Sooty Grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus)

A Sooty Grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus) walking warily near the trail to Table Mountain in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State, USA

sooty grouse dendragapus fuliginosus)

Sooty Grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus)

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   Last week I made the trip up to the Mount Baker Ski area and Artist Point at the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State, USA. First I made the obligatory stop at the iconic Picture Lake (more on that soon) to eat my soup, then I photographed some of the fall colours in the Mountain Ash and Blueberry bushes in the Heather Meadows area. After arriving at Artist Point I photographed this Sooty Grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus) on the trail to Table Mountain. As with most of my wildlife photography, this was an opportunity I happened upon rather than directly seeking it out. Wildlife was not on my mind but there were 3 of these Grouse foraging near the trail. Well camouflaged, I didn’t even see them until one of them flew out of my way from the edge of the trail. I switched lenses and got ahead of their direction of travel, and they walked right past me. There are a lot of visitors here, so they are likely used to people, but it is still always better to let wildlife approach your position than the other way around.

You can view more of my wildlife photography in my image archive’s Animals & Wildlife Gallery.

The Pitt Addington Marsh

Pitt Addington Marsh, Gloomy Peak, and the Coast Range after sunset in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada

coast mountains reflected in pitt marsh

Gloomy Peak and the Coast Range reflected in Pitt Marsh

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    A month ago I headed to the Pitt Polder Ecological Reserve in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Candada to check out potential for fall colours, and to photograph the northern lights should they show up (they didn’t). This is Gloomy Peak and parts of the Coast Range reflected in a pond along the Pitt River. A familiar spot for me, but I did like the light here after sunset even if it was rather brief.

Birch trees and cotton grass at pitt marsh

Paper Birch and Chamisso’s Cotton Grass at Pitt Marsh

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   The Chamisso’s Cotton Grass (Eriophorum chamissonis) was one of the reasons I walked into the marsh along the dike. I had read they grew here, and I enjoyed them as a foreground element when I first ran into them at Washington Pass. I think I will try to photograph this area again when the leaves are exhibiting some nice fall colours. While the Maples cannot be relied upon for nice colours, the birches usually deliver, though they are few and far between.

widgeon peak reflected in pitt marsh

Widgeon Peak and Pitt Marsh

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You can view more of my photography from British Columbia in my image archive’s British Columbia Galleries.

Golden Ears Sunset Panorama

Sunset hits the clouds clearing from Mount Blandshard (The Golden Ears) – photographed from Tavistock Point at Brae Island Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

mount blandshard the golden ears

Clouds clearing from Mount Blandshard at Sunset

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   As I mentioned in my previous post I also photographed Mount Blandshard (aka The Golden Ears) while at Tavistock Point last week in Brae Island Regional Park. The forecast had been for a cloudy day but as I came up to Tavistock Point the clouds started clearing from Mount Blandshard. I was able to make this panorama just as the light from the sunset came through the clouds to the west.

Fraser River Sunset

   Sunset at Tavistock Point and the junction of the Fraser River and Bedford Channel at Brae Island Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

sunset at brae island regional park

Sunset at Tavistock Point on the Fraser River

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   Earlier this week I was in Fort Langley, British Columbia to do some photography, or at the very least scout some locations. I quickly realized that walking along the Fort to Fort Trail would not yield me the views I really wanted so I crossed the bridge to Brae Island Regional Park and walked along the river there. In a few spots where I was able to photograph some Fraser fishing boats tied on on the docks, but the best view was at Tavistock Point on the far end of the Island. I had walked here (about 5km round trip) earlier in the year, but the mosquitoes were so bad that I jogged much of the way just to keep the cloud of them behind me. Even so, I wound up with about 50 bites, which were not pleasant. This time there were no mosquitoes and the cooler late September air was a more pleasant walk anyway. The forecast was for very little chance of clearing so I was quite lucky to get this opening in the clouds and some nice sunset colours as well. Previous to making this photograph, there was some clearing on the Golden Ears (Mount Blandshard) and I was able to photograph some interesting cloud formations and some sunset light on the peaks. I’ll leave that panorama photograph for an upcoming post though.

You can see more of my photography from British Columbia’s Fraser Valley in my image archive: Fraser Valley Gallery.

The North Cascades Book

   I am pleased to have two of my photos in the new book The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby by William Dietrich. The photograph of the Eastern Cottontail and Mount Pierce in Chilliwack, British Columbia (below) both made it into the book. I haven’t read the book yet, but I was pleased to see one thing when I looked through it (beyond the great photography). The map of the North Cascades did not stop at the US/Canadian border as I often see it shown – but continued on up into British Columbia where the real northern bounds of the North Cascade Range lies.

For more information about The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby – visit the website http://www.wildnearby.org/.

the north cascades

An Eastern Cottontail and Mount Pierce in the North Cascades of British Columbia

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Horses in Hedley, British Columbia

Horses begging for apples and other treats (which are often provided by tourists) near the town of Hedley, British Columbia, Canada

hope mountain reflected in silver lake

Horses along the Crowsnest Highway in Hedley, BC

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As with my earlier cruise ship panorama post I thought I’d share an image I’ve come across in my archive while catching up on some editing and keywording. This is a small herd of horses that quickly ran over to the fence when I pulled off Hwy 3 near Hedley, British Columbia, Canada. I had been looking for an angle to photograph the highway and Nickelplate Mountain together but when this group came running over and lined up against the fence, I couldn’t resist. I believe they were begging for apples and other treats and had determined I was a likely source of goodies. Unfortunately for them, I had nothing to offer (not that I would have fed someone else’s animals without permission anyway). A few minutes of hopeful expectation turned to disappointment and they wandered away.

Cruise Ship Docked in Vancouver

The Princess Cruises ship Golden Princess docked at Canada Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

princess cruise ship docked in vancouver

Cruise ship docked at Canada Place in Vancouver, BC

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   Recently I have been going through my archive of photographs and editing a few I missed, and re-editing a few that showed promise but I didn’t do a good enough job of processing years ago. This is a photograph I shot in 2007 but I simply didn’t know how to stitch a panorama at the time. I liked it enough when I came across it the other day to process it now. This is the cruise ship terminal in Vancouver next to Canada Place. The ship is the Princess Cruises Golden Princess which at this time was about to head back to Seattle. If you look at the larger version you can see the Helijet flying past near the stern of the ship.

Mount Seymour’s Flower Lake

   A few weeks ago I headed to Mount Seymour Provincial Park in North Vancouver. Mount Seymour was one of the nearby locations I had not visited in quite some time and thought I should check out again. I hadn’t been to Mystery Lake in 12 years, and didn’t really remember much of my last trip, so this was my first stop. As it turns out, even during a summer weekday Mystery Lake is a swimming destination. So rather than finding a quiet mountain lake I found boom boxes, beer and the scantily clad (or not). I did enjoy the view all the way up the Fraser Valley from up there, but with the relatively thick haze this was not all that photogenic either.

   The other destination I had in mind at Mount Seymour was Flower Lake. I didn’t quite have enough time remaining in the day to go all the way to Goldie Lakes, so that will have to be on my next trip (along with Dog Mountain). The Flower Lake Loop Trail was quite easy compared to the Mystery Lake Trail and actually offered more photography opportunities. The first of these was this near mature Corn Lily or False Hellebore (Veratrum viride). I haven’t photographed all that many of these, but I can see why they are a popular subject with the patterns and textures in the leaves.

corn lily leaves

Corn Lily/ False Hellebore (Veratrum viride)

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   Flower Lake itself is not very large, and is really a rather large pond full of various species of aquatic plants including Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar polysepalum) and Floating Leaved Pond Weed (Potamogeton natans) and many others. I didn’t see any frogs or tadpoles, but I’m sure there are plenty there. While the lake itself is a bit like any other lake in the forest, there was some interesting characteristics to the shoreline. I made this photograph of a fallen and dead tree along the shore of the lake along with the aquatic plants.

flower lake shoreline

A fallen tree along the shore of Flower Lake

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   One of the features along both the Mystery Lake Trail and the Flower Lake Loop Trail was the ever present Oval-Leaved Blueberry (Vaccinium ovalifolium) bushes. Most of the bushes had a lot of berries on them, except in the areas near the parking lot where people (presumably) had been picking them. I found this particular bush full of berries right next to Flower Lake. maybe I am too used to the cultivated Blueberries in my own backyard, but these wild ones weren’t nearly as sweet. Perhaps it was just a bit too early in the season.

oval leaved blueberries vaccinium ovalifolium

Wild Oval-Leaved Blueberries (Vaccinium ovalifolium)

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   From the Flower Lake Loop Trail I headed back to the parking lot and went to Ambleside Beach Park in West Vancouver to photograph the Lions Gate Bridge.

For more images from this part of British Columbia please visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

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