Two months until summer

Green up is well on it’s way around here. The tree canopy is closing up and the forest is smelling new and fresh. Looking north across the lake at Green Timbers Park, you can see the different hues in the leaves of alder and cottonwood trees.

Most days you can hear the blackbirds calling in the marsh in the foreground. Oh yes, and the fishermen are lined up along the banks to the right and left of me as I took this shot.

Love it!

Green across the lake.

After a break

Well, after being laid low by an old war injury er…a back muscle spasm for a few days last week, and a quick Easter trip over to Vancouver Island, I finally got back to Green Timbers Park again.

I was particularly interested in how the Lily of the Valley was doing. Its small flower spikes have been present for some time, and the canopy above them is starting to close up with alder and cottonwood leaves. I was worried that I had missed the flowers, but no so. They are clearly on the verge of opening up, but, as luck would have it, it looks like they’ll need a few more days.


Cottonwood leaves unfolding at Green Timbers Park

With the warmer temperatures lately, the northern black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) leaves are just starting to unfold. In the next few of weeks, their aroma will fill the air, followed by fluffy balls of their seed floating everywhere.

The cottonwood has quite a distinctive, fresh aroma, and for anyone living in valley bottoms, it’s a true confirmation of spring. It doesn’t get much better than sitting on the bank of a rushing river or stream with the smell of fresh green leaves in the air.

Boy, this little spring exercise in natural history has shown me how much biology I’ve forgotten. For 20+ years, I followed the nature quite closely, as the work was tied to the biology of plants and bugs. With more recent careers, not so much.

Nowadays, I have to dig a little deeper for the info I’m looking for. Truly a use it or lose it kind of thing, I guess. This spring has been a good reminder.

Cottonwood leaf

Coming soon

There are sections of the trail around Green Timbers Lake where the forest floor is covered by what I believe are Wild Lily of the Valley (with the ungodly name of Maianthemum dilatatum).

The flower buds are just starting to spike, and with the warm weather forecast for the next few days, I’m hoping for some serious blooming going on.

It should be quite a show.

Lilly of the Valley flower buds

Mask in the creek

Not sure what’s going on here, but going over a bridge in Bear Creek Park today, I looked over and saw this.

Quite disconcerting, actually.

Was it art? Was it some vandals getting rid of some stuff?

Whatever it was, it looks like it was placed in just that spot, looking up angrily at anyone who peered into the stream from above.

Ah, one of life’s little mysteries….

Mask in the creek


I’ve seen pussy willows in the spring before, but this is the first time I’ve seen pollen buds associated with them. In the  two photos below, you can see some that are yet to release and some where the pollen has already taken flight.


Spent 2