Western Trillium Flowers in the Fraser Valley Of BC

A pair of Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) flowers in the forest at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, BC.

pair of western white trillium flowers at campbell valley park

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 flowers at williams park with tree trunk

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.

group of pacific trillium flowers on forest floor

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 turning purple

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 pacific trillium flowers at campbell valley park

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.

white trillium flower and leaves

A White Trillium Flower in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

For more photographs of Trilliums and other wildflowers visit my Wildflower Photos 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.

Spring in Campbell Valley Park

In Campbell Valley Park, a pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) escort their goslings across McLean Pond.

canada goose family on mclean pond campbell valley park

Canada Geese pair with goslings (Purchase)

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   As warmer, spring weather is finally here – I headed to Campbell Valley Park last week to photograph whatever I could find around McLean pond. Turns out the Dandelion flowers of the week before (see below) were spent, so I used most of my time photographing this Canada Goose family. Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are pretty ubiquitous around here, but I hadn’t before had the opportunity to photograph a family such as this, and not as close as this. While I most often use it for landscapes, my 1.4x extender was purchased for wildlife encounters such as this one, and it performs well on my 70-200mm lens. This allowed me to sit on the bank and let them swim by whenever they wanted – I didn’t disturb them much at all. What did bother this pair was another pair of adults that seemed to take a run at them every 10 minutes or so. The male (I presume) would swim over, get really close to the mother and goslings, and the parental male would chase him away, then chase the female away. There was a lot of squawking, splashing and flapping of wings. I don’t know if this was about territory or what exactly, but they were persistent the entire time I was there (about an hour).

   In the Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley area we don’t have big fields of wildflowers in any form other than that of the Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). While these are considered a weed in lawns and gardens – I do think they make a credible wildflower display in fields such as this one in Campbell Valley Park. Not quite as impactful as some of the alpine and subalpine fields with multiple species such as those found at Mount Rainier, but still worthy of some attention.

sunset at jack point in biggs park nanaimo

A field of Dandelions blooming in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

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See more of my photos from Campbell Valley Park.

Mushrooms in the Fraser Valley

A trio of Fall mushrooms growing on a mossy stump at Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

mushrooms on a mossy stump at campbell valley park in langley british columbia

Mushrooms in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

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   This small group of mushrooms was growing in a mossy stump at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia. Virtually any forested area in the Fraser Valley will have a lot of mushrooms this time of year, especially if there has been enough moisture to support them. I like photographing mushrooms, especially when the fall colours are fading in the parks close to home. I had actually gone to this park the day before, but forgot my macro lens. While my 70-200mm does a great job of photographing subjects like these from a distance, I pushed the minimum focusing distance a bit too much and wound up with sharp moss and out of focus mushrooms in some photographs (a lazy mistake). So I went back the next day with the macro lens to do a proper job. I wasn’t able to decide if I liked the wider angle version or the tighter composition of the second image, so I posted both of them here.

mushrooms on a mossy stump at campbell valley park in langley british columbia

Trio of small mushrooms on a mossy stump (Purchase)

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   Despite my Biology background, I have little knowledge of mushroom and fungi identification. I always try to ID everything I photograph down to the species level if possible. With mushrooms, unless they are very distinct, I have very little luck getting to the Genus level on occasion. Since I can’t ID the ones I photograph, I’m never going to be someone who goes out to get ones to eat! Too many subtle variations between species, sometimes requiring a microscope for proper identification. I think I will stick to the ones in the grocery store!

Campbell Valley Regional Park Photos

A Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) with a bed of Pacific Bleeding Heart flowers (Dicentra formosa) – at Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

vine maple and pacific bleeding hearts in campbell valley park, langley, british columbia

Vine Maple and Pacific Bleeding Heart in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

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   Today I have two photos from Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia. One of the things I have been working on with my photography is to improve the photos I make of scenes inside the forest. There can often be so many competing elements all heading in different directions that a pleasing, non cluttered composition can be difficult. So I decided to work on that, and am getting results that I think are an improvement and more compelling than previous efforts. This photo (left) of a Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) with a bed of Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) growing below it is one example.

walking path in campbell valley park in langley - british columbia

Walking path in Campbell Valley Regional Park (Purchase)

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   I’ve recently been editing and key wording all the photos I’ve made in this park over the last few years. Many were already processed, but there was still a lot of work to be done. I’ll place them all in their own gallery on my website soon – right now they are scattered over a few different categories. Campbell Valley Park is only about a 15 minute drive for me, so I will likely be spending even more time there as a lot of the park I have yet to explore.

For all my photographs of this park visit my Campbell Valley Regional Park Gallery.