One more post before leaving for fieldwork

Hi all, this will probably be my last post for the next ~70 days as I will be leaving for fieldwork tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

Left the office a bit early yesterday morning so that I can check out some wildlife along the way.

American Robin singing.


More from Inuvik, NWT

Smarties Houses
Went out for a walk yesterday morning before heading to Parks Canada office. The neighborhood we were placed in. Not exactly superb, but it's interesting (and safe).


From Edmonton to Yellowknife to Norman Wells to Inuvik

Arrived at Inuvik two days ago. The weather has been quite incredible so far - super sunny, cloudless sky, 24 hour daylight, and no mosquitoes yet. Here are photos from my journey from Edmonton to Inuvik.

Flying over some pretty incredible landscape, especially over places where you can't see any human destruction at all.


Lifers in Edmonton, Alberta

After waiting for my fellow traveler, renting a car, heading over to the motel to drop off our luggage, we drove to Elk Island National Park just outside Edmonton. It is a pretty nice park although it can be hit-or-miss if you want to see megafauna such as moose, elk, and/or bison.

Sky-watching from Elk Island National Park
The weather was very nice when we were in the car. Out of the car, however, was another story...


Quick post from Edmonton

Hello from Edmonton. I arrived at Edmonton about a hour ago and now waiting for another graduate student from Trent to arrive. We are planning to go to Elk Island National Park and then we will travel to Inuvik, NWT tomorrow morning.

Now, here are the photos from yesterday where I went to do a Grassland Bird Survey (GBS) with my supervisor's husband in the morning (woke up around 5:20am), then came back to their home and got ready to go to their cottage. Overall, it was a fulfilling but tiring day, considering I woke up early than usual and kayaked and canoed (not activities I do everyday).

In the morning.


Sunny afternoon in Trent and Peterborough

After a few days of sorting out project details, I now have three potential projects that I won't know which one to carry out until I get to the field site and look at the situation. Overall, not the best way to begin but it's all a part of life.

This morning I put down a deposit for Trent graduate student housing here in Peterborough. It's a bit far from the main campus but I think I will be just fine. After that, I returned back to the campus and did some more reading and researching and then made more fuchsin gel (for staining pollens on stigmas) for my project(s). There was a thunderstorm when I was speaking to my supervisor, but when I was about to go back to my supervisor's house (with a heavy pack and four mist-netting poles for another student), it was sunny and super hot under my winter jacket.

While waiting for the bus, I took my jacket off, put the poles aside, and snapped photos of the beautiful Trent University. I am liking this place and the city more and more as time goes on.

On the bridge.


Soapberry searching

To familiar myself with identifying soapberry (or buffaloberry or Shepherdia canadensis) in the field as well as collecting flower samples to count the pollen grains, my supervisors and another student and I drove north of Peterborough to look for this particular plant. My supervisors had a particular place in mind, I don't, so I just tagged along and do my best when we arrived and started searching for this plant.

The creek you saw on the left drains into Stoney River, that's all I know. And the middle photo is a beaver-formed lake. Anyways, in the end, we found the plant (actually I did) and it is the only one in the area and not in flower. So we collected flowers of other plants and took them back to the lab for some staining.

Life is very very busy at the moment, but in a good way, I think. Tomorrow's Friday, and I am leaving Peterborough on Sunday morning to go to Edmonton, and then to Inuvik on the following day. So right now, I am just in the process of sorting out all the equipments that I am going to need to bring and hammering out all the details as to what do I do when I get there.

Wish me luck.


Okay, hopefully this will be a quick post as I need to finish off some paperwork and go to bed soon.

I think the one thing that I will decrease/cut from my "non-working" days is not visit all the blogs that I have on the right side of my blog, which is a shame because they are all fantastic places for knowledge, inspiration, and humour. Nevertheless, it can sometimes take up an hour or two reading them every morning, so I might just pick ones I find interesting.

Now onto today. Today was my first day coming to Trent University. First thought, it is more culturally diverse than I thought, not that I am complaining, but I was not expecting it to be similar to UBC in terms of the diversity of students. Second thought, it's small (again comparing it to UBC). Third thought, the people are extremely nice and helpful! I had to walked around the campus asking for assistance and help and everyone were just incredibly nice! I like nice people, so I think I will like this school. Four thought, I know this is a (student) job, but today felt like a job than being a student - running around getting equipments, meetings with supervisors and fellow grad students, etc. I think I will get used to it.

Now, some photos from Trent. Today's a cloudy day so forgive me if the pictures are gray or the sky is whitewashed.

The sports field. Apparently we are called the Trent Excalibur. Not sure how it fits, but it's pretty unique.


Hello from Peterborough

A quick post about what went down today.

Original plan:
1. Woke up at 3:15am
2. Go to airport with father at 4:00am
3. Catch flight at 7:00am
4. Arrive at Toronto at 14:20pm
5. Get to Peterborough at 16:20pm.

This was what happened:
1. Woke up at 3:15am
2. Go to airport with father at 4:00am
3. Flight delayed until 8:17am
4. Arrived at Toronto at 16:04pm; waited for baggage and left the airport at around 16:50pm.
5. Arrived at Peterborough at 18:54pm (or something like that...I forgot to look at my watch by then).

Anyways, I am dead tired now but I arrived safe and sound.

Visiting Trent tomorrow. Hopefully I will have a picture or two tomorrow.

Edit: Saw the full moon as I was leaving the house this morning. I wanted to take a photo of it as I finished checking-in at the airport but when I went outside the moon was on the other side of the building. So I took this photo of the dawn instead. Cloudy here in Peterborough, so no moon photos from here.

Posting before leaving

So the time has come for me to leave BC and head to Ontario for about 5 days to check out the school and establish the details of my project with my supervisors. Afterwards, I will travel to Inuvik, NWT first (via Edmonton) where I will get settled for another few days before heading to my field site in Sheep Creek, Ivvavik National Park.

This will be very different from my previous (field) seasons. No more comfort of living with relative, no more straightforward directions and responsibilities, and most important, an extended away-from-home experience for more than two years. Sure, I will come back during holidays, but they will be short visits and things just won't be the same. Nevertheless, clocks continue to tick and life goes on, for better or for worse, and I have been waiting for this opportunity to prove my worth on this planet and now that it has arrived, there is no way I am giving it up!

However, with my new responsibilities as a graduate student, I fear that this blog which I had maintained for more than three years now will take a back seat of my life, along with my passion for photography. This blog and my photography will continue but will probably occur more sporadically now.

This is one of my ranting posts, but hopefully I will post again when I arrive in Peterborough.

Heading to the airport in less than 6 hours. Going to sleep now. Good night all.


Returning to Grouse Mountain

Long story short, my friend from Taiwan invited me to visit Grouse Mountain with her and knowing that I haven't been there in more than 10 years, I can't say no to the opportunity.

City View from SeaBus
Starting the trip across the Burrard Inlet by SeaBus, definitely my favorite method of public transportation in Vancouver.

Watching flicker excavating cavity

Blogger wasn't being cooperative last night and this morning, so I had to delay yesterday's post until now. Today's activities will be blogged at a later time today, hopefully, since I had just returned home. It was a very busy day today.

After months of riding my (parents') bike through gravel and sand and soil, I had worn out the back tire and it had several punctured holes and beyond repair. So today I had to ride my old bike (from elementary school) to the dyke to do some bird-watching. I saw a flycatcher at the entrance of the dog park, but couldn't find it again after it disappeared.

I went to watch the flicker cavity that I saw last week and initially there was no bird in sight.


Ducklings at Minoru Park

My friend from Taiwan attended a job fair here at Richmond Cultural Centre this afternoon. Afterwards, I met up with her and showed her around Minoru Park. She asked me about the origin of the name Minoru. I mumbled something about racetrack and a race horse, but wikipedia has a better answer explanation than that.

There were some flowers in blossom, but the mostly interesting sight would be the Mallard ducklings.

Praying at Ling Yen Mountain Temple

To wish myself (and my family) good luck and good health in the coming months, my mother and I went to Ling Yen Mountain Temple this afternoon.

It was quiet and an excellent place to pray and just be in peace.

In the back of the temple is a rock garden with many planted flowers and trees. We even took off our shoes and feel the rocks and grass underneath our feet.



Wet Day to Space Centre

I got another free pair of tickets to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre yesterday, although I think it may be free to everyone irregardless since today is International Astronomy Day. I invited my friend again to join me on today's trip.

The famous crab outside the space center. Apparently it has been here since 1967, and in his belly holds a time capsule to be open on Canada's Bicentennial, July 1, 2067 . It was designed by Vancouver artist George Norris and build of welded stainless steel by Gus Lidberg . Interestingly, the shape of the roof of the museum does not resembles an UFO but a native woven hat.


Visiting UBC Botanical Garden with friend

Yesterday morning, I got myself a pair of free tickets to UBC Botanical Garden (thanks to Tourism Vancouver) and invited my friend from Taiwan to visit this attraction located in the campus. I can't remember when was the last time I visited this place, but since I couldn't recall ever posting about it on this blog, I imagine it was more than three years ago when I was still an undergraduate.

While waiting for my friend to arrive, I wandered around the bus stop and photographed the flowers and critters that I could find, such as this tiny snail which was found on the road and I transported it safely to this leaf instead.


Animals I saw when I slowed down...

Instead of biking from point to point, I decided to just take things slow and enjoy life and nature as they come to me.

As I sat on the bench watching the Fraser River, a Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) was flying from plant to plant hoping to find a place to rest. I slowly inched closer and closer and was able to get these pretty satisfying photos (using my 70-300 lens at closest focus of 0.96m. The Raynox 250 requires subjects to be about 10-15 cm away, which is way too close for skittish insects).

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)


First (decent) photos of Barn Swallow of the year

Before I reached the dyke, I saw a crow on wire removing feathers from a mysterious dead small bird. Unfortunately, it flew away after I took out my camera, and changed the lens and settings. Moments later, two Barn Swallows landed on the same wire and started singing.

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)


First day of May

Maybe it's just me but the last few days feel like summer - warm, somewhat humid, and sunny. Although it's suppose to change by tomorrow. Anyways, today's the second day of field equipment shopping where my mother and I went to MEC to get me a watch, pillow, natural toothpaste and body wash, and other items. I think everything is bought. Just need to start taking out the necessary clothes and packing them.

After shopping, coming back home, and eating lunch. I headed out again to enjoy the nice day.

Somewhat hazy day.


Orange-crowned (or Yellow?) Warbler spotting

This morning, my mother called me to the bathroom to check out this spider, as well as to move it outside.

After dropping it in a plant pot, it stayed still for a few moments for me to snap some photos.
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