A soggy trip to Reifel Bird Sanctuary, September 4, 2021

The showers arrived hours early, roughly starting at the same time we arrived. For the most part it wasn’t too bad and I was able to use my non-water resistant camera, but by the end it was pretty much a steady rain–the first in months!

Reifel Bird Sanctuary, May 1, 2021

The sun was out and the birds were in abundance.

Crowd restrictions meant we went surprisingly long stretches without seeing anyone else, so it felt very tranquil at times. Except for the constant honking of geese in the distance.

The gallery:

A few birds at Serpentine Fen

What the title says. I went there yesterday with Nic and given the unexpectedly warm and sunny conditions, we both got sunburned. But I also got a few decent pics. Here are a few bird-flavored ones.

A bald eagle flying high overhead just as we started out
A cormorant stretching its wings. It stayed frozen, statue-like, the entire time we walked by.
Great blue heron looking out across the river

American coot eating grass and being weird

Photo of the Day, May 2, 2020

Actually taken on May 1st. Brunette River, with a heron that landed a few moments before I took this picture.

Here’s a cropped view that a) shows a closer view of the heron and b) demonstrates how smartphones generally suck at zooming in on things.

A walk through the plaguelands. Er, park

Nic and I went for a stroll around the southern half of Burnaby Lake today, taking pictures, enjoying nature and, of course, avoiding people.

The weather was mild, but cloudy and this probably scared a few people off. The majority of those on the trail seemed to be mindful to keep the 2 meters away, or at least as best they could manage, as much of the trail isn’t even 2 meters wide. There were a few dopes, of course, and a surprisingly large number of cyclists. The entrance to the park had a giant sandwich board in place basically saying TAKE YOUR BIKE ELSEWHERE. YES, YOU. But a lot of people are clearly ignoring these signs, perhaps because they think there is no enforcement right now–which may be true, as I did not see any park people or vehicles.

I did see greenery, water and ducks, some of which are below.

First, the standard shot of Burnaby Lake, taken from the bridge at Deer Lake Brook. You can see the baby lily pads popping up all over, as well as the general greenery filling in along the shore.

Next is the little pond adjacent to the lake with a partially sunken log that is popular with ducks. The pond is smaller than usual as we haven’t had much rain for a few months. But the ducks were still there.

This pond is nearby to the other one and nicely captures the fact that the area around the lake is marshland.

And there were a number of these signs dotting the sides of the trail reminding us that we live in COVID times. As I said above, people were generally pretty good about not getting elbow to elbow, though there’s always a few dingbats out and aboot.

Nic was using his telephoto lens to capture amazing shots of birds. Meanwhile I managed this with my iPhone 8:

If I crop as much as I dare, you can see this:

It’s not great, but at least you can tell they are birds. They preened for a bit, then took off, probably because we were standing there staring at them.

Overall, it was a nice outing and the cloudy weather likely worked to our benefit, keeping crowds down. It would have been great running weather, so I may vow yet again to try next weekend to get off the treadmill and into nature and all that.

A stroll around (half of) Burnaby Lake

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:

Pigeons: 1, SkyTrain: 0

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.

Miscellaneous things around New Westminster

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.