Tag Archives: Saturna Island

Arbutus (madrone) – Photo Wednesday

Above: Lucky afternoon shot. From his perch on an arbutus high above Fiddler’s Cove, that eagle was keeping an eye on the water.

Arbutus is a fascinating tree because it is constantly changing. Its bark renews itself every year, peeling off old layers to reveal pistachio-green fresh skin.

Arbutus revealing new bark. Photo by Andrée Fredette

If they are near your house, you might call them messy trees because they are constantly dropping something on the ground: bark, limbs, waxy flower buds, fruits not eaten by the birds, and dry leaves. Year round. A broom can be handy, to clear a path among the detritus.

Still, they are just beautiful. Have a look.

Arbutus bark. Photo by Andrée Fredette

How is that for visual rhythm?

Another afternoon shot, focusing on the bark, curling and peeling off.

Arbutus bark curl, close-up. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Right now, they are blooming, attracting lots of bees.

Arbutus bloom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A close-up of the flower, which is waxy and heavy for its size (tiny).
Arbutus (madrone) bloom close-up. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Arbutus is a tree of coastal British-Columbia, the only native broadleaf evergreen tree in Canada. Its other common name is madrone, a Spanish word for the strawberry tree, of which arbutus is a close relative.

Arbutus on bluff, Saturna Island. Photo by Andrée Fredette

It likes sunny and dry conditions. Like rocky bluffs.

And in the fall, some years, it produces great crops of tiny fruit that are loved by the birds.

Arbutus fruit. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Go hug a tree, it’s good for the soul.

Island Wandering – Photo Wednesday

Above: A view of the point at Narvaez Bay, taken from Fiddler’s Cove, Saturna island. Can you spot the hikers?

Fiddler's Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

This beautiful and peaceful spot is Fiddler’s Cove at low tide. To get there, you have to clamber down a steep trail (and remember that what goes down has to come up at the end of the excursion…).

This spot has beautiful lacy sandstone (also called tafoni). Over the years, I have watched lots of people take photos of it, because everyone finds it intriguing. How can rocks look so lacy?

Lacy sandstone, or tafoni, on Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Here is a closer crop of the above photo, to show you a lichen detail:

Red lichen on sandstone, Fiddler's Cove, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I am new to lichen identification, so this little red béret lichen crowd will remain unnamed for the moment.


Big nose rock, Fiddler's Cove, Saturna, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And here is “big nose”, the rock that overhangs the water. It frames the horizon.


Anemone in the rocks. Photo by Andrée Fredette

If you look carefully between the rocks at the water’s edge, you can get lucky and spy an anemone…

So the lesson is: keep your eyes open, you never know what you’ll spot.

Looking closely – Photo Wednesday

Above:A jewel-like line-up of mosses in the glorious late afternoon light at the Lyall Creek Trail, on Saturna Island, BC.

Practicing with the close-up views of the world around me. It is a very verdant and natural world at the moment: it rains practically every day, and all this “wet” nourishes the greenery.

Have a look.

(Psst: if you find that I have incorrectly identified one of the following tiny denizens of our forest, feel free to use my contact page to let me know. I will be very grateful to make a correction!)

Moss outpost in my rockery, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Those are the blooms (or capsules) of a new moss colony in my rock garden. The sun showed up that day. It is gone now.


British Soldier Lichen (Cladonia cristadella), Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And in the forest around here, little treasures on the forest floor, in the mosses… if you look really closely. Above: British soldier lichen (Cladonia cristadella).
British soldier lichen (Cladonia cristadella), Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Another view of these interesting tiny lichens. It looks like when they bloom, the “mouth” of capsules opens. Just my observation, and I am not an expert by any means.


Pixie cup lichen (Cladonia chlorophaea), Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: some Pixie cup lichens (Cladonia chlorophaea) sometimes find it useful to grow on top of each other. I guess the space available on the right side of rocks is getting tight. Location, location. Competition!
Liche colonists in the moss. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A new lichen colony, standing up in the mosses.


Leafy lichen on a fallen branch, resting in the mosses. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: on a branch that had fallen in the mosses, some really leafy lichen. No idea about ID (my middle name!). Admire the texture.

Liverwort with bloom capsules. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: Grand foam lichen (Stereocaulon grande),  with bloom capsules. Our forest floor is full of little treasures, you just have to look closely.

Freckle pelt lichen (Peltigera aphthosa) with capsules open. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: another very common lichen: Freckle pelt (Peltigera aphthosa) with its capsules opening.

Little treasure in the moss. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And I leave you with the above delicate little treasures: mosses sending up a couple of “beaky” seed capsules. Had to hold my breath to get that shot.

Happy trails.

Ferry travel = Stunning show

Above: the view from the back of the ferry, as it rounds the corner at the end of Navy Channel, heading into Village Bay, on Mayne Island. (About 30 minutes after leaving Saturna Island…)

Friday morning’s sunrise was exceptional.


Leaving Saturna-2

This is one of the first shots I took, about 15 minutes after we left Saturna Island, heading down the channel. I could tell it was going to be a promising sunrise. I love cloud cover, it adds drama!

Pretty soon, several other travelers looked up from their computer, device, or book, and came out on the deck to snap pictures with their phones. It was a spectacular show, and it kept getting better…

Ferry sunrise, with the silhouettes of Mt Baker on the left, and Saturna Island on the right. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above, the pointy silhouette of Mount Baker, in Washington State (did you know it’s a volcano?) in the far distance. To the right, the silhouette of Saturna’s Mount Fisher.

And in the other direction, the still dark blue part of the sky, and the ferry’s motion cutting a swath in the water. Those dark hills are on Mayne Island.

Mayne Queen ferry, going up Navy Channel, with Mayne Island on the right. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I slowed down my camera’s shutter speed, to get the motion blur on the wake.

Here is another shot of the ferry’s wake, down Navy Channel, in the direction of the sunrise:

Ferry's wake in Navy Channel, between Mayne and Pender Islands. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And then… hang on to your hat…

Mayne Queen ferry, quaint pictogram. Photo by Andrée Fredette

…or to the railing, because those colours are about to get boosted to the max!


Sunrise to the max, over Navy Channel, Southern Gulf Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

and one more, for good measure…

Insane sunrise oranges on Navy Channel, in the Southern Gulf Islands of BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And after a stop at Mayne Island, where the Victoria-bound travelers transferred to the Skeena Queen, another ferry, about 30 minutes later, the bright oranges began to fade, and became more subtle.

Aboard the Skeena Queen, leaving Mayne Island and headed for Swarz Bay, Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And then the sky went into the pastels. Still absolutely gorgeous…

Subtle morning on the water, abord the Skeena Queen ferry, on the way to Swarz Bay. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Light on water: pure magic.

Where the newts live – Photo Wednesday

Above photo: hunting for newts in the pond, the photographer wore rubber boots…

There was a break in the rain. A little sunshine even… So I went for a walk in the forest, and headed for the pond.

Earth tongue mushroom trio. Photo by Andrée Fredette

On the path, I noticed some Black earth tongue mushrooms (Trichoglossum something…). Sorry about the fuzzy photo, forgot to bring a flash and it was very dark in the woods.


White worm coral mushroom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And very close by, an old White worm coral mushroom (Clavaria vermicularis Sporocarp), which looked like it had been stepped on… Life is tough in the forest.


And then, at the pond, I enjoyed the quiet surface of the water.

A pond in the forest: newt habitat. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A forest pond = prime newt habitat.

Rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa). Photo by Andrée Fredette

Say hello to my little friend: Rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa).  Here is a link with lots of information on this interesting salamander of the Pacific Northwest. Did you know that they have few predators because they are highly toxic?

There were a few in the water today, but the crowd will gather in a few weeks, when the sun warms up the water, for the big Spring Party. Reproduction involves a behaviour called “amplexus”, which – to the uninitiated – looks a lot like wrasslin’… Here is another link to inform the curious.

And to conclude this post, a slightly manipulated photo of the water that is quickly draining down the logging road, bending grasses as it goes, and creating a lovely abstract pattern in its wake.


Flow, abstract. Photo by Andrée Fredette