Category Archives: Nature

Upcoming Nature Walks in Burnaby, BC

There are several nature walks coming up over the next few months in Burnaby, BC, parks. You can sign up here:

http://www.Burnaby.ca/webreg

I have been on walks with birder George Clulow (check out his excellent nature blog here), and with species-at-risk specialist Pam Zevit (South Coast Conservation Program).  I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to participate on a tour with Greg Ferguson yet, but here’s one of the interesting things he’s working on – The British Columbia Swallow Conservation Project.

burnaby nature walks

A Few Fave Wildlife Shots from 2014

Here are a few wildlife shots I like from my photography in 2014. I’ll add more over the year-end as I look for them:

heron flight
This is one of my most-commented-on photos posted to Facebook. A heron shot in flight yesterday at Garry Point Park in Steveston, BC

Coyote Banff AB
Coyote near Tunnel Mountain campground in Banff National Park

Deer Banff
Deer near the town bridge in Banff, Banff National Park

moose jasper
Moose in Jasper National Park

Raven Banff
Raven in Columbia Icefields parking lot

coyote banff
Coyote just off Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park near Castle Mountain

sockeye adams river
Male sockeye cruising up the Adams River in BC

red_winged blackbird
Red-winged blackbird, Burnaby Lake Park, Burnaby, BC

Male wood duck
Male wood duck, Burnaby Lake Park, Burnaby, BC

crow burnaby lake

spider luncheon

squirrel burnaby lake

goldfinch elgin surrey
Goldfinch, Elgin Heritage Park, South Surrey, BC

gull with clam
Gull carrying shellfish to drop and break, Birch Bay State Park, WA

heron acrobatics
Aerobatic heron, Birch Bay State Park, WA

Searching Squamish, BC, for Salmon and Eagles

This is a great time of year to see salmon and eagles up the Sea-to-Sky highway heading north from Vancouver to Squamish.

Didn’t see that many of the magnificent raptors today, but enough for some decent photos.

eagle_paradise_valley_road_squamish_20141122Eagle soaring above the Paradise Valley road north of Squamish, BC

eagle_squamish_river__chum_20141122
Lunching on what appears to be a chum salmon on the Squamish River

eagle_squamish_river_20141122
Cruising along the Squamish River

eagles salmon squamish bc
A mass of  biomass. Lots of carcasses near the Tenderfoot hatchery off the Paradise Valley road north of Squamish. It looks gross, but salmon bring nutrients back from the ocean that enrich our coastal forests and other wildlife.

If You’re Reading This, You’re Guilty, As am I

I am an “environmentalist.” Local papers have labelled me an “activist.”

Yet as I sit here in my office, I am surrounded by metal, plastic, wood, paper — all materials mined or “harvested” from the environment I purport to protect.

I could not be sharing this with you, if you were not also in possession of plastic, glass, various metals that make up computers or tablets or smartphones, and the electrical energy required to  charge their batteries, and run the infrastructure of the Internet.

You are all plugged into your various electrical grids. Some of you could be burning coal to read this, some of you oil. Some of you may be fortunate to be using hydro power (which still kills rivers and fish).

Anyone out there know for sure that they’re purely solar? Or geothermal? And then, what materials were used to make those panels, or bore and set up those wells?

It’s a tough world we live in, for those of us aware enough to realize that we’ve got problems.

BTW this is not meant as message of despair, it’s meant to be a message of awareness, and stimulation to design things better going forward.

Frosty Deer Lake Circumrambulation

I was expecting a nature tour around Deer Lake in Buranby, BC, today, but I couldn’t find the group. I ended up taking a bit over two hours to walk around the lake with my camera on a crisp, sunny morning. Here’s a set of 30 shots in  a Flickr album.

Yes, I know circumrambulation is not a word, but I think it should be. It’s what you do when you ramble entirely around a lake : -).

Deer Lake photos Nov. 16, 2014. Flickr

 

I also counted about 30 chum salmon carcasses in Buckingham Creek, in the short stretch where it runs north of the parking lot and into the lake. I was impressed. Salmon had disappeared from the creek for decades, and began returning again only recently after restoration efforts including making culverts more fish friendly. The first time Yumi and I saw a salmon carcass there was in 2009, documented on my old blog.

Byrne Creek Moving Water Medley

As I patrolled Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, in search of spawning salmon on Nov. 4, I didn’t see any fish as the water was high and fast. But I did get several video clips of moving water that I edited together into a 2-minute video today.

BTW, nothing fancy. I used my Canon Elph 520HS pocket camera in its 1920 HD video mode. I mounted it on a GorillaPod so that I could get nice and low into the creek, while keeping things steady.

I edited the clips together using the standard Windows Movie Maker that came with Windows 8.1

No music, no narration, just the sights and sounds of moving water in nature.

Enjoy!

Bobcat Sightings at Deer Lake in Burnaby, BC

I suspect there may be a few folks out there disturbed by reports that a bobcat has been sighted several times at Deer Lake in Burnaby, BC. Deer Lake is one of Burnaby’s beautiful parks, and I find the reports exhilarating and uplifting.

A bobcat seen smack in the center of one of BC’s largest cities. Excellent!

Here’s the Burnaby Newsleader story.

I was also heartened by the response from Burnaby Parks that this was nothing to be afraid of, and that, indeed, the sightings show that we have a relatively healthy environment in our city.

I agree. The more species that can share and thrive in the same space, the healthier the environment you have. In contrast, the loss of species diminishes all of us.

I suspect this cat strayed here from remoter areas, but that’s also a good sign. The fact that wildlife can travel from place to place in an urban/suburban area is a positive indicator that we still have enough green spaces and green corridors to allow for such travel.

It’s been reported that the bobcat runs away when it sees humans, and that’s good. Wild animals should remain wild. It’s when humans interfere by feeding them, and trying to interact with them, that they can become dangerous.

Perhaps domestic cats and small dogs may be enticing to the bobcat, but dogs should be kept close all the time, and leashed much of the time, anyway.

Domestic cats? They have a huge negative impact on small wildlife and birds for they will kill even if they are well fed at home. Try to keep your cat indoors. Our cat is very content, and she’s 99.8% indoor, only going out on a harness from time to time to enjoy the grass.