Friday, April 24, 2009

Lazy afternoon

We weren't feeling ambitious; it was a day for dawdling along on flat land, on easy trails. So we went to Richmond again, and ambled around the tip of Terra Nova Natural Area. We parked at the dead end of Westminster Highway, and followed the dike to the end of River Road, then back across the fields just inside the dike; a short walk, but full of discoveries.

From the dike, we look west across Sturgeon Banks; marsh, mudflats, and shallow waters of the Fraser River estuary. The cattails here were hopping with male redwings, each proclaiming his territorial rights. We took oodles of photos, all alike, of pale brown cattails with black silhouettes enlivened with one or two sparks of brilliant red.

On the landward side, three headless mallards floated in the ditch:

Maybe a mallard/ostrich cross.

New fertile heads of giant horsetail, on the banks of the ditch.

There used to be farms just inside this dike, and here and there the plantings of old homesteads mark the boundaries. Just beyond this tree, a bit of yellow in the shrubbery is an old forsythia.

Yellow tree.

Atop a hill of dirt and gravel dredged from the newly-cleared slough, a stream-side flower blooms:

American brooklime. Usually found on the edges of slow creeks.

Twinberry leaves and flower buds.

The twinberry, Lonicera involucrata, is a native plant, usually seen in sunny areas near water. We found them thriving on Finn Slough, and I was familiar with them on Vancouver Island years ago. I always thought the shiny blue-black berries were poisonous; somebody must have told me this early on. I did try one, when I was a kid. It was very bitter, and I spit it out. Now I read that they are edible, and sometimes palatable.
"Fruit - raw or dried. A pleasant taste. Not tasty enough to be widely sought. The only form we have tried has an incredibly bitter taste."
I'll have to repeat the taste test this summer.

Unidentified weed, going to seed.

Rich brown trunks and branches. Beauty that will soon be hidden under a green blanket, also beautiful.

At the tip of River Road, a slough divides presently occupied land from heritage sites. We turned here and followed the slough back to the new pond.

Terra Nova Slough.

New buds.

Apple blossoms in an abandoned garden.

In a grove of trees beside the mound of dirt, several Yellow-Rumped Warblers teased us, always being just behind a branch, directly between us and the sun, or not where they were when we pressed the shutter. Not even in the same tree! I got this male from the top of the hill, getting up at eye-level to the trees. He didn't give me a second chance.

Back along the trail on the landward side of the ditch, clumps of garden plants, daffodils and tulips, more forsythia, Pieris, marked the location of long-forgotten front stoops . Under the protection of nettles and blackberry canes (Vicious! One jabbed a thorn deep into the top of my scalp.), we found these Spring Snowflakes, Leucojum vernum:

About a foot tall, slightly fragrant, glowing white bells with green pinched petal tips.

One was handily turned face up.

I had never seen these before, and was awestruck. So elegant, so graceful, so modest withal! I am going to be looking for some for my shade garden.

And to top the afternoon off, a flock of geese flew south overhead, honking and chattering among themselves as they travelled.

Time for tea in Steveston! Well, tea and a muffin for Laurie, coffee for me. And then home, well content.



  1. Good to see that you had a content-ful day.

    Have a good weekend.


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