Category Archives: Nature

Canoeing Burnaby’s Deer Lake

We dusted off the canoe and went for our first spin this year. Just been too busy to get out with Yumi both working full time and taking classes.

It was a lovely morning for a shakedown cruise, and we paddled leisurely around the lake a few times.

Deer Lake Canoeing
Heading out with Yumi in the bow

Yumi is always in the bow, seeing as I outweigh her by about 100 pounds : -)

Deer Lake geese
Lots of Canada Geese on the beach and lake

Deer Lake canoeing
Metrotown skyline

Deer Lake furry water beastie
This furry water beastie approached us, coming quite near before turning away

Deer Lake furry water beastie
Otter?

Deer Lake wildlife area market
Some years ago Burnaby designated the west end of the lake as a no-go wildlife area. People, please respect this haven.

Deer Lake cormorant and herons
A cormorant and three herons

cormorant herons Deer Lake wildlife area
You can clearly see the importance of this small area of urban biodiversity

Deer Lake mallard escort
An escort of mallards

Deer Lake damselfly
A visit from a damselfly

Yumi blackberries
Yumi doing her best to keep invasive Himalayan blackberries in check : -)

Deer Lake friendly mallard
This pretty mallard was pretty used to people, perhaps overly so!

Erickson's Baldwin House
Gliding toward Arthur Erickson’s Baldwin House

Deer Lake east beach
Back ashore at the east beach

Goshawk vs Snake Fight — in Tokyo?!

I just saw an NHK (if you’re Canadian think CBC) clip of a snake trying to snatch a goshawk chick from a nest way up a tree — in Meiji Jingu park in Tokyo. Mom GH intervened…

I used to walk through Meiji Jingu a couple of times a week on the way to work when I lived in Tokyo. I would get off the train a few stations early to fill my lungs with somewhat naturally filtered air and enjoy this haven in a sea of concrete and pavement…

But I never imagined a goshawk/snake fight in this green oasis in a metropolitan area of some 25-30 million people!

I’m attaching this Google Earth capture, just to show how isolated this island of biodiversity is in one of the largest metropolitan centers on Earth.

The red marker is Meiji Shrine and its park. The surrounding grey area is all buildings, concrete, and pavement. The other green areas to the right are other parks, and the Imperial Palace.

Meiji Jingu Tokyo Google Maps

Keeping Emergency Water Fresh

We completed refreshing our earthquake water supply kit tonight.

Here in Burnaby on the west coast of Canada we are in an earthquake zone. We don’t get them that often, and usually when we do they are tiny. But historically there have also been temblors  that (I love this quotation, though I don’t remember where I read/heard it) have “knocked cows off their feet.”

We keep 3 X 20L containers on hand. We also rotate through them for camping, so the water gets refreshed in the course of such activities, but we haven’t been camping in awhile.

So over the last couple of days we used a container a day to water our balcony garden and some shrubbery outside the front door.

We then refreshed the containers with a baking soda solution, let them air for awhile, and refilled them.

Byrne Creek Salmon Fry, Thirsty Wasps, Bees

I took a one-hour loop in Byrne Creek Ravine Park this afternoon in SE Burnaby, BC. I was happy to see lots of salmon fry, and possibly trout fry. I took water temperatures at three points in the lower ravine, and they ranged from 14.5 – 15 C, so not too bad for fish. Other volunteers with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers had recorded temps as high as 17 further downstream.

Aside from lots of fry, I also saw thirsty wasps and bees. Some wasps were rolling and collecting mud.

Byrne Creek salmon fry
Lots of fry in the pool upstream of the wooden footbridge

wasp rolling mud
Wasp rolling mud on the bank of the creek

water-seeking bees
One of several bees seeking hydration

salmon fry, dappled sun and water
I like how the sun and moving water created this dappled appearance