Atlassing 2012, Schaft Creek, Part 3

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August 3, 2012 by Rokman61

Schaft Creek, Part 3 of 3.
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(Initially presented as email on August 3, 2012, reposted in Oct)
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This instalment is all about flowers … botano-phobes may choose to ignore.
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As mentioned in my previous offering, photo ops for animal wildlife were just about zilch.  The flower display however was outstanding, so I aimed my 300 mm lens towards the ground in an attempt to capture some of this marvellous abundance.  Many were familiar to me, and others were ones that I had not previously noticed or paid attention to.  My good buddy, Allen, provided considerable help with the identifications.  (A retired geologist, Allen has become the complete expert on native flowers of the Pacific northwest.)  For some I was content to identify to genus, and have not tried to figure out species.
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For starters, here is a fairly typical patch of blooms, in which six conspicuous species are visible in a single camera view.
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Here are some of my favourites, presented individually.
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Starting with Mertensia paniculata, one of the various flowers sometimes referred to as  ‘bluebells’.  The texture and bright green colour the Equisetum (horsetail) sets them off so neatly.
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Castillea unalaschcensis,  Indian paintbrush.
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Aquilegia formosa, northern or red columbine. 
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Geranium enanthum, northern geranium.
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Lupins are common and abundant almost everywhere in BC, occurring at virtually all elevations.  They are most attractive when found in the higher alpine terrain, as this specimen of Lupinus nootkatensis. It was photographed above tree-line on Mt La Casse, the blossoms not yet opened.
Lance-leaved stonecrop, Sedum lanceolatum.
 
Heracleum maximum, cow parsnip.
Fireweed is another wildflower that is both common and abundant on disturbed ground.   This is the species that occurs at higher elevations, Chamerion latifolium, the Arctic or broad-leaved fireweed.
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Agoseris aurantiaca, orange agoseris.
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Saxifraga bronchialis, spotted saxifrage.
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The Indian paintbrushes are among my very favourites.  Not sure if that is because of their interesting shapes, or the delicate nuances of colouring, or just that they seem to make for nice photographs.  Interestingly, the conspicuous brightly-coloured parts are bracts (modified leaves), and not the actual blossoms, which are tiny tubular structures enclosed within the bracts and much less noticeable.
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The pale yellow ones are Castilleja unalaschcensis, and the red ones are Castilleja miniata.  I’m not sure what the others are – a different species, a different variant of the same species, or hybrids between them.
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On the wind-swept alpine meadows along the top of Mt La Casse, nothing grows more than a few centimetres tall, yet some of the prettiest and most interesting flowers of all occur there.  Here are two examples.
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Dryas integrifolia, mountain avens.
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Saxifriga oppositifolia, purple saxifrage I had several photos of this one, and my editor Norma and I could not agree on which one we liked the best – so I present two.
 
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On reviewing the results of my photographic efforts on this excursion, I got to wondering, maybe I should be trading in my 300 mm telephoto for a good macro lens!
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Carlo
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