Pleasant walk on a pleasant day

Today's weather was extremely cooperative when it came to taking a nice stroll along the dyke. If I knew it was going to be this nice, I'd probably go farther (southward, e.g. Boundary Bay) to do my weekend exploration. But who can be certain about anything when we are talking about Vancouver's weather. If I knew, then I'd bike instead of walk, but again, who's for certain.

Today had nice clear sunny breaks and the blue sky peaked down at us when the clouds were kind enough. But for most of the times, the sky looked like the pictures below. Not extremely pretty, but at least it was pleasant enough that I didn't have to use my umbrella at all.

Seemed that many creatures were enjoying this temporary break from all that rain we had in the last couple of days.

Such as this Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus).

I came across this unidentified insect today when I was at the Terra Nova Natural Area. I took several pictures before I poked gently at it and only to find it dead. Another creature dead, sigh.

Now that most of the leaves are gone, it is quite interesting to see the "treasures" they hide during spring and summer, such as these bird nests. I am pretty sure the top two pictures belong to a Bald Eagle (since I saw one resting beside it last month). The bottom two, I don't know. I always find it amazing to be able to identify birds by their nests, sort of like a tracker identifying tracks of an animal.

As for the creatures that were out and about, these were what I saw.

European Slug (?)

Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta).

Today's the first time I observed a turtle in Terra Nova thanks to the two dads and their children.

Dad #1: "Can you see it?"
Child: "No."
Dad #2: "Maybe I will throw something at it to make it move then you can see."
Me approaching.
Dad #2: "Maybe I won't."

This Great Blue Heron was staying on top of a dirt mound looking all magnificent and proud. Then it got spooked by me (or vice versa, when it gave out its raspy hair-standing call) and flew to the ponds.

Chasing after it, I came across some surprises. Many Mallards, as well as these two birds: Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) and Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), both of which are my first observations this year.

A. clypeata (male) can be identified by its green head, white breast, brown sides, and more importantly the large and spatulate bill that is longer than its head. The Bufflehead stayed quite far away from me to not get a close look or take a good picture, but it should be a female with the smaller and elongated white patch on her head.

By then, I was already three hours into my short stroll, so I turned around to head back home and see if I can get more pictures of the turtle. But it was already gone when I reached the spot, at least I already got some decent pictures.

This is what I mean by the large quantity of rain dumped on us these last couple of days. There should a cement floor to that railing where you can stand there and watch animals, but it has already overflowed to the point of covering the floor. If that's the case, then Richmond is much lower than the actual sea level (than normal). Scary.

Ah, such a pleasant day full of firsts. I love it!

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