A trip to Vancouver

Prairie springs tend to linger over a couple of months. For the last few weeks the sidewalk snow, treacherous trails, abusive wind and persistent ice, begged me to head to B.C. for relief as they had no intention of letting up until well into April.

So here I am, B.C. bound with stops in Slocan, Vancouver and Tofino to partake in the abundant flowers, temperate climate, wonderful ice free walks and bountiful bird life.

First stop at my daughter Sarah and partner Therin’s beautiful home in Slocan B.C. filled my tank with conversation, exploration and abundant, delicious food. On one walk I was confused to see a large white bird along with an American Crow out in a field. The more I looked and once I had my camera focused I could see it was a Leucistic crow. Leucisim is a condition similar to albinism where the bird or animal doesn’t have the ability to make melanin and the feathers come out mostly white. Still…a crow in every other way.

Some beautiful Stellar’s Jays were squaking in a bush and eventually one sat on a branch for about 1 second in order for me to take a portrait.

On to my favourite hotel in Vancouver. The Sylvia Hotel at English Bay has a long family history on my wife Cathy’s side. Too long for this post but suffice it to say the two chairs in the lobby belonged to Cathy’s Great grandmother. A long walk all around Stanley Park presented some wonderful photo opportunities.
We’ll start with a contrast to my backyard in the first picture.

While walking along the sea wall on English Bay I readied my camera for a shot of some Cormorants sitting on some rocks. As I advanced my position it became clear my old eyes had mistaken a curious pastime of balancing rocks on rocks on rocks for birds sitting. The effect is quite mesmerizing and makes one question if this is a non-gravity zone??

Daffodils are still a ways off on the prairies.

A new species of bird for me was the sighting of over 200 Barrow’s Goldeneye ducks. It is common to see the Common Goldeneye in Saskatoon all winter as they live in the open water on the river. Both species were visible today so see if you can pick out the difference. (Hint..Round white vs. crescent white)

Common Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye

Buffleheads can look similar to the Goldeneye but have a much whiter head with beautiful iridescent colours.

We must not forget the ever present gulls with a daily buffet of sea food.

A previous trip to Stanley Park centered around Beaver Lake where our family scattered Cooper’s ashes a number of years ago. I spent some quality time remembering this wonderful man and the beautiful place where he spent some of his youth.

This lake is home to many different birds, plants and aquatic life.
A Spotted Towhee.

A Wood Duck…And no I didn’t make up those colours in Photoshop!!

Skunk Cabbage just ready to burst out.

A Song Sparrow at the edge of the lake.

Some other bird encounters while walking around the park.

A Great Blue Heron.

A noisy American Crow.

This delightful female Pileated Woodpecker landed almost at my feed and proceeded to peck away at the ground.

No forest would be complete without a squirrel or two.

Stanley Park is such a gift to the people plants and wildlife of Vancouver.

This small tree is really taking to heart the comment ‘You must bloom where you are planted’. In this case a small crack between a 100 foot rock cliff and a concrete walkway.

A final push to the end of the park and back to the Sylvia Hotel allowed for more eye candy.

Cherry blossom enthusiasts were difficult to avoid with this massive display of pink.

These tiny Ruby-crowned Kinglets were flitting in and out of these Magnolia trees and rarely sat still for more than a few seconds so I felt lucky to get these shots of them foraging.

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8 Comments

  1. Nola Leighton April 12, 2024 at 9:52 pm #

    So lovely Trent! I Such great shots. I must have missed something as I do not see any mention of a Mandarin Duck! ☺️ The Wood duck, however is stunning. A most beautiful green and gorgeous vicarious visit to Stanley Park through your ever-ready camera lens. Trust Tofino’s visit will be as wonderful. Thank you, as always, for the loveliness.

  2. Sharell Carney/Watts April 7, 2024 at 9:43 am #

    What a great way for me to start my morning with your walk in Stanley Park and such lovely pictures of nature!
    It is interesting to know you have a daughter in Slocan. When you come again you must make a stop in Vernon!

  3. Trent April 7, 2024 at 9:00 am #

    Thanks everyone for your comments. My brain must have been on pause when I named the Ducks. Originally I called the colourful duck a Mandarin Duck. It is actually a Wood Duck. There is no such thing as a Mandarin Duck so who knows where my brain was.

  4. Linda Landine April 7, 2024 at 8:56 am #

    Thank-you I have “seen” wonders.

  5. Rich April 7, 2024 at 7:14 am #

    A great pleasure to share your experience with all the birds
    Thank you

  6. Jan C April 7, 2024 at 6:53 am #

    What a treat to get up and see you magnificent blog! Stanley Park, the Sylvia Hotel and the Kootney Valley. Thank you and safe travels, my friend.

  7. Earl April 7, 2024 at 6:44 am #

    I agree with Kelly in all aspects. Great photos and descriptions. The two ducks that stand out for me are the Bufflehead and the Mandarin with the Mandarin image taking home the prize for Most Unexpected.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Kelly Koski April 6, 2024 at 9:42 pm #

    Trent Watts! You’ve done it again…The White Crow, Ruby Crowned Kinglets and Mandarin duck are birds I’ve always been curious about but
    have never actually seen!
    The Gulls with their starfish and snail prizes!
    The gorgeous wood structure alongside your driveway!
    The only thing I’m not actually envious about is all the snow you escaped from!
    More stories and pictures, please!
    Kelly

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