Gulls and Yellowlegs on a cloudy afternoon

The weather was quite nice this morning - sunny with some blue skies. Unfortunately, I wasn't ready to go out until the afternoon, which by then was cloudy and windy. I ended up just biking to South Dyke Trail and part way into Steveston before heading back home.

Across from London Farm, there is a little beach where you can wander into. There were some gulls resting on the logs, so I thought it was a good opportunity to get some bird-in-flight shots. I took a lot of shots, but only these ones were presentable.

Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)
Like its yellow bill and pink feet.


Bloedel Floral Conservatory - Part 8

The last bird to show from Bloedel is this Guinea Turaco (a.k.a. Sierra Leone Turaco) (Tauraco persa), which is probably one of the most cool-looking birds I have ever photographed. I was really lucky too because this bird seemed to prefer hiding in the foliage than out in the open. They belong in the family Musopagidae (meaning banana-eaters) and are found in the tropical forests of West Africa.

Guinea Turaco (Tauraco persa)

Guinea Turaco (Tauraco persa)

Guinea Turaco (Tauraco persa)

Guinea Turaco (Tauraco persa)

Now onto the weekend...

Bloedel Floral Conservatory - Part 7

Finally the weekend has arrived! This afternoon was the office Halloween party. I dressed up as a pirate (with a pirate set and pirate hat bought from the dollar store), although some people thought I looked like a ninja and some even said a Viking. So I guess I was a Viking ninja-pirate. How cool!

Anyways, I hope the weather will be decent tomorrow for another outing - not sure where I am going yet though.

Pictures of the birds in Bloedel are almost all finished, just two more species to go. There were many Red-winged Laughingthrushes (Garrulax formosus) around, especially near the feeding areas, and I noticed that they seemed to travel in pairs running around in the low undergrowth.

Red-winged Laughingthrush (Garrulax formosus)
The Laughingthrushes have lovely whistling songs and they are native to soutwest China and northwest Vietnam and belong to the Old World babbler family (Timaliidae).


Bloedel Floral Conservatory - Part 6

Returned home later than usual today because tomorrow is the Halloween lunch party at the workplace and my friend and I stayed behind to make some "Monster Jellos". Should be a lot of fun tomorrow.

Well, this is Rosie, an African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus), a native to Congo. They are considered very intelligent birds and can live up to 60 years of age. It does seem very smart indeed.

African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus)
Align Center


Bloedel Floral Conservatory - Part 5

Twenty-four hours later, I am back posting again. Not sure about you guys out there, but time sure goes by fast when you are working.

The sun came out midday today. What a nice treat. I had a nice walk around Harbour Green Park and took some photos, but I haven't got to them yet, so I will continue posting these macaw photos from Bloedel.

This is Art, the Blue-and-gold Macaw (Ara ararauna). They are native to South America, and they have a powerful beak for breaking nutshells and for climbing up and hanging from trees (??). It can exert 350+ pounds of pressure per square inch. Wow!

Blue-and-gold Macaw (Ara ararauna)
That's a beak I don't want the bird to bite me - I had barbets and shrikes biting me before and I am sure they don't hurt as much as this guy.


Bloedel Floral Conservatory - Part 4

Another wet day today. And I am exhausted right now. After this post, I am going to wash the dishes, shower, and possibly head to bed early.

Meet Nelson, a Hahn's Dwarf Macaw or Red-shouldered Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis). A bird native to Venezuela and the smallest in the macaw family.

Hahn's Dwarf Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis)

Nelson, the Hahn's Dwarf Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis)
See the red shoulder patch?

And this is Monty, the Princess Parrot (Polytelis alexandrae). They are also known as the Splendor Parrot due to the pastel coloured plumages. They are "native to Central and West Australia...but rarely seen in the wild." From Quick Guide: Birds of Bloedel.

Bloedel Floral Conservatory - Part 3

Raining almost the entire day today. Rain eased off as I arrived back home in Richmond. Continuing with the birds from Bloedel.

This is Casey, the Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot (Amazona oratrix), which is a species "said to be the loudest of all Amazon parrots. They can live to be 60 to 80 years old and are native to the Amazon Basin, Northern Brazil and the Eastern Andes." From Quick Guide: Birds of Bloedel.

Quite amazing to see a bird that does not belong in this part of the world...

Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot (Amazona oratrix)


Bloedel Floral Conservatory - Part 2

Went to Steveston in this cloudy day (with some sunny breaks) to return a library book and buy some groceries. I also brought my camera with me, but I forgot to change out the battery from yesterday's extensive use so it was in low power today. But nothing too interesting to take pictures of.

Anyways, back to more birds in Bloedel Floral Conservatory (blog).

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata)


Bloedel Floral Conservatory - Part 1

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far. Not much to say during my weekdays - working and taking photos during my lunch hours (whenever the weather was good). The rain started on Friday and should continue for the week or so.

Today, I decided to go to Bloedel Floral Conservatory to test out my new lens on the exotic birds there. As I already know before I bought the lens, it is a sunny lens, i.e. it works well in good lighting conditions but in indoor conditions, it struggles with the autofocus. Nevertheless, I think I did a good job despite the limitations being indoors in a cloudy day - by turning up the ISO and taking as many photos as possible.

Since I took way too many photos, this trip will be blogged in several parts - so that I have something to post during my weekdays.

Queen Elizabeth Park
Nice fall colours. And surprisingly, there were still many flowers around too.

Inside the Conservatory ($5.35 for an adult - a reasonable price, considering that I walked around at least four or five times to get my money's worth).


Short Birding Outing at South Dyke Trail

Originally I had many ideas of places to go to test out my new lens, e.g. Reifel, Bloedel Conservatory, etc. But in the end, after waking up late, sorting out all the photos, and writing yesterday's blog, it was pretty late in the afternoon, so I just biked to South Dyke hoping to see some wildlife along the way.

While walking my bike in the "dog park" I heard many birds and came to several trees with bird feeders. I quickly took my camera out and snapped away!

Most of the birds were House Sparrows, Downy Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Bushtits and several others that I don't know by sound.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

New lens (70-300) & testing it out at Yaletown and UBC

Today, I completed a deal with a seller on craiglist and got a birding-lens for my Olympus E-620, the Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 f4.0-5.6. It's a dream come true, because it can reach 600mm so I can take much closer photos now. It's a much bigger, heavier, and beautiful than I thought but it's definitely going to make my photos better.

The seller is at Yaletown so I met him there this morning. Before he arrived, I took some photos of the people and dogs walking by.

Hello Doggie
This was the cutest dog.

Another of its own.

After the deal, I couldn't wait to put it on and try it out by walking along the Granville Seawalk! Even though it is not a macro lens, it takes pretty good close-up photos of flowers too.


Delicious Lamb Chop Lunch

While it was sunny on Wednesday and I had a nice walk during my lunch break, I felt uninspired taking pictures of people and buildings.

The weather was nice again today, and my co-workers and I had a group lunch at Voya restaurant - the same restaurant that I have been to for the last three seasons that I worked here. Definitely a wonderful treat!

I chose the "Daily Chop" which was a delicious Lamb Chop. Yum!

Lamb Chop

I took a few photos, but this turned out to be the best (and most delicious-looking).

Weekend tomorrow. I shall look forward to it.

PS - I am in a discussion with a potential seller of an used Olympus 70-300 f 4-5.6 lens. Hope everything goes as planned and it is in good condition and then I will have a new toy to play with!


Definitely a sunny day

The weather had been mild and unpredictable lately, so I wasn't really sure if I can go out and not get rained on. Well, today's weather definitely seemed like good enough to enjoy a nice bike ride to Terra Nova.

While biking towards Garry Point Park, I came across the bi-weekly Steveston Farmers and Artisans Market. There were so many interesting vendors and shops. I am definitely bring my mom to this (next year - since today seems to be the last of the year). After a quick look-around, without buying anything, I headed towards Terra Nova.

Gorgeous day.


Back to work

Today is the first day of work. Before arriving at the office, I still had some time to spare and so I went to the waterfront to check out the views in another beautiful day. I took these photos at the plaza next to the new Vancouver Convention Centre (where the Olympics flame thingy is now not fenced and easily to take a photo of). [I still had not taken a photo of it yet, but I don't understand the hype around it back then.]

Anyways, the area is quite nice with several cement blocks with sticks on it to make some relatively comfortable sitting areas. Good place to be during lunchtime with a book and lunch, and just sit and chill and enjoy the view (if it's a nice day like today).

North Shore Mountains


The beautiful Lynn Canyon Park

Tomorrow I begin working in downtown Vancouver again, so I thought I would use the day to go somewhere I haven't gone before, and Lynn Canyon Park is that place. I had been to Capilano many times with visiting family members but never to Lynn Valley.

I got there quite early in the morning and there weren't many hikers yet, so I was able to enjoy the park without too many tourists! First I walked across the suspension bridge and slowly hiked to Twin Falls.

Twin Falls
Twin Falls! It's a beautiful fall (much higher than it looks in the photo) and the water is so clear.

I then walked across the bridge and tried to get down to the river to photo the fall from below. Unfortunately, the fall was hidden behind a bend and the lighting was too strong for a decent photo. While admiring the surrounding from the river bank, you can hear many birds.

Such as this Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa). They are so quick and tiny to allow for a decent photo. But what beautiful bird (from what I saw).


Applepalooza and bird-watching in Steveston

The last few times I biked along the dyke, I saw a few signs about an upcoming Applepalooza festival at the South Dyke Sharing Farm on Oct 3. So this morning, I decided to go and check it out; plus, it would be my first time at this sharing farm.

There were only four tents, a small lunch-selling table, a game tent, and live music playing.

I did not buy any apple trees, so I didn't stay for long. But there were still many pretty flowers to take pictures of.

Bright Red
Bright red!

Yellow bordered by brown
Probably my favorite flower in this farm. No idea what it is, but it's so beautiful.


Walked along Iona jetty

I drove to Iona this afternoon and decided to walk the entire way along the jetty, which I haven't done before.

Definitely a nice day to take on this task.

Saw a grebe along the jetty. Probably a Western Grebe.


Worries away in RNP & Zoom!

Today is the first day of October. Five days from today, I will return back to my temp office job in downtown Vancouver for this fall season.

Lately, I have been in a slump. Work-searching in my field has been unproductive (as usual in the winter season) and grad-school searching has been unsuccessful - not many openings and with my just average grades in my undergrad years, I imagine professors are probably hesitant to take a student without any scholarship support. So my future is unclear as muck and it frustrates me everytime I think about it.

With my new monthly bus pass, I visited Richmond Nature Park today. And when I step on the ground that's not made of cement and surrounded by trees instead of buildings and people, all of the sudden, my worries are gone. I am in the moment of just enjoying birds chirping and watching the leaves changing their colors. And photographing - it just takes time away and makes it all worthwhile.

Watching the frenzies in the bird-feeding area. Many chickadees and squirrels on the feeders. The sparrows and juncos on the ground. These are probably my first decent shots of a Dark-eyed Junco because most of the times, they are too fast or too difficult to photograph.

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)
Dark-eyed Junco


Blue sky day

Biked to the south dyke trail again this afternoon. What a gorgeous day today, without any clouds at all.

Look at that blue sky!
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