Birds at Piper Spit in Burnaby Lake Regional Park

A male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) perched in a tree over Eagle Creek near Piper Spit in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

male wood duck perched in a tree at burnaby lake

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 at burnaby lake regional park

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.

long-billed dowitcher foraging at burnaby lake regional park

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 perched in a tree at burnaby lake

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 head up close photo at burnaby lake

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 adult at burnaby lake

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 hunting in the lily pads at burnaby lake

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) hunting in the Lily Pads at Burnaby Lake Regional Park (Purchase)

You can find more photographs from Burnaby Lake in my Burnaby Gallery.

Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park Part 2 – Ceperley House and Century Gardens

Century Gardens, Ceperley House and the Burnaby Art Gallery at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

burnaby art gallery ceperley house deer lake park

Burnaby Art Gallery (Cepereley House – built in 1911) at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

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In my previous post “Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park Part 1” I showed some photographs I made while walking around Deer Lake Park. On some of my repeated visits this fall I photographed the area on the northern edge of the park around the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and the Burnaby Art Gallery. Ceperley House is the name of the mansion that has been home to the Burnaby Art Gallery since the late 1960’s. It is also often called Fairacres Mansion and has been a part of the Canadian Register of Historic Places since 1992. Ceperley House/Fairacres Mansion is a two and a half storey house in the British Arts and Crafts style. The building was built by Grace E. Dixon Ceperley (1863-1917) and Henry Tracy Ceperley (1850- 1929) in 1911. The City of Burnaby purchased the mansion 1966 and converted it into their first art gallery to celebrate Canada’s Centennial of Confederation.

arbor in century gardens at deer lake park and burnaby art gallery

An Arbor and Ceperley House at the Century Gardens in Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

In 1967 Burnaby planted an extensive garden around the gallery called Century Gardens also in celebration of Canada’s Centennial. The photo above shows some of the gardens in late fall, with the plants in fall decline but with the Rhododendrons looking good year round. The Rhododendron is the city of Burnaby’s official flower, and there are a lot of them planted in Century Gardens as a result.

flowering annuals at century gardens with the burnaby art gallery at deer lake park

Burnaby Art Gallery with Begonias and other flowers at the Century Gardens at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

Century Gardens also is home to a lot of annuals that flower for just one season and are then removed. The first photograph and the one above show a large number of Begonias in the flower beds alongside the more permenant plants. On my second visit to the gardens this fall all of these had been removed by city crews. There are also a lot of Hydrangeas and Japanese Maples in the area.

fall foliage maple leaves century gardens burnaby

Fall foliage colour from various Japanese Maple Trees (Acer japonica) in the Century Gardens at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

You can view more of my photos from the City of Burnaby in my Burnaby gallery.

Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park Part 1

Burnaby’s skyline of apartment, commercial, and condo towers above Deer Lake Park on an early fall day.

burnaby skyline above deer lake park

Burnaby’s Skyline above Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

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A few months ago I came across an online photograph of Deer Lake Park and realized it looked like a good destination for photographs. Despite living in Burnaby (north Burnaby) years ago I’d not visited there recreationally. I did visit on a cold fall Saturday morning when I was in University for a field trip of sorts learning to use various underwater instruments from canoes. I mostly remember that day for the moment where I threatened the grad student TA with an oar if he wasn’t going to keep his butt in the center of our canoe after multiple suggestions/warnings. He complied.

On three occasions this past October I visited Deer Lake Park in Burnaby to see what photographs I could make. I planned out a few things on the various maps of the many trails in the area, but ultimately Covid-19 restrictions chose my route for me – the majority of the trails are now one way. So I started at the boat launch area parking lot, and walked clockwise around the lake, with one added loop at the west end. The trail starts along a small street passing a few lakeside houses (including the Baldwin House shown below) before moving to a smaller gravel trail heading west. This was a nice walk, and ultimately I completed about 7km of trails including the main loop. I enjoyed exploring around the lake and eventually stopped at the area where Deer Lake Brook flows out of the northeast corner of Deer Lake where it continues on into Burnaby Lake. The area I photographed below is fenced off as it is a recovering ecological area – I’m sure people trample the stream bank otherwise.

deer lake brook in deer lake park burnaby

Deer Lake Brook in Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

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The photograph below shows the “Baldwin House” on the south shore of the lake. The Baldwin House was built in 1965 for Dr. William and Ruth Baldwin and was designed by renowned architect Arthur Erickson. Most around Vancouver will know Arthur Erickson as the designer (along with Geoff Massey) of Simon Fraser University. The Baldwin House is valued as an example of Burnaby’s post WWII modern heritage, progressive architectural style, and was added to the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Arthur Ericksons Baldwin house on the shore of deer lake park

Baldwin House (designed by Arthur Erickson) on the shore of Deer Lake in Burnaby (Purchase)

On my third October visit to the park I photographed this scene looking down towards Deer Lake. I was photographing the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (photo below), the Burnaby Art Gallery (Ceperly House) and the Century Gardens – and liked the sunny and colourful view down the path towards the lake. When the surrounding Maples really light up in a good year for fall foliage I’ll hopefully be visiting and be able to make more photographs of the area.

autumn leaves over a path down to the lake at deer lake park

Fall Leaves over a path down to Deer Lake (Purchase)

The last photograph here shows the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts at Deer Lake Park. The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts is a popular venue for live performances, art programs, community events, and festivals.

shadbolt centre for the arts at burnabys deer lake park

The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby (Purchase)

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Part II of my blog posts from Deer Lake can be found here: Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park Part 2 – Ceperley House and Century Gardens.

View of Vancouver and North Vancouver from Burnaby Mountain

View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and beyond – from Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

view of the city of vancouver after sunset from above

View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Burnaby (Purchase)

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As with many of my better images these photos of a view of Vancouver were not really planned. I had a plan, but when that fell through (as they often do) I had to adjust (more on that later). This is the view of Vancouver from the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area near Simon Fraser University. I’ve been surprised both times I’ve photographed here that I have not seen other photographers (beyond those with cell phones) as the view is quite popular. When I went to school at SFU this was a busy area at sunset as people parked their cars to watch (and do other things) – and this was much the same last week when I was on Burnaby Mountain. Two separate people were even brought by their drivers, and had their own security. Why this area is popular is understandable as the view is spectacular on a nice day!

The panorama above shows many notable buildings and locations in and around Vancouver (best viewed in the larger “lightbox” version if you click on the smaller version above). On the left the blue lights are from BC Place and above the stadium you can see Mount Arrowsmith on Vancouver Island. Then we have the towers of the downtown area of the City of Vancouver and the Port of Vancouver structures next to Burrard Inlet. Beyond Vancouver you can see other areas of Vancouver Island (including the light of Nanaimo), and ships waiting to load/unload in English Bay. The darker area before you get to the Lions Gate Bridge is Stanley Park, and then you have the bridge itself, and the lights of the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. In the foreground you have Capitol Hill in north Burnaby (I can see the house I lived in for a few years in this photo), and then the Burnaby Refinery (Parkland) next to Burrard Inlet.

view of vancouver after sunset

View of Vancouver from Burnaby Mountain after sunset. (Purchase)

I had initially planned to photograph a few scenes in Port Moody (which I was able to do) and then photograph some blue hour photos of snow on the mountains to the north (Mount Seymour, etc). I didn’t expect a sunset due to cloud cover and I have had a few ideas for those photos for a few years. It became immediately clear that there was not a lot of snow on the mountains (visible) and that plan was going to have to be abandoned.

When I was editing these photos I was reflecting whether these images would have been possible for me to make maybe even 5 years ago. My camera at the time would have done a good job, but I’m not sure I’d have been able to get in the right position and more importantly, the right frame of mind, to make these photos. I used to over plan my photography days, and if I’d shown up here to make blue hour photos of mountains covered in snow (and not found those scenes) I might have still been stewing on this and unable to make the transition to shooting something else. You just can only shoot what is actually there, and even if that thing isn’t what you initially wanted or expected, there is almost always something else to photograph. Knowing more about what locations are nearby and what potential they have also helps! Even if you photograph nothing at a location, seeing what might be possible there in the future can help a lot.

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

Barnet Marine Park in the Evening

A small lighthouse at Barnet Marine Park on Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

barnet marine park in burnaby

View from Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby (Purchase)

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    Barnet Marine Park is situated along Burrard Inlet along the north end of Burnaby Mountain in Burnaby, BC. This was my final stop of the day back in October, where I’d previously visited Sasamat Lake and Rocky Point Park hunting fall foliage. The cement structure between the lighthouse and the shore is the remains of an old scrap burner that was used for a lumber mill that was on this site until 1958. This spot is one I have visited for over 20 years, and I always enjoy the walk along the shoreline even if the light isn’t photo worthy. This is a great place to view wildlife (seals, crabs, herons etc.) as well as a wide variety of passing boats.

lighthouse at barnet marine park in burnaby

Lighthouse at Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby (Purchase)

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You can view more of my photography from this area in my City of Burnaby Gallery.

Burnaby and the Northshore Mountains

Burnaby’s Metrotown and the North Shore (Pacific Coast Range) Mountains. Photographed from Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach, British Columbia, Canada

Buildings in Burnaby and the Northshore Mountains from Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach

Burnaby and the Northshore Mountains from Blackie Spit (Purchase)

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   Last week I went to Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach to photograph birds, the estuary, and whatever else I could find. I specifically chose an evening at high tide as I have previously been here and sometimes the canals and flats are not nearly as photogenic with mud, dry/crusty algae, and other low tide qualities. This was one of the views near sunset – the buildings of Burnaby’s Metrotown area with Boundary Bay in the foreground, and the Northshore Mountains in the background. A friend initially thought this could be the buildings of downtown Vancouver but Google Earth confirmed this is indeed Burnaby. This photo illustrates one of the things I like about this region, mo matter where you are there is likely a view of the mountains even when many kilometers away. The panorama below shows a bit of a wider view of the area I photographed, including more of the mountains and some of the old dock pilings (I presume) left over from old infrastructure.

Burnaby and the Northshore Mountains from Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach

Northshore Mountains and Burnaby’s Metrotown from Blackie Spit (Purchase)

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For more of my Mountain photographs visit the Mountain Photos Gallery in my Image Library.