Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A corpse in the forest

Didn't manage too much in the way of birding today, the only bird of note seen on my lunchtime stroll was a caspian tern down at Nanaimo waterfront, by Mafeo Sutton Park.

After work, Jen and I took an evening constitutional down to Hemer Park.
Didn't see too much to get excited about, the merlin family were seen, and heard, en route again.
A couple of bald eagles were keeping the wood ducks on edge, but there was little else around the pool bar the usual common yellowthroats, red-winged blackbirds, etc.
The most interesting thing about our wander was the discovery of the plant shown in the photograph here.
I'm sure that most Vancouver Island locals will be familiar with it, but a few UK readers might like to know what it is.
It's a flowering plant called an Indian-pipe (also known, appropriately, as ice plant, corpse plant and ghost flower) and grows in gloomy coniferous forests. It totally lacks chlorophyll, hence its weird appearance and obtains its nutrients from nearby tree roots via a complex relationship with fungi in the earth - so my book says! Freaky eh?

Curiously, on our walk home, a flock of 20 white-winged scoter flew over, heading toward the coast.
A bit early for post/failed-breeding birds? Do they over-summer in small numbers locally?

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