Outside isn't so cold anymore!
Walk at Iona Beach Regional Park
On a Saturday morning, Iona is one of my
"go to" parks. It's a short drive from our house and it's
almost a different world - sandy beach, large ponds, grasslands
and a few large trees. This visit we didn't even get out of
the parking lot before spotting wildlife. Two Raccoons
decided the tree that shades would make a great place to sleep and
they were looking for forks in the branches to sleep. We
watched them curl up into balls and fall asleep 30+ feet from the
Our usual route is to walk around the
large northern pond. It's a favorite place to see
Yellow-winged Blackbirds (none today) and predators hunting.
While it's early spring, the blackbirds were out in numbers and
their song carry well.
In the blackberries and small trees near the pond you can often
spot smaller birds.
When you get around to the river side, the short stunted trees
have many really good perches for hummingbirds. Apparently
it's breeding seasons as Males were already staking out
territories. We didn't see any females today.
A real surprise for me was to see
the Snow Geese! I usually associate these with large flocks
in farmers fields or at the edge of the Fraser delta. I was
a little surprised to see a bunch of birds eating grass near the
parking lot, but we happened to be in the park at high high tide
so there would be very little space for them out on the mud.
We took a seat on a log and watched as the birds ate their way
closer and closer to us. Behaving like a flock, eventually
something changed their minds and they lifted into the air, only
the settle down 20 feet away in another grassy patch. It was
nice to be so close to calm birds.
Being spring break in Vancouver during
COVID (but before the wave 3 added restrictions), we are looking
for things we can do that don't involve crowds. Some places
have very restricted access that is almost impossible to sign up
for - the Bloedel conservatory for instances is usually booked
about two weeks in advance. I was quite surprised to find
that I could get VanDusen admission tickets same day. It's a
huge park and they do have some of the paths setup as one way so
we thought it would make a good day.
We have been to VanDusen plenty of times so
we have a few favorites - the floating zig zag bridge and the maze
are must do attractions. Given that it is March, there
aren't a lot of flowers out other than Rhodo's so we didn't spend
a lot of time looking for flowers.
I wonder if it's the smaller crowds, but I did get quite lucky
with birds. I finally got a photo of a Brown Creeper!
In theory, they are quite easy to photograph - they start low on a
tree and slowly work their way up gathering bugs. Once they
get high enough, they drop down onto another tree and do the same
thing. In practice, their next tree can be some distance
away and you often spot them as they are walking way above your
There is only so much patience kids have
for watching birds. They found some art and started jumping.
I have a bit of a big lens and it makes you sensitive to the
behaviour of other people with big lenses. We were walking
back to the entrance when we spotted two photographers shooting
away on tripods. They had spotted a Hooded Merganzer doing
it's thing in a pond. The bird has a very showy head and
quickly, I joined them taking photos as this bird swam around
mostly preening itself. I was done when the bird tucked it's
beak in for a sleep.
VanDusen's signature photo on their website was a bowl of cut
Hellebore, many with double or more sets of pedals. These
are fancy early season flowers but you have to be a bit of
connoisseur to recognize them something other than just "flowers".
Even finding the bowl of flowers in the
garden was a bit trick. While we were there, other people
walked by, completely oblivious. Clearly a gardener has put
in a lot of working finding and growing all of these varieties - a
small detail in a much larger garden.
Tags: bird(16), Iona Beach Regional Park(12), VanDusen(9), bird in flight(4), levitating(3), art(2)
People: Claira(4), Nara(3), Helen(1)
Last Modified Saturday, April 17th, 2021 at 16:56:36 Edit
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