We had an exciting day in the Park yesterday! We headed out to Croteau Lake on a quest to find the yellow avalanche lily (Erythronium grandiflorum) -rare on Vancouver Island – at a location we had heard about from a fellow hiker.
On the way we noted more Jeffrey’s shootingstar (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) blooming in the meadows, on the east side of the Centennial Trail.
Already more western bog-laurel (Kalmia microphylla) flowers were open compared to yesterday. The stamens of the bog-laurel are tucked into pouches on the flower until they are pollinated, when they spring out.
In the meadows & on the way to Croteau Lake, we noticed several tiny Western Toads.
A Bald Eagle perched atop a meadow tree and a Hairy Woodpecker tapped on a cedar snag.
Bald Eagles are actually not that common in the meadows – Turkey Vultures, Osprey and Northern Harrier are more likely.
Up from the meadows on the way to Battleship Lake, the first Alaska blueberry (Vaccinium alaskaense) were blooming in the woods. Most of the blueberry blooming now is the oval-leaved blueberry (Vaccinium ovalifolium) – which flower before the leaves emerge. The Alaska blueberry blossom is distinctive with the flower being twice as wide as it is long.
Just a few patches of snow remain on the shore of Lady Lake. The trail is wet & muddy in many places so gaiters are a good idea!
Near Croteau Lake, we succeeded in our quest – a couple of patches of yellow avalanche lilies! Higher up the rocky bluff the blooms were finished but lower down in the cooler shade they were still abundant. The plant starts to bloom through the melting snow, so we were almost too late. It was an exciting find & great timing as the flowers may just last another week.