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Miscellaneous Photos Collection #6

Another post with a mix of recent photographs of various subjects:

Red Langley Barn

I’ve driven past this restored “hip roofed” barn in Langley, BC for years. I decided to photograph it this spring when there was a nice bloom of Buttercups in the field nearby. Naturally we had a few immediate downpours and windy days but happily the Buttercups were still intact and upright when I drove here one evening. A nice scene in the snow as well, which is also on my list.

barn in langley british columbia

Buttercups blooming in front of a Langley Barn (Purchase)

A Dragonfly at Golden Ears Provincial Park

Dragonflies aren’t my usual subject when I visit Golden Ears Provincial Park! I had not visited the park in a while, and so I did my usual hike up to Lower Falls, and then out to North Beach. I had never really visited on a warm summer day before, and the amount of people at North Beach was significant. I did find a quiet place to relax for a while, but didn’t make any photos of note at either location. This was my first trip during the need for parking reservations, which I’d made for the lower falls parking lot. Imagine my surprise when there was nowhere to park, as they don’t actually check this stuff! This was early in the summer, so hopefully they worked out a better system (like actually checking passes on the way in) as the summer progressed. On the way out of the park I visited the Spirea Nature Trail which is one of those really short trails around something educationally interesting (a bog/marsh area in this case) with informative signs. A number of different Dragonfly species caught my eye near the ponds, and I photographed this one resting on a Cedar branch. I’ll (very) tentatively identify it as a Spiny Baskettail (Epitheca spinigera) but I am not certain of that. Any Dragonfly experts wish to correct my ID?

dragonfly on cedar branch

A Dragonfly on a cedar branch in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Fledgling

I photographed this fledgling American Robin in the backyard in between feedings from its parents. Some bird babies look rather cute. Robin babies tend to look like this one, a bit angry, a bit confused, a bit sullen teenager. I might feel the same if someone kept stuffing worms into my mouth all day, actually.

american robin fledgling baby

American Robin Fledgling (Purchase)

Bigleaf Maple Flowers

We don’t often think of Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) as having flowers in the spring, but that is what these are, hanging just below some emerging leaves. Early in the spring these look like young leaves from a distance and aren’t bright and colourful like some flowering trees (Magnolias, for example). I made a photograph earlier this year on Salt Spring Island that also showed the Maple flowers which were the only foliage visible on any of the large deciduous trees in the area. While the Maple flowers aren’t colourful, I have seen the bees enjoying them quite often. I photographed the flowers below at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, BC.

bigleaf maple flowers

Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) Flowering in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

Soapwort Flower

I photographed this Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) flower in bloom in my Mom’s backyard. This flower is a bit atypical as the majority of Soapwort flowers are found in large clusters at the top of the stalk, though this one is by itself, part way down. Soapwort is a perennial herb grown in many herb gardens and is used to make detergent and soaps, as well as an ornamental plant. The saponins in the roots and leaves of Soapwort create bubbles when agitated in water. Soapwort is also known as common soapwort, bouncing-bet, crow soap, wild sweet William, and Soapweed.

soapwort flowers

Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) Flower (Purchase)

For more of my newer images visit my New Images Gallery.

A Walk Through Sendall Botanical Gardens

Begonia flowers provide a colorful border to the paths along Muckle Creek on an early fall day at Sendall Botanical Gardens in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

sendall botanical gardens

Begonias blooming in the flower beds at Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

I have a long list of smaller, lesser known parks to visit and photograph, and earlier this fall I visited Sendall Botanical Gardens in Langley City. I’d heard of these gardens many times, and I may have even visited as a kid, but I had no memory of the place. What I found was a very nice, albeit small garden centric park with a nice tropical greenhouse as well. Sendall Botanical Gardens are named after Ernest Edward Sendall who was the first Mayor of Langley City 1955 until his death in 1959. In 1974 the property was purchased and named “Sendall Gardens”.

early fall foliage at sendall botanical gardens

Path near the entrance to Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

Sendall Botanical Gardens features 3.67 acres of gardens, paths, and a small stream called Muckle Creek. While the City of Langley’s website indicates there are two duck ponds here, those have been filled and now are home to a picnic table area and garden beds. My first photograph here shows some Begonia plants in full bloom and the paths with benches along side Muckle Creek in the lower part of the gardens. I believe the flower bed just beyond the park benches in my first photo is where one of the duck ponds used to be. The second photo here shows some early fall leaves falling from trees overhanging the path near the parking lot for the gardens.

begonias and stone steps at sendall gardens

Begonias and other plants along the path through Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

I liked this scene both for the Japanese Maple (Acer japonica) trees and the stone stairs’ railing made out of branches from local fallen trees. Again, Begonias make up most of the flowering plants in the foreground along with a large leaved plant I believe is called “Elephants Ears”.

japanese maples path sendall botanical gardens

Japanese Maples overhang the path through Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

Sendall Gardens Greenhouse

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Water Drops on Leaves in the Greenhouse at Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

The gardens are the main attraction on the grounds of Sendall Gardens, but there is also a greenhouse with a variety of colourful tropical plants. The tropical greenhouse is open from April 1 to October 1. I returned to Sendall Gardens just a few days ago and it looks like the greenhouse is the winter storage area for many of the plants in the gardens that wouldn’t be able to overwinter on their own. The aforementioned Elephant Ears plant is one of those plants. The greenhouse isn’t very large, but despite that I did photograph in it for over an hour. The only thing I wish for the greenhouse would be more labels for the variety of plants growing there. I was able to identify some of them, but many remain a mystery. Among these mysteries are the unknown plant above with some water drops on its leaves.

leaves and tree trunks in tropical greenhouse

Various Leaves and tree trunks at the greenhouse at Sendall Botanical Garden (Purchase)

One of the plants I was able to identify after photographing it was this Urn Plant (Aechmea fasciata). The flowers are quite distinctive and an ID app I use was able to identify it for me from this photograph. The Urn Plant is also known as the Silver Vase Plant and is in the Bromliacae family.

flowering urn plant Aechmea fasciata

Flowering Urn Plant (Aechmea fasciata) Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

This last photograph isn’t quite a macro, but kind of looks like one. This is another large leaved plant in the greenhouse with some beads of water on it. I made several photos of this and put them together so more of it was in focus at once (focus stacking).

waterdrops on a very large leaf in a tropical greenhouse

Water drops on an unknown (and large) leaf in the Sendall Gardens Greenhouse (Purchase)

You can view more of my photographs from Langley in my Langley Township & Langley City 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.

Frozen Fraser River and the Golden Ears

Ice on the Fraser River with the Golden Ears Mountains in the background – photographed from Brae Island Regional Park in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

frozen ice fraser river winter golden ears langley british columbia

Ice on the Fraser River with the Golden Ears Mountains in the background (Purchase)

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   Winter is usually a fleeting concept for much of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. We get the odd snowfall, a few cold spells below zero, and it doesn’t always have a lot of impact (easy for me to say, usually working at home). Sometimes we have extended cold snaps with snow that lead to interesting conditions we don’t see all the time. In late December and early January we had almost a foot of snow on the ground and temperatures were getting down to -12°C at night, which is more winter than we are used to! I headed to the Fraser River in early January to see if I could get some good photographs of the ice on the river and the snow on the mountains – not conditions I get to see all that often.

   Brae Island Regional Park is a location I have photographed before for its good views of the Fraser and the mountains to the north. The best view is often from Tavistock Point though there are other northern facing spots as well. Unfortunately, most of those had fallen trees and brush from the winter storms blocking them. In the few spots I could get down to the water without going off the trail the river ice had ridden up the bank making venturing further a bit too risky not knowing if there was sand or water below. The above photograph was made at Tavistock Point after sunset. As this was facing north, there was only a slight “Belt of Venus” effect in the sky which isn’t really noticeable here. The approximately 2.5 km of trails to get to this point normally takes me about 25 minutes to walk, but as there was snow this trip took me about 50 minutes. Many people had walked the trails in the previous days since the last snowfall, and we had one above zero day in between, so the trail was sheer ice or very slippery. The frozen river conditions made this well worthwhile but if you have similar conditions and aren’t up to falling on your butt a number of times on the way I’d skip it for warmer days!

frozen ice fraser river winter golden ears langley british columbia

Golden Ears Reflections (Purchase)

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   The photograph above was made slightly earlier in the evening than the panorama. This was photographed near one of the spots I mentioned with fallen trees, but I was able to get near the water enough to make this photo, though I had to edit out a small tree branch I just couldn’t get out of the way. The frozen Fraser River was enough of a subject to keep me busy, though I do wish that I had been able to find more spots with mountain reflections in the water. The Golden Ears Mountains (Mount Blandshard) themselves are a great subject, and consist of McPhaden Peak, Edge Peak and Blandshard Peak. The mountain that is reflected in the Fraser on the right hand side (in the first photograph) is Mount Robbie Reid.

For more of my Panoramas please visit my Panoramas Gallery.

View of Glen Valley Farmland and the Fraser River

View of Glen Valley farmland, the Fraser River, and Coquitlam/Burnaby Mountain from Bradner Road in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

panorama of glen valley farmland and the fraser river in langley abbotsford

View of Glen Valley Farmland in Langley and Abbotsford (Purchase)

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   This view of Glen Valley’s farmland is one that I had forgotten about for many years. I remember looking out the car window and seeing this view as a kid from the backseat of my parents’ car. On a rare, non rainy day last fall I remembered the viewpoint when I was nearby, and decided to drive up to Bradner Road to see if it was still there. I was happy to find it hadn’t been overgrown by trees and still offered good views of Glen Valley below. It wasn’t the clearest day but I think I will be back there in the spring to see if sunset offers any interesting light from this vantage point.

view of glen valley farms in abbotsford and langley

View of Glen Valley (Purchase)

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   One of the common crops farmed in Glen Valley are cranberries and blueberries. The bottom left of the above photograph shows one of the many partially flooded cranberry field after harvest. The fields are flooded in the fall so that the berries float to the surface (after a bit of a beating) for easy collection.

glen valley farmland and the fraser river

Glen Valley Farmland and the Fraser River (Purchase)

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   The third photo here shows Glen Valley, The Fraser River, Macmillan Island, Coquitlam, and Burnaby Mountain beyond. I was a bit surprised how far I could see from this elevation. The top of the Port Mann Bridge and many taller buildings in Surrey were also visible.

For more photos of Glen Valley and the surrounding region please visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.

Langley Bog in Derby Reach Regional Park

Langley Bog from the new viewing platform at Derby Reach Regional Park (Houston Trail) in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

langley bog viewing platform and the coast mountains from derby reach regional park

Langley Bog from Derby Reach Park Viewing Platform (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I went to the Langley Bog for the first time as there was a new viewing platform off of the Houston Trail in Derby Reach Regional Park. I had never walked on the Houston Trail but was aware of it and the bog (which is generally closed to the public) on my many drives past the trailhead. While the Langley Bog is a very interesting place biologically, I didn’t find all that much insight into that via the viewing platform (built by the Derby Reach Brae Island Parks Association. Granted, everything was frozen solid at the time and spring/summer may yield more wildlife viewing and other interesting things. This may be a good spot for birding in the future. I also hope that this is not the end of construction. Burns Bog has a lot of trails and boardwalks (via the Delta Nature Reserve) where you can walk, with relatively low disturbance of the bog itself. It would be nice if this kind of thing could be incorporated into Langley Bog in the future.

For more photos of the Langley area visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.

Golden Ears Mountains and the Fraser River

The Golden Ears mountains as photographed from Brae Island Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

golden ears mountains and the log booms on the fraser river in langley bc

Golden Ears Mountains and the Fraser River

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   Last week I visited Brae Island Regional Park near Fort Langley, BC. I have found with previous trips to this park that timing can be important. My first visit there was mostly noteworthy for the vast quantities of mosquitoes I encountered which allowed me to break a personal record for bites in one evening (50). I guess late May is not a good time to visit. I was able to photograph at the various viewpoints of the Fraser River on my trip there one year ago without any mosquito action so I headed there again this year at about the same time – early September. I didn’t get to see a great sunset, but I did like this scene that I photographed from a viewpoint just east of Tavistock Point. The panorama above shows the Golden Ears mountains (Mount Blandshard) and Mount Robbie Reid (right) which are a familiar sight from the Fraser Valley (especially Langley and Maple Ridge). The Golden Ears are formed by McPhaden Peak, Edge Peak and Blandshard Peak. The majority of the trees on the other side of the Fraser River are in Kanaka Creek Regional Park (in Maple Ridge).

   Despite the general lack of mosquitoes this trip was not free animal intervention. My walk to Tavistock point took about 25 minutes from the parking lot. The way back took me about 35 minutes, and it had little to do with the darkness. I had a flashlight out, but despite that there were so many frogs out on the trail that I had to go pretty slowly to avoid stepping on them. A recent windstorm and the dry summer also left a lot of dry, crumpled cottonwood and alder leaves on the trail, which were hard to distinguish from the frogs against the crushed gravel. I stopped counting at around 35 frogs but I don’t think I stepped on any, luckily.

Visit my Fraser Valley Gallery for more photographs from the Fraser Valley.

Fishing Boats on the Fraser River

Fishing boats tied up on a dock along Bedford Channel – on the Fraser River in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

fraser river fishing boats

Fishing Boats along the Fraser River (Purchase)

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   On my recent walk through Brae Island Regional Park in Fort Langley, British Columbia I stopped at one of the viewpoints on the Bedford Channel shoreline. Bedford Channel runs between Fort Langley and Brae Island and many may be familiar with it by crossing the bridge over it to the now defunct Albion Ferry. Earlier in the year I’d stopped at this view point but the spring freshet water levels were very high and I wasn’t about to get near the river. On this visit I was able to walk along the shore for a while and photographed these fishing boats docked along the channel. While not quite as nice as the scenery I found later at Tavistock Point further along the trail, it was a nice spot to pause for a while.