About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Westham Island

Today was almost like summer so this afternoon I decided to go walking in the Reifel Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island. It's only about a 10-minute drive from my house along a winding road past old homes and farms. There were handmade signs directing passers-by to drop in for some potatoes, carrots, honey, berries, beef, lamb, and even wine. Yes, the award-winning Westham Island Winery is out there, too. I saw farmers tilling their fields and dairy cows resting in the long grass. I saw horses with their newborns frolicking in paddocks.

The sanctuary, which is a part of the Alaskan National Wildlife Area, is located on Westham Island in Delta, south of Vancouver. It is situated on the Fraser River Estuary, just west of the South Arms Marshes Wildlife Management Area.The bird sanctuary is made up of salt water mudflats; upland fields; and fresh water, brakish, and salt marshes. It covers 344 hectares (850 acres) of managed habitat and estuarine marsh. In the fall, snow geese flock to this area on their way south for the winter. Today I saw lots of ducks and geese plus one lonely heron. Usually, these birds pretty well ignore humans, but since it's the time when duckling and goslings are born, I had to be very careful around them. The geese, in particular, do not hesitate to hiss at you and approach you in warning.

The highlight of today's adventure was seeing some ducklings and goslings up close. Not far into the sanctuary along the path was a family of geese, the mother and father staying very close to their babies and eyeing the humans who were greedily taking photos. I could almost reach out and touch them, but I didn't dare for fear of being bitten. Later, I came upon a mother duck who was teaching her young to swim. As I watched, the ducklings arrived at a log and they all scrambled up for a rest. (see photo below)

After a while, I arrived at the tower. (see photo below) Now the tower may not be that high, but it's made out of open steel gratings. I decided I would climb to the top (only the second time I've ever done it) and take some photos. From that vantage point I could see the mountains in the distance to the north, the wide open beginnings of the salt water, and the marshy edge of the sanctuary to the south. Coming down is scarier than going up because you can see through the gratings of the steps and it's rather disconcerting.

In all, I wandered for an hour and a half but you could spend a lot longer there. Outside the entrance are picnic tables and you often see families having lunch or a cold drink there. You can buy seed to feed the birds, too, but you are not allowed to pick anything or take anything out of the sanctuary.

For more information on the sanctuary, click on http://www.reifelbirdsanctuary.com/


Susie said...

This looks like such a wonderful place to visit. Your photos are just wonderful!

Sienna said...

So... so.... beautiful Leslie, the picturesque scenery, snow! capped mountains, cute ducks and ducklings...the green, the color, the richness...when Canada was created it was created with love and an artistic eye.

I believe that to be true and most of the habitants are beautiful and creative...bear with me I am in a I love Canada mood tonight.

I am unable to get pics uploaded, it takes so long, and if I'm lucky one might go up, but then the okay button doesn't come up on any of the others...I haven't tried tonight, shall give it a go.

Some of the blogs I can read and access, but I go to make a comment and it comes up I am unable to connect, it all did this a while ago and then sort of was ok, but so slow to load pics, my technician says it's dial up internet and bad luck kid!

Anyway, love your post about your Mum, what a beautiful lady, you write such nice things and so well.

The pics are so cute Leslie.

Hope you are going good, we had some rain here, I will keep trying to post pics, I don't give up easy.


leslie said...

Hi Susie, Hi Pam - yes the bird sanctuary is a sanctuary for sure. A lovely place to wander and be alone in the country surrounded by the beauty of nature, both flora and fauna. You often see professional photographers wandering around or set up at one location or another. Also, you could turn a corner and there will be an artist with easel busily painting the landscape and/or birds. The place is open all year so it's fun to go any time. I remember one frigid winter we took the girls when they were small and we watched ducks landing on the ice. It was hilarious to see them coming down and slip sliding until they came to a stop. A great place to visit!

Janice Thomson said...

Leslie what a beautiful area...and one I had not heard of...your photos are amazing...a wonderful post!

TomCat said...

Thanks Leslie. All those birds are a virtual smörgåsbord for a TomCat. Yum!! ;-)

leslie said...

TomKat, I think those geese would git ya!!! They're quite scary when they walk right up to you and hisssssss...

leslie said...

Thanks Janice, I had a blast taking all my photos and it was a hard decision which ones to post. It IS a gorgeous area and great when you climb the tower to see all around.

Josie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslie said...

Hi Josie, actually I've never been to Burns Bog either. But my son-in-law had done a lot of biking through the woodsy areas. It is supposed to be a nice walk - we'll go sometime - to both places.

Lee-ann said...

Leslie, Hello from Australia.

Both the bird sanctuary and your blog look like lovely spots to visit...........this being my very first time on your blog I am so pleased to have dropped by.

Your lovely tribute to your mother is one I will remember for a long time to come, she I am sure is watching over you all and proud too! of you being a grandmother.

enjoy your day and I look forward to a return visit one day soon.

leslie said...

Thanks for popping by Lee-Ann and thanks for your kind words. I'm going to hop over to your site to see what you're up to. :D

patterns of ink said...

Great photos and what a great "field trip" (as we teachers say).
The more I hear about Vancouver the more I want to go there someday.
I'm featuring a Vancouverian (is that what they call someone from there?) in my current post.

HeiressChild said...

hi leslie,

what a beautiful way to spend a beautiful day, and at such a beautiful place.

missed blogging, but it's great to be back. how's your dad and the rest of the family doing? i was always thinking about you and your family while waiting for things to get sorted out with my internet.

jmb said...

Lovely photos Leslie. That brings back memories because we used to take my kids there when they were young. I have pictures of my forty year old daughter feeding the birds there when she was about four.
By the way, a lovely post for Mothers' Day. Alzheimer's Disease is one of the worst. I look after a widower friend who has it, maybe you read my post about it. He was a professor at UBC and now he doesn't even know me anymore.

Donnetta Lee said...

Oh, I love these pictures and enjoyed the story of the sanctuary. The mama goose and her goslings are just precious. You and Pam can sure get into some cool photos. For some reason, on my computer, I'm very limited with pictures. Go figure. Maybe computer whiz son will take a look at it next time he's home for a visit. Pretty, pretty!

Donnetta Lee said...

PS Leslie: When I was a little girl visiting my grandpa's farm, the geese would hiss and chase me. Scared me to death!

leslie said...

Thx for popping in, jmb and donnetta. Yes, the geese can give you a nasty bite and I was very careful around them on Monday.
jmb - I'll be checking back to your blog site to catch up on some reading.
donnetta - almost caused the smoke detector to go off tonight! Had to open all the windows and turn on the fans! :( lol

Smalltown RN said...

That looked like such a wonderful day...you know I have never been there...lived on the mainland for most of my life and never ventured that way....I love your photos...is that a red wing black bird? Looks very similar to ones I have seen frequent over at my friends pond...they like the marshy areas....thanks for the tour!

leslie said...

Hi smalltownrn - yes, it was a red-winged blackbird and it was beautiful. I first saw it soaring overhead when I was at the top of the tower and when I got down, noticed it at a bird feeder not far down the path. It's really a great place to go for a leisurely stroll - and kids love it, too, because they can feed the ducks.

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