All new photos from a weekend well spent photographing birds, and a few dogs, at Trout Lake and Iona Beach Regional Park. At Iona Beach, the Snow Geese were feeding on the exposed mudflats about thirty yards away from me as I lay in the sand behind a log to minimize the disturbance of my presence.
I decided to go to Trout Lake and test my luck with the wildlife and see what I could capture. I ended up having very good luck. The fall colours were reflecting beautifully on the lake and birds were plentiful on the lake and in the surrounding deciduous woodland. Special sightings included two downy woodpeckers and a Pied-billed Grebe. I wasn't able to get a photo of the woodpeckers, but the grebe was less than 50ft from the shore and let me get some photos that I'm very pleased with. In the forest, licorice ferns were coming to life. These epiphytic ferns, growing out of trees, go dormant in the summer due to a lack of water and too much shade from its host tree. In the fall and winter in Vancouver, there is no shortage of water in the form of rain and the trees on which they grow loose their leaves and the ferns come out of dormancy, giving a splash of bright green to the landscape. In the city you will see these ferns growing in non-native maples and willow, but its most important natural host is the big-leaf maple. It's worth keeping an eye out for these awesome plants. I'm very grateful to have access to such wonderful green spaces within the city. Have a good weekend!
Today, my photographic inspiration was the water strider. After learning more about these fascinating insects and how they walk on water, I knew I had to film them, and I knew right where to go at Queen Elizabeth Park to find them. While at the pond, I was enticed by beautiful dragonflies (Aesgna palmata), fall colours, and songbirds. Here are a few photos from the afternoon and a short video of the water striders.
Fall is in the air. The colours are changing and migratory birds are arriving to our region for the winter. There were large flocks of Dark-eyed juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, and Kinglets. These song birds can be found year round in Vancouver, but will migrate to nearby mountains or other forested regions outside the city to nest and raise their young. Red-osier dogwood, a native shrub that thrive on the edges of wet environments, is turning a magnificent dark pink along with our native vine maples turning a deep orange/red. The non native (non invasive) Katsura trees are defoliating while creating an amazing sugary smell. It's a great time to get out and enjoy the fall colours and wildlife arriving to spend the winter in our mild climate.
On a more serious note, I spotted a Canada Goose, photo below, with a plastic floss stuck in its beak. I tried contacting the city, wildlife rescue, and the local conservatory, but the flock of geese had flown away before I could talk to someone. This was a sad, but important reminder to be more responsible with our use and discarding of plastic. Lets hope this goose can find help or dislodge the floss from its beak.
Last week, on a family vacation to Québec City, I had the opportunity to take lots of photos. When we weren't visiting family, we were going on day trips in nature.
Our first excursion was to Lac Saint-Joseph, 45 minutes north of Québec City. I had the pleasure of kayaking and paddle boarding on this beautiful lake. While kayaking, I saw familiar plants such as Myrica gale growing right on the edge of the water, partly in the water. A highlight, and a new plant on my list, was a small patch of Impatiens capensis, commonly known as spotted jewelweed. I. capensis is a herbaceous annual native to North America.
Our second excursion took us to la forêt Montmorency, an hour north of Québec City. This boreal forest wilderness is a research station and forestry school run by Laval University. The 4.5 km hike we took around lac Piché was very special. Living in a temperate rainforest, it was super cool to see the flora of the boreal forest, also known as the taiga. This beautiful forest is characterized by thin conifers such as spruce. This eco-region is found in the northern parts of Canadian provinces and around the globe at similar latitudes such as Russia and northern Europe. These forests are incredibly important for a wide array of wildlife ranging from songbirds to lynx. The abundance of trees also makes it a massive global carbon sink, mitigating climate change. I was thrilled to come upon Larix laricina, know as tamarack or larch. The reason why this was so cool was because it's a deciduous conifer. The genus Larix, is one of the few groups of conifers to loose their needles in the fall. Another example of a deciduous conifer is the swamp cypress, native to the southern US. There were two things found in abundance on both sides of the trail. Cornus canadensis, bunchberry, spread all across the forest floor alongside a lot of mushrooms. Not only were there lots of mushrooms, but there was also a high diversity of them. Some purple, some red, some orange. I've never seen so many mushrooms in one area. This was a great hike and worthwhile visit!
If anyone ever finds themselves travelling to Québec, a day trip to the boreal forest is well worth it.
I hope you enjoy my photos!
This morning, Burnaby Lake Regional Park was bursting with life. Many of our native shrubs including Nootka rose and thimbleberry continue to flower. Some shrubs are already developing their fruits, such as: osoberry (Indian Plum*), salmonberry, and black twin berry. As you transition from deciduous forest into a mix coniferous forest, Pacific bleeding heart and false lily of the valleys appear from the forest floor. Wildlife highlights included adorable mallard ducklings that remained beside their mother's side and a late spring Snow Goose. These geese should be on their breeding grounds in Russia by now, so I'm not sure what this straggler was doing. Regardless, it was fun seeing such a beautiful bird from close up.
* I'd be interested to know what indigenous people think about the name Indian plum. I know that Indian paintbrush is now called common red paintbrush, so should we come up with a new common name for this plant or stick to Osoberry?
This morning, I ventured to Camosun Bog with the intention of seeing the bunchberry flowering in the bog. The bunchberry was there and so was a great diversity of plant life. Plants varied from perennial herbaceous flowers to flowering shrubs. Highlights, as seen below were: Labrador tea, starflowers, geums, salal, salmonberry, blackberry, bunchberry, and false lily of the valley. A treat to see!
The Garry oak ecosystem found on south east Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Washington, and Oregon is home to great floral diversity. Its famous meadows of wildflowers are only present due to controlled burns and natural fires limiting the dominance of Garry oaks. Garry oaks are the only native oak west of Manitoba in Canada. In mid-April, Oregon fawn lily, camas, and shooting stars were in bloom. Seeing these beautiful plants in the wild was a thrill!
Photos from a beautiful morning walk around Rice Lake. Rice Lake is located within Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, North Vancouver. Highlights included beautiful light and shadows in the forest, great views of this wonderful lake, and red huckleberry in flower.
I'm using my power as a photographer to highlight nature's beauty and the reasons worth protecting our incredible planet