February 27, 2005

Stream of Dreams Does Home Show

The Stream of Dreams Murals Society was invited to participate in the Vancouver Home & Garden Show, and we had a fantastic, exhausting time.

We taught passersby about the importance of watersheds and invited them to paint salmon that will be placed on public display in a Burnaby park.

The City of Burnaby provided a huge salmon eco-sculpture and hundreds of aluminum fish to paint. The big salmon will eventually be filled with plant material and become a living sculpture, and the small fish will be installed nearby.


A head-on shot of the huge salmon eco-sculpture frame.


People painting salmon


The mural takes shape on the giant salmon eco-sculpture.

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped!

Posted by Paul at 07:08 PM

February 26, 2005

Spring Stirs Wildlife Around Byrne Creek

Yumi and I saw lots of fish in Byrne Creek today on our walk. We decided to check out the spawning channel, and saw dozens of cutthroat trout and some probable coho smolts in each of the pools at Tags 510, 511, and 513. Also spotted a couple of salmonid fry in the pool at Tag 512.

There were about two dozen possible chum fry (babies) in the sediment pond downstream of the gravel pile, and several upstream of the gravel pile, dangerously close to the cutthroat and coho smolts (juveniles) that hang out in the pool below the stop log. We still haven't seen any fry in the ravine.

We also found one dead cutthroat in the lower end of the sediment pond. We didn't take the time to get it out, but it looked to be about 20cm or so. We had also seen a large (30-35cm), listless cutthroat at the lower end of the sediment pond yesterday and the day before yesterday. Looked like a spawner, with abraded fins and the mottling white spots. Unfortunately we couldn't find it today, as we'd been hoping to process it when it died. Apparently cuts spawn in February to May.

For the bird lovers out there, the action is really heating up in Ron McLean Park, Byrne Creek ravine, the habitat and Foreshore Park. In the last few days we've seen thrushes, juncos, towhees, jays, sparrows, robins, chickadees, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, several species of ducks, herons, red-tailed hawks, eagles, etc. There is an eagle back in the huge nest across the Fraser from the outfall of Byrne Creek. Several species were courting -- spring is in the air!

Posted by Paul at 10:54 PM

February 25, 2005

Review - Vancouver, City on the Edge

Review - Vanvouver, City on the Edge: Living with a Dynamic Geological Landscape.

by John Clague & Bob Turner

This book is a fascinating look at the geology of the lower mainland area of British Columbia. Full of illustrations and photographs, it is an excellent primer on the history and present state of the landscape we live in.

The authors cover several important issues including earthquakes, slides, volcanoes and watersheds. They also point out several good locations for field trips.

One point that one hears from time to time, and that always blows my mind, is that if we look at the age of Earth and compare it to a single calendar year, human recorded history began 30 seconds ago.

Ponder that for a moment. When looking at one calendar year as compared to the age of Earth, "It was not until 8 PM December 31 that humans evolved from more primitive primates... All recorded history falls within the last 30 seconds."

Amazing when you consider to what extent our species has impacted our planet in a few dozen heartbeats.

Posted by Paul at 10:21 PM

February 22, 2005

Adding Storage to Tungsten E

I nabbed a 512MB Kingston SD card for my Palm Tungsten E today for C$49.

I find the pace of techonolgical advancement amazing considering that the first hard disk I ever bought was a 32MB 5 1/4" drive for over US$300 -- and that was 1988 dollars!

Posted by Paul at 08:47 PM

February 21, 2005

Tungsten E Ousts Palm Pilot Professional

A couple of weeks ago I finally upgraded to a Palm Tungsten E from an aging Palm Pilot Professional (PPP).

The PPP had served me well for seven or eight years, but its 1MB of memory and cramped, dark monochrome screen were limiting, and its HotSync cradle connectivity was becoming increasingly flaky.

I got a good deal on the Tungsten E and a wireless Palm folding keyboard combo, and now I wonder why I didn't upgrade years ago. The E is hardly cutting-edge technology, it's been around for a long time, yet I find its color screen and multimedia capabilities enchanting.

I like the ability to load Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the E. While I doubt if I'd want to do more than cursory editing of such files on the handheld, its nice to be able to carry the odd document or spreadsheet around for reference.

I also enjoy loading photos onto the E.

I wonder how many PPPs are still in action?

Posted by Paul at 08:27 PM

February 20, 2005

Kaymar Creek Tour

I'd like to thank Bob and Chris for organizing a tour of Kaymar Creek this morning. The creek drains the easternmost part of south Burnaby. An avid group of Byrne Creek Streamkeepers walked it from Central Park all the way down to the north arm of the Fraser.

Originating in Central Park with two ponds, it must have been a beautiful creek in its day, and while much has been culverted and channeled, there are still a few enchanting areas.


The above photo shows a section in the ravine that was paved into an open storm drain some 30 years ago.


And above is one of the few sections that remains in a mostly natural state.

I don't know how many times Yumi and I have driven across the Kaymar watershed without much thought, however we will now view it with greater awareness.

Posted by Paul at 08:15 PM

February 15, 2005

Inconsiderate Coughers Mar Vancouver Concert

A cacophonous chorus of coughers crashed the Kodo concert in Vancouver last night.

A quiet, moving, wooden flute and vocal number in particular was assailed with a storm of hacking.

The occasional cough or sneeze is to be expected at a concert, but this was an ongoing barrage from numerous idiots throughout the hall.

Who were all those inconsiderate people who couldn't suppress a cough for a few minutes? Or if they were that sick, what were they doing attending a public event?

What has happened to courtesy and common sense?

Posted by Paul at 12:10 PM

Powerful Kodo Concert in Vancouver

The Kodo One Earth Tour 2005 blew into Vancouver last night with a powerful concert that garnered two standing ovations.

Kodo is a world-renowned Japanese drum group that is known for its athletic performances of mesmerizing percussion music. The group never fails to please, and appears to have loosened up somewhat from its earlier ascetic days.

The show incorporated a few new features including Kabuki elements and vocal numbers.

This is at least the fourth time I've seen Kodo in concert, and am always blown away. If you've never seen Kodo and have the chance, don't miss it!

Posted by Paul at 11:59 AM

February 12, 2005

BC Legislature at Night

Continuing our Victoria weekend trip, Yumi and I wandered the inner harbour one evening. It's a popular tourist spot, with the BC Legislature and the Empress Hotel anchoring two sides of the harbour.


Posted by Paul at 09:26 PM

February 11, 2005

Ft. Rodd Hill

Yumi and I took advantage of a holiday in Japan to take the ferry over to Victoria on Friday morning. We arrived on the island at 10:30 a.m. and slowly drove down the west side of the Saanich penninsula, aiming to be at Ft. Rodd Hill national park for lunch.

It's a beautiful site on the ocean, with former coast artillery fortifications and a picturesque lighthouse.


That's me beneath the fire-directing tower, leaning on a cannon.


Fisgard lighthouse, built in 1860.

Posted by Paul at 09:12 PM

February 10, 2005

Early Byrne Creek Fry are Chum

The wee little fish we saw the other day in Byrne Creek are chum -- and they're showing up a month early!

Yumi and I saw more today, and while we weren't able to trap any, we studied them with close-focusing binoculars and they were definitely chum.

There are only a few of them about, no large schools yet as we saw last year.

Posted by Paul at 11:08 PM

February 08, 2005

New Salmon Fry in Byrne Creek?

Yumi and I did a loop of the Byrne Creek ravine and spawning habitat early this afternoon. The viewing conditions were perfect with sunny skies and clear water (aside from the common oily film on the surface of parts of the sediment pond.)

We were not expecting baby salmon fry yet, but were keeping a sharp eye out, when Yumi suddenly yelled that she saw a few. I was skeptical but went over to her and scanned the bottom of the sediment pond in the spawning/rearing habitat. After five or more minutes I finally saw two little guys, just a few centimeters long. They were definitely tail swimmers, and were the size of new salmonid fry.

Coho fry were first spotted last year in Byrne Creek on Feb. 29, so this is early.

Inspired, we checked out the spawning channel, and saw many cutthroat and/or possibly coho smolts scooting around in the deep pools and hiding below the snags, but no fry. There were also lots of heron and raccoon tracks in the shallows. Several of the redds (nests of salmon eggs) in the channel looked in decent shape despite the winter storms and heavy sediment flow, so here's hoping we see lots of babies soon!

We'll try to confirm that fry have really appeared and what species they are over the next few days.

Posted by Paul at 09:10 PM

February 07, 2005

Spanish Bank Salmon Success Story

Yumi and I went to a presentation tonight by the Pacific Spirit Park Society featuring the revitalization of Spanish Bank Creek.

This creek in Vancouver had not seen salmon return in some 80 years, however a restoration project over the last few years has been a geat success, with over 60 spawners counted in autumn 2004.

The Spanish Bank Streamkeepers are a passionate and dedicated crew, and they made a presentation along with their Department of Fisheries and Oceans Community Advisor Sandie Hollick-Kenyon.

Considering that Vancouver used to have over 65 creeks, and only a handful remain in various states of health, this project is an inspiration.

Posted by Paul at 09:14 PM