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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shooting Stars ( Dodecatheon hendersonii)

I arrived at Highrock Park just after the sun had risen and wandered around looking for some birds - there are many species I often see but have not successfully photographed yet. After a bit I sat down on a rock in the sun to drink my thermos of coffee. I saw several people walking pony-sized dogs. It's an off-leash park and sometimes these dogs are quite aggressive so I jumped when I heard a sudden heavy thumping behind me. It was a deer, a young doe, leaping through the underbrush. She was gone by the time I got the camera to my face so no picture. But what a pleasant surprise in this small urban park. I don't know if Victoria is particularly blessed with wild-life or whether I've just begun to notice it but yesterday was remarkable when I consider the animals that I saw. After I left Highrock Park I went to Saxe Point and there I saw a half-dozen Harbour Seals basking on the rocks and a small otter scurrying along the shore. In addition to these mammals I saw about ten different species of birds including Bald Eagles, Northern Flickers, Crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, Common Mergansers, several species of sparrows and wrens, robins, crows, starlings, and a yet to be identified species of duck. An additional treat encountered in Highrock Park, pictured above, were the first blooms of one of my favorite spring wildflowers, commonly called Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon hendersonii).

I love the kind of information found in Lewis J. Clark's description of Shooting Stars in his Wild flowers of British Columbia:
Dodecatheon. Say it: savour it. Would that all plant names were so pleasant to the ear! Dodecatheon derives from the Greek dodeka, twelve, and theoi, gods. Pliny (and much later Linnaeus) imagined, in the cluster of crowned flowers, an assembly of the Olympian deities.


Dean Lewis said...

What a 'field day' you had there Benjamin.
Dawn gave you an edge since the critters aren't yet scared off.
I've seen deer at dusk on top of Mt. Tolmie and believe they bed down up there somewhere.
Once I walked out to the vacant beach at Witty's Lagoon to find a colony of seals treading water just offshore, all staring back at me, and by my count numbered 45!
They are out there, and we are truly fortunate to share their world and be crossing paths.

JoJo said...

My fave colour flower!

One of my sayings is, "Be there or be a dodecahedron". (instead of 'be there or be square')

Jabba said...

Twice in the early morning I've seen deer on the road right outside my building! I don't want to give away where I live online, but Ben I think you sort of have an idea.
The first time I saw them, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me - deer?!
I agree with Dean, we are lucky to cross their paths once in awhile.