Monday 14 June 2021

Aldergrove Lake Park

 Aldergrove Lake Park

May/June 2021

The warm spring weather has been a welcome change. Even June has been kind, not too hot nor too cold. The winter boots, toque and hand warmers long put away, the coffee flask exchanged for a bottle of water. The smell of new growth in the air is intoxicating. Eastern Cottontails scurry along the trails. There's a plentiful banquet for all the creatures of the forest. At the Aldergrove Park Bowl a colony of Savannah Sparrow hatchlings can be heard, soon fledglings will be appear, climbing the long grass in search of insects and seeds. 

Adult Savannah Sparrow

The same cannot be said for an adjoining portions of the park that have already been hayed and where dozens of Savannahs can be seen 're-nesting' or perhaps salvaging nests that weren't destroyed by the bailer. A park representatives I spoke to told me a new contract is being put in place so that haying is held-off in future seasons, good news the birds. Wardens in the park are also aware of ground nesters along the trails, especially Song Sparrows. Now if only the dog walkers would keep their animals on lease and pick up their poop, life would be perfect.

The Aldergrove Bowl
iPhone 8 HDR

The winter chattering of Pacific Wren and the delicate whispering of Golden-crowned Kinglets has been replaced by the Western Tanager and Black-headed Grosbeak, meanwhile the orchestral leader and beautiful songster, the Swainson's Thrush can be heard on every trail. Sometimes referred to as the 'Salmonberry bird' their arrival coincides with the first ripening ruby coloured berries.

Swainson's Thrush

I could listen the trumpeting sound of the little brown thrush all day long. Hours go by and I realize half a day has passed and I have left my lunch in the car. Thank goodness for the bottle of water and sunscreen, meanwhile a melted snack bar will have to make do.  

On a photographic note I have dispensed with a big lens and tripod and now carry a DSLR and small 500mm F 5.6 lens held on my chest with a Cotton Carrier. I can walk all day, my hands free to use my bins to quickly observe birds and make sound recordings. Everything fits in a small bag. This set-up has radically changed the way I photograph and bird. I am now recording some of my favourite images. The only downside of the long fixed lens are the landscape shots which I need to illustrate my photo stories, for those I use my iPhone as seen in this blog and other posts. 

Salmonberry in various stages of ripening.

A pair of Townsend's Warblers dance around the forest canopy gleaning insects. It's understandable why they venture north each summer, the forest is it crawling with emerging insects and for the next few months, an inexhaustible supply of nutritious food.

Most Townsend Warblers are migratory to British Columbia, with different populations of the species wintering in two separate areas. Some Townsend's Warblers winter along the West Coast from Oregon south to Mexico's Baja Peninsula, while others move further south to the highlands of central Mexico and Central America (American Bird Conservancy)

Townsend's Warbler

While looking at the Aldergrove Park Big Rock a Townsend Warbler lands beside me. Amazing what can happen when a person is quiet and still. 

Immature American Bullfrog in Pepin Brook. I had originally
posted it as a Red-legged Frog.

Orange-crowned Warbler

I heard a rustle in the bushes and slowly turned around to catch a Douglas Squirrel munching on some fresh plant material. I watched for several minutes until the little critter caught sight of me. 
Within seconds it was gone. Taking time to pause and listen to the birds has plenty of benefits. 

Douglas Squirrel

Smile for the camera.

Around Aldergrove Lake pond nineteen Western-painted Turtles soaked up the warmth, maybe a twentieth was hiding out of sight. A poster asks park visitors to report turtle sightings. A Common Garter snake sunned on the pathway. Finally the forest has gone quiet, it's time to head home for an afternoon nap, life can be so good at times.


"It's never too late for a walk in the park"
John Gordon
BC Canada