One would assume, based on the images I have included below that the the Fascieux Creek Wetland is located in a rural area far from urban development. Its not! It is located in the Okanagan Mission area of Kelowna. Bounded on opposing sides by two major city streets and on its other two side by townhouses and apartment buildings it’s an urban wetland.
When I was setting up for this image I didn’t realize that the water was frozen until this group of ducks came shuffling into my view finder.
This little wetland has an area of about three and a half acres and is a popular walking area for local residents. It is fed by a network of streams, some now encased in culverts, that ultimately empty into Okanagan Lake.
From my home to the Fascieux Creek Wetland is about a 15 minute drive. I had no idea that it existed until a friend mentioned it to me several years ago. Since then, I have made countless trips to capture literally thousands of images of the critters and plant life that reside there.
Red wing black birds, hawks and a variety of ducks are just some of the birds that frequent Fascieux Creek. But the most impressive and my favourite is the Great Blue Heron. I’ve photographed the resident Great Blue many times. Grudgingly it seems, he has allowed me into his space to let me make some very interesting photographs.
Also present in this wetland are muskrats, beaver, raccoons, rats, weasels and turtles. I’ve even found a nest of garter snakes. The most important resident is the beaver. I think he falls into the category of a keystone species. Without the beaver the water level would not be consistent. This allows all the other species to thrive.
The beaver is also an engineer, always constructing dams. City workers show up every now and then to remove the dams only to have them rebuild somewhere else in the wetland. It is an interesting dynamic which the beaver always seems to win.
Within the Fascieux Creek Wetland are areas of quiet water, beautiful refections, tangled bush and fallen, dead trees.
Initially, there was lots of open water in the wetland. Photographic opportunities were available in all seasons of the year. Now, as a consequence of the beaver’s engineering and the resulting the higher water level there is a proliferation of reeds and bull rushes that have clogged up most of the open areas of water.
Some of the branches on this tree are dead. Most of the leaves from the other branches are on the ground,
The best times to make photographs in the wetland now are in late fall, winter when the reeds are pushed down by snow and in the spring before the reeds start to grow. I’ve learned where and when to find many of the wetland’s species. Those that are nocturnal are more difficult to observe but I have spotted their tracks in the wintertime snow.
There are other small urban wetlands in the Kelowna area that I am starting to pay attention to so I don’t spend as much time as I used to at the Fascieux Creek Wetland. It, however, is still my ‘go to’ place to find interesting images when I just need to get out with my camera for an hour or so.