Ghost Raven

Whenever I go up into the mountains I’m hoping to see ravens.

They are actually part of my fitness program. If I ever feel like just sitting all day at the computer, I remind myself that if I don’t keep my knees in working order, I won’t be able to get up those mountains and therefore will not see those ravens.

So, ravens = fitness incentive.

On Saturday it was raining in Vancouver and you’d swear that the North Shore Mountains were non-existent.

But, as my father-in-law used to say, “If you don’t do things in the rain in Vancouver, you won’t do anything at all”.

So, we put the snowshoes in the car and headed up to Mount Seymour.

About halfway up the mountain a thick mist descended. By the time we reached the parking lot it was impossible to see more than a few feet ahead.

The chances of a raven sighting seemed pretty remote, given that I could hardly see my feet to put my snowshoes on.

But, just as we got kitted up and ready to head to the trail, I spotted an ethereal silhouette ahead of us.

A ghostly figure in the fog and snow.

A ghostly figure in the fog and snow.

I was pretty sure that this would be our only raven sighting for the day.

We headed off through the woods, stopping for a snack and break at First Lake. Just as we headed off again, I saw our ethereal raven land on the top of a tree by the lake and give a few mist-muffled calls.

Phillip at First Lake

Phillip at First Lake

We carried on to Dog Mountain. Normally this spot affords the most awe-inspiring panoramic views of Vancouver. On this day it offered a blank whitescape and a biting wind. After a couple of quick photos of the non-view, we prepared to retreat into the trees away from the gale.

The non-existent view from Dog Mountain on Saturday. You can just faintly see the raven flying just above the small tree in the centre left.

The non-existent view from Dog Mountain on Saturday. You can just faintly see the raven flying above the small tree in the centre left.

And suddenly, there he was. Like magic, our ghost raven became corporeal for a few moments. He landed on the snow beside us.

It was really gusty out there.


The upswept punk look

The upswept punk look

I whipped off my mitts, dragged out the camera and was able to take a few shots of him before he turned around and wandered offstage again, back into the realm of mist and mystery.

Taking Leave



More than enough motivation to keep my knees fit enough for further mountain expeditions.

For new raven portraits, visit my website.

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16 thoughts on “Ghost Raven

  1. LOVE IT! For got sakes…write a book, I will buy ten…simply no more room in my home or my new boat shed !

  2. Wonderful raven story and pics! Have you seen the ravens that nest under the Granville Street bridge? There is also a raven that hangs around the church yard at St. Francis of Assisi on Napier from time to time. I think it might be scouting nest sites in some of the big conifers.

    Cheers, Sarah


    • I used to see the Granville Island ones when I was at the market there. Pretty amazing, seeing them wheel around the cement works. Haven’t see the St. Francis of Assisi ones yet. I’ll have to wander over there and have a look. I used to see more of them in the city the summer before last, but I wonder if last year’s summer drought put them off city living for a while. Speaking of nesting, I saw a bald eagle ripping a large branch off the poplars at the end of our street yesterday and fly off with it. IKEA for eagles.

  3. As I’m sleepily preparing to go on my own morning walk (also, to strengthen my knees .. and ankles), I opened my computer to read about your adventure. It’s great encouragement. I’m sure you’ve been asked many times but, what kind of camera and lens do you use – did you use, to get these photos? They are so remarkable. Thank you for your blog. -Shelly

  4. We have a local Raven pair that I see every Sunday morning up in the rafters at Superstore entrance (outside, in St. Albert, AB). Sitting close, heads together near a pipe that I wonder might be warm, and they make an odd noise I cant even describe. Yesterday I saw a Raven near that store, but on a dumpster at a fast food place…no wonder these birds look rather big in the breast, junk food cant be good for them either. I agree, you should right a book or a book of your blogs with the pictures. They are so entertaining and I learn a lot too. thank you.

    • Thank-you, Susan. I imagine that ravens are as susceptible as the rest of us to getting hooked on fries. Hope your city crows get some exercise chasing some of their food. Where there are dumpsters, there are likely rats – so maybe they do. Glad you like the blog!
      Cheers, June

  5. Good point about waiting for the rain to go before heading outside…futile! Love this fine fellow? Gal? Such enigmatic characters.

  6. June, I’m sucked in, waiting to see what happens next and never ready for it to end! I agree with J. Broughton-please write a book! Ravens, crows, Edgar, whatever you want, but something I can read over and over again. Please.

  7. You are so honored by the Raven. They know you a simpatico and read your mind. So, he comes out of the mist to visit you and share power.

    What else could it be?

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