Category Archives: Photography

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!

Catgirl Senses a Mouse in the House

I’m wondering if the colder weather has enticed a mouse into the house. The cat’s antsy, and wants to check out all the less used spaces behind closed doors — the storage under the stairs, the utility room, etc.

She rid us of a couple of mice a few years ago that sneaked in from the garage. Didn’t kill them, but caught them and brought them to us, and we released them outdoors.

She’s certainly fixated:

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Ensconced in her cat cave, yet vigilant. The door to the under-stairs storage is about three bounds straight ahead, and is slightly ajar for access.

And yes, Daddy’s sweatshirts are great for sleeping on, under, in. . .

So are his outdoor fleeces, if he forgets to hang one up and just tosses it on the chair :  -).  That scenario results in a mass of cat hair matted onto the fleece.

Returning Salmon Highlight Wonders of Autumn

I like getting out in nature any time of year, but autumn is the season that evokes the most intense responses. Of course there’s the amazing display of colour, but there’s also a sense of excitement as the salmon return to spawn, and harvest reaches its peak with grain, fruits, and vegetables in abundance.

For me, autumn is the most stimulating time on my local waterway, Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby, BC. I’ve volunteered as a streamkeeper for many years, and the return of salmon to spawn in this little local creek is an affirmation of efforts to maintain and restore some semblance of a natural world in an urban area.

Walking the creek and finding spawners is exhilarating. And I love to connect other folks to the creek through the awesome fish. Today I found a pair of chum spawning in an area easily viewed from the trail, and I pointed them out to several people who passed by.

“O my God!” “Really? That’s amazing!”

People are enchanted by the sight.

Sometimes the fish are not easy to see, even in a small creek like Byrne. Here’s an example of a “stealth chum” that I initially didn’t notice, though I had carefully scanned the area it was resting in.

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I saw a total of six spawners today, a pair of chum that were actively spawning, with the female flipping sideways and digging a depression in the gravel and cobble in which to deposit her eggs.

Then there was the fish in the photo above, a few meters away.

Later in a different part of the creek I saw two coho, a male already sporting bright wine red colours, and a speckled silvery female. There was another salmon in that vicinity, but I couldn’t get a good enough look at it for an ID.

Here’s to seeing more over the next month or two!

Cool Mason Bee Workshop in Burnaby, BC

Thanks to the City of Burnaby Parks Dept and the Environmental Youth Alliance for an interesting mason bee workshop today!

Mason Bee Workshop
Unrolling paper tubes from mason bee “condo”

Mason bees are very important pollinators for fruit trees as well as vegetables, flowers, etc. Due to concerns about the decline of pollinators, the City of Burnaby has a program in which it installs “bee condos” in municipal parks, and asks volunteers to monitor and clean them, harvest cocoons, keep them dry and cool over the winter, and place them back out in the spring to hatch. Mason bees are ideal for urban areas because they are very placid and non-aggressive.

Volunteers Count Bugs in Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby

Count bugs? Yep, doing aquatic invertebrate surveys is a good indicator of water quality, so we do them twice a year at nine locations on the creek.

Volunteers took bug samples (aquatic invertebrates) at three locations on Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby today. While we haven’t run the numbers yet, judging by how few bugs we found, and the very limited variety, the water quality is likely in the lowest “Poor” category.

We use the established Module 4 methodology from the Streamkeepers Handbook.

The water in Byrne Creek is usually in the “Poor” to “Marginal” categories, since our “headwaters” are all residential, automotive, retail, etc. All the crap that accumulates on roads and parking lots is flushed into the creek.

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Taking a sample with a D-net

Byrne Creek bug count
Baby crayfish found in one sample

First Salmon Patrol Yields Fall Colors, No Spawners Yet

Despite the drizzle that gradually increased to steady rain, I took a two-hour ramble down and back up Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, today, hoping to see salmon coming back to spawn. When the rains raise the water level, the fish start heading upstream in mid-October, so they should arrive any day now.

I didn’t see any salmon, but it was a lovely day with the rain giving foliage a lush sheen, and the overcast sky imbuing the forest with a soft light.

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Byrne Creek, Burnaby, Autumn Colours

Adams River Sockeye Dominant Run 2014

The return of sockeye salmon to the Adams River in the Shuswap in British Columbia peaks every four years. This was my third or fourth visit for a peak run, combined with a 3-day SEHAB (Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board) meeting.

Here are a few photos taken while volunteering on the river as an interpreter for the thousands of tourists who flock to this amazing event. The run was not yet at its peak, and I hope I can find the time to make it up there one more time this year.

Check out Salute to the Sockeye for more information.

adams river sockeye run 2014

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