Once again we spent a week on Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park as volunteer wardens. This was our third year as part of the stewardship team that monitors this beautiful place, a protected bird sanctuary.
A few mornings , the sun peaked through to highlight the spring flowers among the seashells on the rocky outcrops of the island. The islands beyond in Camp Bay are haul-outs for sea lions.
The morning dew delicately accented the pretty shootingstar (Dodecatheon pulchellum) , one of the first flowers to bloom on the island.
Clusters of white fawn lily (Erythronium oreganum) also bloom quite early in the season, this year coinciding with Easter.
Several common camas (Camassia quamash) were starting to come into bloom in the central meadows of the island.
This year, chocolate lily (Fritillaria affinis) were abundant in the meadow. Some of the plants were quite large – and this one had three flowers on one stem.
The island is dry enough that cactus can thrive – this cluster of brittle prickly-pear (Opuntia fragilis) on a rocky ledge gets larger every year.
A plant I hadn’t noticed in previous visits was seaside fiddleneck (Amsinckia spectabilis) with its fuzzy leaves curled like the musical instrument.
Swaths of sea blush (Plectritus congesta) carpet areas of the East Hill. Canada Geese are among the several species of birds that nest on the island.
We were thrilled to find many clusters of purple-flowering naked broomrape (Orobanche uniflora) growing amongst the pink sea blush, blue-eyed Mary, and goldmoss stonecrop. This Orobanche was not on the existing plant list for the island. We speculated that it might be parasitic on the stonecrop (Sedum acre), which is actually a non-native invasive that is starting to cover some of the rocky areas.
We had never seen the Orobanche is such thick clusters – it is more usual to see just a few stems.