It’s been almost a month since my birthday. We have gone out taking photos a few times but work has been busy so I haven’t posted them, till now. For my birthday we drove out to Reifel and Boundary Bay looking for owls in particular the Saw-whet owl. We spent the entire afternoon looking and the reserve was almost closing when we finally found one. It is really tiny, really high up, backlit and in a dark spot but I got to see one and with a catch too. Must have been my week, since the Sunday prior we saw a Pygmy catch a vole. Once we were done we headed back towards home. We stopped for dinner at Montana’s since I was craving Chicken tacos. Then we got cake and ate it one the couch while watching tv, mt kind of birthday :)
For Valentines Day we drove into Vancouver to visit some parks we had heard about but have never had the chance to visit. First we visited Lynn Valley Park. While there we went across the suspension bridge which had me mildly freaked out but I made it across and didn’t drop my camera, yay! We continued on some of the trails in the park.
After Lynn Valley we drove to Lighthouse Park to see the lighthouse. The main views at the end of the trail were blah so we took another trail that went around to the side and along the beach. The view from there was much better. We sat by the ocean for awhile watching two eagles fly from the lighthouse to the trees.
It was a good day.
So the last few weekends and over the Holidays I have been trying to find a Northern Pygmy Owl. I have gone out probably five times but no luck. It was getting frustrating because I know they are around, I know others have found them, but every weekend it rained and when the sun did come out I had to work.
So this weekend I went out on Sunday, Saturday was pouring rain. I left super early and started on my way only to remember I needed gas. So I turned around to head in the opposite direction and the nearest gas station. It worked out though since only a few minutes later I saw a large coyote run across the road. So I pulled over grabbed the camera (yay for having it with me for once) and snapped a few pictures. He must have been wondering what I was up to because he kept turning to give me looks. Once he was off in the field I continued to the gas station. Filled up and headed back out towards the owls. I was running late at this point which I wasn’t to happy about.
When I got up into the woods I met up with some other photographers and could see everyone crowded around a bush taking photos. An OWL! I got up where it was, put down my tripod, looked up and it was gone. I didn’t get even a single photo. But now I knew they do exist and in this location.
We waited about an hour for the owl to come back but it didn’t so we headed off to try a different spot. Along the way I twisted my ankle, again. The knot had been slowly shrinking but now it’s back and sore again, although not as sore as when I first twisted it. We waited for the owl for another hour and a half when we started thinking lunch sounded pretty good. Before we left to find food one of the guys needed to relieve himself, so we turned around to give him some privacy, I was eating an orange while the other guys chatted. It was then that I noticed something in a tree back the way we came and pointed it out. “No that’s not it”, “that was there the entire time”, “we walked past that on the way in and it was nothing”, where the responses I heard. Then one guy told me to “check your camera girl”, so I did and guess what? It was the owl. After that last comment I felt a little bit of ha! in your face attitude but it was overshadowed by the excitement of finally getting to see a pygmy owl and take photos!
We got lots of viewing time with the owl. It stayed close, pooped, puked up pellets, and even landed fairly close to me. It is tiny though and even with my 400mm lens I had to crop my photos in quite a bit. This owl is softball / pop can size. A tiny ball of fluff sitting in a tree. It’s funny though when in a group of photographers the guys with the biggest lenses are the ones who push their way in front of everyone else. I don’t push and I don’t get to close. It’s not worth it to me. But spending hours in one spot waiting for an owl is.
It’s been over 2 months since Trouble had surgery. Right before Christmas Trouble had her second check up and once again floored the vet with her recovery. She has gained 2lbs (probably more now) since he first saw her. She is happy and completely back to normal. A week after her last check-up she stopped eating her special food and started eating her kibble again. The vets theory is that she decided the whole fatty liver disease and anorexia wasn’t fun anymore. I think that Trouble hears his advice and promptly decides to do the opposite. Either way she is doing better than expected and got a clean bill of health. Now she is focusing on growing that fur back.
Before Christmas we were pretty preoccupied with hunting season.The last weekend of the season we went up Harrison Lake. It was really cold out so there was lots of fog which made it very difficult to see, it cleared up once we got to our destination though. After spending the morning out looking for deer we headed back towards town. Since it was so cold a lot of the waterfalls and seepage in the rocks were frozen so we stopped a few times for me to snap photos. At one point we parked on the side of the road and I walked back to the bridge and waterfall. Along the way I looked over my shoulder to look for traffic and stepped in a rut in the mud and twisted my ankle. I took my photos and hobbled back to the truck. We went into town and stopped at my favorite cafe and had a turkey club. This place (don’t know the name) has the best turkey clubs, so good but I couldn’t walk normally. Its been weeks since it happened and its still sore and there is a small lump in the tendon but its getting better, slowly.
On New Years day we were planning to go snowshoeing on the North Shore but the snow was not very good (non-existent). So we decided that instead of going and paying for a trail ticket when the snow is bad we would wait for better weather. Instead we went out to White Rock to walk along the boardwalk to the pier. Along the boardwalk we saw seagulls, common loons, and killdeer. Once we got to the pier there were bufflehead and surf scoters. Bufflehead we see often but surf scoters are new to me.
Once done on the pier we went into town for a snack and searched for a gelato place that was open. We finally found a place and enjoyed some outside on the patio. We then walked back to the car and headed over to my parents to set up their new computer.
That evening we went out to Famoso with our fiends for a pizza date.
Over the holidays we went to Manning Park snowshoeing. Me did lightning lake earlier but this time decided to do Shadow Lake in the Strawberry Flats. The trail crosses over a cross country skiing trail then into the forests. The trail goes thru the woods around stumps and fallen trees towards the lake. The snow was fresh and fluffy and we could see tracks of bunnies and little mice. After a little over an hour we made it to a clearing which we believed to be the lake. We followed a creek along the trail a little ways longer until we decided to turn around and head back. It was a beautiful trail and definitely worth the effort.
A few weeks ago a litter of kittens was found, their mother had been killed, possibly by a coyote. My sisters friend offered to foster the litter of five kittens for the BC SPCA, bottle feeding them until they could be weaned. Early on one of the kittens failed to thrive and passed away. Left where 2 female and 2 male black kittens. They were dubbed 1, 2, 3, and 4.
My sister over the weeks fell for 3 a male. She asked my parents if she could adopt him. Since she is in school and living at home their permission was needed. The home has been cat free for a year now since our family cat Sandy died. They claimed to not want another cat but have looked after Trouble and Flair for us, and I can tell they enjoy having them around. After they watched them while we were in Yellowstone Mom started saying she wanted a cat like Flair.
So we spent all Christmas trying to convince Mom that what they really need is a black kitten. Dad was all for it (softy). So Mom was the only one who needed convincing and she kept saying no.
Last week the litter were spayed and neutered and returned to the SPCA. Luckily for them waiting for their arrival were people waiting to adopt them.
Please consider adopting your next pet. These kittens were loved long before they arrived at the shelter, raised in a good home, given medical care. Your adoption fee gets you a vetted pet, spayed/neutered, up to date on shots, a free vet visit in some cases, and a best friend. Worth every penny if you ask me, Trouble, Flair, Bash, or Meemee.
Well it’s a new year. Hunting season has come and gone, then the hustle and bustle of Christmas and finally settling back into life.
Before Christmas we got a text from our realtor that someone wanted to see our place. We were planning on going snowshoeing the next day so I had to run across town to pick up our rentals before heading home for a marathon cleaning session. When Trouble got sick keeping things clean and tidy got put on low priority. The place wasn’t messy or dirty just not showing worthy. By midnight I was done and in bed, Flair on my feet and Trouble on my head purring away.
In the morning we packed all our snow stuff and the cats in the car and headed off to my parents. The cats spend the day at their house whenever we have a showing so that Trouble isn’t under potential buyers feet the entire time. We then went up to Manning Park to snowshoe Lightning lake. It was icy so most of the way around the lake we kept our snowshoes strapped to our backpacks. Right away we were swarmed by a pack of Whiskey Jacks and they followed us up the lake. Then we saw some squirrels and a grouse. Along the other side of the lake we found another squirrel who was not happy to see us. It started chirping at us so Chris chirped back. They got into a little bit of a chirping war and the squirrel kept hopping closer and closer to us. It wouldn’t go onto the snow but went out along some tree stumps to get as close as possible. Every time it would chirp it’s entire body would shake.
Chris it seems is able to imitate animals in the worst way, while in Seattle a few years ago he got into a squawking war with some odd bird.
After snowshoeing we went out and bought our own since we’ll be doing this more often and well they were on pre-boxing day sale.
Christmas dinner this year was at my parents. We spent the morning with the in-laws exchanging gifts and making breakfast. I got all the turquoise things I could ever need, yoga, tea, cookbooks, clothes, happy camper over here. :)
Then we went over to my parents house to exchange gifts there and then my sister made dinner, turkey, tur-duck-in covered in a bacon weave, gravy, potatoes, plus all the fixings. It was delicious.
Then boxing day we took our pre-boxing day purchases out to Manning again and snowshoed Shadow Lake. This time the snow was fluffy and perfect.
We were planning to go out snowshoeing again on New Years day but the weather wasn’t very good so we skipped and went to White Rock to take pictures of the shore birds. We saw common loons, sea-gulls, surf scoters, common grebe, and buffleheads.
The next day we took a new trail at the wetlands. It was muddy and steeper than I expected. Our sneakers and boots were not the wisest footwear choices but me made it. The swans were really loud and you could hear them long before we made it to the lake. But all the effort was worth it!
Since then it has been quite yucky out on weekends so haven’t had much more options to take photos. I do have more chickadee photos and this weekend if its nice I’ll go looking for owls. I will also do some more in-depth posts on snowshoeing, White Rock, and the wetlands.
Also have someone to introduce you too ;) But that’s another post.
It’s been awhile since I posted about Trouble. She is doing fine and enjoying life without the cone. We still have to watch her and bug her endlessly to eat but we are relaxing a little bit. In between feedings we have gone out to take photos. This has been nice cause honestly those first few weeks were exhausting.
Or first weekend trip was to the Heron reserve to look for birds. Not much was out but we did get to watch this guy for awhile.
We also spent a few Saturdays out looking for deer. OK, Chris looked for deer and I slept in the truck. I was admiring the views on the first trip so I made sure to bring the camera along with on our second expedition.
Since we didn’t see any birds or ducks when we visited the Heron reserve Chris suggested we head out to Riffle Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It’s a sure fire place to find birds especially ducks. It was really windy and cold so we dressed up in all our winter gear thinking that by the ocean would be worse than inland. We heard lots of complaints from other bird watchers but really it was milder than home.
Lastly we went out to the Eagle festival. This is the same area as I talked about in this post.
I was really glad we got out and I got to take some photos, I have really been missing it lately.