John Harvey Photo

May 2016Go to Slide
            Show

Birds and Kids



Queen Elizabeth Park

Rainbow Tipped New Culm
The kids have gymnastics, I go for walks. I've previously seen owls and Hummingbirds nesting, but it's high tourist season so the birds seem to be thinner on the ground.  The gardens at QE are in a full bloom and you are starting to see roving weddings trying to get a tourist free background while keeping their dresses clean.


Young Mallards On Warm RockTwo Mallard Chicks
There is a small duck pond and I was quite surprised to see only one family.  I've heard that the coyotes really like eating chicks so perhaps there were more earlier in spring.  This babies are about a week away from fledging - in less than two weeks they can probably fly away.  They are high socialized to people - they didn't care that I got close to them or their mother.

Satyr Anglewing On Chewed Leaf


Pitt Addington Marsh

There have been a lot of Osprey's in my life recently.  When I was in Hong Kong in March, I saw an Osprey in Deep Bay.  Back in Vancouver, I saw four to six of them at Iona Spit (but they were in Vancouver).  It occured to me that I had no photos of Osprey's where they are any appreciable size in the frame - all my photos are of smudges of pixels that I happen to know are Ospreys.  There is a very visible Osprey nest at Pitt Addington Marsh (in Pitt Meadows) - all I had to do was drive out and take a look!

I arrived just before 6am when the gates to the park opened.  (Nara had Chinese class at 9:15am, so I had to be home by 8:30 to get her to class).  I walked out to the nest (it's over the water but there is a dike top road very close by) and spotted a bird apparently keeping eggs warm.  I hung out for about 45 minutes to see the mate come back with fish and the animals switch positions on the nest.

Osprey Returning With FishGliding In For LandingCollapsing Wings

The day was quite overcast and I wasn't expecting the dim light.  The birds are big but they aren't that close - you really are looking for about a 1000mm lens on a full frame sensor.  I have a 400mm and a two times teleconverter which makes f5.6 wide open.  I wound up shooting around 1/60th of a second at 1000 speed.  My camera doesn't poorly at high ISO and 1/60th just isn't enough for taking photos of birds.  While I'm happy I got some good photos, I'm really going to have to do this again on a day with more light.

I took a few videos which works out much better at high ISO.  I was surprised that the VR runs the whole time the video is shooting.  The VR on the lens is loud, but it did make up most of the audio track in the recording.

  Sushi Delivery At Nest

Colony Farm, Coquitlam

Nature Vancouver organizes birding walks on most weekends.  Last month I tried on at Iona Spit, this month I thought I would try Colony Farm.  I've wanted to go to this park before (it's good for biking if you are comfortable with dike top riding), but I've never had the event to make it happen.  Saturday morning, 8:30am we got started.

Lazuli Bunting In The Trees
The Lazuli Bunting is "The Bird" this walk is known for.  It was the first bird we saw, just across the street from the parking lot and after we saw it (8:40 am), the organizer announced he wouldn't be offended if people left early.  Almost everyone stayed.  To help us find the bird, the organizer used his phone and played back the bird song so we knew what to listen for.  It's the first time I've ever seen that done - it really helped my brain key in on this birds sound, but I wonder about the side effects of playing a birds song.

Lazuli Bunting In Hawthorn

Bridge Over Coquitlam River
After "The Bird" we walked into the park proper.  The plan was to cross the river and spend time in the East side of the park.  As a group, we moved slowly trying to identify every bird the rustled a leaf.  This bridge over the river (which is only a few feet deep) gives a great view of the marshy margins where we saw Common Yellowthroat Warblers and Marsh Wren.


Female Male Pair Common Yellowthroat

When the longest lens I owned was a 200mm lens, I used to think of "birds" as owls and hawks and things you could get close to, and everything else as a "Brown Jobby" - too difficult to photograph well.  Now that I own a longer lens there is a much larger world of birds to see.  Birds that I used to think of as exotic (basically anything yellow) are turning out to be more common than I thought.  I have new appreciation for how much diversity there is out there.
 
Mourning Dove In BranchesSong Sparrow Singing

Play Palace

Claira Climbing By Herself
The Play Palace is an Arena in Kerisdale that they convert to a kids bouncy castle park for the summer months.  It usually opens around the May long weekend and is a popular destination for birthdays and rainy days.  We had a rainy day and we know the kids like to play on bouncy castles so we went for a rainy Saturday Morning while Mom went grocery shopping.
 
Claira And Nara On Dragon
 
I was surprised how much had changed from last year.  It looks to me that they lease the bouncy castles because they were all different (and some brand new) from last year, but each castle served roughly the same purpose - a double height slide, an obstacle course climber and two smaller younger kids play areas.  The plasma cars look like they are reused as is some of the sports equipment.  The kids played for two plus hours before they needed a snack and started to wind down.

Nara And Claira RacingClaira Starting To Slide DownNara Throwing Basketball


Yellow-Headed Blackbird - Iona Spit

Red Wing Blackbird Comparison
Vancouver has a few "If you want to see this, go here" kinds of places.  Colony Farm is known for Lazuli Bunting, Iona Spit is known for Yellow-headed Blackbirds.  I had no idea they were a thing until I saw looking up the history of Iona Spit and it turned out there has been a population of Yellow Headed Blackbirds for quite some time.  It was nap time, and it doesn't take that long to drive out there so I went out to take a look.  A bright yellow bird is easy to see - I found it in 5 minutes.  The other five photographers with big lenses all pointing in the same direction might have helped too.

Yellow Headed Blackbird

Stanley Park/Aquarium

Claira Needs New Helmet Hg
If you say to yourself, "The Aquarium won't be that busy on a holiday Monday afternoon" you will be wrong.  My thinking was - go to Stanley park for a bike ride (that part was fine) and after a bike ride, go to the Aqarium with two hours of closing when you can find a parking spot.  We got to biking, biked for 10 minutes and then Claira announced she had to go poo.  When you get to the aquarium at 2pm, the parking lot is lost cause and you could spend hours spewing carbon into the atmosphere.


In our 5 minutes of biking, the kids did see baby ducks and a bullfrog.  They do enjoy biking, but we didn't make it around the lake.  We have previously spotted bullfrogs in the lake - we found one today in less than a minute.

Kids Biking At Beaver LakeNara Looking For FrogsClaira Looking At Lake

But Claira had to go.  We packed in the car, I dropped the wife and kids off and circled like a vulture. 
 
Chester Is NappingNara Looking At Chester
The kids 1,2,3 list was Chester, Beluga and frogs.  Chester was mostly sleeping.  We watched a Beluga show and then we headed to see the frogs.

Nara With Belugas
 
The aquarium has a mix of frogs on display.  The Bullfrog display lets you really look into the eyes of this invasive species.  They have a 360 tank loaded with medium sized frogs.  They have a number of small tanks with tropical frogs.  I was surprised the kids dwelled at each one.
 
Nara And Claira Looking At FrogsNara Looking At FishClaira And The Council Of Frogs

We didn't make it to closing time, but I'm sure that was a crowded rush too.

Iona Spit

Last week I went out to Iona Spit to take a photo of a Yellow-headed Blackbird.  I got a photo.  While I was there, a photographer came up and showed my an image on his camera and asked me if I knew what it was - he had a photo of an American Goldfinch.  Last week I found the bird I wanted, I figured I would try and find the bird I wanted again, this time smaller. 

Two Tree Swallows In NestboxTree Swallow Chick Begging For FoodYellow Headed Blackbird With Meal

Sadly, no luck.  I heard the bird, but it likes to live in the bushes (I think) and I never even saw a flicker of one.  The tree swallows were really entertaining and the yellow headed blackbird landed really close by, but no luck with the Goldfinch.

Terra Nova Adventure Playground

After Nara's Chinese class, we try to do something fun.  We grabbed lunch and then went to Terra Nova Adventure playground for some serious playground time.  Nara and Claira are at different levels in this playground (we let Nara go up the three story slide by herself, we go with Claira and only if there isn't a crowd).  Nara really likes climbing on the logs (Claira likes the stones).  Both kids like the zipline and the slide.

Claira And Giant StickClaira Crawling In BathtubClaira Ziplines By
 
 
Nara Climbing On LogsTrain Down The Slide




Chester Is Napping
Tags: Vancouver Aquarium
Claira And Giant Stick
Person: Claira
Tags: Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment
Yellow Headed Blackbird
Species: Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus (Yellow-headed blackbird)
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Iona Beach Regional Park
Lazuli Bunting In Hawthorn
Species: Passerina amoena (Lazuli Bunting)
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Rainbow Tipped New Culm
Altitude: 109m (357 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira Ziplines By
Person: Claira
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment, zipline
Claira Crawling In Bathtub
Person: Claira
Tags: Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment
Young Mallards On Warm Rock
Altitude: 86m (282 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara With Belugas
Tags: Vancouver Aquarium
Tree Swallow Chick Begging For Food
Species: Tachycineta bicolor (Tree Swallow)
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Iona Beach Regional Park, nest box
Nara Climbing On Logs
Person: Nara
Tags: climbing, Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment
Claira And Nara On Dragon
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: bouncy, play gym
Song Sparrow Singing
Species: Melospiza melodia (Song Sparrow)
Altitude: 9m (29 feet)
Location: Go To...
Female Male Pair Common Yellowthroat
Species: Geothlypis trichas (Common Yellowthroat)
Altitude: 9m (29 feet)
Location: Go To...
Lazuli Bunting In The Trees
Species: Passerina amoena (Lazuli Bunting)
Altitude: 14m (45 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mourning Dove In Branches
Species: Zenaida macroura (Mourning Dove)
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira Starting To Slide Down
Person: Claira
Tags: bouncy, play gym, slide
Nara And Claira Racing
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: bouncy, play gym, slide
Osprey Returning With Fish
Species: Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira Climbing By Herself
Person: Claira
Tags: bouncy, play gym
Nara And Claira Looking At Frogs
Claira Needs New Helmet Hg
Bridge Over Coquitlam River
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Sushi Delivery At Nest
Species: Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Two Mallard Chicks
Altitude: 86m (282 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Looking At Fish
Person: Nara
Tags: fish, Vancouver Aquarium
Nara Looking At Chester
Red Wing Blackbird Comparison
Species: Agelaius phoeniceus (Red-winged Blackbird)
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Iona Beach Regional Park
Satyr Anglewing On Chewed Leaf
Species: Polygonia satyrus (satyr anglewing)
Altitude: 109m (357 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Throwing Basketball
Person: Nara
Tags: play gym
Nara Looking For Frogs
Person: Nara
Tags: biking, Stanley Park
Claira Looking At Lake
Person: Claira
Tags: Stanley Park
Train Down The Slide
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: slide, Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment
Two Tree Swallows In Nestbox
Species: Tachycineta bicolor (Tree Swallow)
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Iona Beach Regional Park, nest box
Kids Biking At Beaver Lake
Person: Claira, Nara
Tags: biking, Stanley Park
Gliding In For Landing
Species: Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Collapsing Wings
Species: Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: nest
Claira And The Council Of Frogs
Yellow Headed Blackbird With Meal
Species: Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus (Yellow-headed blackbird)
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: play gym(5), Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment(5), bouncy(4), Iona Beach Regional Park(4), Stanley Park(3), Vancouver Aquarium(3)
People: Claira(10), Nara(8)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2016 to 2005 > May 2016

Leave a Comment

Some HTML allowed: <b>, <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>, but most isn't.  Text length is limited.  comments from first time authors will be reviewed before being posted. comments with swearing or painfully poor spelling will probably be rejected.


Last Modified Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 at 22:07:58 Edit
Copyright and Contact Information.