Spring has arrived at the Fascieux Creek Wetland. Located in the lower Okanagan Mission area of Kelowna, B.C., it is a small urban wetland about 4 acres in size. Fed by a network of creeks and ditches it ultimately drains into Okanagan Lake.
For the last 4 years I have spent many hours photographing its critters and studying its rhythm. I’ve found that learning the rhythm of this little wetland allows me to be more productive with my photography.
On first impression one would think that this small natural area is just a tangle of trees, brush and bulrushes. In reality it’s a natural ecosystem, teeming with life, within the bounds of an urban setting.
Over the winter, not much happens here that is obvious. Yes, there are tracks that indicate the presence of critters. But for the most part they are hunkered down in their dens and nests. The Great Blue Heron is a regular visitor throughout the year and the beaver generally can be seen year round but not so much in the winter.
The wetland is slowly starting to wake up after a long winter. Reeds and bulrushes are starting to push through the heavy mat of last year’s crop that was pushed down by the blanket of snow. Mallard ducks are year round residents. Usually, they move about in flotillas. Now they are pairing up and going through their annual mating rituals. Sometime in late April the first ducklings will appear. Red Winged Blackbirds are already in full throated song and Robins are in their annual nest building mode. Muskrats are out and about, silently cruising the narrow channels of the wetland.
I have yet to see the resident Great Blue Heron. Usually, he sticks to a very predictable schedule. Once I do see him I’ll know when to come to the wetland to photograph him. The beaver’s presence is obvious but it is a nocturnal animal. In order to photograph him I’ll have to be up early or stay late in the evening. However, my favourite time of the year at the Fascieux Creek Wetland is when the ducklings emerge.
The images I’ve included below were made over the last 4 years. They are some of my favourites and may be included in a book I am considering. Seasonally, they span a timeframe from late Winter to mid Spring. It’s a time when the Fascieux Creek Wetland is alive with new life and energy. It is such a special time.