Monday, March 22, 2010

Variety pack

If it's flat, you can find it in Boundary Bay Regional Park. Wetlands, salt marsh, dry dunes, dyke, stony shore, squelchy mud flats, sandy beach, abandoned farmlands, ancient apple trees, waterways, mowed picnic area; it's all there.

Most of the inshore area is off-limits for humans, but a new raised bridge allows us to cross a corner of the waterfowl habitat, at eye-level with the tops of the cattails and rushes.

Last year's cattails

Dense thickets of dead reeds, with their feet in the water. Duck heaven.

The bridge connects us to the Raptor Trail, which wanders down a narrow strip of sand between the wetlands and abandoned fields.

I had to include this photo of a headless dog. (Who should have been on the leash.) He developed a head a minute later.

More wetlands, then the edge of Tsawwassen. Hawk heaven.

Where there is water, the cattails and rushes dominate. Small drier areas allow blackberries to provide safe nesting and chirping areas for sparrows and other small birds. Walking near any one of these, we could hear the constant chatter inside, but only once did I see a resident. Ditches and canals drain the inland areas, where the apple trees still drop wormy apples in the fall. Herons and kingfishers hunt for frogs and small fish; ducks patrol the pools.

Draining out to the mud flats.

Queen Anne's lace. Holding the spot for this year's crop.

Live trees, dead snags. Mount Baker in the distance.

The zigzag fence marks the boundary between wildlife-only areas and our trail. It's cattail country here; the snags in back are mostly dead, with the water well above the roots, and shelf fungus colonizing the trunks. Here we saw, this trip, assorted crows and a flicker, unfortunately a mere tiny silhouette against the bright sky.

Distant flicker.

Pair of crows scolding a hawk that dared pass overhead.

Where the sand takes over, the land is hard and grey, with a smattering of inch-deep greenery here and there.  They're mostly mosses and lichens, with an occasional cluster of miniature flowers:

Bright green moss, and a few blades of grass.

Another moss.

And a common draba, Draba verna, already gone to seed. About two inches tall.

Later in the year, shiny blue wasps will decorate the sand, buzzing around hundreds of yellow gumweed flowers; March is the month for delicate beauties.

1 comment:

  1. I so enjoyed this adventure through the wetlands with you! I love how you see the world, I really really do.

    And I absolutely positively adore the 'headless dog' shot!


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