Bike ride by the dike - Owl-harrier battle and GBH on tree

Today was cloudy but dry, and so it was nice enough to go out for a bike ride by the dyke.


Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Mallard Male

First time clearly observed an owl on Sturgeon Bank. I believe this is a Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) because of its body size and the black "wrist" marks underneath its wings when in flight. Seeing this creature definitely makes today worthwhile!

Then a Northern Harrier came along!

And an aerial battle began!

I am not totally certain if this is the same Northern Harrier as the one in battle, because this individual looks dark overall and should be a juvenile.

Then out of no where, the battle started again! Perhaps the adult harrier was protecting its juvenile from the owl?

After a while, the battle stopped and the individuals flew away, and I continued with my bike ride.

Then sunshine appeared! Ah! Vitamin D!

Peaceful field
Beautiful views of the field.

Looking on the ground, I saw the droppings of a creature. And one of its contents was the foot of a clawed bird? Perhaps a coyote had digested an accipiter?

As I moved along, a Great Blue Heron flew from the trail and onto a tree.

And it gave me a couple of nice poses to photograph.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

What a beautiful creature!

Shortly past 4-pm, the sun was slowly to set behind the clouds, and so it was time for me to head home. While biking towards home, an interesting bird caught my attention as it flew from the golf course and headed to the patch of trees across from the golf course.

As I biked closer, it was an Accipiter - either a Sharp-shinned or a Cooper's Hawk (which I am never very good at distinguishing). If I have to guess, then it's a Cooper's Hawk because of the more rounded tail.

Overall, an excellent day for wildlife viewing!

365 days ago (2008-11-29) ... Funny how last year I was observing some animal droppings too.


Finally, a sunny day...but I forgot my SD card...

The weather today was excellent! A blue sky with bright sunshine. I haven't felt like this for what seemed like forever...

Unfortunately, I forgot to put the SD card back into the camera after yesterday's photo transfer, so here are two of the five photos that I took in the morning before work with the camera's internal memory.

Canada Place
Canada Place

Gull (Larsus spp.)
Portrait of a handsome gull


Finally, a clear day

The rain has finally ceased today!

Taking a quick photo of the sky before I enter Canada Line.

I had a busy work day today, but I still managed to go out for a quick stroll during my lunch break.

Crooked beak of a gull.

This particular cormorant is a bit intriguing because its white tufts above the head indicate it is a Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) adult in breeding plumage, but I thought their breeding season occurs during the spring and summer?
These, I am pretty sure, are Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus). Look how stiff-looking those tails are! Must be a powerful swimming tool.
Cormorant and gull

Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)

Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)
Nice shots of a Pelagic Cormorant.

Another dark bird, but it's a crow - trying to be a pirate or something.

The views were fairly nice at the waterfront.


This moon shot was taken when I arrived home in the evening. Not out-of-focus, but the moon was just trying its best trying to shine through the clouds. No such luck.


(Great) Blue (Heron) Sunday...

While it was still a cloudy Sunday, the good news was that the rain had finally stopped (for a while); thus, giving me the chance to finally go outside and do some biking and wildlife watching.

While there was a thick blanket of clouds northward in Vancouver and the North Shore mountains, there was actually some clear breaks in the clouds over at Steveston and the islands.

Juvenile Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Immediately arriving at the dyke, I saw this Juvenile Great Blue Heron doing some catching.

There were many harriers flying over the marsh today. I also saw my first Red-tailed Hawk (and possibly two) first time this season.

Then over in the distance was an adult Great Blue Heron standing on top of the "giant skull" (which is actually just a large piece of wood) and watching the field and the horizon. Quite a beautiful but lonely scene, I think.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Zooming out.

The complete scenery.

Then a few meters away in the ditch stood another adult heron. Again posing beautifully.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Such a handsome creature, no?

By the time I was done, I had saw 5 Great Blue Herons, some harriers, many sparrows and blackbirds, a wigeon, and two coots. Not a great day, but I'll take whatever I get from this long-desired outing.

While heading home, the sun was slowly setting and the clouds blocked the view, but at the same time creating this beautiful warm orange color.

This was a panoramic shot of the scenary. I wish my camera did a better job capturing the colors. Nevertheless, today was better than I expected. Hooray!

365 days ago (2008-11-22) - Forest & Ocean. ... How I wish the weather right now is just as good as last year's.


Sunshine Morning, Rain Afternoon

Yesterday, before it poured and hailed in the late afternoon, the weather in the morning was wonderful. How foolish of me to think the entire day should be nice basing on just a short morning. Nevertheless, it was the morning the offered the best moments to capture, and the coincidentally the only real free time I had.

Vancouver Waterfront Station Building on the left

The opposite view

An old-fashioned building

Morning sunshine on the seabus and train commuters.

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)
Not giving up any chance of photographing wildlife.

Seagull portrait

A postcard-esque final look at the mountains and water before I head to work.

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