Yesterday Nic and I took a break from the pandemic to stroll around and take pictures at Burnaby Lake, roughly up to the halfway point before taking the SkyTrain back. Ironically, social distancing was far easier on the SkyTrain (virtually empty) compared to the trails at the lake, as it was sunny, mild and packed with people. And ducks. And pigeons. And poopmonsters.
Here are a few pics I took along the way with my iPhone 8. Nic’s DSLR with a telephoto lens that could double as a murder weapon took better close-ups, but hey, you work with the tools you have. These pics are still better than what my vintage 2008 digital camera could do.
Still Creek being true to its name .
Looking west over the lake, not a lilypad in sight.
Fungus in the forest.
And the obligatory duck picture taken at Piper spit:
The SkyTrain was delayed a bit when I transferred to the Expo Line at Waterfront station this afternoon, something that is happening more frequently, though with no discernible pattern. But today’s delay was a little different.
There was a track intrusion alert at Commercial-Broadway station and SkyTrain staff had to hold all trains until they could verify that the track was not, in fact, being intruded upon. Tracks hate it when you intrude upon them.
As it turns out, the cause was pigeon poop. Yes, pigeon poop.
I refer to the newly-remodeled Commercial-Broadway station as The Aviary, because the large pillars, with upward-pointing clusters of lights that are part of the new platform, have proven extremely popular for roosting among the local pigeon population. They have since added spiky wires to most of the good perching spots, but the pigeons have not been fully dissuaded from hanging around. And like the best of us, pigeons must, from time to time, relieve themselves. Being pigeons, they do this wherever they are perched, which in this case, is above and around the just-opened Platform 5.
It was more likely an actual pigeon triggered the intrusion alert, though possibly apocryphal stories suggest it was the poop itself, perhaps plopping down directly on a sensor in the track from above. In any event, it’s remarkable how these silly birds have become such a problem for the transit system.
This Daily Hive story posted earlier today notes that they are using pigeon birth control to reduce the problem by literally reducing the number of pigeons (over time). Plus netting, spikes and a falcon for good measure, too.
For the moment, though, the pigeons clearly have the upper…wing.
A utility box on Columbia Street, cropped to only show the foxy cop illustration on it:
A seagull resting and pondering who to later fly over and poop on, along the boardwalk at Westminster quay. He seems to be saying, “Yeah, it’s gonna be you.” (It did cry fiercely when I later walked by again, but was too lazy to actually get up and do more than that.)
And at the bottom of the stairs on the south side of my condo building, leading to Allen Street, a strange collection of stuff, including personal photographs, that appeared today. There’s no doubt an interesting story behind this, but I’m not sure I want to hear it because the story is also very likely sad/horrifying. I expect all of this to be gone by tomorrow.
(In which I took some time this afternoon to stroll around Central Park in Burnaby.)
Okay, I can’t really say woodpeckers would offer much in the way of therapy, unless you were looking for the cheapest, most excruciating trepanation possible. But I did see a woodpecker, not up in a tree, but sitting on a fallen one (also known as a log) and it was following script, merrily pecking away at it.
I didn’t want to get too close and scare it off, so the photo is kind of blah (optical zoom is something I definitely miss on typical smartphone cameras), but here ya go:
And at the lower pond, things were ducky. It’s also tough to shoot ducks (with a camera), not because they frighten easily, but because you have to be a worm to get down low enough for a good angle.
I took a photo of some of the fish they have stocked in the same pond, but due to reflection, refraction and the dull colors of the fish, I have not included the photo here. Just imagine a beluga whale majestically breaching or something. Yes, I know whales aren’t fish. But they breach a lot better.
There’s no Waldo hiding in this shot, I just like the interplay of light and shadow. The weird, bleached out color is accurate.
And now flowers!
And a few more on the way out of the park:
Finally, on one of the trails I don’t usually hit I saw this atop a giant tree stump. I don’t know.
I usually have two speeds at Burnaby Lake: fast and faster.
Today, I tried a new speed: not fast. That’s not entirely true, as I did power along for six km to reach the Nature House and Piper Spit along the trail. But once there I took my time to saunter around, enjoy the feel of the sun, watch the birds do bird things and then strolled back out of the park, stopping to take pictures along the way.
In other words, I acted like my alternate universe opposite. Slow, mellow, taking in the sights.
The walk into the park off of Cariboo Road parallels a commercial complex for a few hundred meters, though there are some nice plants and flowers along the fence that divides the two. Just be careful if you try to pick them.
At the Nature House:
Baby ducks, adorable as always:
Birds on the boardwalk. I want to caption this with something funny, but I don’t know what kinds of funny things birds would say to each other.
This is from the viewpoint looking back toward the boardwalk pictured above. You can see most of the lake from here, the opposite of when I am running around it.
Baby geese. Not as adorable as baby ducks, but pretty cute. Too bad they grow into poopmonsters (seen to the left and right).
I have never seen a turtle in this turtle area. (The area is fenced off, I’m just standing right beside the fence.)
I have added what I think is probably a pretty accurate depiction of a turtle, if one ever actually showed up here.
A lot of the land around the lake is marsh, which tends to be quite soggy. This has a certain effect on trees in the area. I call this The Leaning Tower of Treesa (sorry).
On the way out of the park I didn’t see too much to photograph in the way of flowers, but if you imagine a hundred pictures of thousands of buttercups, it would be a good approximation of what I could have shot (ironically, none are visible in the shot above, one of the few stretches that wasn’t festooned with the things).