Tag Archives: forest floor

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.

A walk in the woods: Lilliput world!

Above: one of the forests in which I wander, and its emerald carpet of mosses. A magical world…

Forest path, into the green. Photo by Andrée Fredette


I take a walk in the woods almost every day. These days, the air is moist, the ground is alive with mosses. And there are treasures everywhere!


Moss cushion in the sunlight, close-up. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A moss cushion in the afternoon sun, enjoying its position on a very wet rock.

A drop, almost ready to fall off the moss. Photo by Andrée Fredette

That was a very wet spot, really. It was dripping in the late afternoon sun. I tried to capture a drop, about to fall off the moss, but not quite yet…


Moss close-up. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: a moss close-up.  I have a new toy: a set of diopter filters (magnifier-like filters, in different strengths, and you can stack them to increase magnification). These are my first attempts are seeing how much of this mini-world I can get into focus.


Moss in bloom, January on Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Blooming club moss, above.

And then, there are the lichens… A whole new lilliputian world has opened up, through my lens.

Cladonia pixie cup and other lichens on a log. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: on a log, an entire miniature habitat where competitors reach for the moisture and nutrients.  The tall ones are “pixie cup” Cladonia lichens, along with other lichens whose names are still a mystery to me, and some moss.  (Note: I found a great lichen reference page here. Please have a look, if you are intrigued by lichens.)


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

Above: macro shot of Pixie cup lichen (Cladonia) and its “warts”… With the diopter filters, the depth of field is so shallow that hand-held shots are a “no breathing allowed” moment…


Jelly tooth mushroom (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum), Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Once your eyes get used to the very diffuse light, you notice all kinds of details in the mosses. Above: a jelly tooth mushroom (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum), and it is a very gelatinous thing. Almost glows in the dark, that tiny one!


 Bright orange mushroom, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

After the rains, there is a great deal of mushroom variety. Little ones, mostly. Like the orange guy above. Sorry, I have no idea about ID!

Coral mushroom (Clavulina) peeking out of the forest litter, Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above, in the darkest part of the forest, some coral mushrooms were peeking out of the forest litter. Maybe Clavulina cristata

Little grey cap mushrooms, all lined up for a dance. Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Delicate little “grey caps”, all lined-up for a dance.

Witches' Butter (Dacrymyces chrysospermus), a yellow jelly mushroom on Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: Witches’ butter mushrooms (Dacrymyces chrysospermus) on a fallen log.

Tender Duo

And this lovely duo, basking in the afternoon light, in the clover…

To close this post, a shot of the seasonal creek that makes its way to the ocean, near my house…

Winter rains feed a seasonal creek on Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Nature Morte

Salal is an evergreen plant that carpets the forest floor in areas where there is an opening in the canopy, and near roads and paths.

It is green, most of the time. Except in the fall, where some of the leaves start to decay and acquire a bit of individuality.


Salal leaf, decaying. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The decay patterns are interesting.


Salal leaf, decaying. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Very individual.


Salal leaf, decaying. Photo by Andrée Fredette


And lacy.

Salal leaf decay, lacy. Photo by Andrée Fredette


And some go very red, as a final big show…

Salal leaf decay, red. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Fall Equinox – Photo Wednesday

First day of fall. Getting used to the idea that summer is over.

Although I have to stay on flat terrain and paths, I am happy to report that I am walking again, without the giant plastic boot, cane or crutches. What a relief!


Most on trunk, after the first rains in months. Photo by Andrée Fredette

On this first day of fall, the weather has certainly changed, and so has the forest. The first rains have greened the forest floor. Moss really responds to moisture very quickly. It doesn’t look as discouraged as before…


Blackberry Leaf, Stressed. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above,  the leaves are showing stress. The drought was hard on vegetation, even in the shady areas.


Chainsaw Tic Tac Toe. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above, a tree stump in which a creative logger for Parks Canada left a tic-tac-toe of chainsaw cuts…


Leaf veins form a lace-like network. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above, the lace-like veins of a leaf, offering a hint, a reminder of what once was and is on the way out. Still, elegant…


Bracken Fern Detail. Beautiful Texture. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above, bracken fern (Pteridium), an elegant plant with very interesting texture, up close and personal.

And speaking of up close and personal, my latest discovery:


Yellow-Ladle Liverwort (Scapania bolanderi), Saturna Island. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Yellow-Ladle liverwort (Scapania bolanderi)… Tiny, tiny liverwort. I did not really know what was on the photo before I looked at full resolution, on my computer screen… The “sticks” on that photo are fir needles, to give you an idea of the scale. I will return with a tripod to take a sharper set of pictures of this little treasure. And maybe correct the ID of this one.  And speaking of identifying the things I discover on my walks, I have a reference shelf…

Here is a well-used book in our house:

Plants of Coastal British Columbia, by Pojar & MacKinnon.

Can’t recommend this book enough! Everything from trees to lichens, for this region. Very useful and informative.

Go have a walk outside!

Punk Deer

This post could also be titled “When deer go bad.”

Black-tailed deer, browsing a flowering tree. Photo by Andrée Fredette

This pretty much explains why all the trees on this island have a “tutu skirt”, at about saddle height.

See the three “action shots” taken with a phone through my window on a grey day, below. Not very crisp, I admit, but they show a determined black-tailed deer, springing up to “box” at a Garry oak branch until the vibration brings it within reach…

Deer and Garry Oak 1. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Get ready, set, jump.

Deer and Garry Oak 2. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And grasp, and pull. The whole tree was shaking. Impressive ripping.

Deer and Garry Oak 3. Photo by Andrée Fredette

No predators means an overabundant population of black-tailed deer in the Southern Gulf Islands, and Southern Vancouver Island, including Victoria’s suburbs… and even downtown.

This means that gardens and any special specimen tree or shrub must be fenced. And by fenced, I mean gulag-style, at least 6 to 8 feet tall. Otherwise, vegetation gets grazed practically to lawn level. Not fenced like in the photo below:

Camas Lilies at Fort Rodd Hill Park. Photo: Parks Canada

This picture of young people admiring camas lilies, was taken (not by me) at Fort Rodd Hill, in Victoria. While it is well-intended, it is laughable.

Note the mini-fence, designed to keep people off the flowers in a Garry Oak meadow. The deer would have no problem mowing these plants down. Someone must be guarding those flowers from dusk to morning, because meadow flowers are part of the deer buffet.

I have a Garry Oak meadow in front of my house: it looks like a golf green. In ten years, I only occasionally got a glimpse of camas lilies and other wildflowers. Only a glimpse, mind you. They were rapidly erased by our four-legged friends.

Final part of my rant: new trees don’t stand a chance. Inside my garden fence, which was installed three summers ago, I have spotted little Garry oaks popping up under the parent tree. Little arbutus (or madrone, in the US) are also coming up.  These trees are valued because this is the northern part of their habitat, a habitat that is being degraded. I repeat: outside a fenced area, saplings don’t stand a chance.

In forest clearings around here, young firs and cedars are browsed into little pitiful stumpy things about two feet high…

Deer cull: two four-letter words.

It’s not that I don’t like them. It’s just that I like them in reasonable numbers.

Trio of black-tailed deer, East Point, Saturna Island. Photo © Andrée Fredette