Hours After Setting Up Mason Bee Station, Action!

We built this little shelter for our balcony and installed a mason-bee release box, and two containers of paper tubes that Yumi patiently rolled using bee-whisperer Joe Sadowski’s exact instructions as to proper sizing. He provided us with several dozen tubes, and a dowel to fashion our own.

Little bee station I made from scrap lumber saved in our garage. Nothing fancy, just a bit of shelter from rain. I had some old paint from painting a bedroom over ten years ago, and by chance it matches our siding :-).

Joe’s bee-release box at upper left — fashioned from a small plant container. A wooden box I made at center, and a pop-bottle tube holder Joe made on the right.

And within hours of taking cocoons out of their over-winter storage in the fridge, we’ve got action!

Yumi rolled over a hundred tubes in one evening!

mason bee action south Burnaby BC
Mason bees do not provide honey, but they are super pollinators, and are very docile and people-friendly.

I’d like to thank the City of Burnaby Parks Dept. for getting us started with mason bees a few years ago with their “adopt a mason bee condo” program in which volunteers were trained to monitor and maintain boxes supplied by the City and installed in municipal parks and schoolyards.

A few mason bee resources:

Suzuki Foundation How to Harvest Mason Bee Cocoons

West Coast Seeds A Year in Mason Bee Keeping

Bee Diverse — If you’re not handy and want to buy all your supplies this is a good source. Many garden shops also carry mason bee gear.

Prepping To Put Out Mason Bee Boxes

Yesterday, Yumi and I spent a wonderful evening with mason-bee whisperer and native-plant gardener Joe Sadowski. Thanks for the personal tutoring and inspiration!

We even got several plants to take home!

Today I put my basic carpentry skills to the test (earning at best a “C”), and made two additional boxes.

Mason Bee boxes

I’ve never been a cabinetry or finishing type of carpenter, if I may call myself a carpenter at all — more of a demolition and framing, roughing in, kinda guy.

But while not pretty, they’re functional.

Owls Highlight South Surrey Ramble

Yumi and I headed down to Stewart Heritage Farm in South Surrey, BC, today to walk the trails and were rewarded with lots of birds and other critters.

The highlight was a pair of owls that Yumi spotted in silent flight through the woods. She saw where they perched so I could get in and get some shots. Thanks!

South Surrey birds and beasts

Photographer goofing around
Photographer goofing around. . . Photo by Yumi.

Birds Galore at Centennial Beach in Delta, BC

We spent several hours wandering the trails at Centennial Beach in Delta, BC, today.

Anna’s Hummingbird

wildlife centennial beach
Couple of tree swallows duking it out over prime real estate : -)

We saw several Northern Harriers

Crows hate raptors — when the harrier landed in the field this sentinel came to check it out

Invasive Red-Eared Slider in the pond near the playground

A handsome crow

rabbit centennial beach
Let’s play “spot the bunny”

Spring is in the Air at Campbell Valley Regional Park

We enjoyed fresh air and lots of signs of spring on a 2-hour ramble in Campbell Valley Regional Park today.

We’ve always enjoyed hand-feeding chickadees in the park, but this is the first time we pulled in a Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

The feeling of a wee bird’s claws clutching one’s finger is pure joy!

Doing the wormhole space-jump thing. . .  : -)

A sign at a trail crossing said flooding ahead, but we had to go see for ourselves : -)

Trilliums — I think these are protected in BC

Budding salmonberries!

Campbell Valley Regional Park
Busy as a . . .

Mom’s Tenth

Funny how the stars align now and then. Today is the 10th anniversary of my Mom’s passing. She spent over 30 years in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan, retiring as Assistant Dean, Student Affairs.

And just now in my email box I see an invitation to a “Millions of Memories” College of Education Alumni Event (I did a B. Ed. there way back when).

Mom would advise me to “do” rather than “stew”, so despite the gray, rainy day, I’m going to go for a long walk before dinner.

A link to an old blog post with Mom’s obit. (Hm, some wonky characters have popped up in there…)