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Grant Narrows Regional Park, Pitt River, British Columbia

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Joined: 07 Aug 2008
Posts: 630

Location: Delta, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 11:13 am    Post subject: Grant Narrows Regional Park, Pitt River, British Columbia  Reply with quote

After Yellowknife, we visited a number of nearby places, more of less every wkend. I did not get a chance to write much about them, but have received request to do so. Some of the writings are being put up on the Khata, but with very few pictures and a bit more writing.

Many more pictures are requested on Flikr, which already has over 550 of my photos.

And here, on Uttarayan, I sometimes write a bit of it, also to hone my ability to describe a land, and its inhabitants, but only when I can find the time to do all that.

Well, the name itself can be misleading. It essentially means a bend in a river, where the river is somewhat "narrow". Why "Grant" ? LIke many cases, it is after a person who first learned about the uniqueness of a place, often from original inhabitants (first nation people, or the Innuits and their subtribes).

The place is ecologically unique enough to bring forward legislation, ensuring its survival, and preventing human development or farming.

The Park is located in the town of Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. From here you can head out towards Pitt Lake, the largest tidal lake in North America, as well as the Pitt River, the Widgeon Creek and Marsh across the river, and the Pitt Polder ecological Reserve.

The Park also offers several boat launches into the river. Two years back, myself and Anuradha had rented a canoes and rowed our way across the river and into the creek, navigating along multiple fingers of the creek and stopping often to soak in the marsh atmosphere, clicking pictures of waterfowl, hawks and owls, and enjoying the serene landscape. There are hiking trails, mostly on dykes along the south bank of the river and the tidal lake, and through the woodland adjacent to the river.

We left a bit late from home, an by the time we arrived at this spot, it was around 3 in the afternoon, which was too late for a proper canoe ride, since one had to return the boat, if rented, by around 5 PM. We had come for a walkabout, for which there was enough time.. the park has no gate and one does not need to leave by any fixed time. The only problem was it was a heavily overcast day, and the lighting was kind of poor - too poor to get a good picture using high telephoto lens to capture birds on flight.

So, while I saw a number of ducks, mergansers, blackbird, Canada geese and Ospreys, I had a very hard time getting a sharp image of them in the air. But, I was not complaining. The view, and the surrounding land and waterscape was just as good as I remembered it from my last visit.

In the picture above, a mother Osprey stands vigil on a post, her nearly grown up baby in a nest nearby.

An Osprey is a bird of prey, the size of a large hawk, that specializes in catching large fish from the air. These fish eating bird of prey often like to nest along the banks of the river. So, you are likely to see them if you come between spring and summer.

Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge were dyked extensively after World War II to protect from flooding by the Pitt and Alouette rivers; today walkers, cyclists, birders and equestrians use the embankments year round. Grant Narrows Regional Park is a good place to start exploring these trails on the south shore of Pitt Lake (the largest freshwater tidal lake in North America). I have posted on the Khata, about Kanaka Creek, which is also nearby. Link : http://web.me.com/tonu/Santiniket...ek_regional_park,_BC,_CANADA.html

Above is one of my successful attempts at capturing in my camera an Osprey in flight. The bird was gliding, wing extended, and moving away from me. Poor light or not, it proved the general theory that, if you try hard, you are likely to get at least one good shot.

Far to my left, folks were returning with their canoe at days end. A few aluminum hull speed boats sped past me on the river. I was standing on a dyke by the river's south bank. Behind me was the vast Pitt Lake, a huge fresh water tidal lake, the largest in North America. The surface of the water was filled at the shallows with tall reeds, long grass and lily pods. I could see diving and dabbling ducks far off to the south west, busy searching for food. A few mergansers would suddenly disappear underwater, only to emerge a while later at a different spot. A lone Canada geese make an occasional grunting call, reminding me of its presence by the muddy edge of the water.

The day was coming to an end. It was time to head back towards my car, parked on the grass by the road to the park, about a km away.

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