It seems like the prehistoric plant series was well-received while I was on vacation; on behalf of Alexis, thank you for the comments and emails.
My trip to Jasper National Park a couple weeks ago didn’t quite meet my hopes for autumn colour. It seems like heavy winds had already hit some of the trees and shrubs, so plants ranged from fully-defoliated to still-green, with not a lot in the middle (much of what had turned had abscised with the winds). Still some pleasant pockets of colour, but it would have been a more showy display of yellows and oranges had I arrived a few days earlier.
On the other hand, there was a different set of colours to be found with the dwarf (or bog) birches. I now wish I had spent more time making photographs like the vertical one, as I like the effect of the out-of-focus leaves in the background. Fortunately for me, Betula glandulosa is widely distributed in western and northern North America (including much of British Columbia), so I needn’t travel as far for such images in the future.
Also present in this less-frequented area of the park were numerous ungulate hoofprints. I presume these were moose, as Betula glandulosa is the preferred browse plant of a moose’s summer forage diet in Jasper National Park. In the winter, the buds are eaten by ptarmigan and grouse. Important to keep in mind for next time, it seems that in the central Canadian Arctic, “Grizzly bears…constructed their dens under bog birch cover more than any other plant species. Bog birch was present at 84% of 52 den sites, and it was the highest in percent cover around den entrances. Bog birch roots formed ceilings of several dens studied”. I imagine these would more typically be found in rocky slope areas as opposed to the more boggy region where today’s photographs were taken. On the topic of animals and plants, I think perhaps that will be the next BPotD series, so if you have photographs of a mammal using a plant in some way (food, shelter, etc.) with both the mammal and plant identified, send me a note.
Additional photographs of Betula glandulosa are available via the Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (follow links at bottom of page).