Wildflowers on Salt Spring Island

A Fairy Slipper Orchid (Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis) blooming on the forest floor of Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.

fairyslipper orchid calypso bulbosa

Fairy Slipper Orchid (Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis) Flower (Purchase)

During my trip to Salt Spring Island in April, I visited Ruckle Provincial Park and spent many hours walking around, hiking, and taking in the views from various shoreline trails. Initially I spent about 45 minutes photographing Ruckle Heritage Farm which I outlined in my previous post. After photographing the farm I headed into the forest and shoreline trails to see what I could find. There are great trails in Ruckle Provincial Park that give a variety of views ranging from farmland, ocean, forests, and beaches. One thing that especially caught my eye during that walk was the variety of wildflowers. Most of these species I’d not seen on the mainland, and were new to me entirely.

The first photograph here is a Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis) which is also known as Calypso Orchid or Venus’s Slipper. These orchids have no nectar, and trick Bumblebees into pollinating them through deceptive scents and shapes that mimic nectar containing flowers. I don’t think I’ve seen any orchids in the wild before, so this was a nice find. The entire flower and stem shown here was maybe 5cm (2inches) tall at the most. Very easy to miss while walking by in the forest!

slender toothwort - cardamine nuttallii

Slender Toothwort (Cardamine nuttallii) Flowers (Purchase)

When I photograph almost anything from buildings to animals, plants, mountains, lakes, creeks etc – I always try to find the proper name for the location or species. Wildflowers I’ve never seen pose a bit more of a challenge, as I’m not quite as sure where to start in a guidebook or other ways of identifying a species. Another hurdle can be that many species look nearly alike, and sometimes identification would have to come down to characteristics not revealed in a photograph. In the case of the variety of Cardamine species I found on Salt Spring, a lack of good photos of the leaves didn’t help me out any! I really need to engrave something like “photograph the leaves too!” on the back of my camera so I have those as a tool for identifying later at home. The Cardamine above I am fairly sure is a Cardamine nuttallii or Slender Toothwort. This species also goes by the names Beautiful Bittercress, Nuttall’s Toothwort, and Palmate Toothwort. I also photographed Angled Bittercress (Cardamine angulata). There are a few other Cardamine species that all look very similar which made narrowing these down a big of a lengthy challenge! Mountain peaks are comparatively easy.

white fawn lily - erythronium oregonum at ruckle provincial park

White Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum) (Purchase)

One species I had not seen before, but was anticipating seeing while on Salt Spring were the White Fawn Lilies (Erythronium oregonum). I was not disappointed – they were very frequently seen in Ruckle Provincial Park. Not a easy plant to photograph I discovered, especially when there is a bit of wind. The flowers point down so I made a lot of exposures (read: way too many) trying various angles. I liked the photograph above as it is backlit, and the sunlight shining through highlights the orange and yellow colours near the centre of the flower. The photograph below shows the White Fawn Lily in the kind of environment I usually encountered them – underneath some tree cover (in this case a Garry Oak) and mixed in with grass and other plants. Their usual environment in southern British Columbia is along the coast at lower elevations in forests and open meadows. This species is also known as the Giant White Fawn Lily.

white fawn lily - erythronium oregonum on salt spring island

White Fawn Lily (E. oregonum) underneath a Garry Oak (Purchase)

I was attracted to these Large-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora) flowers (below) initially due to their blue color but then because of the large amount of Bumblebees zipping about from flower to flower. The flowers are quite small, but were growing in large groups, usually mixed in with various mosses, on the more open spots along the rocky shoreline at Ruckle. Bees on flower photos are not something I normally attempt in a park – it can be a low percentage of a success much like other fast moving wildlife, but I couldn’t resist this time. It all worked out as this particular Bumblebee was moving from flower to flower a bit slower (and close to where I was on the trail), and I was able to make a sharp photograph as it collected nectar from these flowers. The yellow sacs you see on the bee’s back legs are called Corbiculae or Pollen baskets and are used for collecting pollen.

bumblebee on large-flowered blue-eyed mary flowers at ruckle provincial park

Bumblebee on Large-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora) flowers (Purchase)

Much like the Fairy Slipper in the first photograph, I’m lucky to have spotted this Fringed Redmaids (Calandrinia ciliata) flower nestled in the mosses and grasses in an open area along the shoreline. Not a species I was familiar with, but they are said to be quite common on the Southern Gulf Islands.

fringed redmaids flower on salt spring island

Fringed Redmaids (Calandrinia ciliata) Flower (Purchase)

I came across this Chickweed Monkeyflower (Erythranthe alsinoides) blooming in an open area in the campground at Ruckle Provincial Park. I’d previously photographed Harvest Brodiaea in almost the same spot a few years ago. This Monkeyflower is sometimes listed as Mimulus alsinoides or Wingstem Monkey-flower.

chickweed monkeyflower - erythrante alsinoides

Chickweed Monkeyflower (Erythranthe alsinoides) (Purchase)

I also had some luck spotting these Small-flowered Woodland-Star (Lithophragma parviflorum) flowers on the forest floor. While they are larger than the orchid, this was the only one I saw. L. parviflorum is also known as the Small-flowered Fringecup or Prairie Star, and is part of the Saxifrage family.

small-flowered woodland-star flower - lithophragma parviflorum

Small-flowered Woodland-Star (Lithophragma parviflorum) (Purchase)

I’m cheating slightly with the photo of a Common Stork’s-Bill (Erodium cicutarium) flower below, as I didn’t photograph it at Ruckle. The day before I was in Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park with my friend who lives on the island and spotted this one at the base of some Garry Oaks. The Stork’s Bill is another flower I don’t think I’ve seen before. Unfortunately, it is an invasive weed from Europe and not native to British Columbia. For some reason it always feels slightly disappointing to look up a species you’ve just discovered only to find it the name starts with “common”! While we were in Burgoyne Bay my friend pointed out some birds in the water along the shore he hadn’t noticed before. Common Mergansers, of course.

common storks-bill - erodium cicutarium

Common Stork’s-Bill (Erodium cicutarium) (Purchase)

For more photographs of Salt Spring Salt Spring Island, Ruckle Provincial Park, and the island’s wildflowers, visit my Salt Spring Island gallery.

Pitt Polder Dike Walk Part 3 – Katzie Marsh Plants

Cloudy skies make a bright background for these water plant reflections at Katzie Marsh in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada.

aquatic plants in katzie marsh

Katzie Marsh Plant Reflections (Purchase)

I split my writings here about my long walk along the Dikes near Pitt River and Pitt Lake into 3 parts – the first being the walk along the Pitt Polder Dike Trail, the second of Pitt Lake Dike Trail, and this is the third in that series. Earlier in the day I’d started my walk just expecting to quickly take a look my favourite view from the Pitt Polder Dike, but wound up walking a number of kilometers all the way to Pitt Lake. I’d been trying to outrun the onset of some clouds from the south, clear days being a tough situation to find this fall, and this location straight north of where I live turned out quite well. I initially used the sunshine to brighten the fall foliage, then the cloud cover to give some flatter light but without glare, still with some blue sky available. The remainder of my plan after I arrived at Pitt Lake was to again photograph the aquatic plants in Katzie Marsh. I had enough of them that I thought I’d give them their own post.

It seems clear I will have to to photograph these plant species in the spring or summer sometime so I can actually identify them. In the meantime, I’m left seeing how many variations on “aquatic wetland marsh plants” I can use as descriptions. It does pain me to not know a plant’s species name, but not knowing what these are at all is particularly vexing. The first photograph above shows the onset of cloud cover to the south. The reflection is very bright, and I used it to make a near white background to these aquatic leaves. It is a bit disorienting as to where the leaves themselves end and the reflections begin, but this was all meant to be somewhat abstract so I think it works.

wetland plants in katzie marsh

Wetland Plants in Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

The photograph above is a twin of sorts to one I made at Katzie Marsh (link) a few years ago. In a similar way to the image I linked to, I liked the appearance of two rows of plants in this area. From there I worked on other ideas, and using my 100-400mm lens for all of the photographs I made in all 3 of these posts, I was able to zoom in 400mm and make the photograph below. Just a few plants by themselves, but also a bit of subtle colour from the leaves of other plants now underwater.

marsh plants in katzie marsh

Wetland Plant Reflections in Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

The photograph below is from along the Pitt Lake Dike looking southeast towards Gwendoline Peak. The dike you can see running through the background here is the Swan Dike, which is the next dike one uses to complete the Katzie Marsh Loop. Some Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera were nice enough to provide some fall leaf foliage in the background as well.

fall at katzie marsh

Fall Foliage at Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

After I’d tried various compositions in the marsh I noticed from the clouds to the south it was about to rain. This was an interesting realization in light of my having left that rain jacket I mentioned in part one in the trunk of my car during my poorly planned departure. The car now sitting roughly a 3.5km (2.4 miles) walk away. I did not make any photographs on the way back to the car, and I stowed all of my equipment so I could walk with purpose back to the car. When I arrived, I could hear the rain coming, and was lucky to make it just as the rain started.

fall appearance of wetland plants in katzie marsh

Katzie Marsh in the Fall (Purchase)

For more photographs of the Pitt River/Pitt Lake area including the 28 images I published from this day please visit my Pitt Meadows gallery in the Image Library.

My Top 10 Photographs from 2021

December brings the time of year where we look back on the previous year and reflect on what occurred. I was hoping 2021 would be less eventful than the situation in 2020. While it was different, and much improved in many ways, the weather decided to be a big force where I live and not in a fun way. On the plus side, I did get out a lot more this year (locally) for photography, and I think I improved on some things from the previous year, which is all one can ask for really. 2021 also brought some really good fall foliage which I was able to both enjoy and photograph.

As usual, I started working on this list when I collected images for my 2022 Nature Calendar. I’ve published new images since then, and had many others to consider as well. 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. As usual, choosing 10 images is rather difficult, even though these should be considered my favourites and not the “best” necessarily. These aren’t in any order really as that would be just too hard!

I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites. What do you see in photo #5?

My Favourite Photos of 2021:

katzie marsh fall leaves colors
1. Black Poplar (Populus trichocarpa) and Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) in Katzie Marsh
(Pitt Meadows, British Columbia)
Blog post: Pitt Polder Dike Walk Part 2 – Pitt Lake Dike Trail

western tiger swallowtail on lavender
2. Western Tiger Swallowtail ((Papilio rutulus))
(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: Lavender Flowers, Bees, and a Western Tiger Swallowtail

mount maxwell in clouds salt spring island
3. Mount Maxwell (Hwmet’atsum) In the Clouds

(Salt Spring Island, British Columbia)

pacific tree frog juvenile
4. Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla)
(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: Juvenile Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla)

cloud formations - baby bird
5. Cloud Formations

(Langley, British Columbia)

western white trillium flower
6. Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) flower
(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: Western Trillium Flowers in the Fraser Valley Of BC

raven peak pitt marsh fall foliage
7. Raven Peak and Fall Foliage
(Pitt Meadows, British Columbia)
Blog post: Pitt Polder Dike Trail Walk Part 1

bracken fern frond
8. Backlit Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum)
(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: An Evening Walk in Campbell Valley Regional Park

water plants in katzie marsh
9. Water Plants in Katzie Marsh

(Pitt Meadows, British Columbia)

barrel-roof shed in burgoyne bay
10. Barrel-Roof Shed at Burgoyne Bay

(Salt Spring Island, British Columbia)

You can view my favourite photographs from 2020 here: My Top 10 Photos of 2020.

Pitt Polder Dike Walk Part 2 – Pitt Lake Dike Trail

Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) and Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) provide fall colors in Katzie Marsh in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada.

fall foliage in katzie marsh

Fall Foliage in Katzie Marsh Provided by Black Cottonwood and Paper Birch (Purchase)

In my previous post about walking the Pitt Polder Dike Trail I covered the area along Rannie Road from the Heron Cove area of Smohk’wa Marsh through to the boat launch parking lot at Grant Narrows. Some of this area was formerly Grant Narrows Regional Park run by Metro Vancouver Parks but is now operated by the Katzie First Nation. From what I can tell the “official” name of the stretch between the start of Grant Narrows and Grant Narrows East (next to the mountains to the east) is the Pitt Lake Dike Trail. It is occasionally referred to as the Nature Dike Trail, though that looks to be the more common name for the trail heading south from the Pitt Lake boat launch parking lot which meets up with the Swan Dike Trail. To the north of the Pitt Lake Dike Trail are great views of Pitt Lake, Osprey Mountain, Raven Peak, with Edge Peak (of the Golden Ears) and Gwendoline Peak to the east. Katzie Marsh is to the south. I previously photographed a number of fall scenes along the Katzie Marsh Loop. In a way, that post could be considered part 4 of this series, though you’ll have to wait for part 3.

Regardless of your location along any of these dike trails, there are great views of the mountain landscapes as well as a lot of wildlife. When I first walked into the area near the boat launch at Grant Narrows, I stopped to consider if I wanted to continue up the dike trail or head back to my car, which was now several kilometers behind me. Considering there was still some blue sky, it wasn’t raining (yet) and the great fall foliage – I continued on of course. While I was contemplating my next move I watched a Common Raven (Corvus corax) do pretty much the same on a piece of driftwood along the shore. It shifted around on the wood, changing directions and occasionally making some noises. It seemed to be contemplating the choices in direction I was, with probably much less concern regarding the weather.

fishing boat docked at grant narrows pitt river pitt lake

Fishing Boat Docked at Grant Narrows on the Pitt River (Purchase)

While I was near the boat launch at Grant Narrows I photographed this fishing boat at the dock. There are a number of boats docked here at any given time, and many more can be seen zipping up and down the Pitt River and Grant Narrows traveling to and from Pitt Lake. Pitt Lake itself is one of the worlds largest tidal lakes and is popular with boaters. The north end of Pitt Lake is 25km (15.5 miles) north of the Pitt Lake Dike Trail and is where the Upper Pitt River enters the lake. The Upper Pitt is one of British Columbia’s best fly fishing and steelhead rivers. This likely accounts for some of the north bound boat traffic, along with the travel to and from the community of Alvin which is approximately 8km (5 miles) further up the Upper Pitt River.

Pitt Lake is notorious for being a windy location and consequently can have some rather large waves. Grant Narrows is a much more sheltered location than the lake itself, and these two kayakers ventured across the Pitt River towards and entrance to Widegon Creek. This is a relatively popular canoeing and kayaking location due to the great scenery and wildlife viewing. The two women in this kayak were not the only ones I saw venture up towards the Widgeon area while I was there.

two kayakers crossing the pitt river

Two Kayakers Crossing the Pitt River at Grant Narrows (Purchase)

Once I had decided to continue further east from the boat launch parking lot and along the Dike Trail, I photographed the scene in the first image above. I think this is one of my favourites from this fall, at least of what I’ve processed. As I said in my previous post, this year was simply great for fall foliage, and in this first photograph that color is provided mostly by Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) and Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera). The photograph below was also made along the Pitt Lake Dike Trail but shows a viewing/lookout tower that is situated on the Swan Dike Trail which is on the east side of Katzie Marsh. This is part way through the Katzie Loop Trail and a tower I climbed last time I walked out that far (about 4.6km (2.8 miles) from the parking lot). As I recall there were several very vocal Kingfishers in the immediate area at the time and it was not a moment to enjoy any quiet!

lookout tower on the swan dike trail at katzie marsh

Lookout tower on the Swan Dike Trail on the east side of the Katzie Marsh Loop (Purchase)

The Pitt Lake Dike Trail also has a lookout tower which is about 500 meters (1600 feet) east of the parking lot. The image of a boat moving through Grant Narrows at low tide I linked to above was made from that tower (looking north), as was the photo below of two women guiding a toddler along the trail (looking west). This is a wide “trail” because it is not only the top of a dike, but also a road that cars and trucks take to the Grant Narrows East area (private) where there are a few buildings and many boats are launched from as well.

walking along the pitt lake dike trail at grant narrows pitt lake

Walking along the Pitt Lake Dike Trail at Grant Narrows on Pitt Lake (Purchase)

The last photograph here shows the view from the lookout tower on the Pitt Lake Dike Trail looking east. You can see a few buildings and the dock with boats at Grant Narrows East, as well as a number of vehicles parked there. This is a private area and not one the public can stroll into. Just before that building on the right is the beginning of the Swan Dike Trail which one should take south to continue on the Katzie Loop Trail. Looking east from the tower, or while walking the dike, one can also get a nice view of Edge Peak of the Golden Ears (Mount Blanshard) though the views are better further to the west.

people walking the pitt lake dike trail between pitt lake and katzie marsh

Walking the Pitt Lake Dike Trail between Pitt Lake and Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

Wait, can we go back to the very first image in this post? I spent a while editing this one, and it wasn’t until this evening I noticed something. What is that just above the left hand trees up on the mountain? It looks like a rock outcrop, which is what I assumed the entire time I was editing it. As part of my process to make the images for the blog, I zoomed in 100% at random, and centered on that area. Is that a GAZEBO? What the heck is a gazebo doing up the hill in that location? The hill goes straight down into a slough/creek (Eloise Creek?), and I can’t imagine where a trail could be to get to that location on the side of Gwendoline Peak unless it started at Grant Narrows East and followed a ridge to come down to that location. The last time I did the Katzie Loop I don’t think it was there, or I was distracted, which is entirely possible. I suppose it could be something to do with the UBC research forest over the peak above it, but that seems doubtful given its location.

If anyone can solve the great gazebo mystery let me know!

building on side of gwendoline peak above katzie marsh

Random Gazebo Building on the Hillside below Gwendoline Peak.

For more photographs from the city of Pitt Meadows visit my Pitt Meadows Gallery.

2022 Nature Calendar Now Available!

My 2022 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 and Washingon State. 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 2022 british columbia nature calendar

2021 Nature Calendar Cover – Juvenile Barred Owls

index for 2022 british columbia nature calendar

2022 Calendar Index

An Evening Walk in Campbell Valley Regional Park

Common Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) flowers blooming at Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

birds-foot trefoil flowers - lotus corniculatus

Common Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) at Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

Campbell Valley Regional Park is a 548 hectare park I live fairly close to, and so I visit it quite often. It can be fairly quiet in the evenings there, so it is a good destination for a spur of the moment visit. The photos here are from a walk I did through north side of the park back in mid July. The trails through the fields and forests there can be a good spot to look for wildflowers both native and invasive. Of the invasive variety is the Common Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) above which is a species I’ve not noticed in the park before. The flowers remind me a bit of Scotch Broom and Toadflax, both of which are also invasive species here in British Columbia.

sunlight shines through bracken fern leaves in campbell valley park

Backlit Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) at Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

I hadn’t intended to photograph this backlit Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) as a panorama of sorts, but it wasn’t a subject I could approach as I wished. The fern was growing well off the trail so I cropped the photo I made (always from the trail!) as the top and bottom were intruded upon by tree branches in the forest. The back lighting was attractive though, so I worked with a longer lens to get as many fern fronds in as possible.

columbian black-tailed deer Foraging in a Field

Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus ssp. columbianus) (Purchase)

I have photographed Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus ssp. columbianus) in Campbell Valley Park before, but this one stuck around a lot longer than previous Deer I’ve seen. This was in one of the corners of the park I haven’t visited very often. I’d previously been very close to a Coyote hunting in the same field, and the only reason I don’t have a good photo of it is that this encounter occurred when I had my widest lens on the camera. The Coyote did not stick around for a lens change. I was already using my longer lens when I came across this Deer, and instead of bounding away at first sight, it kept a slightly wary eye on me as it grazed in the field.

common yellowthroat - geothylpis trichas on hanging grass stem

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) (Purchase)

Have you ever had some disappointment in getting home after photographing or seeing a “new to you” species only to find the name starts with “Common“? Such was the case twice with photographs from this evening, first with the Common Birds-foot Trefoil above and then again with the Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) I photographed foraging in the tall grasses. I also photographed a mustard-like flower species that I preliminarily identified as one with the word common at the beginning, but as I’m not sure of that ID I haven’t published it here.

This particular Common Yellowthroat was a bird I could hear far more than it was a bird I could see. I stuck around on the edge of the patch of tall grass and waited to see if the bird would emerge and I could make a photograph. Eventually, it moved further down the trail, and I was able to see it after maybe 5-10 minutes of just hearing its call. As you may see in the photograph this individual has caught some sort of caterpillar or grub for dinner – but was still making its call frequently. I guess birds don’t worry about talking with their mouth full.

Unfortunately there seem to be a lot of invasive species growing in Campbell Valley Regional Park. Along with the Birds-foot Trefoil and unidentified mustard, the Iris plants around McLean Pond appears to be an invasive species as well. I don’t recall having seen it flower recently, so I could be incorrect, but this appears to be Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus). I’ve photographed Yellow Flag Iris in a few locations before (Nanaimo, Pitt Meadows) but hadn’t seen it here in Langley before. Despite the species’ ecological malfeasance (it can create large colonies in wetlands, out competing native species and creating an environment that few native species can utilize for food or habitat.) I liked the patterns made by the sword-like leaves. I also experimented and made a black and white version.

yellow flag iris campbell valley park

Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) on the edge of McLean Pond at Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

For more photographs in the park visit my Campbell Valley Regional Park Gallery.

Lavender Flowers, Bees, and a Western Tiger Swallowtail

A Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo rutulus) feeding on nectar from Lavender flowers in a Fraser Valley garden.

western tiger swallowtail papilo rutulus on lavender flowers

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo rutulus) on Lavender Flowers (Purchase)

It has been a few years since I’ve had both vibrant lavender in the backyard and the right timing to photograph them during their peak. Luckily lavender seem to enjoy a hot and dry summer like the one we have been having. So over a few days earlier this summer I set out to make a number of lavender photographs because these subjects were easy to find – about 10′ out the back door. The highlight of all this was being able to photograph a Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo rutulus) as it flew from flower to flower looking for nectar.

The photograph above is a bit of a different angle on a butterfly than what you might be used to. This perspective, found as the butterfly went from flower to flower sipping nectar, shows it as much more of a big, leggy insect than just a pretty pair of flying wings (below). Adult Western Tiger Swallowtails are Nectarivores, feeding on nectar from flowers as their only source of food. The immature caterpillars feed on plant leaves. For the Western Tiger Swallowtail these are mostly cottonwood and birches, but also include willows and wild cherry amoung their favourites.

western tiger swallowtail lavender flowers

Western Tiger Swallowtail (P. rutulus) Foraging Lavender Flowers (Purchase)

Bees are also favourite subjects in the garden but like the butterflies, they never sit still for a moment and require some patience. This small Bumblebee took a bit more time with this lavender flower gathering pollen and nectar which gave me an opportunity to make the photograph below. Honeybees and the native bees tend to be pretty relaxed, so I can get close with a macro lens and they don’t seem concerned with me at all.

bumblebee on lavender flowers

A small Bumblebee foraging on Lavender Flowers (Purchase)

As anyone who has photographed wildflowers will attest, a small amount of wind can be a big problem! I had to make a few attempts to make the photograph of lavender flowers and stems below as there seemed to be a lot of wind on the first occasions I tried it. The tall stems with the weight of the flowers on the ends sway in the breeze quite easily, and I even saw a few bees that botched their initial landing attempts so it was clearly giving everyone some problems. Lavender flowers are popular with nectar eating insects such as a wide variety of bee species and butterflies.

lavender flowers and stems

Lavender Flowers and Stems (Purchase)

The photograph below is a bundle of freshly cut lavender flowers in a small bouquet on a white background. This photograph didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped, and I’ll likely make another attempt next summer. The bouquet is a bit small, and the shadows are a bit harsh. I was using a longer focal length here to keep my camera gear from casting shadows, and made a few photos to focus stack so everything would be in focus. What I didn’t count on was how quickly the lavender flowers would wilt, and I had to do a lot more processing than I’d have liked to pick exposures that lined up well without too much flower sag in between. The shots I made look like a wilting timelapse if you scroll through them fast enough! Anyway, I include this here not as a victory but as a monument to the effort if nothing else. Next year I’d photograph this again on an overcast and cooler day (if such a thing exists anymore in our summers) and a larger bouquet. Stay tuned!

bouquet lavender flowers white background

Bouquet of Lavender on a White Background (Purchase)

You can see more of my bee and butterfly photos in my Animals and Wildlife Gallery and plants in the garden in my Garden Plants gallery in the image library.

Juvenile Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla)

A juvenile Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) resting on a Rose bush leaf.

juvenile pacific tree frog pseudacris regilla on a leaf

Juvenile Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) (Purchase)

I was in the garden yesterday and noticed this small Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) resting on a leaf in a rose bush. The backyard pond still has some tadpoles in it, but clearly a lot of them have transitioned into juvenile frogs as I see them in the vegetable garden and on the edges of the lawn quite frequently. When I first spotted this one it was balled up and quite compact while sitting on a leaf. I made one photograph of it there, and then went to photograph a flower elsewhere in the garden before changing to a macro lens. When I came back the juvenile tree frog had jumped to another leaf and was in much more photogenic position. The tree frog did not seem perturbed by the potential intrusion of my camera lens looming nearby. It soon started to crouch down a bit as seen in this second photograph below before resuming the really compact resting position.

Pacific Tree Frogs are native here in British Columbia and their range extends from Northern California through to southern Alaska. The adults are typically terrestrial, living under leaves, logs, and other cool, sheltered places. They return to ponds for mating and spawning, with the eggs hatching tadpoles in a few weeks. The tadpoles eat a variety of foods while in the pond including scraping algae off of plants and consuming pollen from the surface of the water. After 2-3 months as tadpoles they transform into fully formed (albeit small) frogs and move mostly onto land. Their adult diet consists of mostly of insects, arachnids, and small arthropods.

juvenile pacific tree frog pseudacris regilla on a rose leaf

Juvenile Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) on a Rose Leaf (Purchase)

This juvenile Pacific Tree frog was about 2.5cm (1 inch) long while the largest adults are near 5cm (2 inches) – so the ones I’ve been seeing have a lot of growing left to do! Most of the small tree frogs I see in the backyard are brown or grey/tan like this one, but they can also be green, and sometimes almost black in color.

You can see more of my wildlife and animal photos (including frogs) in my Animals & Wildlife Gallery.