Bog Plants in Vancouver’s Camosun Bog

Round-Leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) at Camosun Bog in Pacific Spirit Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

round-leaved sundew camosun bog

Round-Leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) at Camosun Bog (Purchase)

In June I’d seen a number of people on Twitter talking about Camosun Bog in Pacific Spirit Park as a good spot for various flowering bog species at the time, so I decided to head out there and see what was still in bloom. I was also thinking a lot about the possibility of seeing Sundews again, a species I haven’t seen in person since a University trip to Burns Bog back in 1999 or so. I visited Camosun Bog for the very first time last September. As this followed the Heat dome natural disaster earlier that year and a relatively dry/hot summer, things were pretty crispy in Camosun bog then. After a lot of rain this winter the bog looked replenished and relatively healthy this spring. I was a bit too late for a good flower display from the Bog Laurels, but there was more than enough species of interest to spend over an hour making photographs.

The first plants I looked for were the Sundews which were easy to spot and fairly plentiful. The photograph above shows a rather large group of them mixed in with some Sphagnum moss and decaying leaves from last year. This particular species is the Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). Like other Sundews, the Round-leaved Sundew is a carnivorous plant, and more specifically an insectivore. The photograph below is a zoomed in version of another Sundew plant I photographed, and shows the sticky red tentacle-like hairs that tempt insects both with their red colour and nectar in order to trap and then digest them.

round-leaved sundew closeup

Round-Leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) at Camosun Bog (Purchase)

The next species I photographed were these flowering Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) plants. I’ve seen Bunchberry before in person and in other photographs, but had not made images of them myself until now. I’d always thought they looked like miniature Pacific Dogwood Flowers (Cornus nuttallii) and there is good reason for that, they are in the same genus – Cornus. Bunchberry, unlike its larger cousin, grows as a relatively short ground cover in fairly moist forest floor/bog environments. The flowers mature into glossy red berries.

bunchberry flowers cornus canadensis

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) flowers at Camosun Bog (Purchase)

I also made several images of Northern Starflower (Trientalis arctica) plants, which were mostly blooming when I visited Camosun Bog. I am not entirely sure which is the preferred name for this species, but it is also often listed as Arctic Starflower (Trientalis europaea ssp. arctica).

northern arctic starflowers camosun bog

Northern Starflower (Trientalis arctica) (Purchase)

One of the most recognizable species in a bog, Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum). Labrdor Tea isn’t as flashy as a lot of the other species such as flowering Bog Laurels, but does have these very nice white flowers in the spring. As the name suggests, the leaves can be used to make a tea (steeped, not boiled) which is described as “floral” in flavouring. Labrador Tea resembles a rhododendron, and for good reason – an alternative name for it is Rhododendron groenlandicum.

labrador tea flowers ledum gorenlandicum

Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum) Flowers (Purchase)

The most commonly thought of plant in a bog is likely Sphagnum Moss (Genus Sphagnum). I am unsure as to which species this photograph below illustrates, as there are roughly 12 species of Sphagnum in Camosun Bog alone! I do try to ID every species/place/mountain/building I feature in a photograph, but sometimes I have to draw a line!

sphagnum moss

Sphagnum Moss (Genus Sphagnum) (Purchase)

For more photographs of Native and Wild plants of Southwestern British Columbia visit my Native and Wild Plants Gallery.

Pitt Marsh Sunset Redux

Sunset at the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area on the shore of the Pitt River in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada

sunset at the pitt river marsh

Sunset at the Pitt River (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   I am always learning new techniques in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop, and often a consequence of this is the desire to revisit older photographs and reprocess them. A lot of my older photos were processed using methods that were time consuming and sometimes not that effective. Finally learning to use masks was a gamechanger, for example. There are a lot of these photos where I am happy with the processing, but others that I have started to revisit in order to process them with my current vision of how they should appear. Thankfully my new methods are a lot faster, and the occasional revisit to an older photograph doesn’t take me nearly the time it used to.

   This photograph is a good example of one where I wasn’t happy with the initial processing. I like this photo – but the initial version has a foreground that was too dark, the colours were slightly reddish, and there were a few other brightness issues I wanted to fix. I think this processing balances the colours much more faithfully to the original scene as I remember it, and deals with the darker foreground. You can read a bit more about the things I learned while actually photographing this scene in the original post.

Mosquitopalooza at the Pitt River

sunset at the pitt river/addington marsh
Pitt River Sunset
-click to enlarge-

   Even though it is nearing the end of July, Summer has not yet reached Southwestern British Columbia. Normally we have had a warmer July than this, and we are just starting at least about 3 weeks with no rain and warm temperatures. Not this year. As I generally do not like hot weather anyway, I have not been too disappointed with this. No sunburns, no “heat domes”, no drought. The other side of this coin is we had a much cooler, wetter spring/early summer than usual. While that is nice weather for being outside a lot of the time, it can also mean mosquitoes.

   I have never purchased bug spray. I used it once, but it gave me a rash so I’ve just put it out of my mind for the last few years. With the exception of one evening up at Artist Point near Mount Baker, I have had very few run ins with mosquitoes. At worst an evening in the bush or near a lake meant a bite or two at the very worst. Returning last week to the Pitt-Addington Marsh I was in for a very different experience. Luckily, the light ultimately did turn some of the clouds a nice pink color, so I got the sort of shot I was looking for. What I was not looking for were the 45 mosquito bites I suffered while making this and other photographs of the area. The back of my neck was like bubble wrap the next morning, but the majority of the bites were actually through my shirt on my back. I will be buying bug spray soon!

   I have learned from previous experience that “stay until all the light is gone” is wise advice. I made this photograph after I had completely packed up my equipment having had decent but not awesome colour in the sky. I stayed in the location though, and the image above shows what ultimately showed up in the sky. I quickly setup my tripod again, got out the GND filters, and tried to take advantage of this light. From start to finish I had 4.5 minutes before it was completely gone, for good this time.

I made this image with my Canon 7D, EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens, B+W Polarizing filter, and my Sing-Ray 2-stop graduated neutral density filter.