As the light contours around the billowing snow we begin to respect winter’s delicacy, rather than cursing how cold it makes us feel. We’re starting off our BC Wetlands Photo of the Month 2013 by selecting Marshmallow Marsh from Flickr user Cindy-lou-boo, whose use of light to shape the landscape really drew our attention. This photo not only displays Whistler’s beautiful scenery, but it also sheds a warm light on an otherwise chilly terrain.
Although the weather may seem harsh, many species are active in the wetlands during the winter months. Salmon – such as coho and juvenile chinook – return to riparian areas for spawning during the winter’s ‘wet season’, when flows are less damaging and their eggs have a greater chance of survival. Many bird species use coastal wetlands (like the ones found in Whistler) as their habitat during migration and wintering. Bald Eagles are a common wetland visitor in the wintertime – with homes found on the Squamish, Mamquam and Cheakamus Rivers. And a positive side note, earlier this month Brakendale recorded the highest Bald Eagle count since 2010! Although their numbers have been low overall, this still marks an achievement for conservation (click here for more info). Another one of our favourite winter-wetland-species is the Ruffed Grouse. These grouse can be found in woody riparian areas where they bury in the snow for warmth. What’s exciting about these birds is if you get too close they will suddenly burst out of the snow! So if you’re hoping to go ‘wild’-watching in the winter, a wetland is the place to go (wow that was a lot of w’s)!
Thank you to Cindy-lou-boo and to all of the new members of our BC Wetlands Flickr group. There’s certainly been a lot of activity from our talented photographers and f you’d like to check out some awe-inspiring captures or to share your own photos, please click here. Or if you’d like to share any of your birding tips follow us on Twitter (@BCWFWetlands) or tell us on Facebook! Stay warm!