My fav. kind of winter - cold and sunny; biking to the dyke

Today, my dad bought me a few things for me to prepare the harsh winters of Ontario - winter jacket, snow boots and a warm pair of jeans. Not the kind of things I usually use here in B.C.

In the afternoon, I biked to South Dyke Trail, almost to Finn Slough, then back home. Today's my favorite kind of winter - cold but sunny, and almost cloudless too. Great day for a photo outing, except that my digits get cold very quickly.

Beautiful day at the dyke trail. Many dogs and their humans out enjoying the nice weather.

Mount Baker against a cloudless sky


Biked to Terra Nova

Today begins a string of several pleasant days. Time for a bike ride to Terra Nova and try out my new bins. It is definitely an improvement - brighter and clearer images that allowed me to see some birds that weren't photographed by my camera, e.g. a male Common Merganser, a female Red-breasted Merganser and a Pied-billed Grebe.

Today's bike trip took me over five hours, I was exhausted by the time I got home, especially since I skipped lunch.

Here are some photos from Coots and Mallards photo from Steveston, as well as a female Brewer's Blackbird - one of those common brown birds that I don't normally pay attention to until this afternoon.

Pretty Female Mallard


My new bins: Vortex Diamondback 10x42

After relying on work binocular for the last two field jobs and my own cheapo bins at other times, I decided to improve my observation equipment and got myself a nice, useful and quality bins on this Boxing Day.

Behold my Vortex Diamondback 10x42 binocular! It's a beauty - costing me almost $280 (after tax, from Lens and Shutter). I was originally going to buy the 8.5x50 but it was out of stock, but this is just as good.

I was debating (and did researching) among other brands (Bushnell and Nikon) at similar price ranges, but Vortex seemed to receive the most positive comments, perform well against bins at higher prices and the attractive feature of the unconditional lifetime warranty.

Can't wait for the crappy weather systems to stop visiting B.C. so that I can have one (or two) decent days to test it out.

Other than getting this, my mom and I just wandered around the stores in Richmond Centre (after returning from Vancouver) and bought some after-Christmas chocolates. Man, is there a lot of shoppers today!

Hope everyone had a relatively relaxing Boxing Day.


Have a Merry One!

No snow here in Richmond, instead we have been having gray clouds and rain for the last three days now.

My family doesn't really celebrate Christmas, but to those does, have a merry one!

Merry Christmas!



Gloomy day brightened by special X'mas gift (thanks to The Frog Bag)

Two days into winter but still no signs of snow for the rest of the year, I think.

Today, I went to UBC to take care of some business, i.e. print some documents for my grad studies application, download and print my/our research paper that was published a few weeks ago and do more literature searching regarding pollinators.

Every time I come back to UBC, it is guaranteed that I will see another construction taking place on campus. One of the many reasons that UBC frustrates me so much.


Flock of Coots, Ho Ho Ho House and Moon watch

I had quite a busy afternoon today. First up, biking to the dyke.

Nice weather today.

Resting heron.


Visiting Minoru Park - Junco, Mallards and Rabbits

I got a couple of errands done today at the city centre - returning library books, walking and photographing around Minoru Park (not really an errand), getting a haircut and buying tasty treats to celebrate my mom's birthday today (but we went out for dinner tonight and were too full for the treats - they'll have to wait tomorrow).

These photos below were taken from Minoru Park.

A Dark-eyed Junco calling loudly and looking around.

Dead But Not Gone
Most of the vegetation is bare, except for this. Are these petals...or leaves?


Last day of work

Today is the last day of my temporary work in Downtown Vancouver. Time to start preparing my grad school application to Trent University and finding the research and school mindset.

The weather was very nice today.

Sunrise from the morning commute.

Morning Song

Polaroid version.


Unknown Bug from Ontario solved, sort of.

This summer, in Carden, we had periods when our cabin was shared with lots and lots of flies. A fly swapper was used but its effectiveness was limited, and so was the fly tape. So we basically just learned how to live with them.

Nevertheless, we were amazed when we found this critter below that was hunting the flies! We didn't know what it was but was grateful for it - until we found it upstairs where we sleep. Then the feeling became quite cautious about this dangerous-looking fly-killer.

Unidentified Robber Fly species (Family Asilidae) with prey

Well, I just came across this post (by Ben Cruachan) this morning that tells me what I saw was a Robber Fly (Family Asilidae)! Good to have some idea now...but I don't think I will ever find out what species it is.

Merry Christmas from Christmas Market

Today, my mother and I went to the Vancouver Christmas Market to check this interesting even out. My thoughts? It's smaller than I thought (but when you are comparing it with the authentic Christmas Market in Germany or any types of outdoor markets in Taiwan, it's unfair for this first-timer). In addition, it is not cheap either - $5 gate fee for an adult (for an outdoor event) without any gifts, memorabilia, promotions, etc. Food is quite pricey too - $8 for a Bratwurst and $8 for an Apple Cinnamon Spice drink ($4 is refundable if you return the mug), and so are the crafts sold in the market too, at least $20+ with many over the hundred dollar mark too.

The good things about this event? Food is good (to someone who never really had Germany food before) and the authentic German crafts/ornaments are quite nice too, except for some with labels saying "Made in China". Oops.

Merry Christmas from Christmas Market
The only good shot from today.


Yaletown Night Light

Yesterday evening was our office holiday dinner/party at a restaurant in Yaletown. It was a strange choice of having it on a Friday because I was exhausted from working in the morning. Nevertheless, the food was delicious and I had a good time.

There was some free time between getting off work and attending the dinner, so I wondered around the waterfront in Yaletown and took some night photos. I didn't bring my tripod, so I stabilized my camera on whatever steady surface I could find.

Bridge crossing
Decrease the aperature (i.e. increasing the f number) to get the light rays I was hoping for.


Photos from my birding Sunday

These photos were from Sunday when I biked to Terra Nova to do some bird watching. It was cloudy with some sunny breaks but at least it wasn't raining.

Risen Above
The background and the silhouette really caught my attention and deserved a photo.


Birding Saturday

On this sunny Saturday, I biked to South Dyke Trail and then to Finn Slough.

Not a cloud in sight.

After taking the photos of the view above, I got a feeling that someone was looking at me. Turned out it was this hawk - not completely sure if it is a Sharpie or a Cooper's.


Festive mood

Took some random shots during my lunch break and after work. It feels more like the holiday season everyday.

Woodward's Windows: Santa’s Workshop
This is one of the six windows in Vancouver with Woodward's Window displays (more info here). I am not a big fan of these things, but there is a contest asking about each location and you can win a prize from BC Ferries, which was mainly why I was walking and looking around for answers.


Pooped on by a Bushtit (or two)...

I was pooped on by at least one Bushtits this afternoon when I was out photographing during my lunch break.

This is probably what it was trying to express...

Had a nervous moment when I thought my new lens wasn't focusing. Turns out it was switched to MF mode. Phew...
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