While pondering locations to find and photograph fall foliage last autumn I visited a number of locations that were new to me, and Richmond Nature Park was among them. Fall foliage was rather hit and miss last year, and I thought that perhaps a raised bog ecosystem might offer some birch and blueberry foliage that would be a bit different than the usual Maples etc. Having no experience with Richmond Nature Park I didn’t know which trails to take, and opted for The Time Trail and Bog Forest Trail that looped around the edge of the park, mostly. Some parts of the Bog Forest Trail are raised on a wooden boardwalk as you see above. This first photograph also shows how the Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Blueberry Bushes (Vaccinium sp.) make walking parts of these trails a bit like a journey through a colourful tunnel, with some wildlife mixed in a long the way.
Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) eating tree seeds at Richmond Nature Park (Purchase)
The Time Trail was the first trail I walked in the park and went through a portion of forest without much bog species evident. I photographed this Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) eating tree seeds in what was a popular feeding spot. I counted over 6 Douglas Squirrels in the same area at once which was nice to see as they are frequently pushed out by the larger, invasive Eastern Grey Squirrels. Seeds of coniferous trees such as the Douglas Fir (which were common along this part of the trail) are a large part of the Douglas Squirrel’s diet as well as occasional berries and mushrooms. There was some squabbling over the food in this location but it was relatively civilized banquet overall.
Salal and Blueberry bushes line the Bog Forest Trail at Richmond Nature Park (Purchase)
The photograph above shows the Bog Forest Trail on the western side of Richmond Nature Park with a few more open areas giving views of Birch and other tree species. There is also more Salal in these areas, giving a nice green edge to the trail.
A Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) foraging on a tree trunk (Purchase)
Immediately after I photographed the squirrel above I saw this Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) looking for insects and arthropods up and down the tree trunks along the Time Trail. I’ve read about Brown Creepers before, but never had seen one (they are well camouflaged against the tree bark). They don’t show up in the forest like a lot of the other birds I see often – they are climbing up tree trunks for the most part, searching for insects in the bark. Once I saw how this Creeper behaved, I moved a few trees ahead of where it was, and it eventually worked its way up the tree in front of me, and I was able to make this photo. They remind me a bit of trying to photograph Nuthatches – they never seem to sit still and are always on the move up each tree.
You can see more of my photos from Richmond Nature Park and the City of Richmond in my Richmond Gallery.
Fall foliage colors on Maple trees along the Stanley Park Seawall at the west end of Coal Harbour.
Fall Foliage along the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver (Purchase)
Last Fall I made several trips into Burnaby and Vancouver to photograph various areas – and twice I wound up at Vancouver’s Stanley Park as my late afternoon/evening destination. Fall foliage in 2020 was hit and miss, and in some areas just plain bad. In this part of Vancouver, however, it was pretty decent in many places. Stanley Park is always a good spot to look for fall foliage, and even if there isn’t any, I never dislike an evening spent there. Even in the rain! After a walk around Lost Lagoon and a few other park areas, I headed further towards downtown to Devonian Harbour Park and made this photograph of a few people walking along the Seawall with some good fall leaves as a backdrop. This location is next to the Vancouver Rowing Club building at the west end of Coal Harbour.
Colourful lights on the sails of Canada Place (Purchase)
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I have photographed Canada Place many times, but not always at a higher resolution, so I made the above photograph and a few others to change that. Zoomed in at 100% you can’t tell the title of a book someone on one of the benches is reading, but you can tell what colour the cover is! I was going to make some panoramas including Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Centre next door, but the pandemic thwarted those plans. Not only are there not conventions going on at the moment, but some floors of the newer Convention Centre space are still reserved for a makeshift hospital should the pandemic overwhelm local hospitals (which has not happened, luckily). As a consequence all the lights on many of its floors are off. It just doesn’t look great in the evening with the lights off, so I skipped it entirely. Canada Place is my favourite anyway, and I like this colour scheme of lights on the “sails”. Sometimes I don’t like the colours used here, and really do prefer the light projections they had back in 2012. Not sure how often these are changed, but I liked the 2020 version.
Evening light on trees along the shore of Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Purchase)
I have visited Lost Lagoon many times in Stanley Park, but had never walked all the way around it. I fixed that in October and walked the entire loop. There was not much left in the way of fall leaves, but I did like the scene above in the way that the light lit up the edges of the trees (mostly Red Alder, here) even without their leaves. I didn’t photograph the waterfowl around the lagoon much at all, as I knew I had a lot of those kinds of photographs from my earlier trips to Burnaby Lake Regional Park. I did photograph the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) below on the walk though. This one seemed to be having a bit of a dispute with the passing Wood Ducks who swam really close on their way by. This Heron was opening up its beak and making a lot of squawking noises to tell them to keep their distance (I presume). Songbirds they are not!
A Mildly Irked Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park (Purchase)
Brockton Point Lighthouse
Sunset Lights Up The Sky Behind the Brockton Point Lighthouse (Purchase)
I enjoy sunset light and while I don’t often sit around and wait for it, I am always happy to use it when available. When I stopped at Brockton Point in Stanley Park to photograph the Brockton Point Lighthouse and various subjects in North Vancouver, I got lucky with some high cloud that turned a nice pink colour. The Brockton Point Lighthouse was built in 1914 and sits along the northeast part of the Stanley Park seawall. The area gives nice views of Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge, as well as downtown and the Port of Vancouver. A bit later in the evening I made this panorama of the view of North Vancouver with Mount Seymour behind it. There are a lot of new towers and construction since I last photographed North Van from across the inlet, but the shipping traffic is omnipresent. While I’d prefer they weren’t in the photograph, I included the large bulk carrier Federal Illinois on the right as that kind of ship is a very frequent presence on the water there. I plan on making this photograph again when I am able to get back to Stanley Park while there is some snow on the mountains.
North Vancouver and Mount Seymour from Brockton Point in Stanley Park (Purchase)
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Lumberman’s Arch and a path through a double row of London Plane Trees (Platanus x acerifolia) (Purchase)
Originally this area was a village site called Xwáýxway before the Federal Government “claimed it” as their own. The Lumberman’s Arch above was erected in 1952, replacing an older arch called the Bowie Arch which was dismantled in 1947. The gravel path in this photograph winds south through the Lumberman’s Arch picnic area, past the Aquarium (behind the green fence on the left) to the Japanese Canadian War Memorial and beyond. The trees lining this path are called London Plane Trees (Platanus x acerifolia) and this appears to be the only spot they are planted in Stanley Park.
When I was in this same area a week later I photographed the Lions Gate Bridge from the Stanley Park Seawall. I’ve always liked this bridge at night with the reflection off the water of Burrard Inlet and the lights of West Vancouver beyond. This is a scene that I often shoot as a panorama as it fits the shape of the bridge well, and it eliminates a distracting, lighter coloured sky above that can happen during sunsets. There is no sky in the photograph below. The Lions Gate Bridge was opened in 1938 and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2005. The official name of the bridge is actually the First Narrow Bridge, though I rarely hear it actually called that.
Lights illuminate the Lions Gate Bridge and the waters of Burrard Inlet at night (Purchase)
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Fall Foliage at Painter’s Circle in Stanley Park (Purchase)
Painter’s Circle is one of the areas in Stanley Park where artists (but not photographers) can sell their work with a permit. I liked these 3 park benches in Painter’s Circle lined up with the fall leaves behind them and made this photograph. I am not sure what species of trees these are, and normally that would really bother me but since so many different, non-native species are planted in Stanley Park this isn’t unusual. In some cases I can find mention of them such as the London Plane trees near the Lumbermans’ Arch above, but this is a bit more of an obscure location. These look to be much younger trees and perhaps do not have as well a documented history. I should have tried the app Seek by iNaturalist on them but I didn’t remember to do so at the time. Sometimes I’ll take a closeup of leaves on a plant I can’t identify and that app will ID right off the computer screen too. Even if it doesn’t know the species it quite often points me in the right direction. Really useful app!
A male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) perched in a tree over Eagle Creek near Piper Spit in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) perched in a tree at Burnaby Lake Regional Park (Purchase)
I’m not a “Bird Photographer”, I just seem to photograph a lot of birds! I visited Burnaby Lake Regional Park on three occasions this past fall, and wound up photographing birds (along with other subjects) every time. Owning a longer telephoto lens has not only been great for my landscape photography, but has made some bird photography more successful than it was before. On my first visit to Burnaby Lake last year I went to Piper Spit. I’d driven to this location about 25 years ago but never actually visited when I lived in Burnaby and Coquitlam around that time. So when I was finished photographing at Deer Lake Park one evening, I headed to Burnaby Lake to check out this location at last. It is a nice spot to just be in but it is also a spot with a lot of bird photography potential. There are a lot of bird species at Piper Spit! The fanciest is the off course or escaped Mandarin Duck, but I think the native Wood Ducks like the one in the top photo are my favourite. They are one of the few ducks that will perch in trees, and I was lucky enough to come across a few doing just that just above Eagle Creek runs right out to Piper Spit.
Long-Billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus-scolopaceus) at Burnaby Lake (Purchase)
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I also made this panorama of a group of Long-Billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus-scolopaceus) resting around a dead tree trunk and branches in Burnaby Lake. I counted 146 Dowitchers in this photograph, but many others were foraging nearby and running around in the shallow water. This flock of Dowitchers is most likely overwintering at Burnaby Lake before departing to breeding grounds in the spring. The photo below is an individual Long-Billed Dowitcher that was foraging for various foodstuffs (mostly insects and aquatic invertebrates) nearby.
A Long-Billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus-scolopaceus) foraging at Burnaby Lake (Purchase)
This Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) was amoung about 5 individuals that stopped to perch for a few minutes in a shrub next to the boardwalk at the spit. There was lots of squaking and they weren’t certainly not quiet, though they made a lot less noise than the 100’s of Mallard Ducks that were also there. The whole place descended into a bit of an unfortunate circus when someone showed up with a box of birdseed and dumped it into the water – just a few feet from a “don’t feed the birds” sign, of course. The ducks went crazy, many different species crowded into the small area, and the blackbirds decided none of this was worthy of their presence and departed.
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) perched in a tree at Burnaby Lake (Purchase)
This Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) was done with the bird seed bedlam and was walking around on the boardwalk seemingly interested in jumping off the other side. When it stopped in front of me briefly, I made this photograph of just its head. You can see me crouched down in the reflection in its eye. This time of the year Canada Geese are pretty relaxed so there was no hissing or honking at me, it just passed by, posed for a headshot, and carried on. I didn’t crop this photograph – this is the size the camera recorded it at, so the detail at 100% is interesting as I was only 1.24 meters (4 feet) away!
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) Up Close! (Purchase)
This Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) also seemed uninterested in the bird seed junk food buffet being offered nearby and just continued wading and foraging in the mud like nothing was happening.
Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) foraging at Burnaby Lake (Purchase)
There are a lot of Great Blue Herons around Burnaby Lake. I saw this individual hunting (and catching!) small fish and other prey in the lily pads along the shore of the lake. I’ve learned that Herons aren’t that particular as to what animals they eat. If it will fit down the esophagus – down it goes! Which reminds me of the one time I saw a Heron take on a bit more than its esophagus could handle – a photo featured at the end of this post: Hogs Back Falls on Ottawa’s Rideau River. I think this moment was a learning experience!
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) hunting in the Lily Pads at Burnaby Lake Regional Park (Purchase)
Devon Falls on the slopes of Sumas Mountain at Bassani Park in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
Updated: I revisited Devon Falls twice since I originally made this post and have an update below.
Devon Falls in Abbotsford, British Columbia (Purchase)
Despite going to University for 3 years in Abbotsford, and driving past this location many times, I had no idea until earlier this year that Devon Falls existed. Upon learning this interesting waterfall was there, I went out and photographed the falls a few weeks ago on my way to a few other locations. It seems to be a waterfall that always has a relatively low level of water in it, but the surrounding erosion created by the different kinds of rock in the area (mostly comprised of feldspar, quartz, and sandstone) make it an interesting location. The soft sandstone has eroded and created the multiple tiers of this waterfall and the almost cave like areas behind it.
This waterfall on the slopes of Sumas Mountain was named Devon Falls in 2010 after the death of Devon Clifford. Devon was a 30 year old Abbotsford musician who died during a performance in Vancouver earlier that year. The falls were a favourite spot of his to visit.
Update: Since the fall are so easy to see, I’ve been there twice since I first wrote the above post. The next visit was in late October where I was hoping for a bit of fall foliage at the falls. There was just a small amount of foliage, but it was accompanied by a very small volume of water flowing down the falls. If I’d added a garden hose or two I probably could have doubled the flow! The water doesn’t really even show in the photographs, so it seems unless the fall has already been wet, this might not be a good viewing time!
The next time I visited Devon Falls was in mid-December after a series of rain storms. There was much much more water flowing this time, and it made for an even more striking waterfall photo than the first photograph here. It was a dark and dreary day, which was perfect for a waterfall photograph! I’m not sure if this is a near peak flow for this falls, but I’ll probably check it out again later in the winter to find out. I did notice the addition of the large tree trunk that has fallen down into the ravine. I’m not sure if this was the natural result of gravity, or was helped by teenage shenanigans, but I can’t say it is a welcome addition to the scene!
For more photographs of the area visit my Abbotsford Gallery.
Century Gardens, Ceperley House and the Burnaby Art Gallery at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Burnaby Art Gallery (Cepereley House – built in 1911) at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)
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In my previous post “Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park Part 1” I showed some photographs I made while walking around Deer Lake Park. On some of my repeated visits this fall I photographed the area on the northern edge of the park around the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and the Burnaby Art Gallery. Ceperley House is the name of the mansion that has been home to the Burnaby Art Gallery since the late 1960’s. It is also often called Fairacres Mansion and has been a part of the Canadian Register of Historic Places since 1992. Ceperley House/Fairacres Mansion is a two and a half storey house in the British Arts and Crafts style. The building was built by Grace E. Dixon Ceperley (1863-1917) and Henry Tracy Ceperley (1850- 1929) in 1911. The City of Burnaby purchased the mansion 1966 and converted it into their first art gallery to celebrate Canada’s Centennial of Confederation.
An Arbor and Ceperley House at the Century Gardens in Deer Lake Park (Purchase)
In 1967 Burnaby planted an extensive garden around the gallery called Century Gardens also in celebration of Canada’s Centennial. The photo above shows some of the gardens in late fall, with the plants in fall decline but with the Rhododendrons looking good year round. The Rhododendron is the city of Burnaby’s official flower, and there are a lot of them planted in Century Gardens as a result.
Burnaby Art Gallery with Begonias and other flowers at the Century Gardens at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)
Century Gardens also is home to a lot of annuals that flower for just one season and are then removed. The first photograph and the one above show a large number of Begonias in the flower beds alongside the more permenant plants. On my second visit to the gardens this fall all of these had been removed by city crews. There are also a lot of Hydrangeas and Japanese Maples in the area.
Fall foliage colour from various Japanese Maple Trees (Acer japonica) in the Century Gardens at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)
You can view more of my photos from the City of Burnaby in my Burnaby gallery.
It is time once again to post my favourite images from the past year. 2020 has not been a typical year by any means, but I can’t really complain overall. I stayed closer to home this year, and photographed more wildlife than usual. Part of this was the limited locations I had at times, avoiding crowds/people, and due to owning a longer lens now. As usual, I started working on this list when I collected images for my 2021 Nature Calendar, though the criteria for that is a bit more limited than a top 10 list (I generally avoid human elements). I let this selection of images sit for a while like I did last year, but only wound up rotating one image in/out this time.
If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to my Image Archive. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images (if available) to provide more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. These photos aren’t in any specific order though I think the first photograph of the fledgling Barred Owls is my favourite. The blog post below the photo outlines some of my luck involved in making the owl image. That was a photo opportunity I never imagined having and can’t really expect to again! I didn’t anticipate photographing a comet this year either, so there are always surprises.
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites.
A few months ago I came across an online photograph of Deer Lake Park and realized it looked like a good destination for photographs. Despite living in Burnaby (north Burnaby) years ago I’d not visited there recreationally. I did visit on a cold fall Saturday morning when I was in University for a field trip of sorts learning to use various underwater instruments from canoes. I mostly remember that day for the moment where I threatened the grad student TA with an oar if he wasn’t going to keep his butt in the center of our canoe after multiple suggestions/warnings. He complied.
On three occasions this past October I visited Deer Lake Park in Burnaby to see what photographs I could make. I planned out a few things on the various maps of the many trails in the area, but ultimately Covid-19 restrictions chose my route for me – the majority of the trails are now one way. So I started at the boat launch area parking lot, and walked clockwise around the lake, with one added loop at the west end. The trail starts along a small street passing a few lakeside houses (including the Baldwin House shown below) before moving to a smaller gravel trail heading west. This was a nice walk, and ultimately I completed about 7km of trails including the main loop. I enjoyed exploring around the lake and eventually stopped at the area where Deer Lake Brook flows out of the northeast corner of Deer Lake where it continues on into Burnaby Lake. The area I photographed below is fenced off as it is a recovering ecological area – I’m sure people trample the stream bank otherwise.
The photograph below shows the “Baldwin House” on the south shore of the lake. The Baldwin House was built in 1965 for Dr. William and Ruth Baldwin and was designed by renowned architect Arthur Erickson. Most around Vancouver will know Arthur Erickson as the designer (along with Geoff Massey) of Simon Fraser University. The Baldwin House is valued as an example of Burnaby’s post WWII modern heritage, progressive architectural style, and was added to the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 2005.
Baldwin House (designed by Arthur Erickson) on the shore of Deer Lake in Burnaby (Purchase)
On my third October visit to the park I photographed this scene looking down towards Deer Lake. I was photographing the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (photo below), the Burnaby Art Gallery (Ceperly House) and the Century Gardens – and liked the sunny and colourful view down the path towards the lake. When the surrounding Maples really light up in a good year for fall foliage I’ll hopefully be visiting and be able to make more photographs of the area.
Fall Leaves over a path down to Deer Lake (Purchase)
The last photograph here shows the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts at Deer Lake Park. The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts is a popular venue for live performances, art programs, community events, and festivals.
The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby (Purchase)
My 2021 Nature Calendars are now available! I have put together some of my favourite recent photographs into a 11″x17″ (28cm x 43cm) calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape, wildlife, and nature scenes from British Columbia. As the purchase website no longer has a preview available, take a look at the index below for a small preview of the images contained in the calendar.
30% OFF! Use the code BFCM30 (case sensitive) for 30% OFF at checkout through November 30th.