Spring green

A floret of green – the soft, delicate leaves of Pacific bleeding heart dotted with raindrops.

It’s that time of year when I go in search of the first buds and shoots that herald the beginning of another spring. Based on a Musqueam story I saw at the Museum of Vancouver, I headed to Musqueam Creek to look for fawn lilies. I found no lilies, but I did see lots of false lily-of-the-valley (tiny green spears poking up through the soil), indian plum, skunk cabbage, and the subject of this photo, bleeding heart. The foliage of bleeding heart must be one of the softest things I’ve ever touched, especially when it’s this fresh.

Bird sightings/soundings included: Anna’s hummingbirds, Swainson’s thrushes, varied thrushes, robins, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, some kind of wren (possibly winter?), bald eagles, black-capped chickadees, a house finch or two, and possibly bushtits. Musqueam Park in the spring is definitely a good place to hear a lot of spring-time bird song!

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Signs of spring II

It may not look like much at the moment but in a week or so this will be a beautiful white fawn lily, one of my favourite spring flowers. There was no sign of any shoots when I was in Lighthouse Park a few weeks ago, but I was inspired to go looking for them again after I saw a similar photo from @plantexplorer. I also found a few salmonberry flowers down by the lighthouse, so despite our recent weather, spring is definitely on its way!

I was wondering how soon the fawn lilies would begin to poke up through the pine and fir needles given the very wintry winter we’ve had. Turns out they’re pretty much right on schedule (unlike last year when they were ridiculously early). I imagine I’ll be making a couple more trips to Lighthouse Park to catch their peak bloom, but I also want to check out another area to see if they’re growing there too as I have an indirect suggestion that fawn lilies may grow there too.

As soon as I started taking photos I immediately lamented not bringing my tripod. Bending over in the wet dirt (on a steep slope) trying to get a compact camera to focus on the right part of the green-on-green plant was an exercise in patience and frustration. I took a couple of dozen photos in order to get just 3 or 4 that I consider to have worked! After all, I can even set up the camera and just use my phone to control when to take the picture with no need to kneel in the dirt. Next time…

Snowdrops

I guess that’s why they’re called snowdrops.

A week or so ago I saw my first spray of snowdrops in someone’s front yard, and on our neighbourhood walk yesterday, I kept my eyes open for any poking through the snow. Alas it was mostly too deep but I did find one spot where the emerging flowers were slightly sheltered from the falling snow. Even better they were just budding, which I’ve usually missed. I crouched down and pointed the camera at the flowers – I couldn’t see quite what it was focusing on so I just had to trust it was doing it right. Sure enough, it missed my target bud by a small amount, but not enough to make a big difference thankfully. I know it’s “just” Instagram, but I probably should be a little more patient.

Purple penstemon

Purple penstemon near First Brother along the Heather Trail

We were running out of time on our foray up the Heather Trail so I jogged on to see if I could find any remaining patches of glacier lilies. I didn’t find any but I did find this perfect patch of purple penstemon (trying saying that five times fast!), a notoriously difficult flower to capture. Even better, I could get the shot with the ridge of the First Brother in the background, one of the highlights of hiking the Heather Trail. Alas we didn’t have time to venture up there this time.

Ghostly

Ghostly white salal flowers. Had a relaxing walk through Lighthouse Park today, spotting Columbia lilies, starflower, coralroot, wild rose, and salmonberry along the way. Plus we saw several very vocal eagles, Anna’s hummingbirds, an Audubon’s warbler, noisy wrens, and a gorgeous Western tanager (a first!) – and a sea lion too 🙂 A pretty good haul for an hour and a half’s wanderings.

Salal flowers are most often tinged with pink so I couldn’t resist getting a picture of these pure white versions. We’d seen some white ones on the hike to Lynn Peak yesterday though none were in good light and I decided to just wait, given that salal is very common around here. Turns out that I didn’t have to wait very long 🙂

It’s always nice to wander around Lighthouse Park, among the big firs and cedars, and constant birdsong, even when it’s busy and you encounter noisy groups complete with unleashed barking dogs. We turned off onto a few of the less-well travelled trails and left the noisiness behind.

Coralroot

Western coralroot is in full bloom all over the forest, but it’s easy to miss – unless the sun comes out 🙂

Coralroot was one of the first flowers I remember seeing when we began hiking in BC way back in 2005. It caught my eye as it was unlike any other flower I’d ever seen, and it brightened up some of the dreary second-growth forest through which we were hiking. I now know it’s a true flower, relying on insects for pollination but it has no chlorophyll and therefore doesn’t photosynthesize – which is why there’s not a patch of green anywhere on the plant. Instead it derives its energy from decaying matter, of which there is plenty in a temperate rainforest! And it just lights up when the sun shines through the trees.

The tiniest bunch

A bunch of tiny flowers for Mother’s Day (OK so it wasn’t Mother’s Day in the UK anyway but that doesn’t matter 🙂

I teamed up with our friend Andrew for a wander around some of the trails on the lower flanks of Hollyburn, exploring some new routes. It was a good move as these trails were much quieter those for than our Plans A and B (where the parking lots were already completely full). The forest flowers were just beginning to bloom, with some lovely patches of bunchberry in open areas. These flowers often decorate old tree stumps, which makes for a particularly pretty scene, though we didn’t find any to photograph today. On the other hand, we did stumble across the Hollyburn Fir, a gigantic Douglas fir that survived the rapacious logging of the last century. What an incredible tree it is! Worth every step of wandering through crappy second-growth forest.