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British Columbia, Canada

We have had some awesome visitors on the West coast of BC and in WA.  My friend Gary sent along these pictures and the photographer gave me his permission to place them on this blog.  Thank you Bob Nolan for sharing your awesome pictures.  Gary said that

“Those owls were there, apparently, because the lemming population in the north is unusually low, so they are foraging for whatever fish, rats or mice they can snag before continuing their winter flight to their southern habitat.   Let’s hope they get enough to sustain themselves for the journey.”

We headed up to Whistler the other day.  An annual Christmas gathering of friends.  It was a lot of fun.  The drive along Howe sound, through Squamish and to Whistler is spectacular with the mountains in their winter coat.  Merry Christmas everyone!

On our way to Whistler, just out of Horshoe Bay

The road to Whistler goes along Howe Sound. 
The Tantalus Range is in the background

The spectacular scenery is accentuated with the curves in the road.

Mt Garibaldi above Squamish

A close up of the Tantalus Range in the setting sun

The last rays of sunlight on the Chief rock wall above Squamish.

A Christmas scene in Whistler

Whistler
Northern Arrow Lake,BC,Canada

Ferry crossing of northern Arrow Lakes

We often forget how beautiful a place is, and often it is the region where we live.  While travelling this summer we travelled north from Castlegar to Revelstoke (British Columbia, Canada)  We crossed the northern Arrow Lakes with a ferry and the views were awesome.  We camped at a Provincial campsite adjacent to the lake that night, had a nice campfire with other campers and had a very pleasant evening.

Have a great summer!

We visited our family during the kid’s summer holidays and on our return from Prince George the aspen trees caught my attention.

Between Prince George (northern British Columbia) and Quesnel, the majority of aspen trees looked grey.  During the summer and early autumn, the foliage of aspen trees is a deep green, not quite as dark as the evergreen trees in the area.  The trees looked oddly ghostly, not normal at all.  I first thought it might be a mildew infestation.  Then I thought, it might be possible that an early frost had hit the trees.  But this did not seem right because a frost would hit the top branches and not necessary the inner branches.

I finally stopped to have a closer look.  I soon realized it was an insect infestation. Insect larvae had eaten through the very thin layers of a leaf and exited at the far end of the leaf.  The reason why leaves appeared grey was because the green chlorophyll layer had been eaten by the insect larvae.  The patterns created by these insects were beautiful.
A further look at the Aspen leaf miner, see link at the end of this article.

Beautiful patterns in a aspen leaf.

A pathway of an insect

Ghostly looking trembling aspen

Along the Prince George Highway BC grey aspen were the norm.

A grey forest!

Grey aspen in the foreground.  Green fir in the background.

During the summer months, aspen are similar in colour
to other green plants below the aspen.
The grey was startling against a backdrop of green fir and close to pale
green herbaceous plants.

The whole aspen tree canopy was consumed by these insects.

In nature, you never know what there is to see.

Aspen infestation in the news.

Right in front of the medical clinic on Quadra Island,  a raised bed had some surprises in store for me.  I was certainly not expecting numerous bumble bees foraging on 4 patches of sage ground cover.  We were meandering along the store fronts, and there they were- too busy to take any notice of the photographer.
Very little of the ground covers’ green leaves were visible amongst the dense layers of flowers.

There were numerous bumble bees present on these patches of sage.

The bees’ tongue is visible probing the flowers

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