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Bob's Blog

Wildlife Category

Wilderness Park

bc-park-nixon-100721.jpgBack in the mid 90s, what is now called Metro Vancouver began buying up marsh, bog and abandoned farm land along a stretch of the Fraser River in Surrey a little east of the Port Mann Bridge.  Eventually they got all the flatland lying north of the Fraser Heights neighbourhood that was bounded by a rail line, close to one thousand acres in all.  They called it a park - Surrey Bend Regional Park.  But few people knew about it, and it seems those that did, kept that info to themselves.  It helped that the train tracks and a moat-like ditch limited access.  But it's really quite easy to get into. 

It's going to become even easier as various park facilities get built in the next while.  But I decided to see what I looks like now and ask the people who currently use it what they think about the changes that are coming.  Surrey Bend icon_video.gif

Sky Attack!

bc-crow-nixon-100607.jpgYears ago, an owl living in Stanley Park began to attack a few joggers running along the trails.  It would wait until they ran by then swoop down and latch onto their heads before flying off.  The bird was quite particular about its targets, choosing mostly women, almost all of whom had pony tails.  Experts decided the bird mistook that for a squirrel's tail.  Probably, the owl soon learned to distinguish between the two and the attacks ended as suddenly as they began. 

Switch now to Surrey and 77-year old Pearl Schweitzer, who has got a problem even worse than that faced by the joggers.  Unlike them, she cannot run away from her attacker.  The Bird icon_video.gif

Sunny and ...

bc-weather-nixon-100507.jpgHow many times have you looked out the window, saw that it was an absolutely beautiful day, headed out wearing not much more than a t-shirt and shorts, then discovered it was bloody cold out there?  I think that's a typical experience for Canadians, our optimism in the face of sunlight often is at odds with the reality.  Such was the case the other day when the daytime high was quite a bit lower than normal temperatures.  We still enjoyed it, but bundle up, folks. 

That was the story I wanted to tell.  But then I discovered this gosling trying to jump a curb and things took a turn.  Not So Hot icon_video.gif

Howie the Whale?

bc-whale-nixon-100503.jpgI have done a couple of wildlife stories in Squamish over the past couple of years and both involved very good news.  The first was two years ago when massive numbers of herring arrived to lay eggs in the estruary, after largely ignoring the area for decades.  Much of the credit for the revival was due to the Squamish Riverkeepers, who had worked with industry to wrap creosote soaked pilings in non-toxic fabric so the eggs laid on the pilings could survive. 

Some people believe the success of that project, coupled with other efforts to revive the estruary, is linked to the arrival of the first Gray Whale in 100 or more years to feed in the shallow waters off Squamish.  Whatever the reason, it certainly drew scores of people to the Squamish Spit, many of whom were among to the first to catch a glimpse of this leviathan.  But let me tell you, when that whale is a few kilometres away, it is not easy to film.  Though we saw it rise more than a dozen times, we managed just one brief shot of it. Gray Whale icon_video.gif



Surrey Peacocks

bc-peacocks-nixon-100209.jpgWe city folk have a strange ambivalence towards wildlife.  We like most wild animals so long as they do not view us as dinner (bears and cougars), want to spray us (skunks), live in our attics (racoons and squirrels), bite our kids (coyotes) or poop on us (most any bird).   This list of caveats means many people do not like wild animals at all, if they happen to invade our urban environment.  But this happens rather regularly and somehow we manage to co-exist with many of the animals I just mentioned.  

Trouble is what is a pest to some is a welcome guest to others.  Witness the wildlife invasion in one Surrey neighbourhood.  Running a-Fowl icon_video.gif

Toothy Dilemma

bc-mammoth-nixon-100201.jpgGiven the kind of lifestyle stories I do, you would not immediately think my world suffers from that most pressing of reportial issues - deadline pressure.  The TV news biz is designed to avoid the disaster of a reporter missing their assigned slot - especially if their story is the lead item.  It follows that top story reporters get resources assigned to them early, so they can start filming, writing and editing in time to make their spot. 

Now the last time I led the news was shortly after the great Vancouver fire of 1886.  So when I ask for camera time, I am usually met with laughter and great guffaws, before my tears soften their hearts and off I go.  This often means I get back late and must rush the writing and editing in order to make my slot.  This item, involving a rather interesting item, is a case in point.  Let's just say that if you watched it on TV, you saw a few elements presented out of order, which no doubt only increased your usual level of confusion from my pieces.   I have fixed the problem for this blog, and hope it's less confusing now.  Mammoth Sale! icon_video.gif

Swan Release

bc-flock-nixon-net.jpgMost people like wildlife.  Nobody wants a bear or cougar to attack them, but the idea of bears or cougars wandering about in the wilderness is usually a pleasing thought.  We like to live in harmony with our fellow creatures.  We often travel long distances to see them. 

That connection to wildlife often becomes an emotional one when we come across animals in distress.  We know all about it being a jungle out there, survival of the fittest and all that - creatures get injured and die in all kinds of natural ways. 


Swan Rescue

OK, here's the back story.  The swan's plane was late, which meant everything else got put back - the arrival at the rescue centre, their examination of the poor thing, and the time when they would show to us.  Wouldn't you know it, we ran out of time.  It was a question of getting the pics of the swan OR getting the story on the air that night.  Couldn't have both.   So with that caveat - watch away!  Swan Love icon_video.gif

Bearer of Bells

What with all the mascots, mittens, pins and such - you just know the Vancouver Olympic folks will leave no retail marketing stone unturned.   Witness the latest from the Spirit of BC (North Shore) Committee. 

Taxidermy Exhibit

I've reached the age when I can start puffing out my chest and beginning sentences with "Well, in MY day....."  and then go on to pontificate to young people.  Here's one I can use right here - Well, in my day - when we went to museums, we used to see dozens and dozens of stuffed animals.  Not any more though, most museums have long since relegated their menageries to the storage rooms - or worse (or better, depending on your view). 

Osprey Magic

One of the great things that can happen when you wander about with a video camera is you discover stories that are even better than the one you intended to shoot.  Case in point, this one.  

Eagle Cam Chicks

The eagle cam sensation continues to attract web viewers worldwide, attracted to this up close view of wild life the makes for some amazing reality TV.  

Eagle Cam Fever

They're back, and bigger than ever.  B.C. eagle cams waiting for the eggs to hatch at three separate locations.