01 May 2013


This morning we had a surprise on the island ...

Look closely in the shrubs

 5 brand new goslings emerged from their nest

The new family on top of the rock

30 November 2012

Wood Ducks !

first time 
in Whiskey Cove 
-- a pair of wood ducks

The tide is high
and rain 
drumming on the roof
a dismal day
made brighter
with the 
wood duck's visit

25 April 2012

Osprey in the Cove

It's not often we see 
an osprey on the inlet
but today was 
a real bird day - 
loons in the morning,
a grouse in the afternoon
and an osprey before dinner
swooping over the island
scaring the geese
looking for a meal
of goose egg omelet
which he didn't get

Grouse Message

we hiked today
up Sugar Mountain
along the ridge trail
in the spring mist 
as rain threatened any moment
and stopped for lunch
at the lookout
as you do
above Sasamat Lake
Bedwell Bay and Indian Arm
and as we sat on the mossy forest floor
we heard a rustle 

in the underbrush
sat still
and along came a grouse

pecking at the huckleberry leaves
he looked at us
we looked at him
expecting him to take flight
but no, he came closer 

tipped his head 
wondering what we were 
I suppose
and then closer again
and within two feet of us
he circled
pecking and poking 
at the underbrush
peeking at us
listening it seemed 
as we talked
and then came 

around the front 
and stood 
and looked at us 
quite curiously
as if he had something to say
a message perhaps
or was listening for one
or both

Here's the link to the trail map: http://g.co/maps/2pn4p

24 April 2012

four fat loons

four fat loons
swimming by...
today in Whiskey Cove

10 April 2012

Duck Tail 2012

In Whiskey Cove today  
I saw one of the goldeneye ducks
with its transmitter tail.
He was in a large flock of goldeneyes
headed north at the end of our winter.

Can you spot the duck with the transmitter tail? Hint: front right center...

Diving for mussels under the dock

Male goldeneye duck with transmitter tail April 2012

Flock of goldeneye ducks - Indian Arm BC 2012

The goldeneyes are late leaving the coast this year...but should be gone any day now.
For more information on the ducks with transmitter tails, read previous post and also visit the Sea Duck Joint Venture.

23 January 2012

River of Crows

photo by Barbara Beck 2012

there’s a river
of crows
from Vancouver
to Burnaby
silhouetted black
a twilight blue sky
every day
at four o’clock

day’s work is done
streets are cleaned
turf beetles found
garbage checked over
and sorted

they fly
and follow
each other
then pause 
and rest 
on treetops
street lights
and traffic lights
along the way
heads bobbing
wings flapping
they lift
and continue
to their roosting spots
high in treetops
along Still Creek
near Grandview
at Boundary 
all night 
chattering about the day
a social group

and in the morning
a commute back
to the east end
the west end
main street

they poke
and prod
and clean
the city

and then…
again …
at four o’clock
lift off
and return
to their
nightly roost

river crow 3 CIMG3293 a
Colleen MacDonald 2007

16 October 2011

Morning on the Fjord ~ October 16 2011

mist shifts
boils up from waters edge
the shoreline peeks
and disappears
the fog sways
softens and rolls back
trees reflected
silhouetted in the glass

I lift the camera lenses
try to capture the scene
but the picture cannot show
it’s a feeling
to me ...  it is heaven

a seal pops up
circles radiate
and dissipate
it looks around then disappears
swims along the shore
disturbing the reflection of the trees

the sky is blue
promise of a sunny day
late October
sun so warm yesterday
I took my socks off
and sat
face up to the sun
gathering it’s last rays
before the rains come
Vancouver’s never ending rains

but today is perfection
magical almost
but that sounds so cliché
(cliché -- I love that word)

I sit with coffee in hand
warm by the fire
Diva jumps on my lap
curls up
I sip my coffee
a morning of perfection
an unfolding tapestry out my window

then into the picture
drift ...
three ducks
~ could they be?
~ are they?

I jump up
the cat lands on the floor
with a meow of exasperation
I lift the binoculars
and there they are…
the goldeneyes
are back

21 July 2010

merganser parade

there's a parade
in the cove
led by red-headed
momma merganser
twelve chicks
three days old
follow behind
and climb on 
momma's back

19 May 2010


on the island
this morning
orange beaks
loud shrieks
and then 
they flew 


22 April 2010


there's a heron
  in the tree
    outside my window
I tiptoe around
   hoping he'll stay
he sits for awhile
I make coffee
    and watch him
        gaze at the world

02 March 2010

Queen of the Olympics

Guess who had the most fun at the Olympics?

Most PotLuck Dinners +
Most Out-of-Town Guests in Condo +
Most People dropping by Quatchie House on Seymour Street +
Most Beer in Fridge +

Queen of the Olympics = Josie Cowan

Olympic Reflection

we who live
in Vancouver
are back at home
sitting still
how tired we are!!

looking back over
the blur that was the Olympics

17 fantastic days 
of celebration 
and partying 
and learning something new
about ourselves

I was in the river of people
on Granville Street Sunday 
after the hockey gold medal win
and it was something 
never seen
before on Vancouver streets

A throng of people
families with strollers
kids on their shoulders
A sea of red and white 
flags waving
People of all ages
old folks (like me)

 pushed along
jostled to Robson
a tide of people
moving and swaying

we carved our way
out of the crush
and headed to
the Closing Ceremonies
feeling sad
does it really have to end?

The Olympics was so very 
very much fun!

We Vancouverites 
have just had 
THE BEST party ever!

And looking forward 
to more ...

14 February 2010

Olympic Family Photo

Kyle Colleen Scott Ian

bundle up early
 catch the Olympic bus 
see Scott on Ski Patrol at Cypress Mountain
watch Alex Bilodeau win the gold
what a start to the Olympics

11 February 2010

Olympic Torch comes through Belcarra

This morning
we woke up 
just before our alarms
as often happens
when one is getting up early
and grabbed some toast
and coffee
donned our red mittens
and scarves
hopped in the car
and went to Belcarra Park
where the torch was lit 
way out on the pier
and one of our Villagers
George McRae
who looks quite like
Santa Claus
with a real beard
ran through the park
in the dark
calling out
Good Morning Everyone
What a Wonderful Village We Live In
and I ran after him
not wanting the good
feeling to end
and I see it didn't
as my friend emailed to tell me 
she caught it along 
Ioco Road
and then we all 
went back to bed
and got the rest of our sleep

and guess what
right now as I look out my window
I see

11 December 2009

books...of course

oh yes
I have a few books
ready to go
on blurb.com

check them out
if you like...

See my published books

04 December 2009

December Minnekhada walk

Originally uploaded by youwhocolleen
a heron sits
at creekside
reflected in the
still water

20 November 2009

belcarra morning

big log just sailed by
loaded with

the aquarium boat
is on its way to
train sea lions

there's a big raft
of winter ducks
out front

crow is coming
for bread

such a great Belcarra

03 November 2009

morning moon

the moon's
still awake
this morning ~
good morning

01 November 2009

Goldeneye Ducks back in Vancouver November 1 2009

like clockwork,
the Goldeneyes are back
in Vancouver

It's November 1
and the Winter Ducks
have returned to Burrard Inlet
and Indian Arm

We cycled around Stanley Park today
and discovered a huge raft of winter ducks:
Barrow's Goldeneyes
Common Goldeneyes
and Scoters
putting on a show just off
Siwash Rock
doing all their duck things!

come on down and see them!

08 August 2009

three crow babies

three crow babies closeup

here's our resident crow
with three babies
this year
dug the clam
out of the sand
flew to the rock
dropped it
pried open the shell
and fed
the squawking babies
then went back
for more

16 July 2009

Diana's Seagulls


High on a rooftop
in Vancouver
there are seven nests
and lots of seagull chicks
Here's a few pictures
of them

ps - click on picture to see the whole set in Flickr

seagull chick

turkish seagull chick flying

Newly hatched
and ready
to fly

20 June 2009

Cycling in Turkey


top of the hill
an exhausting climb
looking down over the bay
our boat awaits
cruise down hill
we did it!
(click on pix to see the whole set)

31 March 2009


went for a walk
got caught up on
all the

there’s a great horned owl
near the tennis courts
spotted last week
might have a nest

the Barred owl is about
this year’s eggs
might be hatching
any day

there’s a couple of
house finches
watching the walkers
along Marine Avenue
you might see them
when you go past

two kinds of chickadees
are up there
in the cedar tree
looks like they’re fighting over
a territory

--what was that noise?
oh – that’s a crazy bluejay
quite unusual
(I wonder if that’s
politically correct these days)

the chickadee stump
seems to have disappeared
maybe came down
in that last wind
big one, wasn’t it?

there’s a seagull nest
near Twin Islands
and a pigeon guillemont nest
further up the inlet
and there’s the goose nest
on Whiskey Cove Island
and others about
and don’t forget the eagles
looks like the juveniles
are building this year

yup –
lots going on
in the neighbourhood
these days

keep your eyes open
for that owl
won’t you?

23 March 2009

swans on the bay

there's a flock of swans

across the bay
sixteen of them
bright white
against the charcoal water

we stand at the window
through binoculars

their long necks stretch
heads wave
as they float
clustered together
surrounded by seagulls

it's the first time we've seen
more than two swans
on the inlet
a whole flock 
-- do you think they're on 
their migration north?
-- they must be
a whole flock
-- wow
--that's a lot

the flock lifts and turns north
- there they go
-- they're on their way
they lift
silhouetted against the mountain
they turn
-- looks like they're making a V
-- there they go!
and the they sift
and head back 
towards the cove
mirrored against the still water
they land again

we watch for awhile
then get busy
making toast
pouring coffee
a dash of white
catches my eye as
the flock lifts again
and heads north

we watch
until they're out of sight
and then
they are gone.


10 March 2009


Align Right

cormorants dive deep
to catch fish
and need to 
dry their wings

Indian Arm, BC

24 December 2008

follow your dreams

farron's snowflake

Farron looked out her window at the snow-covered world. Her eyes followed a large
snowflake as it swayed and circled




and disappeared into the icing sugar lawn.

"Where do snowflakes come from?" she asked her mother.

"Well,” Mommy began, "they come from the clouds. The clouds gather moisture and . . . "

Farron wondered what was on top of the cloud. Mommy's voice went on "... and when it gets
cold rain turns to snow..."

Maybe someone lives up there, Farron thought. She closed her eyes and snuggled deeper into her pillow as Mommy's voice faded.

Farron opened her eyes and sat up. Where was she? Everything was white. In front of her, beside her, above her. Everywhere. A face peeked out from behind a white tree: "Hello Farron. My name is Serena. I hear you want to learn how we make snowflakes."

Farron nodded her head -- yes.

"Well, come on!" Serena led the way through the cloud. Faces appeared in the mist.

"Hello everyone. I’ve brought Farron to see how we make snow."

Out from the clouds popped workers covered in snowflakes. They had snowflakes on their
clothes, snowflakes on their heads, and even their boots were covered in snowflakes.

“Farron,” said Serena, “everyone is busy today making snow, but you can watch them work
and ask questions."

Farron went to every part of the snow cloud. She watched as raindrops burst into snowflakes. Each one was different. There were double-diamonds and pointed stars, small clusters and large lacy snowflakes. Buckets of snowflakes were stacked at the edge of the cloud ready to be tipped and scattered. Farron watched the buckets tip and snowflakes fall over the side of the cloud.

Farron peeked over the edge. "Mommy, I'm up here," she called out.

"I don't think she can hear you," Serena said to Farron, "but you could send a note to tell her
where you are."

Farron reached into a bucket and picked a snowflake. She wrote her name on a piece of paper and tied it to the snowflake with gold thread. She threw it over the edge andwatched as it fluttered and swirled




to the ground.

Feeling tired, Farron sat down and rested against the white cloud bank. It reminded her of her big white pillow at home. Her eyes closed. She felt like she was floating




just like a snowflake.

Her eyes opened. She sat up. There was Mommy, right beside her. "Where's Serena?" she asked.

"Who's Serena?" asked Mommy.

“From up on the cloud. That's where they make the snow. Serena took me there. I saw it.” Farron jumped off the couch and peered out the window.

"Mommy, where's the snowflake I sent you?"

"Snowflake?" Mommy asked.

"The one with the note," Farron frowned. "Oh, it must still be outside,” she jumped up. "Let's go get it."

"Farron, you must have had a dream when you fell asleep. A snowflake can't have a note on it!"

"Yes there is! I wrote it. I saw how they make snow!"

Farron pulled on her boots as her mother got their coats. They went out onto the front lawn. They looked all over.

"Where is it?" worried Farron.

"Well, Farron, I really don't think we're going to find a note."

"No, no, it IS here. I wrote it. I threw it down."

Mommy started walking towards the house. Farron plunked down in the snow. She rolled on her back and looked up. On the sagging branch of a cedar tree weighted with snow, a sparkle caught her eye.

"Mommy, come here." She reached her hand out towards the glint. It sparkled again.

Farron pointed, "Mommy -- LOOK!"

It was tiny and hard to see, but there
... tied with a glint of gold thread to a snowflake was a note:

...............................................................................................................................© Colleen MacDonald 2006

29 July 2008

seabus seagull nest


Now that's prime real estate -- right beside the Seabus at Lonsdale Quay


11 May 2008

crows' nest

Have you ever wondered how crows build their nest?

They even do it to music, electronic funk, no less!

and here's some words about these busy crows:

a pair of crows
built a nest
this week
they flew past my window
sticks and branches
in their beaks
over the rooftop
and into a cluster of trees
next to the house
I followed their path --
trained a telescope on the spot
and watched as the nest was formed
nestled in the boughs of a tall cedar.

I found my digiscope
and attached it to the telescope
fitted on the camera
and started filming.

day by day
the nest grew
the crows added more sticks
bits of moss
a piece of paper
and a plastic bag was tucked between the layers of sticks

and then one day the building stopped
and the sitting began
I waited anxiously
for the eggs
to hatch

and then one day I was out in the garden
and heard the deep krawk of raven
circling nearby
and heard the frantic cries of the crows chasing
it off
not our nest
I hoped
looking high into our tree
as raven swooped in
and the crows screamed
and then just as quickly
the raven flew off
and through the telescope
I watched as the crows tossed out bits
of shells
I hoped there was at least one egg left
but the crows flew off and never came back to the nest again

07 January 2008

24 December 2007

Dom & Kyle's Tree

the first
very Unique
and useful -- I'd say
Christmas Tree from
Christmas Trees IMG_3744
I like it!

22 December 2007

o christmas tree !

kind of tree!

I'm searching for different kinds of Christmas trees. Maybe you can help?
If you see one, please send a picture to colleenmacd@gmail.com and tell where you saw it
or found it.
I'll post the best on this blog.

18 December 2007

another day, another hawk

hawk cancun3

I see hawks
a reminder
I think

11 December 2007



a hawk sits
against the setting sun