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, March 19, 2009

Spring Waterfowl

This is the time of year of the spring migration where birds of all sorts fly north to their summer nesting grounds, or in the case of ducks and other waterfowl, their waters such as lakes and coastal areas. We see birds now that may not be seen again until autumn approaches. Here are some more photos I took this past Sunday while in Vancouver's Stanley Park. These were taken near Lost Lagoon near the park's eastern entrance. The photo above shows the area where these photos were taken, just south of Lost Lagoon proper. Below, I caught this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) near the water. These birds weigh about 5.3 pounds. It had left its previous perch when it was disturbed by a couple of wandering racoons. This was in the mid-to late afternoon.

The photo above is of a male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), a mere 1.3 pounds, while the image below is that of the female. I left these photos in the original format to allow you to view the colour and pattern of the feathers up close. Just click on the photos and see for yourself. The two images below these are in a downsized format but just like all the rest you can click on them to see the images in a larger format.

The American Wigeon (Anas americana) is another of my favourites as far as ducks are concerned and averages about 1.6 pounds weight-wise. The male appears above and the female below. I have left the mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), weighing 2.4 pounds, out of this shoot for now. They'll be around all summer as will the Canada Geese (Branta canadensis).

The photo above is likely of a scaup with immature feathers yet to molt and be replaced by its true adult feathers. And in case you've not seen a Canada Goose up close, well here's a head shot to keep you thinking about what its thoughts are: likely on the next meal? I hope you've enjoyed these images. Feel free to comment!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I've long had a fascination with birds, especially the small ones. Perhaps my father raising canaries when I was young had something to do with that. Well, it would have played a small part. I've had an interest in nature and the life in it since at least age three. This interest just became more focused as I got older. These photos were taken on a trip to Vancouver's Stanley Park on Sunday. Its difficult getting these little birds in the frame long enough to take a photo but with anticipating their movements, it is possible.
The first three photos are of the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapilla) while the last is of the Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens). The first weighs a mere 0.39 ounces while the latter is about 0.34 ounces, rather small birds indeed. Enjoy these photos! I'll focus on water birds in the next post.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Advent of Spring

There are signs of spring everywhere despite the recent snow fall. I was in Vancouver's Stanley Park yesterday (Sunday) and these are just some of the photos I took. There will be more but enjoy these for now. Snowdrops are still in bloom and have not been effected by the snow nor have the magnolia trees. You can see the flower buds swelling in the photos below. The is an image of a whole tree below that.

Then there are surprises, such as with this flowering shrub to light up the landscape. The rhododrendron garden is showing some signs of life but it's still rather dull for the moment.

Racoons are a usual sight near the Lost Lagoon as you can see above and then so are a number of water birds such as the American Coot and the Wood Duck below. Of the Wood Ducks, the more colourful of the two is the male and the duller coloured one is the female. There will be more photos soon!

Monday, March 9, 2009

More photos from Stanley Park

Well, here are some more photos from Sunday's trip to Vancouver's Stanley Park. I left home after 2 pm walking through the Fraser Cemetery on the way to the Sapperton SkyTrain station. There was a coolish wind out of the east at the time, a bit cooler than I had anticipated. The view above is looking east from the cemetery up the Fraser River. You can see the dull sky as the sun we had earlier was disappearing.
Ah, but there are always some surprises, such as this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) high up a conifer tree on the cemetery grounds. It was being pestered by a flock of crows and eventually left its perch and headed out.
The bird was a juvenile, not having its full adult feathers just yet. I've seen one such bird a year or so ago at Stanley Park. Last year I saw a total of 17 Bald Eagles. The name for this blog is taken in part from the Latin name for this fascinating bird scanning nature and the life below as it soars high up above.

At Stanley Park the water birds have long been a fascination of mine, such as the American Coot (Fulico americana) above and the Scaup below. I'm still trying to identify the latter. It could be a Greater or a Lesser Scaup and are seen in the spring and fall heading north or south during migrations. The coot, however, looks like an odd bird, more like someone took odd parts from a kit and stuck what ever together. Click on the photo and take a closer look.

Sometimes there are surprises at the park too, such as this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) seen in the photo above.
The smaller birds are a treat for me as well, such as the junco, towhee and other birds above. The bird in the photo below appears to be a female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceas) but I'll have to take a closer look at my bird book to make certain.

The Western Spotted Towhee (Pilipo maculatus) can be seen in many places here, especially around the ponds and the Lost Lagoon area of Stanley Park. And to close off, there are plenty of snowdrops in bloom with a more interesting floral display yet to come, so enjoy these pics for now.

Rhododendrons in bloom

There are definate signs that spring is here, at least in British Columbia's lower mainland here in the Greater Vancouver area. The first rhododendrons are in bloom as you can see by these photos taken during a visit to Vancouver's Stanley Park yesterday (Sunday). These shrubs are located next to the tennis courts in the eastern end of the park, a short walk away from the park board offices. There will be more photos soon. Meantime, enjoy these!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Heralding of Spring

Its now March 3rd and spring is close at hand here on the west coast, well, the Greater Vancouver area in British Columbia's lower mainland anyway. Here's a photo of snowdrops in the grass at Stanley Park in Vancouver. There are more photos to come as the season progresses. Have a great week!