Monday, May 27, 2013

Geese In Pond

It's been raining and I miss the sun. Yesterday and today I worked from a goose photograph I took last week. These characters are a messy bunch yet they look so beautiful when swimming in a pond. I thought I'd post today's version created with Corel Draw and Painter. I think I need to add some goslings. I am not sure why I got into this when I have other more important things to tackle like my never ending editing of my book. But at least I almost finished something and I learned a little about reflections and it was lovely fun to try this. If you click an image it will come up larger on the computer screen so you can see more closely what happened. Maybe tomorrow I will add goslings.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Walking Read

The Walking Read, a fund raiser for BC Children's Hospital is coming up. My design is coming forward now in the Georgia Straight, a local newspaper and on the CWILL blog. I thought I'd post it here for anyone who might be interested in checking out ore information about it. If you live in Vancouver of course.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sad Saga of Ducklings

Last Saturday morning I was delighted to see our duck from last year had returned to the decorative pool near the hospital. She had eleven new tiny ducklings. The scene was joyful. The little guys zoomed around, back and forth, around in circles, back to the mom. It was a happy little family on the first experience in water from the nest in the nearby underbrush.
I knew the pool has sides which are too steep for escape and I knew they would need a ramp. Last year the SPCA sent someone over to set up a board so they could get up and out of the water.  Someone told me ducklings can drown if they become exhausted.
So that morning I called the SPCA and was told they would send someone over to make sure there was a ramp set up.

I kept checking and by afternoon there was no ramp. But then a neighbour appeared with a yoga mat and a longish skinny board. She also had called the SPCA and had offered to set it up. So the SPCA never came to assess the situation and no one was worried or concerned.

But the ramp was far too narrow and steep and inadequate and by late afternoon the ducklings were still in the water looking tired. A couple of teenagers found a wider board and set up a new ramp. It looked much better. I went home for supper.

I went again in the evening to see if they were safely out of the pool. I was alarmed because four ducklings were missing. It was eight o'clock and the light was fading. And then I heard them. Little duckling chirps calling out from somewhere inside the pool wall. I looked closer and realized there was a long cut in the pool wall, an overflow drain I guessed. When mom duck walked up the ramp calling them, four swam under the ramp instead they had jumped into the hole in the pool wall to a place beyond anyone's reach.

I asked a couple of young women to see if they could somehow find a way to open a brick door cover we discovered over the area of the cut. But we needed a crow bar and tools. I went home to call the SPCA again. But they were closed. I went back and it was dark and the girls had left. I went back home and wrote a note to the SPCA with hopes that someone would read the email and send someone to help.

Sunday morning the SPCA person called to tell me to call Wildlife Rescue. So I left a voice mail. I went over to the pool and discovered only three ducks left now. The rest were trapped inside the pool wall and some were making noises of distress.

Around noon a dear man named Dave from the Wildlife Rescue arrived. He had brought a crow bar and when he got the lid up we could see that inside there was a concrete box area which would have meant an easy rescue. But in the center of this concrete space was an open ten inches wide plastic pipe leading almost straight down. The eight ducklings had hopped into the overflow cut, fallen into the enclosed space and then fallen down into the storm drain pipe.

Dave managed to pull out four. One was dead. The other three were traumatized and still. The rest he could not reach. The mom duck refused to accept one rescued duckling. She attacked it. So Dave put them into a box and took them off to Wildlife rehabilitation. We moved the ramp to a place far away from the death trap cut. Mom duck had three healthy ducklings left.

Dave said he'd lay a grate over the pipe to prevent creatures from falling into the storm drain again.

I went back on Monday morning to see them. But there were no ducklings. The female was resting directly above the dangerous place. I figured maybe the ducklings were under her wings. But that evening I went by again and realized she was alone. The last three had probably gone into the death trap too. But maybe they were still alive? The grate inside Dave set up would keep them safe from falling into the pipe.

I banged on a door and got a couple of neighbours to help open the space. Maybe we could get them out.

There was no grate! We could see one drowned duckling in the pipe which had filled with water because of heavy rains that fell from Sunday night on and off through to Monday evening. We knew the rest were probably washed away.

By this time I found myself completely fried about the whole thing. If there had been a proper ramp for their escape out of the pool, and if there had been a protective grate, this might not have happened. Ten dead ducks and only one survivor left to be raised at Wildlife Rescue if it survives. The two others pulled out on Sunday, died yesterday at WRA..

I wonder how many decorative pools around the city have these overflow death traps for little ducklings. Would a pool designer even consider thinking about wildlife when designing things like this? I am sure no one thought about ducks setting up families in a fresh water pool like this. There must be a lesson here to help our city wildlife to survive in spite of man made structures. But what?

Last year that duck had ten ducklings. They survived for two weeks until they disappeared. We assumed they were all relocated by someone. But now I am wondering if they also jumped down into the overflow cut in the side of the pool.

I have decided I must now stop obsessing about the ducks. After all, there are things more important in this world. But it is a small tragedy for those naive happy little guys who had such joy for the first hours in that pool. Very sad.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

A Visit to Vancouver's Van Dusen Gardens in Spring

Yesterday I went with a friend to visit Van Dusen Gardens a beautiful place less than a mile away from where I live. It was
beautiful and I took a zillion photos. 
I reduced the number down of course and 
made a little photoshow. It is so beautiful at
this time of the year and we are having a hot spell which has taken spring over the top 
with beauty.
And today I found out an article I was asked to write about my winning design for the UNICEF card has been published on page sixteen of the B.C. Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church Newsletter TOPIC. It is posted as a pdf.