The WTFerfowl! Of course! I should’ve known — THAT’S a cormorant! It’s a double-crested cormorant! And I saw it, this morning, exactly where Mother said it would be, perched on this weird arched metal jobbie in the middle of False Creek. (I’ve no idea what that is — a piece of modern art? A water pump? Something to do with boats?) Anyway, it’s a wee metal archey thing sticking up out of the water, and cormorants like to sit on it. Two of them were there, this morning, when I went to check. They’re still there, now. I can see them from my balcony, through my longest lens (just the shapes of them, not their markings) — but now I know where to look.

The next challenge will be to get a picture. Today, I went all the way down to the water’s edge, but the archey thing’s on the other side of False Creek. If I wanted a photo of the cormorants, I’d have to get closer, somehow. I tried to snap them from this side, but all I got were fuzzy black shapes, with orangey smudges round their beaks.

It seems I’ve got two options, if I want crisp, luscious snaps of cormorants:

a) cross the water, somehow;
b) haunt the seawall, till I spot one on this side.

I’ve seen them on this side, before, but always hiding between boats, or skulking under the jetty near Monk McQueen’s restaurant. They’re not easy to approach — the minute they see you coming, they melt into the shadows, or vanish behind some obstacle…obstinate birds! Getting a picture from this side will be challenging. That leaves…going to the other side. It looks like I could get within forty feet of their perch, from there. I could snap them all day, if I felt so inclined. But I haven’t been on the other side of the water since…well, since I lived there, which was ages ago. Four or five years, I think. What say? — time I went back?

Apparently, there are two other species of cormorant I might also spot around here, with a bit of luck: Brandt’s and pelagic ones. I’d particularly like to see the former…those do look a bit regal (for cormorants, anyway), all shiny, with yon blue patches.

Fruitless Birdwalk

Oh, remember me, my darling, when spring is in the air,
and the bald-headed birds are whispering everywhere;
when you see them walking southward in their dirty underwear —
the Tennessee Birdwalk!

Now, why can’t my bald-headed birds do a spot of walking? Would it kill them to plant their murderous talons on terra firma, just for a moment, and give me a little strut? I’d kill to see an eagle do the Tennessee Birdwalk. I wouldn’t even mind if it roughed me up a bit, or bird-limed my head — wait, scratch that. I’d totally mind. It’s very hard to live down a stupid bird story. I still catch the occasional barb over the unidentified bird (possibly a cassowary) that bit my bum and stole my lunch, at Birdland — oh, and the swan that pecked my face, when Mother tried to take pictures of its cygnets. And the grackle that stole my burger-top at Sonic, and the sparrow that got stuck in my hair. And let’s not forget that fateful trip to Sherkston Beach, where seagulls beshat nearly EVERYONE. That’s still the stuff of family legend, twenty years after the fact. I didn’t even get limed, but I still catch the brunt of the ribbing — and why should that be? Because, cleverly anticipating the G-52 bombers, I brought a parasol, which is not not fussy, but sensible. Sensible!

That is to say, I’ve been SOL with the shy birds, today. First, I pursued a bald eagle to the Stamps Landing ferry stop, where I stood and watched it sail blissfully over Granville Island and the downtown area. Then, it doubled back, and I chased it across Moberly Road, into the grounds of the building across the street, and up a flight of stairs, at which point I lost sight of it amidst the evergreens. Bite me, baldy.

With no more eagles to chase, I looped back to a quiet garden bench, where I’ve had good luck spotting chickadees. But it wasn’t a chickadee I was after, today. There’s this other bird, about the size and shape of a chickadee, but with a coal-black head, a yellow beak, and a twitchy tail. I don’t know what it is. I’ve only ever caught fleeting glimpses of it, as it shoots from one patch of cover to the next. It has a thin, high call, like tweeeeeee!, and it likes rhododendron bushes. It can be made to whistle, on command — it responds to every pssh-pssh-pssh with a tweeeeeee! — but it declines to show its face. One day, I’m going to see this bird, identify it, and add it to my list. If I see it in a well-lit area, and it stands still for a while, I might even get its photograph.

Birds I did see, on my walk:

* Canada geese
* Black-capped chickadees
* Song sparrows
* One sad-looking house sparrow, standing in a puddle
* European starlings
* One American robin, high in a tree.

And a couple of birdie shots — just a goose and a hummingbird, I’m afraid. I tried to get the starlings and the robin, but they were too high up.

I'm getting a lot of hummingbird, since I put up the feeder.  But I've yet to get a good picture.  It's too cold to leave the door open all day, so I'm stuck shooting through glass.  Summer, where are you?

I’m getting a lot of hummingbird, since I put up the feeder. But I’ve yet to get a good picture. It’s too cold to leave the door open all day, so I’m stuck shooting through glass. Summer, come back!

This goose is not really falling off the roof.  It just looks that way.

This goose is not really falling off the roof. It just looks that way.