Never a dull moment at Whytecliff Park

Indeed, whenever we spent some time at this beautiful park in West Vancouver, we are rewarded with so many experiences nature has to offer.

So today we saw a blue heron (no picture of it though), a bald eagle, the usual crows, seagulls, ‘our’ little white-crowned sparrow in addition to harbour seals, sea lions, and so many harbour porpoises which was more than amazing.

A pair of Canada geese swam by with their little goslings – maybe the same two we saw a few days ago, but this time showing off their offspring.

What a special day!

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…

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 have been to Alice Lake

Although the weather forecast predicted a 60% chance of rain today, we nevertheless went to Alice Lake Provincial Park, a most beautiful place to spend a day hiking, geocaching and enjoying nature at its best. In summer this is also a great place for swimming, kayaking and relaxing at the beach. We decided to tackle all four lakes which are, by the way, fresh water lakes, and what better way to do so than hiking along this 6 km Four Lakes Trail that covers, as the name says, all four lakes. After having had some lunch at Alice Lake, where there are plenty of picnic benches available, and seeing a Canada geese family with five goslings at the lake, we headed towards Stump Lake where our official walking tour was about to start. Stump Lake had some beautiful yellow water lilies to admire. Besides we saw so-called floating gardens that are made of sphagnum moss and sedge. Those plants anchor to a fallen log, grow out over the surface and then form such floating gardens. Great, eh? On our way to Fawn Lake we passed a wild creek and made our way towards it. Once there we could not only admire the water paving its way along the little stones but also see those beautiful mountains, still covered in snow. From the creek it was back into the wilderness again, and after an uphill hike we could even see it again from above. On our way we saw a Douglas squirrel which, unfortunately, was too fast to get a picture of and a black wild animal. Well, it was not a black bear, but black and wild it was, this black slug… And then it looked as if we had found a moss covered orca in the woods. It really does look like one, doesn’t it? Along the trail we also saw young ferns and some Cornus canadensis or bunchberries which they are called, too, and which are native to Canada. Finally we arrived at Fawn Lake where quite a few people were resting on some logs in front of it – and we had a rest, too, before continuing our hike to Edith Lake. Once there, we saw some anglers trying to catch some fish. From Edith Lake it was another smaller uphill hike before finally getting onto the long downhill walk to Alice Lake where we passed a little creek, crossed a nice little bridge and enjoyed some tiny waterfalls. Just look at the crystal clear water! Then we stopped to admire this beautiful old stump, and from there it was only a very short walk until we reached Alice Lake where we once again sat on one of those picnic benches – in the sun! – to enjoy some afternoon snack before heading back home. Alice Lake itself is also a very stunning place with its beaches, picnic areas, a great playground – and all that surrounded by mountains and forests. Simply beautiful! On our way back home, we decided quite spontaneously to stop at one of those viewpoints along the route and did get a great view of Watts Point (known as Xelxwelítn, meaning Europeans) and Howe Sound. All in all we had a wonderful day hiking along the most beautiful Four Lakes trail where we could walk in the wild, untouched nature and see lots of Pacific red cedars and Douglas firs, among others. And we also found some geocaches hidden along the trail. Anyway, I especially love those moss covered trees and still can’t believe that we are living in the Pacific temperate rain forests with its lush vegetation. We will definitely be back soon.