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 (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 (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.
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.
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 of Lavender on a White Background (Purchase)
A juvenile Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) resting on a Rose bush 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 (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.
A pair of Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) flowers in the forest at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, BC.
A pair of Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) flowers at Campbell Valley Regional Park (Purchase)
A number of years ago I temporarily gave up on photographing Western Trilliums in the various parks I frequent as I wasn’t having much success. I enjoy finding these somewhat rare flowers in the forest, and usually photographed them each spring along with the much more common Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa). While I had some success about 10 years ago, for quite a few years I came up empty, got the timing wrong, or someone had picked the flowers. So for a few years I didn’t have these flowers on my spring agenda specifically, and photographed other subjects instead. I came across the flower below next to a cedar tree while not really looking for photography subjects and a few days later came back and made all of the photographs in this post in one afternoon.
Western Trilliums are also known as Pacific Trillium, Wake Robins, and Western White Trillium. They grow in western North America, from here in Southern BC down to central California, and as far east as Alberta, Idaho, and Montana. Trilliums are a perennial plant that grows up above the surface from rhizomes. Technically, they do not produce true leaves above the ground. The stem is considered a part of the rhizome and the above ground part of the plant is an upright flowering scape. The leaf like structures, which most still generally refer to as leaves as they are photosynthetic, are bracts – a kind of modified leaf. One familiar example of bracts are the bright parts of the poinsettia “flower”, which are not the true flower, nor are they true leaves.
Western Trillium (T. ovatum) flower at Williams Park (Purchase)
The Western Trillium tends to be found growing in coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests here in British Columbia. The two places I found them the most frequently this year were those kinds of forests in Langley’s Williams Park and the Metro Vancouver’s Campbell Valley Regional Park. The first photograph here shows a pair of Trillium blooms in Campbell Valley Park, in a mostly coniferous forest. The second photograph above shows a maturing flower at the base of a cedar trunk along with a frequent companion – the Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa). Despite the much higher than usual traffic on the trails this spring I was happy to find no flowers that had been picked. In southwestern British Columbia Trilliums can most often be found flowering in March or April, with some still lingering into May depending on the weather. I photographed all of these in the third week of April.
A group of Trillium flowers growing on the forest floor (Purchase)
Some T. ovatum plants emerge as individual stalks, but sometimes can be found in a group. I am not sure if they will grow multiple stalks from the same rhizome, but in the photo above, I would think this large group is the result of multiple plants growing in the same area.
Western Trillium flowers start out white, but as they mature turn a pink or purple colour. I photographed the flower below in Williams Park, and it had turned a very nice dark shade of pink/purple at that time. You can see the brown starting to form on the lower left petal which is a sign this flower had nearly reached the end of its display. The numerous seeds from the resulting fruit is quite attractive to ants and is often dispersed by them as they take the fruit back to their nests.
Mature Western Trillium Flower in Williams Park (Purchase)
While mature Trillium plants will keep the above ground portion of the scape intact for a time after flowering (given there is sufficient moisture), the less mature tend to disintegrate the above ground plant more quickly.
Pair of Trillium Flowers Growing Together under the Forest Canopy (Purchase)
Depending on conditions T. ovatum may go into dormancy for a few years before growing an above ground scape and flowers again. This could be one reason I had little success for a few years in finding them, though it seems unlikely they’d be dormant all at once in such numbers. The Trillium below was interesting as it was all by itself, there were very few other plants around it on the forest floor. I’d previously mostly frequently encountered them mixed in with Bleeding Hearts, Sword Ferns, False lily-of-the-valley, Foam flower, or under Salmonberry Bushes.
A White Trillium Flower in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)
For more photographs of Trilliums and other wildflowers visit my Wildflower Photos Gallery.
A Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) perched on a branch at Ladner Harbour Park in Delta, British Columbia, Canada.
Bewick’s Wren (T. bewickii) at Ladner Harbour Park in Delta (Purchase)
Earlier this year I stopped for a walk around Ladner Harbour Park (map) in Delta, BC. I’ve been making an attempt to visit some smaller parks around here either as a full destination or as a stop along the way to other locations. Ladner Harbour Park has a few kilometers of trails, and I thought it was worth checking it out. This was a day of my least favourite kind of light – lots of high clouds gave a bright day but with lots of glare which meant I was unlikely to be shooting any larger landscape scenes. With my longer 100-400mm zoom lens birds are always an option, and I wound up using it for all of these photographs. The first photograph here shows a Bewick’s Wren (T. bewickii) which is not a species I think I have photographed before. I see them quite often, but they like the brush and shrubs in the understory of the forest, and are not a bird species that seems to sit still. They do seem to be rather noisy though, and often are making calls that help me know when to look for a small, darting, little brown bird that is too far away. Getting a clear shot of them is not easy due to their habitat, but I sat down on the edge of the trail and this one gave me a few chances to make photographs of it while it scampered around and foraged in the leaves.
The next photograph of patterns in the sand is something I might not normally have noticed, but I’m glad I did. This is a small spring or perhaps water draining out of this hole from higher ground in the tidal area. Either way, it made these interesting patterns in the sand which looks a bit like an alluvial fan. There is water coming vertically out of the ground on the left hand side of the formation which flows down into the stream of water on the right. In some ways it reminds me of this photograph of the Chilliwack River only in that it has the feeling of an aerial photograph. This view was from Mcneelys Trail and one of the new bridges in that section of trail.
Patterns in the sand along the Fraser River (Purchase)
I am almost at the point where I need to stop photographing Herons. I like these birds a lot, and watching them hunt in fields or in the water like very tiny dinosaurs is always interesting. This particular Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) was wading in one of the ditches (for lack of a better word) running out from the park to the edge of the Fraser River. Since it was a bright but not a clear day, the light was harsh, but it did allow me to make a photo of a Heron unlike my others. I like the contour of the muddy shoreline behind it and the reflection as well. Herons, unlike Wrens and other birds, are a bit easier to photograph as they wade slowly or stay still hoping prey wanders near. One of the reasons I have so many photographs of them!
Great Blue Heron hunting along the Fraser River in Ladner (Purchase)
For birds that are relatively shy, it seems relatively easy to notice Spotted Towhees (Pipilo maculatus) when they are near me on the trail. Perhaps that is one reason they changed the name from “Rufous Sided Towhee” to Spotted Towhee? 😉 They are larger birds and easier to spot than the Wren in the first photograph, and are often scratching in the leaves and twigs on the forest floor in hopes of finding worthwhile morsels. They are shy though, so usually when I’ve attempted to photograph them I just see what direction they seem to be working in, and get ahead of them and just sit. This one didn’t seem to be too wary of me (it is next to the dog park and a busy trail to the southern viewpoint) and seemed to find some seeds in this particular spot.
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) foraging at Ladner Harbour Park (Purchase)
For more photographs from this area visit my Delta Gallery.
Another quick round of random photos that I wanted to share but don’t quite fit into other blog posts.
Towering Cumulus from Steveston Harbour
Towering Cumulus clouds drift across the evening sky over fishing boats in Steveston Harbour (Purchase)
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Last fall when I visited a few parks in Richmond, BC I ended the day at Steveston Harbour and Garry Point Park. I liked the shapes these Towering Cumulus clouds were making in the background and I thought this phenomenon might have a specific name. It turns out, after asking on Twitter, that these are Towering Cumulus clouds which would normally be mostly vertical, but as there were stronger winds at lower elevations, the bottom sections were blown to the left. An interesting formation, and one I wouldn’t know about if a meteorologist hadn’t answered my question!
Ice on the Fraser River
Ice along the Fraser River in Glen Valley (Purchase)
This was not a particularly harsh winter in the Fraser Valley, but we did have a cold stretch that lasted long enough for some ice to come down the Fraser River from colder areas in the interior. Some ice formed along the shore of the river, but there were also chunks floating down from upstream. This spot is at Glen Valley in Abbotsford, BC, and shows the east end of Crescent Island and the ice buildup there. Not that common an occurrence so I do try to get out and photograph it when possible. The mountain showing through the clouds in the background made the photograph worthwhile IMO, or I might have gone for a longer lens and focused just on the ice.
Reflections at Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park
Alder trunks reflecting on the surface of Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park (Purchase)
I have photographed this location (The Point) at Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park (one of my favourite park names) on a few occasions. Strangely I’ve twice had some serious colour issues when processing images from this location. I wrestled with a few of the photos from this evening for a while, but ultimately sent two of them to my friend Alex Kunz who showed how he would develop/process them. Naturally, two photographers will probably never be in complete agreement on what to edit in a photo due to monitor calibration choices, how we individually see colour, choices that are simply a matter of taste, etc. Seeing how others would approach a problem is often useful though, and I did manage to see how Alex works with some of the tools in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)/LR which may influence how I process a few things in the future. ACR has more and more capabilities with recent updates and I need to investigate those more often to see how they rank against the methods I’ve been using in Photoshop. I’ve moved more and more processing to ACR recently including stitching panoramas, graduated neutral density filters, and some colour tweaks as ACR has better results, or is easier to use, than the Photoshop equivalent.
As for the photograph itself, I’m clearly a sucker for reflections. While these Red Alder (Alnus rubra) trees don’t show a lot of fall foliage character, their partially white trunks work well in a reflection. Some of the grasses and shoreline shrubs offer a bit of colour which still gives it an autumn feel.
Alder Trees at Katzie Marsh
Sunlight touches the moss and lichen covered branches of Red Alder at Katzie Marsh (Purchase)
During a visit to Pitt Lake and the Katzie Marsh in Pitt Meadows, BC a few years ago I made this photograph of the sunlight lighting up a few branches on these Red Alder (A. rubra) trees. As the photograph above shows, Red Alder don’t really do anything interesting in the fall, and are a somewhat generic green deciduous tree during spring and summer. Their bark, however, does have some interesting patterns on it in the winter and in this location had a lot of moss and lichen that adds to the character of the branches.
More of my newer images can be found in my New Images Gallery.
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)