Jug Island Beach Trail in Belcarra Regional Park

Jug Island from Jug Island Beach at Belcarra Regional Park (təmtəmÍxʷtən) in Belcarra, British Columbia, Canada.

jug island from jug island beach in belcarra regional park

Jug Island from Jug Island Beach (Purchase)

I recently made a post with photos from the picnic area of Belcarra Regional Park which is the part of the park I’ve visited most often. I had heard a lot about Jug Island Beach, and that it was one of those places that gets overrun in the summer with hikers and Instagram photo opportunity types. This is not the kind of spot I’m interested in when it is busy, as that gets in the way of why I enjoy the outdoors in the first place. So early April seemed like a good time to explore the trail on a weekday when there wouldn’t be much traffic. It worked – I think I passed maybe 5 people (and 2 dogs) at the most! The first photograph above shows Jug Island itself, and Raccoon Island further up Indian Arm, as seen from Jug Island Beach.

I’ve seen descriptions of the Jug Island Beach trail at Belcarra as being rather difficult, but that is rather subjective and relates to experience as well. I expected some up and down, and I got it. The trail is about 6km with about 250m (820ft of elevation gain) in total. Jug Island Beach is a rocky beach with a lot of intertidal life on the eastern side. I walked along the beach and photographed the view up Indian Arm below. From that end you can see the small Community of Brighton Beach to the north, Raccoon Island (part of the Indian Arm Provincial Park Marine Park), and the Buntzen Power Station #2 on Indian Arm to the right. The snow covered mountain in the background behind Brighton Beach is Mount Bonnycastle (1741m / 5712ft) in the Coquitlam Ranges of the Coast Mountains.

view from jug island beach looking north to brighton beach

View North of Jug Island Beach including Brighton Beach Community and Mount Bonnycastle (Purchase)

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The trail to Jug Island Beach is relatively easy to follow, and often the steeper parts are made up of rocky steps like those below. A lot of this forested area is covered in moss. I photographed this hillside covered in moss (with some Salal (Gaultheria shallon) mixed in) on the way back from the beach. Not just to take a break from the climbing either!

rock steps along jug island beach trail in belcarra regional park

Rocky steps along the Jug Island Beach Trail (Purchase)

An even more attractive moss wall has grown on this very large rocky slope just before you get to some wooden steps. I’ll admit that I was glad to stop here on the way back. I hadn’t climbed like this in a while and it didn’t bother me nearly as much as I expected, but the downhill parts always seem to get my knees. There were a few parts of this hike that reminded me that these weren’t the 20-something knees I took up Diez Vistas Trail etc a “few” years ago.

rock steps and wooden stairs along jug island beach trail in belcarra regional park

Rocky steps and wooden stairs along the Jug Island Beach Trail (Purchase)

Of all the photographs I made of the nature living around Jug Island Beach, this is my favourite. A lot of the rocks on the beach are covered in Rockweed (Fucus distichus) which is a species of brown algae that is common along shorelines in the Northern Hemisphere and an easy species to recognize. I liked how this one small rock covered in barnacles was the only surface nearby not covered in Rockweed. Most of my time walking along the beach was carefully scrutinized by a number of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) who seemed to be a mix of slightly defensive of the area and curious what I was doing there. I’m sure they avoid it entirely when it is covered in people during the warmer months!

rockweed fucus distichus

Rockweed (Fucus distichus) and a Rock (Purchase)

For more photographs of Belcarra Regional Park and the surrounding area visit my Anmore & Belcarra Gallery.

Snow Squall over Golden Ears Ranges Mountains from South Langley

A snow squall over peaks of the Golden Ears Ranges near sunset – viewed from south Langley near High Point Estates.

snow squall at sunset golden ears ranges mount blanshard robie reid

Snow Squall at Sunset over the Golden Ears Ranges (Purchase)

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A few years ago I found a new spot in the southern part of Langley, British Columbia (near High Point Estates) to view the mountains to the north. Mount Blanshard (The Golden Ears) is the most prominent from here, as it is from most of Langley. Mount Robie Reid (right) is also frequently seen from various parts of Langley and Abbotsford. I waited until there was a good snowfall on the peaks and photographed the scene in February of 2022. Unfortunately, it was about -5°C and very windy so my large lens acted a bit like a sail and I wasn’t able to get any sharp images. This year I went back after a good snowfall in the mountains with much more success. Some of the snow I’d seen earlier in the day on the lower elevations had melted, but there was still some snow sticking on this evening in late March.

The panorama above shows a snow squall dumping some fresh powder during some sunset light on the Golden Ears Ranges (part of the Garabaldi Ranges) peaks, to the left of Mount Blanshard. To the right of Blanshard is a smaller peak called “The Defendant” (1884m / 6181ft), and then Mount Judge Howay (2262m / 7421ft) peeking out to the left of Mount Robie Reid (2095m / 6873ft). I was hoping for some interesting clouds but wasn’t counting on a snow squall like this. I watched it move westward, behind Mount Blanshard, and then get into a nice position just as some subtle sunset light warmed the colors up a bit.

mount blanshard aka the golden ears at sunset in winter

The Golden Ears at sunset as seen from south Langley (Purchase)

I made a number of panoramas here as the scene was perfect for it, but I also made a few “mountain portrait” style photos of some of the individual peaks. First up, Mount Blanshard aka the Golden Ears in the photograph above. I have many photographs of this mountain, from the south (Langley/Maple Ridge), the east (Port Coquitlam), and the west (Golden Ears Provincial Park). I like this view as I’m able to show more of the mountain itself than I am when I am a bit closer. From this vantage point I’m actually about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Blanshard.

This next photo is mostly of Mount Robie Reid, but there is a bit of the more abrupt Mount Judge Howay showing up to the left of Mt. Robie Reid.

mount robie reid mount judge howay winter

Mount Robie Reid and Mount Judge Howay (Purchase)

The photograph below shows some peaks in the Chehalis Ranges with some nice sunset light on them. These are photographed from the same spot as the photos above, but they are approximately 70km (44mi) from that location. I was lucky to have some really clear air on this particular evening! Peaks here include Mount Clarke (2159m / 7083ft), Stonerabbit Peak (1858m / 6096ft), Mount Ratney (1967m / 6453ft), and Mount Bardean (1926m / 6319ft).

chehalis range peaks including mount clarke stonerabbit peak and mount ratney

Chehalis Range peaks including Mount Clark, Stonerabbit Peak, and Mount Ratney (Purchase)

For more mountain photographs please visit my Mountain Photos Gallery.

A few Photos from Belcarra Regional Park

The pier at Belcarra Regional Park (təmtəmÍxʷtən) near the main picnic area in Belcarra, British Columbia, Canada.

pier at picnic area of belcarra regional park on burrard inlet

Fishing and Crabbing Pier at Belcarra Regional Park (Purchase)

In November of last year I visited təmtəmÍxʷtən / Belcarra Regional Park in Belcarra, BC. I was hoping for some fall foliage, but I didn’t find all that much. Regardless of the fall foliage situation, there are always nice views from the pier at the main picnic area, shown in the photograph above. I did like the small hint of leftover color in these various tree species along the shoreline near the pier at Belcarra (below).

trees shoreline of belcarra regional park on burrard inlet

Trees along the shoreline of Burrard Inlet at Belcarra Regional Park (Purchase)

The photograph below shows another view, from 2015, looking towards the waterfront property along Burrard Inlet. The name of the park was changed somewhat in 2021, where the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation’s name for the area, təmtəmÍxʷtən, was added to the official name of the park. The first nations names on parks here are written in the International Phonetic Alphabet, which takes some getting used to. The approximate pronounciation of “təmtəmÍxʷtən” is “tum-tum-ee-hw-tun”.

belcarra waterfront homes property

Waterfront Property in Belcarra (Purchase)

Woodhaven Swamp

Many years ago when I was still using film I photographed a few scenes at Woodhaven Swamp. You can just glimpse this from the road, but it is a rather nice, short, walk around a swampy area filled with snags and the usual wetland plants and animals. When I arrived in November a Bald Eagle was sitting on one of the logs on the water, no doubt sensing my camera had a wide angle lens on it. The eagle was not courteous enough to stick around for the switch to my longer lens. Was still neat to see that close though. I completed the short loop trail along the Woodhaven Trail and made the photograph below of the boardwalk/bridge on the eastern side of the swamp.

boardwalk woodhaven trail at woodhaven swamp in belcarra regional park

Boardwalk along the Woodhaven Trail at Woodhaven Swamp (Purchase)

The edge of Woodhaven Swamp has a mixture of live and dead trees and a lot of wetland species. I saw a few Flickers here and there, no doubt making good use of the decaying wood for insect acquisition. The still waters of the swamp lend quite well to reflections, and I’ve always seen some interesting ones here.

tree reflections at woodhaven swamp in belcarra regional park

Tree Reflections at Woodhaven Swamp (Purchase)

The loop around Woodhaven Swamp is called the Woodhaven Trail which also connect to Sasamat Lake. I’d tried ot visit the lake but my favourite spots are now no parking areas and the main lot had a film production taking up most of the space so I just moved on. I should revisit this spring before the crowds!

boardwalk woodhaven trail at woodhaven swamp

Woodhaven Swamp Plant Life (Purchase)

For more photographs from Belcarra Regional Park and the surrounding areas in the Village of Belcarra and Anmore Village, visit my Anmore & Belcarra Gallery.

Mud Bay Park in Surrey British Columbia

A raft of (mostly) Northern Pintails (Anas acuta) drift past two old pilings during high tide at Mud Bay in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

parting clouds and sunlight on mud bay

A Parting in the Clouds at Mud Bay (Purchase)

Earlier this year I visited Mud Bay Park in Surrey, British Columbia in the hopes of photographing some shore birds of some kind. Mud Bay is at the eastern end of Boundary Bay and is surrounded on 3 sides by south Surrey and Crescent Beach. I didn’t see many birds all that close to shore on this day, however. The tide was all the way in at first, and most of what I could see nearby were large rafts of ducks. I walked several kilometers east along the trail from the parking lot. There are very nice ocean views here, and often lots of wildlife, but this experience is somewhat countered by the fact the trail/shore is just meters from Hwy 99. So it isn’t a quiet birding spot! As always though, I may have subjects in mind when I go to a location, but I’m always looking for just about anything to photograph. The image above came to be as I was watching the interesting clouds in the sky. It wasn’t stormy, but it wasn’t one of those “boring” overcast days either. I was trying to work with these two old logs/posts sticking out of the mudflats, and lined up the gap between these passing clouds in between. As I was doing so, a raft of Northern Pintail ducks (Anas acuta) drifted past and into the photograph. This was not part of the plan, but they form a line almost parallel with the horizon and I think it works here. By the time they drifted past, the clouds had as well, so I continued down the trail.

great blue heron sunset silhouette

Great Blue Heron Wading At Sunset on Mud Bay (Purchase)

After I’d turned around and headed back toward the parking lot the tide had gone out. Mud Bay is quite shallow, so even 30 minutes later the edge of the water was a significant distance from the shoreline. This revealed many different patterns in the mudflats and tide pools. I noticed this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) wading in what were some pretty vibrant orange sunset light reflections. One of the reasons I have (too) many heron photographs is they often stand still, or move slowly and then stop. This makes for a relatively easy wildlife subject compared to more active species. In this case, however, it made things a bit more difficult. As this was going to be a silhouette, I wanted there to be a gap between the birds head and the dark mud in the background. The heron was not interested in moving and just stood in one spot for many minutes. Eventually I stood on a rock, and held my tripod and camera up in the air to change the perspective so there was a small gap which separated the bird from the background. Luckily the color reflecting from the sky held out for the duration of this! The cranes you can see in the background are at GCT Deltaport near Tsawwassen.

sunset reflections mud bay

Sunset Reflections on the Mudflats of Mud Bay (Purchase)

As the sunset light color was fading I made the photograph above of some interesting clouds along with the patterns in the mud and sand of the mudflats. If you want to see some more more photographs from the city of Surrey visit my Surrey Gallery.

Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) Adults and Chick

A Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) chick eyeing a snail on a wetland plant in British Columbia, Canada.

sandhill crane chick looking at a snail

Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) Chick looking at a snail (Purchase)

One day last spring I went for a walk with my camera and didn’t really have any goals in mind in terms of subjects. Sometimes I have something I’m thinking of working with, but I’m often wandering in a good place just to see what I might find. I was certainly not expecting to come across a Sandhill Crane family walking through a shoreline wetland area foraging for food! I don’t know if this breeding pair caught the wider attention of the birding community or not. When a rare species or relatively uncommon photo/viewing opportunity comes up, I tend to avoid those areas and events. Sure I’d like to see the bird, but the behaviour of people in the area often make me just not want to be around. This can range from simply being a bit too crowded for my liking, to egregiously unethical (and sometimes illegal) behaviour that I’d rather not witness or have to report or otherwise think about. A few people were watching and photographing these cranes but everyone was pretty relaxed and respectful, including the cranes.

The first photograph above shows the Sandhill Crane chick eyeing a snail that has made its way to the top of a tall leaf. The two parents were wandering around the marsh with the chick looking for various food items to feed it. This species of crane are omnivorous so these items would usually include seeds, grains, berries, tubers, small vertebrates, and invertebrates. This chick has probably learned that snails are a good snack, and was taking a closer look.

sandhill crane chick receiving food from parent

Sandhill Crane Chick Receiving Food (Purchase)

Sandhill Crane chicks leave the nest quite quickly after hatching, sometimes within 8 hours and often within the first day. They are able to swim immediately. I did not see this one swim but it mostly wandered around this marsh area with small trees and shrubs and was periodically fed by a parent. The photo above shows the chick receiving a morsel of some kind from the adult. I didn’t see the chick eat anything on its own, but I’m sure the scrutiny of that snail meant that milestone was not far away. Generally the chick just explored with the parents but at one point it did get slightly animated and made some noises begging for food (photo).

sandhill crane chick foraging with adult parent

Adult Sandhill Crane with Chick (Purchase)

Both parents were involved in the feeding/herding of the chick, though they seemed to switch off periodically, with just one being really close by. The other would take a break and find some food on its own, or do some preening. The photo below shows one of the parents in the middle of preening. Sandhill Crane adults are often a mix of grey and white, as you see here on head and upper neck of this preening adult. Some birds can have this rusty/brown coloration on the feathers on the rest of their body. This is not different plumage, but due to the mud being rubbed onto the feathers during preening. Since the soils in this location seem to have enough iron content, the feathers turn a rusty/brown as a result. These cranes are likely the subspecies Antigone canadensis tabida or the Greater Sandhill Crane.

sandhill crane preening feathers

Sandhill Crane Adult Preening Feathers (Purchase)

The other parent bird also stopped to preen and generally had its eyes closed when doing so. It kind of looks like it is sleeping in the photo below, but it was organizing feathers just a bit more slowly than the other bird above. Seeing this normal behaviour that close to me is a good thing though, it is confirmation that the presence of myself and others there weren’t impacting the cranes at all. Sandhill Cranes have a relatively long lifespan, with an average of around 20 years. They also mate for life, so this pair will probably be coming back to the Metro Vancouver area to breed for quite a few years to come.

sandhill crane adult preening

Sandhill Crane Adult Preening Feathers (Purchase)

You can view these and a few other crane photographs in my Bird Photos Gallery.

Concord Grapes Harvest (Vitis labrusca)

Cluster of organic Concord Grapes (Vitis labrusca) in a Fraser Valley garden.

cluster of organic concord grapes

Cluster of Concord Grapes (Purchase)

The backyard vines had a particularly vigorous crop of Concord Grapes (Vitis labrusca) this year and I made a few photographs of them. The Concord Grape is mostly known for juice, and not a grape that one hears about often in conversations about wines. It can be used for wine, but is much more often used for juice and grape jellies. The Concord Grape was first produced in 1849 by Ephraim Wales Bull in Concord, Massachusetts, which gives a good idea where the name came from. This particular photogenic bunch was growing in the backyard, and hadn’t yet been harassed by hungry wildlife or grazing humans. Normally I just eat a few fresh off the vine when outside, but this year I decided to harvest some.

harvest of organic concord grapes

Concord Grapes after Harvest (Purchase)

I left the majority of the grapes on the vine, and picked what looked to be the ones in the best shape. I had a sizeable bucket by the time I was done, and put about 3/4 of them in the freezer where they are still waiting. My intent is to juice them and then make some jelly, but I’ve done neither before, so we shall see how that goes. The process of using the steam juicer here doesn’t seem difficult. There may be some potential errors to be made in making the jelly though. I’d imagine that not quite getting things right could result in something syrupy instead of jelly-like but we will see.

organic concord grapes in a bucket

Harvested Concord Grapes in a Bucket (Purchase)

For more photos of crops and farm related images, visit my Farms Barns and Crops gallery.

Views of Ambleside and Dundarave in West Vancouver

Ambleside Beach, Ambleside Pier, and the newer retail and residential buildings in the Ambleside neighborhood of West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

ambleside beach and pier in west vancouver

Ambleside Beach and Pier in West Vancouver (Purchase)

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I’ve been meaning to spend a bit more time in West Vancouver and in early November I spent an afternoon there looking for scenes to photograph. I started at Horseshoe Bay, but I had not heard the shoreline/beach park was closed, so I headed over to Whytecliff Park instead. They were filming a movie there, so it was a challenge to find parking. I had a look around and then left for various spots along English Bay. Ultimately I wound up at Ambleside Park next to the beach, and photographed this first panorama above just after the peak of sunset. This area has changed a lot in the past few years since I last visited. A lot of the retail/condo buildings around the Ambleside Pier were still being built or weren’t around yet last time I visited.

condos and apartment towers in the dundarave neighborhood of west vancouver

Highrise apartments and condos in the Dundarave neighborhood of West Vancouver (Purchase)

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My first stop after leaving Whytecliff was near the Dundarave Pier at 25th street. I was unaware that the January 2022 storm that destroyed the Jericho Pier across English Bay in Vancouver had also caused so many problems in West Vancouver. The Dundarave Pier remains closed for repairs. The West Vancouver Centennial Seawalk had been repaired from the storm and can be seen along the edge of English Bay in the photo above. It was quite busy with people walking its 1.7 km length near various condo and apartment towers. I made a few photographs here and headed east along the water.

john lawson park and john lawson pier in west vancouver

John Lawson Park in West Vancouver BC’s Ambleside neighborhood (Purchase)

My next stop was in the Ambleside neighborhood of West Vancouver at John Lawson Park. John Lawson Park does have its own pier, aptly named “John Lawson Pier”, and it had been repaired and was open. The path here is just past the end of the West Vancouver Centennial Seawalk, but continues on all the way to Ambleside Park to the east. John Lawson Park has some nice views of English Bay, Stanley Park, and the Lions Gate Bridge.

ambleside beach and pier in west vancouver

Sunset at Ambleside Beach and Pier in West Vancouver (Purchase)

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From John Lawson Park I went to Ambleside Park for sunset. The sunset wasn’t very interesting itself, but I don’t use it as a subject very often. I usually prefer to see what that warmer light is going to with other subjects, and in this case it warmed up the look of the buildings in Ambleside quite a bit. Compare to the first photograph here that was made 20 minutes later. Still a bit of glow on the windows from the horizon but not on much else. I also made this photograph (Link) kind of in between the two.

Likewise you can see some glow in the windows of Ambleside and Dundarave but not on much else in this last photograph. Some of the buildings here are the same as in the second photograph here but from around the corner. The pier here is the John Lawson Pier and you can see the seawalk heading west from the park.

buildings at sunset in dundarave and ambleside

Sunset light falls on the Ambleside and Dundarave neighborhoods of West Vancouver (Purchase)

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For more photographs of West Vancouver visit my West Vancouver Gallery.

2023 Nature Calendar Now Available!

My 2023 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.

cover for 2023 british columbia nature calendar

2023 Nature Calendar Cover

index for 2023 british columbia nature calendar

2023 Calendar Index