First day of spring, 2014

Ok, not the first full day, but spring did start here just before 10:00am. I’m excited, because for various reasons, this is the first spring I’ve been able to fully enjoy since 2011. I plan to make the most of it.

Once again I headed over to Bear Creek Park here in Surrey. It’s spring break this week for all the schools, so the park was packed with rug rats running everywhere, parents watching proudly.

I took a short walk around the garden area of the park and found what I think is an indian plum, or osoberry (Osmoronia sp.) heralding in the season. I expect those flowers will break out in a couple of days.


Spring green


Between rain storms, I headed off to a different park yesterday, just a few blocks south of where I usually go at Green Timbers Park.

It’s called Bear Creek Park and it’s much more developed, with a fitness track, playing fields, gardens, sculptures and various other features. It’s also at an ever so  slightly lower elevation, so the buds are just little further along.

One thing I love about the new growth in spring is the colour of the leaves. They’re a vibrant green, and with some trees like cottonwood, you can even smell the newness. As the spring and summer pass, the leaves take on a deeper green and harden up for the heat of late summer and fall.

Everything has a cycle.

I was quite happy with the shot above from Nikon’s 28-300 lens. For a walkabout lens, it’s reasonably sharp and quite versatile. When I was using a DX camera, I loved the 18-200 lens that Nikon offered. The 28-300 offers about the same range on my full frame cameras.

Later winter snow

Winter. Glad it’s just about over, but I have to admit, it can be a pretty time.

This was the south end of Green Timbers Lake a couple of days ago, between storms. It warmed up quite a bit, and the path around the lake alternated between snow and snow free.

At this point, I was wishing I’d worn something other than sneakers. Man, was it slippery. But it was pretty, so I stopped and pulled out the iPhone. What you don’t see off to the right is some nut fishing in the shade 😉

Snow at Green Timbers Lake

A bad day fishin’

I was out walking around a local lake yesterday and noticed this for the first time.

This is at one of a couple of spots along the shore, where some old gents periodically arrive on their electric bikes and settle in for a day of fishing. I suspect it’s mostly a social thing, and they seem to enjoy it immensely.

When I noticed this yesterday, I wondered if these floats belong to different people, or is it just one slow learner 😉 Clearly the alder tree is in the wrong spot.

A bad day fishin'

Just waiting for a little warmth

You can almost hear the trees wishing for an end to winter.

I worked for many years as biologist, and much of the work was driven by conifer reproduction cycles. We’d start the year in February to early April, with cedar and Douglas-fir ‘flowers’ on southern Vancouver Island (roughly 148N, 123W). From there, we’d move into the southern interior by May, for spruce and pine around Salmon Arm and Vernon, BC (roughly 50N, 120W). By June, the lodgepole pine near Prince George (roughly 53N, 122W) was shedding pollen and the cycle for us was complete. It was a busy time, only to be repeated in in reverse during the fall, as cones matured and prepared to shed their seed.

That cycle is just starting now. The alder tree catkins around here are hanging out, ready to explode with pollen as soon as temperatures and daylight are just right. Even the undergrowth is forming up leaf buds that are set to burst open in the next month or so. I’ll bet you could find some flower buds at the top of the local Douglas-fir trees as well.

Bring it on!

buds in the undergrowth

First signs of spring in the local forest.

Spring can come early on the south coast of BC, and the first signs are popping up everywhere.

I went on an outing the other day, toting my D700 and a 60mm micro lens. I’ve been shooting with my iPhone a lot lately, so it was a nice change of perspective.

These sporophytes are sticking up on the piles of moss growing on a fence at Green Timbers Park. Lately, the moss seemed more ‘perky’ and alive, and when I took a closer look, I could see the capsules forming on little stalks above the leaves.

Definitely a first sign of spring on this wet coast.

moss sporophytes

One of my favourite little lakes

The lake at Green Timbers Park in Surrey, BC is just a tiny little thing. It’s man-made as a result of a City plan gone sideways. Back in the early 90’s, they’d cleared the centre of a 640 acre forest to build some playing fields for soccer, track and such.

No way said the folks in the area. When they saw the clearcut in the middle of the forest, all hell broke loose. In the end, the City changed it’s mind, built a little lake, installed some trails and tables, and left the rest mostly in meadow. They stock the lake with trout on an annual basis, and there are always lots of ducks and geese. There were even some double-crested cormorants fishing in it last year. I saw a couple of guys heading home with their catch last year. I couldn’t believe the size of the fish they’d caught, so I zoomed up  my phone camera for a blurry shot to record it.

Heading home with some trout from GT Lake

It took a while, but with more and more people moving into the City’s new downtown, there are more and more people using the park. Some days, the shoreline is chock full of fisher folk, angling for trout.

People also ride and walk the trails, and attend events and programs at the little Nature House during the summer. Oh, and there are plenty of joggers too, so the City’s original plans to facilitate more athletic activity are at least partially met.

While I was out on a walk this morning, I pulled out my iPhone to take yet another shot of the lake. Obviously I was shaking, but hopefully you can see it’s frozen over. That’s the second time this winter. We’ve had a couple of weeks of cooler weather around here, and it’s stayed below freezing during the day. Nasty wind too.

In a few days it will melt, the joggers and walkers will be back, and before long, the fisher folk will be back on the banks angling for that big one.

Ice at GT lake

January Ice at Green Timbers Lake