A beaver at Lost Lagoon

When we were walking around Lost Lagoon, we saw a lot of wildlife.
There were squirrels, a red-winged blackbird, a towhee, wood ducks and mallards, mute swans, seagulls, blue herons, Canada geese and their goslings – and a beaver. Never before had we seen a beaver at Lost Lagoon, so that was really exciting. At first we only saw a branch in the water, but it was moving on its own; so that could not be happening, right – and then we saw the beaver dragging the branch along. Amazing, eh?

We had a fantastic evening stroll around Lost Lagoon, and we should definitely spend more time there…

An adventurous time at Whytecliff Park

The last time our boys were visiting us, we somehow did not go to Whytecliff Park, but ended up at Porteau Cove where we nevertheless spent a fantastic day. So this time, we made our way to Whytecliff Park where we saw a lot of wildlife: seagulls, cormorants, harlequin ducks, Canada geese, pink sea stars – and harbour porpoises!

As there was low tide, we could also climb up Whyte Islet from where we had a spectacular view of Bowen Island and the Straight of Georgia.

What a great day!

Third, Stanley Park

After having said goodbye to my in-laws, Marcus and I went down to Stanley Park’s seawall to enjoy fantastic views in the remaining sunlight on this beautiful day.

The Canada geese were busy picking in the grass whereas the seagulls were having a blast flying above the water and landing on it again while being very noisy.

We could also admire the amazingly coloured autumn leaves that have such luscious colours – even if there is no direct sunlight.

(to be continued…)

Enjoying the rest of the evening in Stanley Park

After some fantastic hours at the Vancouver Aquarium, Marcus and I sat on a bench in Stanley Park, enjoying the remaining minutes of sunshine, watching the nature around, observing the animals, and just relaxing when Arty the Jester came up to us and showed us his newest props. Marcus even took some pictures for him before a family came by and wanted to have their picture taken with Arty the Jester. Arty then made a balloon monkey for the little boy which was really fascinating to watch.

Later on he told us story after story – and we definitely had a lot of fun.
After having said our goodbyes (several times), he gave us a balloon penguin (how appropriate today) and a balloon flower.

Arty the Jester is definitely lots of fun, and boy, can he entertain!

A very relaxing day at Alice Lake

When Marcus and I went to Alice Lake about two months ago, we were hiking along a trail that let us explore all four lakes there, but as Ben and Tom love being near and in the water a lot, we just packed our picnic box, picnic blankets, swimming things for the boys, my Kindle and our cameras – and off we went to spend a relaxing day at the lake.

Luckily for us, there weren’t many people around so that we could choose a really nice spot to sit. Ben and Tom were very much interested in getting their own kayaks this time after having shared a canoe at Buntzen Lake some days ago. So they rented some kayaks, and immediately went kayaking in them.

After a while they came back – hungry, of course -, had some snacks, went swimming and diving in the water, came back for lunch, took their kayaks out again, came back for some food, went swimming again… They definitely didn’t get bored all day.

Shortly before going home, we even saw those cute Douglas squirrels. Especially one of them was very sneaky as it went into someone else’s bag, retrieved some food from there and sat on one of the benches to enjoy his stolen snack which must have been especially tasty, as the squirrel came back several times to get more of that.

As all of us had so much fun at Alice Lake, it will definitely be on our list of what to do with the boys next year.

(to be continued…)

A hike around Sasamat Lake

As it promised to be a warm summer day today, we made our way to Sasamat Lake, which is only about a 30 minute drive from us.

When we arrived, we noticed that lots of other locals had had the same idea, as White Pine Beach and all other places around were packed with people, having brought everything for a whole day’s outing, including barbecues of all sizes.
Anyway, we still found a nice spot in the shade, and our boys couldn’t wait to jump into the water which was quite warm actually.

After having had some lunch, we went for a little hike around Sasamat Lake which was really nice, especially as most of the trail leads through the forest, is in the shade, and gives you spectacular views of the lake. On our hike, we also saw some Canada geese swimming on the lake, and some beautiful yellow water lilies that were frequently visited by blue damselflies. We even found some geocaches, but had to be very careful, because, surprisingly enough, quite a few people enjoyed the same hike that we did.

Although we enjoyed the swim (our boys) and the hike (all of us) there a lot, we didn’t stay too long and headed back home where Ben and Tom enjoyed swimming in the pool for hours…

A great day at Buntzen Lake

We packed our picnic box and made our way towards Buntzen Lake where we found a nice spot in the shade for our picnic blankets so that we could all enjoy a nice day there.
After having strolled along the beach a bit, Ben and Tom found out that some canoes there could be rented, and as Ben especially likes everything in and around water, the boys and I walked to the canoe rentals in Anmore, ‘just’ a 2 km hike – mostly uphill – (one way)…
Anyway, after we got the paddles and a key for a canoe, the way back was much quicker – or at least so it seemed.

Ben and Tom could hardly wait to get onto the water, and after a snack, they were in full canoeing mode, enjoying a paddle on the water.
Meanwhile Marcus and I enjoyed some relaxing time, watching our boys or reading a book (me).

All in all, we had a fabulous day at Buntzen Lake, relaxing (all of us) as well as canoeing and swimming in the lake (our boys).

A wonderful afternoon at the Vancouver Aquarium

We try to visit the Vancouver Aquarium once a week, and this Wednesday we were pleasantly surprised to find Jack and Daisy back in their usual habitat, the B.C. Sugar pool. It was even better to find them both very active, probably being happy to be back home again.

Daisy came down to the underwater viewing area posing for pictures. She seems to check out all the lenses and decides to go for the biggest one. And Marcus was the lucky one she was posing for (probably seeing herself in the lens). That was so cute!
Jack was waiting to come down after Daisy’s turn and was happily playing with some visitors, including me! That made me really happy!
We also got to know Margo, a very friendly and engaging volunteer at the Vancouver Aquarium who told us a lot more about harbour porpoises, seals and fur seals that we did not know before. Thanks for the nice chat, Margo!

Then we went to see the dolphin show starring Hana and Helen. This time only one trainer, Leonora, interacted with both the Pacific white-sided dolphins. And it always such fun to watch them show all their different behaviours.
After their training session, Helen started playing with a fish which she spat out into the air, and then she caught it again. There was one time when a seagull nearby wanted to catch Helen’s fish, too. But Helen was quicker and snatched the fish away from under the seagull’s ‘nose’. That was really interesting to watch.
Hana, however, was enjoying herself in the smaller dolphin habitat – and probably happy to have it to herself again. Aren’t those dolphins adorable?

Then it was time to leave, but we managed to squeeze in a quick good-bye to Tanu, Katmai and Elfin. But we will be back soon!

On our way home we stopped at one point of Stanley Park’s seawall to admire the Lions Gate Bridge. Our second stop was near the Lost Lagoon where we walked along this beautiful newly built boardwalk in Stanley Park, the Cathedral Trail. From there we headed towards the Lost Lagoon and watched lots of wildlife, among them a swan and a group of Canada geese swimming in formation.

Back home in Burnaby, we were greeted by a cloud which looked very much like a harbour porpoise. That is definitely a sign, eh?

A relaxing afternoon at Cates Park

We quite spontaneously decided to spend the afternoon in the nature, and Cates Park in North Vancouver is a great location for that, as it offers walking trails in the forest as well as the possibility to stroll along the beach.
The hardest part was finding a parking spot as probably half North Vancouver and surroundings had the same idea, but we were so lucky to get the last spot. Yay!

First we followed the trail until the end of Cates Park, headed down to the beach and enjoyed a leisurely walk back to where we started.
We observed two Canada geese couples swimming in Burrard Inlet and saw a little crab hiding among the little stones. Can you see it? There was also a seagull sitting on a pillar, and I was wondering if it has read the sign that fishing and crabbing are not allowed?

At one point we could see the Second Narrows Bridge (officially the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing) which links North Vancouver with Vancouver – and which we took to get home again. So we had been in three cities today!
Anyway, although we only spent a short time at Cates Park, it was really refreshing, and we enjoyed it a lot.

Vancouver Aquarium, Lost Lagoon and Burnaby sunset

The last day of May promised to be as sunny as a summer’s day – and is there any better way than to spend it at the Vancouver Aquarium?! – So that we did.

On our way there, at Devonian Harbour Park, we saw a Canada geese family with lots of goslings swimming happily together.

Once inside the Vancouver Aquarium, we made a beeline to Jack and Daisy’s habitat, only to see that now there were six female fur seals in. I had never seen any of those before, and they were fun to watch, too.
Jack and Daisy were still in the little dolphin habitat. But the good thing for us was to be able to see them interact with their trainers during one of their training sessions. Jack seemed to respond more to them than Daisy did.
We then walked over to the Steller sea lions and harbour seals to watch an interesting training session with them as well. Vancouver Aquarium interpreter Lauren and both marine mammal trainers Anna and Leonora made this experience very special.
It was the first time that we actually saw all four female Steller sea lions together with their male colleagues, the three harbour seals.
And then it was time to see the dolphins in action. Once again, Lauren very enthusiastically led the audience through the dolphin show in which Hana and Helen had fun interacting with their trainers Anna and Leonora.
When we went to see Elfin, Tanu and Katmai, they all seemed to have a very relaxing day.
Time is always flying by when being at the Vancouver Aquarium, and as it was nearly time to leave, we quickly headed towards Schoona’s habitat which she shares with lots of fish, some sharks and rays. So one of her co-inhabitants is often swimming in front of the lens and trying to sneak into the picture…

Then it was time to say good-bye to all the animals, but surprisingly we saw quite a few different animals on our way home, too.
In Stanley Park, there was this black squirrel sitting in the grass and climbing a tree later, and some turtles were swimming in the Lost Lagoon. There we also saw those huge berries which looked like raspberries, but I looked them up and found out that these are edible salmonberries.
At Devonian Harbour Park we did not only see two geese families, and one of them had twelve (!) goslings, but also some birds. There were a house sparrow, a male red-winged blackbird and a female Red-shafted Northern Flicker. Did you know that these Northern Flickers are the only woodpeckers that frequently feed on the ground? Interesting, eh?
At Cardero Park we also saw a Common Starling, and a bit further away, near the Marina, there was a single duck swimming with its duckling.

Back home in Burnaby, we had a beautiful sunset with great clouds. What a fantastic ending of such an amazing day!