In search of fresh air and a place to stretch our legs, we headed to Lighthouse Park. We don’t go there too often so it makes a nice change to visit once or twice a year. On our way we were pelted with hail as a vicious little squall blew through West Vancouver, blowing litter, leaves and small branches everywhere. By the time we reached the park it had died down. We took a trail on the west side of the park and wandered down towards the lighthouse. Along the way I steered us down a dead end where we ended up on a rock with a great view out to sea. Well, on a nice day anyway. All we could see was a huge ominously-dark cloud over towards Vancouver Island, undoubtedly heading our way. Maria saw an impressive fork of lightning and we decided we should continue our loop and return to the car.
We stopped to admire some spring trillium and had taken one photo when we heard this deep booming “hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo”. We turned round and saw a large bird fly overhead, turn and land in a tree not too far away. An owl! Not any old owl, either, but a big barred owl. I fumbled a quick lens change, increased the ISO setting to 3200, and grabbed a few photos through the trees. Not too great really, but we walked around a bit and found a clear sightline to the owl, less than 10 m away. I took a deep breath and fired off as many shots as possible. To our amazement it stayed put for a minute or more, bobbing its head this way and that, looking and listening for prey. A few times it looked straight at us with those unsettling deep black pools of eyes (honestly, we’re way too big to eat!). We looked away for a second and when we looked back it had gone, without a sound. What a treat!
Five minutes later we were back at the car, just as the next squall arrived and threw everything it had at us. Welcome to April.