Godwin Farm Biodiversity Preserve in Surrey

Evening reflections on the pond at Godwin Farm Biodiversity Preserve in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

pond at godwin farm biodiversity preserve

The pond at Godwin Farm Biodiversity Preserve (Purchase)

A few weeks ago I visited the Godwin Farm Biodiversity Preserve in Surrey for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect from this spot at all – only knowing that this was a farm the owners gifted to the City of Surrey for a park, there was a pond, and I’d seen a photograph of a row of Redwood trees. I drove out there on a weekday evening, expecting to the park to be busier than it was as it is right next to a large number of houses. There were few people there, but many seemed to be walking in from the neighborhood, not driving to the parking lot. It was nice to be in this serene spot with relatively few people.

The park was given to Surrey by the Godwin Family in 2015 through the Federal Eco-gifting program. Tom and Elaine Godwin purchased the land in 1969 and at one time it was a 120 acre farming operation. Tom Godwin planted a wide variety of tree species on the property, and dug the pond in 1975. Many of the tree species are labelled, and there are information signs indicating the history of various parts of the farm.

cedar waxwing at godwin farm

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) at Godwin Farm (Purchase)

The park is 26 acres, so walking all the trails available is not a difficult task. The trails meander through old farm fields, and orchard, around the pond, and through groves of trees. When I was there many bird species were nearby, including these Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) that flew back and forth across the pond. At one point they clustered around a Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) who seemed a bit bothered as it was probably trying to fish in peace. I’d attempted to photograph Cedar Waxwings recently at Elgin Heritage Park, but they never landed close enough for a decent photograph. This flock were greater in number (probably about 10-15 individuals) and seemed a bit curious about me. I was fortunate to get these two photographs. While they came by quite often and perched near me, they never really sat still for all that long, so photo opportunities were frequent, but rather brief.

cedar waxwing bombycilla cedrorum at godwin farm

Adult Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) (Purchase)

For me, the pond was the most interesting part of the park, though all of it is worth walking through. There were obviously some species of small fish in the pond, as the Kingfishers kept catching them. The shore also had some small frogs, and one of the signs indicates there are turtles there as well. I photographed this Narrow-leaved Bur Reed (Sparganium angustifolium) plant along the shoreline with its interesting flowers. This was not a species I’d noticed before in the other ponds I’ve been around, though this species is native to British Columbia.

bur reed flowers at godwin farm biodiversity preserve

Bur Reed flowers in the Godwin Farm pond (Purchase)

For more of my photographs from the area visit my City of Surrey Gallery.

McLean Pond in Campbell Valley Regional Park

A park bench overlooking McLean Pond on a summer evening at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

park bench with view of mclean pond in campbell valley park

A Park Bench with a View of McLean Pond (Purchase)

McLean Pond is one of the areas of Campbell Valley Regional Park that seems “new” to me. I don’t believe it was part of the park when I first started visiting it in the early 1980’s. I first explored this area starting about 8 years ago as I’d seen people parking there and decided to check it out myself. The majority of the area is a grassy field, but after a short walk through the grass McLean Pond comes into view. There is a small dock on the south end and one can reserve the pond for canoeing. At the north end of the pond there is a park bench (above) which offers a good spot to view the wildlife in the area.

I visited McLean Pond a few weeks ago mostly in order to try out a new lens I’d purchased (Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM) – mostly to try to get used to the new focal lengths. The wildlife I’d hoped to find at the pond was a good place to start getting acquainted with the new lens, as well as some smaller landscape scenes I was hoping to find. This particular evening had very little breeze, so I was able to get a nice reflection for the photograph below, a scene one can view from the park bench I mentioned above.

reflections on mclean pond in campbell valley park

Reflections in McLean Pond (Purchase)

The pond (closed to fishing, btw) is home to muskrats and beavers – both of which I saw that evening. Turtles and a few frog species also live in the pond, but I didn’t happen to spot any on this visit. I did see the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) in the photo below, as well as what I presume were this year’s crop of goslings. They were swimming around in the pond, happily picking pond weeds from beneath the surface. This particular individual had a watchful eye on me much of the time. I presume this was either the designated lookout or a parent still wary of its young’s ability to avoid dangers such as photographers with long lenses.

canada goose in mclean pond at campbell valley park

A Wary Canada Goose (B. canadensis) at McLean Pond (Purchase)

The photograph below of two fallen, dead trees along the shore of McLean Pond was one I’d wanted to make on a previous visit, but the conditions were never quite right. The reflection was nice this time and the water plants in the foreground (Watershield – Brasenia schreberi) added a bit to the scene – and they aren’t present in the spring when I’ve visited here the most.

reflections mclean pond at campbell valley park

Reflections on McLean Pond (Purchase)

On my way back to my car I heard this Dwarf Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis brooksi) singing in the bushes. I couldn’t find it, and didn’t want to move around too much, but it made it easy on me by landing on this branch within range of my longer lens. This usually happens when I have a wide angle on, but I was lucky this time, and was walking with my new lens. This was a new species for me, I’ve not knowingly seen Savannah Sparrows before, but now I’ll be on the lookout for more. The species name of this bird is interesting – sandwichensis. Was someone hungry?

dwarf savannah sparrow in campbell valley park

Dwarf Savannah Sparrow (P. sandwichensis brooksi) (Purchase)

You can view more of my photographs from this park in my Campbell Valley Park gallery.

Random Photos Volume I

I thought I’d begin sharing more of my photos here that don’t have enough of a story to warrant a blog post all their own.

Fallen Leaves at Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park

When I stopped to photograph a roadside scene of some fall foliage along Dunlop Road in Québec’s Gatineau Park last fall I heard a small creek nearby. I walked down and made the photograph below of some fallen leaves and Fortune Creek. Still one of my favourite “small scenes” I photographed on that trip. You can see the rest of my photos from the park in the Gatineau Park Gallery.

fall fall leaves along fortune creek in gatineau park

Fallen Leaves along Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

Love in the Rain

Love in the Rain is a sculpture created by Bruce Voyce and is currently located at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The sculpture is for the attachment of “love locks” which couples can attach and then dispose of the keys in a nearby receptacle. Previously the locks were becoming a problem on fences and other structures in the city. When I first set up to photograph this composition there was someone sitting along on the bench, which I liked in contrast to the two “lovers” in the foreground. Then they got up and left. I wasn’t willing to sit on the bench myself for this as being 20 feet away with my back to my equipment was a bit risky in a reasonably busy park, so I didn’t. Maybe having the bench empty is a happier photograph anyway? More of my Vancouver photographs can be found in the Vancouver gallery.

love in the rain sculpture in Queen Elizabeth Park

Love in the Rain Sculpture in Queen Elizabeth Park (Purchase)

Mount Blandshard – “The Golden Ears”

At this point I have a lot of photographs of the Golden Ears (Mount Blandshard) from various locations. This is one I made from the banks of the Pitt River (in the Pitt Addington/Smohk’wa Marsh) during a cool stretch of weather in February.

golden ears from pitt meadows

The Golden Ears from Pitt Meadows (Purchase)

Grass Seed Head in the Snow.

There are occasions in winter where I am essentially snowed in – more than a foot of snow or so on the road can make it tough for me to get my car out of the driveway. This year with balding all season tires and that much snow, I didn’t even attempt this. So what to do? I went in the backyard and instead of photographing my usual Chickadee photos from the rose bushes, I went for this grass seed head poking up through the snow. A bit more minimal than subjects I usually photograph.

grass seed stalk poking up through snow

Grass Seed Head in the Snow (Purchase)

More photos like these can be found within the New Images Gallery in my Image Library.

Stream Violet (Viola gabella) Flowers in Golden Ears Park

A pair of Stream Violet (Viola gabella) flowers at Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

stream violet flowers viola gabella at golden ears park

Stream Violet Flowers (Viola gabella) at Golden Ears Park (Purchase)

I haven’t shared any wildflower photographs here in a while so I thought I’d post these Stream Violet flowers (Viola gabella) I came across a few weeks ago. Now that the spring rains are here I’ve not been out walking as much, so I took the opportunity on this day to get out and walk about 10km in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Along one of the trails near Gold Creek I saw these Stream Violets blooming but for some reason didn’t photograph them until I passed them again on the way back. I was mainly out for the exercise and to scout one location but I had my camera with me of course.

stream violet flower viola gabella at golden ears park

Stream Violet Flowers (Viola gabella) at Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

Stream Violets and a few other species of yellow flowered Viola here in BC are a bit difficult to ID, but I think these are the correct species. The Stream Violets go by other names as well – Yellow Wood Violet and Pioneer Violet. These Violets tend to grow along streams or in moist areas in forests, which were the conditions I found them in along Gold Creek.

You can see more wildflower photographs in my Wildflower Gallery.

Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park

Fall foliage color at the Beaver Pond during Fall Rhapsody Festival at Gatineau Park in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

beaver pond fall color in gatineau park

Fall Color at the Beaver Pond in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   A few weeks ago I was in Ottawa, Ontario visiting family and we did a lot of driving around looking for fall foliage colors and other scenery. I was there a week before peak color, but I still saw a lot of foliage that was well beyond what I’d normally see even during a great fall color year in and around Vancouver. Much of the great color was in Gatineau Park, which is just across the Ottawa river in Quebec. I’d been following Gatineau Park happenings in social media for a few weeks, and while the peak of color was the following week, we also avoided all the closed roads and crowds!

   I have many photos yet to come from my trip to Ottawa, but I thought I’d start here with a few that show some of the best color I saw, but also from locations that don’t really merit their own blog post in the future. The first photograph here is from the “Beaver Pond” along the Gatineau Parkway. I couldn’t find a more official name for it, but the “Beaver Pond” is what most people seem to call it. This photograph, and the wider angle of it, show some of the reds and oranges that we rarely get (from native species) here in British Columbia.

lac bourgeois fall color in gatineau park

Lac Bourgeouis Trees at Gatineau Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   The second photograph here was made at Lac Bourgeouis but from the side of the Champlain Parkway. I’d been to Lac Bourgeouis the day before, but these colors had improved a lot from the day before, and probably show the most interesting foliage I saw on the trip. Clearly the Maple leaves have not turned to the extent one would see at “peak” foliage color, but there are lot of reds and oranges, as well as yellow and the summer greens. I like that this photo shows the whole spectrum from summer to fall foliage.

gatineau park fall foliage color fall rhapsody

Fall Foliage at Gatineau Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   This panorama shows off the lighter colors of the maple tree trunks with their brighter foliage above. This is another unnamed marsh/pond in Gatineau Park, but is near the “Shilly Shally Shelter” and the junction of the Lac Fortune Parkway and the Champlain Parkway. I have several (to be published later) photos of this location that show a wider perspective but I think this one shows the most interesting elements of the scene. There are some smaller conifers in this area which further contrasts it from British Columbia where they would be the dominant type of tree in a mature forest.

roadside fall color in gatineau park

Fall Leaves along Dunlop Road during Fall Rhapsody at Gatineau Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Sometimes a good patch of color is just along the side of the road!

For more photos of fall foliage visit my Fall Photos Gallery.

Lower Falls Trail in Golden Ears Park

Scenes along the Lower Falls Trail in Golden Ears Provincial Park – on the way to Lower Falls on Gold Creek.

dragon log along lower falls trail with overhaning vine maple trees

The Dragon on Lower Falls Trail (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   I have photographed the scenes I’ve found along the Lower Falls Trail on many occasions. The trail winds through the rainforest in Maple Ridge’s Golden Ears Provincial Park on the way to Lower Falls which I have also photographed many times. Lower Falls is the most popular photography spot along the Lower Falls Trail, but I think the view of the Golden Ears and Gold Creek near a bend in the creek is a close second. This first photograph here might show the third most popular spot – the “Dragon” log next to the trail. This log looks a bit like a dragon’s head, and I’ve heard many people refer to it as such. Normally there are also various rocks (like the pointed on in this photo on the end of the nose) that add to this look. There was a rock in the log for its eye when I passed the first time but it was gone when I came back and photographed it.

vine maples overhang the lower falls trail golden ears

Vine Maples (Acer circinatum) along the Lower Falls Trail (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   These overhanging Vine Maple trees (Acer circinatum) are a nice photography opportunity as well, and are the same Vine Maples you see in the first photo above of the dragon log. I did prefer the Lower Falls Trail more in the past when there was a natural trail here, and not crushed gravel, but at least the bears/cougars can hear you coming with the constant crunch crunch sound that walking makes!

alder trees along gold creek in golden ears park

Red Alders (Alnus rubra) along Gold Creek (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   These last two scenes – Red Alders (Alnus rubra) and a view of Gold Creek with Mount Nutt in the background, are near the bend in the trail/creek I mentioned earlier. When I see scenes like this one with the Alder trees I do wish they would turn a nice color in the fall. Alder leaves, sadly, just sort of go brown and fall to the ground which doesn’t really lend itself to nice fall foliage photographs. I photographed these trees at the unnamed beach that is quite popular in the summer for swimming in (the probably cold) Gold Creek.

gold creek and mount nutt

Gold Creek and Mount Nutt along Lower Falls Trail (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   For more photographs of this park visit my Golden Ears Provincial Park Gallery.

Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island

The Skeena Queen docked at the BC Ferry terminal at Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.

fulford harbour salt spring island bc ferry skeena queen

Fulford Harbour – Skeena Queen at BC Ferries Terminal (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island is one of the 3 areas on the island with a BC Ferries terminal (in addition to Vesuvius and Long Harbour). I photographed the Skeena Queen dropping off passengers at Fulford Harbour during my last trip there in early June. This BC Ferries route goes between Fulford Harbour and Swartz Bay (near Victoria) on Vancouver Island. I like the Fulford Harbour area – it isn’t as busy as Ganges and offers some nice views of the water from the village itself as well as from Drummond Park. Fulford also offers a cafe and bakery, a restaurant, various artist studios, and a country store. During a previous trip I photographed the historic St. Paul’s Catholic Church (1885) which is near the village.

mute swan adult at fulford harbour salt spring island

Mute swan (Cygnus olor) at Fulford Harbour (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   This Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) immediately swam over when it saw me standing near the shoreline. I presume people feed the small population of the non-native Swans here and this one was heading over for a free snack. It wasn’t going to get anything from me, but I did take the opportunity to make a photograph. This was right near the outflow of Fulford Creek into Fulford Harbour which is probably a good place to forage for tasty morsels in a more natural way.

fulford creek estuary on salt spring isalnd

Fulford Creek Estuary (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   I made this photograph of Fulford Creek near the old site of the Fulford Inn. Fulford Creek is home to one of the the largest salmon runs in the Southern Gulf Islands. Home to Coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and Chum (O. keta) Salmon as well as Cutthroat Trout (O. clarkii) the creek fish populations are threatened mostly due to low water flows in the summer. I had just photographed the ferry above and failed to judge when the disembarking traffic was going to be going by, so I was stuck on the wrong side of the road for a while before I could get back to my car!

More photographs from my trips to Salt Spring can be found in my Salt Spring Island Gallery.

Spring Views at Saint Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island

Rowboat on the shore of Saint Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.

boat on shore of saint mary lake on salt spring island

Rowboat at St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Last week I headed back to Salt Spring Island here in British Columbia for a 3 day trip to photograph and visit friends. Last time I was on Salt Spring was in March of last year, and it was nice seeing the views with green grass and the leaves on the trees! I also had better weather overall this time around, with only some rain on my main photography day. As with any weather situation there is always something to photograph, so while I didn’t get as many of the wide, sweeping, ocean shoreline views as I’d wanted, the thin overcast cloud did work for many other situations.

saint mary lake on salt spring island

St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   One of many locations I visited for photography was Saint Mary Lake. St. Mary Lake is between Ganges and Vesuvius, and serves as both a recreation area (fishing, swimming, boating) and drinking water supply. I was not able to find all that many publicly accessible spots around the lake to photograph, but this one along North End Road gave me these views of the docks, swimming platforms and general scenery at the lake.

st mary lake on salt spring island

Private Dock at St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Most of the boats I came across at various locations on Salt Spring Island were not secured – usually just pulled up on shore. This kind of honour system would not likely work well in Vancouver! This boat in the first photograph was not tied up either. I’m sure the majority of the time this works out well for the boat owners on the island, but there was a sign next to this one asking for a boat to be returned that, evidently, had been liberated from it’s unsecured location.

swimming platform st mary lake on salt spring island

Swimming Platform at St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

More photographs of this island can be found in my Salt Spring Island Gallery.