



Yellow seems to be a common theme this year as can be seen in the image above and those below.


As seen in a previous post, the horse-drawn trolleys pass through filled with sightseers. Then below the palm tree seen in an earlier post is now partly hidden by the annuals overtaking it.


Canada geese can be seen on the grass in the rose garden area. The roses are not at their best at the moment but there are some pleasant surprises.

A close-up of a yarrow flower, Achillea millefolia, with a wild bee is shown in the image above and that of a dahlia flower with a bee below.

There are more photos to follow. Please enjoy these and comments are gladly received.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Visitor to the apartment - an insect of course...

Periodically I get visitors to the apartment where I live but not always the human variety. A couple of weeks ago I had an insect visit though I don't know how it got in since all the windows were closed at the time. This bug started flying around the kitchen one evening attracted by the light on the ceiling. I carried on and paid no attention. Then I turned off the light and retired to the bedroom to read a bit before going to bed. Soon that same bug followed, attracted by the light once again. The photo above shows the iinsect visitor though the illustrated book on insects nearby is of no use in identifying the creature: the book is about European species, not North American ones! I took only one image and then tossed it out the window since I didn't want to step on the thing accidentally. I never did identify the thing!

This is not the first time such insects have come calling. One in the fall was a bug of sorts too. I even let it out during the day and somehow it would end up back in the apartment later. In the end it would stand on the floor near the sliding door in the living room and I would let it out. It's kind of like someone would let their dog out to do its thing I guess. That one didn't survive the winter. The apartment must have been too cold and dry I guess. It wasn't exactly overheated during the winter! The heating system had troubles keeping the place warm and should be updated at some point I would think. I'm thinking logically but the landlord may have other ideas. Maintenance and large expenditures of funds is not necessarily his thing though some money is spent needlessly.

There are more posts coming because there are plenty of other photos from recent visits to Stanley Park and other places in the region. Look for more soon.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Green Timbers Urban Forest - Surrey/BC: background history, the forest, the meadow and the 'lake'

A few weeks ago I was finally able to check out a park located a few blocks south of where I live in Surrey though I had researched a number of parks in the region months ago. This one is called Green Timbers Urban Forest, a day use park. So here is a little background history on the park and what it has to offer.

The forest is a mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees, both replanted and regenerated. The area was first logged in 1929. People came from all around to view the 200 foot trees, some from as far away as San Diego, California. Green Timbers was the first reforestation effort in the history of British Columbia. The majority of what makes up the park was transferred from the Province of British Columbia to the City of Surrey in 1970.

The meadow in the central area of the park was created in 1986 after logging ended. The "lake" (it looks more like a large pond to me) was created in 1986 to duplicate the marshland and wetland that existed there before the logging began. The park is also the headland for the King, Enver and Cub Creeks, important for spawning Coho Salmon and Cutthrout Trout.

There are over 100 species of birds plus mammals, amphibians and other animals in the park. Check out the following links for further information on Green Timbers and other parks in the region:

Surrey Parks, Recreation and Culture
http://www.enviroment.surrey.ca

Green Timbers Heritage Society
http://www.greentimbers.ca

The first three photos are that of the Douglas-Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii, which takes its Latin name from Archibald Menzies, a Scottish born physician-naturalist who first discovered the tree on Vancouver Island in 1791, and its common name from David Douglas, a Scottish explorer-botanist who later identified the tree in the Northwest in 1826. The first image looks up toward the forest canopy, the second looks up one of the trees and the third gives a view of the bark.

Below is a photo of a Swordleaf Fern found in many places within the park. Bracken is another fern that is also to be found.

Fungi of all sorts can be found within the forest as can be seen in the image above. Below is a photo of a Salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis, related to the raspberry and blackberry (Rubus ssp). They are found in coastal forests from Alaska to northern California. This edible fruit in the family Rosaceae is yellow to orange to red in colour. The fruit is suitable for jams, candies, jellies and wines. It is an important food for native people.

The photo above shows 100 Avenue looking east. The tallest trees in the park are found north of this street. There are also plenty of paths suitable for walking and cycling as can be seen in the image below.


Above is an image of a wild rose (Rosa ssp) and the rose hips are shown in the photo below.

A Spotted Towhee looks out over the meadow from the top of a cedar tree and the image below shows a False Indigo in flower at the northern edge of the meadow.

The above photo shows daisies in flower and below is an image of the Alsike Clover, Trifolium hybridum.

Above is a photo of the Sow Thistle flower, Sonchus ssp. Then below are two photos of a skipper (butterfly), most likely a Woodland Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanoides.


The Lorquin's Admiral butterfly, Limenitus lorquini, can also be found here as seen in the photos above and below.
The image above show the meadow and those below the various wild bees such as bumblebees (Bombus ssp.) that can be found in the meadow and other areas of the park.




Then there are dragonflies and related insects that flit about over the meadow.



Then there are more wild flowers such as those above and the Goldenrod below.

A photo of a sign by the marsh show the type of creatures to be found there and the image below shows a tadpole with legs sprouted.
A mother mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos, looks after her young above while other rest near the water's edge in the photo below.

There are ducks on the water in the "lake" and a bald eagle can be seen coming in for a landing. They have a favourite tree with an overhanging branch over the water on which to view their potential prey.


A Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, on the hunt above and an Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, below.


And you just never know what you might find in the water such as a salmon? There will be more photos but these should whet your appetite some. I hope you have enjoyed them.