So, do you come here often?

“Hey, bartender! More snacks needed over here!” The so-called bartender just took another picture.

I was on a bike ride through Stanley Park and decided to take in the birdlife at Beaver Lake. I watched the ducks for a while before moving on, coming to a bridge where I’d seen plenty of small birds on previous visits. This time, someone was just emptying a bag of nuts and seeds for the local squirrel population and so I stopped to watch. There was a trio of black squirrels and an equal number of their smaller cousins, Douglas fir squirrels, and it was fun to watch them scurry back and forth scavenging the last remnants of food. I got a handful of good photos, but I particularly liked this one where the squirrel rested for a brief moment, as if sitting at a bar and waiting for the next drink. Or in this case, more nuts. I had none to offer, but I also don’t make a habit of feeding them anyway. Let’s face it: they’re only cute from a distance…!

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Frilly sunset

Wispy clouds at sunset, half-a-dozen seals bobbing in the calm water…

I don’t know if it’s true, but for a place known for its rain and soul-crushing grey, it certainly feels like Vancouver gets more than its fair share of gorgeous sunsets. I suspect that the serenity of the water adds to the overall sense of peace and calm. I kept my eye open for the humpback whale but had to make do with a handful of seals instead 🙂 Turning around, I balanced the camera on the retaining wall by the beach to get a nice long exposure shot of the city as well, looking very, very blue.

Mountain mirror

The Joffre Group reflected in a mirror-calm Duffey Lake

I’ve had this spot in mind for a nice shot of the Joffre Group for a few years now. It’s only when you get a bit of distance between you and that cluster of mountains that you realize how big and imposing they are compared with their neighbours. The hike in to Joffre Lakes doesn’t actually give a good perspective on the encompassing mountains but thankfully there are plenty of other places to get that. One is the peak of Mt Rohr, across the valley (which we summitted last year), and another is the eastern end of Duffey Lake. This morning the lake was absolutely mirror-calm. The light wasn’t the best, which is why this photo is black-and-white, and the mountain tops were in the clouds, but the reflection was irresistible.

Fairyslippers

A perfect pair

A lovely pair of Fairyslipper or Calypso orchids – not exactly rare, but not very common either. Looking at the half-dozen or so places I’ve seen these flowers bloom, I think they only grow in medium-elevation, unlogged forest. I saw these two along the trail to Nairn Falls, with maybe about 15 in total – the most I’ve ever seen in one place. In addition to these little beauties, there was some lovely fresh cheery yellow arnica, and the first signs of wild ginger and Queen’s Cup. Spring is coming to the mountains!

Bluebell patch

Vancouver’s very own miniature bluebell wood

Vancouver's very own miniature bluebell wood #bluebell #spring #flowerstagram #flowers #vancouver #vancity

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Bluebells are synonymous with my childhood. Every year we’d all visit a patch of woodland not too far from home that would be carpeted with thousands of flowers. Of course, being young and innocent (and ignorant), we’d pick handfuls to take home to mum – something I wouldn’t even dream of doing these days, preferring to take loads of photos instead 🙂

And so it was a nice surprise to see so many bluebells around the city. Mostly they’re just planted in front gardens (where they come in white and pink varieties), but this little patch is on a small area of rough ground near the CP railway line on the Arbutus corridor. Most of the year it’s a postage stamp of grass edged by a tangle of scruffy blackberry bushes, but for a few short weeks it’s also an urban flower meadow, first blooming with crocuses and then a carpet (or at least a large rug) of bluebells.

Swimming raccoons

Who knew raccoons could swim?

Who knew raccoons could swim? #furryfriday #stanleypark #vancity #vancouver #vancouverisawesome #raccoon

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I certainly didn’t. I knew they dabbled their paws in the water, but I didn’t know that they were comfortable swimming. For some reason I thought they hated getting wet – I guess I was wrong 🙂 I had just ridden my bike past the northern end of the aquarium and spotted these two masked bandits looking suspicious. I turned around and stopped to grab a couple of photos just as the first pushed off in the water. The second one seemed more hesitant, but eventually swam off too. So now I know that raccoons can swim. And so do you 🙂

City view

One of my favourite city views

It was such a lovely evening, I couldn’t resist just walking downtown for an event rather than hopping on the bus. I always like stopping to admire this view from the Burrard Bridge, though I don’t think I took a photo of this view until after my brother came to visit a few years back. He borrowed my bike and took himself on a tour of the city, pausing here long enough to take a great panoramic photo. That photo inspired me to take my own, and although I haven’t repeated the panorama, I have taken this view a few times in different lighting to try and get that ultimate photo. This isn’t it, so I’ll just have to keep trying 🙂