Early morning walk in Stanley Park

When there is still so much time before work starts, why not have a nice little stroll along Stanley Park’s seawall?!
That was exactly what I did this morning, and I ended up walking along Lost Lagoon, too, one of my most favourite places in Vancouver.

I very much enjoyed this peaceful morning walk, and I never felt alone; there was always some kind of bird or a squirrel around.

So much to see at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Finally, after many attempts, we had found some time to visit the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta. And we were so lucky with the weather. Though it was quite cold, the sun and the excitement to see so many birds kept us warm.

While walking along the many beautiful paths, we encountered so many ducks in and out of the water, heard a lot of birds singing, saw some of them, too, and discovered some sandhill cranes hiding in the marsh.

One of the many amazing moments was when red-breasted nuthatches, black-capped chickadees and even the larger red-winged blackbirds ate some bird seeds right out of our hands.

After we had seen sandhill cranes hiding in the grass, we were pleasantly surprised to see them wade through the water and come out of it right in front of us. That was such an amazing experience to see those large birds up close.

And to top all this, we saw a flock of what seemed to be several hundreds of lesser snow geese fly by and land in the marshlands a bit further away. That was such an impressive sight!

We had a fantastic day, and we will definitely be back – hopefully next spring when we might get to see the ducklings.

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…

Canada Place, Vancouver Lookout, Stanley Park

Together with our boys we visited Canada Place to experience FlyOver Canada – and what an experience it was! FlyOver China was pretty amazing, but FlyOver Canada was breathtakingly beautiful. The flying part definitely felt real.

From there we went to the Vancouver Lookout to have an amazing view of Greater Vancouver.

After that we strolled along Vancouver’s waterfront until we came to Stanley Park where we saw a blue heron wading in the water, and later a squirrel nibbling on something to eat.

We were quite hungry, too, although we had a nice snack and a cool drink in between, so we made our way home to get something delicious for dinner.

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!

We spent a great day in Vancouver

Sunday showed its sunny side so that we couldn’t resist and head out into the sunlight to enjoy a great day in sunny Vancouver.

On our way to Stanley Park we observed one of the blue herons standing in the water near Devonian Harbour Park and trying to catch some food – and that it did! It just seemed as if its food didn’t want to be eaten and tried to seal the blue heron’s bill. After this exciting experience we continued our walk to the Vancouver Aquarium where we couldn’t wait to get inside once again. Well, it was only the second time this week…

We headed to the first sea otters’ habitat where we watched Tanu and Katmai at feeding time. And then we saw that Elfin, the male sea otter, was in his habitat again – happily playing with a red ball. They are all so cute, and I simply can’t get enough observing them.

Then we went on to have a look at Hana and Helen who were happily swimming in their smaller habitat, especially Helen swam around all the time – on her back!
Opposite them the sea lion jumped out of the water while two seals were looking out of the water.

But as huge Jack and Daisy fans we simply had to go down to their underwater viewing area. Surprisingly, Daisy came down this time posing in front of the cameras – just like a little diva, but so super cute! The funny thing was that Jack didn’t come down as long as Daisy was there, instead he hovered nearby observing the situation. It looked like as if he had been parked there.

Then we made our way to the 3:30 pm dolphin show but had to stand in a second row as it was really crowded. As always, you could see that Hana and Helen had great fun during their training session which was commented on very enthusiastically by Lauren, a passionate interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium. After the show and a little chat with Lauren we went to see Hana and Helen at their underwater viewing area and were amazed how close they swam by.

After having spent some time there, we headed to Aurora and Qila’s underwater viewing area, sat on one of the benches and just watched those beautiful belugas in action.

From there it’s just a little walk to Jack and Daisy’s habitat where we spent the rest of the afternoon playing with Jack (me) – and yes, he came down very often – or taking pictures of him (mostly Marcus, sometimes me as I was busy playing with him…). We were literally the last two persons to leave Jack. Strangely enough he somehow sensed that his fun was over and he stopped playing, and it seemed as if he was saying something like ‘You can’t go now. I’m so cute!’ That was heart breaking…

Anyway, we really had to leave the Vancouver Aquarium and strolled through Stanley Park where we saw two squirrels until we arrived at the Lost Lagoon. There we saw a blue heron, together with two ducks, on one of those logs placed in the Lost Lagoon. After a while a tree swallow landed on a bird house nearby. Of course, the usual Canada geese and seagulls were present, too. And then, just like some days ago, a male red-winged blackbird appeared, quickly followed by a female one.

At Devonian Harbour Park we couldn’t believe our eyes as we saw another pair of black-winged blackbirds there. The Canada geese family and their goslings from last time were swimming on the pond before heading onto land for their lunch or dinner.

As we had to get back to Burrard SkyTrain station, we walked along the seafront, passed the marina and saw two seagulls checking out their seafront property, i.e. this interesting piece of art. A bit further on we also had a great view of the Convention Centre, the sea plane terminal and Vancouver harbour. But we had to get some rest on those lovely benches at Jack Poole Plaza (who can’t resist sitting on those huge benches?) where we could once again enjoy the view of Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, North Vancouver and the mountain range with those funnily shaped mountains.

As you can see, we had a most fantastic day which simply has to be repeated soon!

From Springer Park to Beecher Park

Today we just had a little stroll to get some fresh air, and as a little natural oasis is very close by, we started at Springer Park where we enjoyed watching two squirrels playing with each other, walked along Beecher creek and headed towards Beecher Park.

We definitely enjoyed our little hiking experience along a nice little hiking path hidden among an urban residential area.

At the Vancouver Aquarium and Stanley Park

Today we chose the scenic route and were walking from Burrard SkyTrain Station to the Vancouver Aquarium – and that’s quite a long way. However, lots of spring plants and flowering trees on our way totally made up for this.

We also walked along the seawall where we had a great view of Coal Harbour before we finally arrived at the Aquarium. There we caught a glimpse at Elfin, saw a seagull trying to blend in with Aurora and Qila and watched Hana and Helen jumping out of the water during one of those very educational shows.

While strolling through Stanley Park we observed some squirrels chasing each other, especially a black squirrel and a grey one seemed to be playing together.

On our way home we passed Firehall N° 6, a historical firehall in service since 1907. And on one of its sides, there was this little inukshuk – and I absolutely love those little stone landmarks.

Well, and to get into the Easter spirit, there was this rather cute Easter chick disguised as the Easter bunny.

Anyway, we had a great day and even greater weather – and will return to Vancouver pretty soon.

Impressions of Cates Park and Sunset in Burnaby

I just wanted to add some more pictures to Marcus’s post about our walking tour around Cates Park earlier today which we enjoyed very much, especially as the sun was shining on an otherwise rather cold day.

On our walk we saw a squirrel sunbathing – the perfect opportunity to take a picture! Of course, we saw seagulls and ducks as well.

Back home we had a nice hot cuppa and enjoyed the sunset from our couch.

A visit to the VanDusen Botanical Garden

There is always so much to see and to explore in the VanDusen Botanical Garden so that we are always happy to go there – no matter which season we are in.

This time the autumn colours were impressive everywhere. Unfortunately, the sun wasn’t really cooperative that day, but we enjoyed our visit there enormously. Except for the magnificent autumn leaves, we also had a look at those “dead man’s fingers”  that Marcus took pictures of, too. That’s a scary name, but they are indeed edible!

We also saw some ducks swimming in the pond and some nosy squirrels watching us while taking pictures.

All in all a wonderful day – and we will definitely be back soon!