October 30, 2005

Sunrise at Royal Roads

I forgot about the time change this morning, so my 7:45 a.m. walk became a 6:45 a.m. walk. It was a fortuitous mistake, as the morning light was soft and gentle. I saw a family of otters having breakfast in the lagoon. They were munching on a huge crab, but unfortunately the lens on my digital camera tops out at the equivalent of an 85mm telephoto, so they were just dots in the pictures I took.

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Swans in the lagoon at sunrise.

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The dock with birdhouses.

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Another view of the dock. The specks on the pilings on the right are cormorants.

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A wee waterfall in a brook in the woods. Because of the time change, I arrived at the campus cafeteria before it opened, so I explored a nearby trail in the woods for half an hour.

Posted by Paul at 09:00 AM

October 22, 2005

More Royal Roads Photos

Here are a few more photos taken on the grounds of Royal Roads University where I'm in an intensive three-week MA residency.

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The grounds feature a series of ponds linked by these channels.

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One of the ponds, with a tree reflecting autumn colors.

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And another pond.

Posted by Paul at 08:57 PM

October 21, 2005

Survived First Week at Royal Roads!

I have survived my first week of my intensive three-week residency at Royal Roads University. Rather than bore you with describing a week of 16-hour days spent in classes and huddled over my laptop computer in my dorm room, suffice it to say that while arduous, the Master of Arts in Applied Communication program is a stimulating, highly educational challenge.

Faculty members are uniformly excellent, and I hope they are all reading my blog :-). My team is learning to work together, and every student that I've talked to has a unique perspective and expertise that I'm already learning from.

Today we were released at 3:30 p.m. and I immediately dropped my laptop and books in my dorm room and headed out to explore the beautiful grounds with my digital camera in hand. Convocation was on, and there were excited knots of happy families snapping shots of proud graduates in front of the various impressive buildings, and in the gardens.

Here are a few shots I got today as the late afternoon sun cast glorious, lengthening shadows as it sank into the west.

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Hatley Castle, which is now an administrative building.

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The Grant Building where most of our classes are held.

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The Nixon Building where my room is located.

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The Japanese Gardens.

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Another view of the Japanese Gardens.

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A lantern.

Posted by Paul at 09:09 PM

October 15, 2005

Going Back to School

I'm heading off to Victoria tomorrow to start my Master of Arts in Applied Communication program at Royal Roads University. The online distance-education program starts with an intensive three-week residency on campus, so I will likely be updating this blog even less often than I usually do.

Looking forward to being a student again, but a bit nervous about how this will fit into continuing to run my business over the next two years while I'm hitting the books. While the program is designed for people who are working full time, they say to expect 20-25 hours a week of study time.

Overall, I'm excited, though I hate to miss a good chunk of the salmon spawning season in Byrne Creek!

Posted by Paul at 08:38 PM

October 13, 2005

Coho Spawner Found in Byrne Creek

Yumi and I found a dead coho spawner in Byrne Creek today just a few meters downstream from the wooden footbridge (Tag 516) in the ravine.

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It was a strange find, for the fish had not changed colour as spawners typically do.

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We processed it for our streamkeeper records, and to our dismay it was a female that had not spawned -- she had two full egg sacs. She was 45cm from eye to base of tail, and 55cm from nose to fork.

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We also found three chum salmon in the sediment pond (Tag 514). One pair actively spawning just below the stop log downstream of the culvert, and one on its own -- likely the lone female we found a few days ago.

Posted by Paul at 02:13 PM

October 11, 2005

First Byrne Creek Spawner Sighted

Yumi spotted one spawning chum salmon in Byrne Creek today.

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We patrolled from Byrne Bridge (Tag 507) up to the base of the stairs in the ravine (Tag 521).

The chum was hanging in the spawning channel right at the gate into the sediment pond (Tag 514). I poked my head over the edge of the rail and kept going, only to have Yumi shout that there was a spawner there a few seconds later.

It looked like a female, and was starting to develop whitish spots so it had likely been in the system for several days. Perhaps the redd we saw on Saturday was her work. We hope she had a boyfriend that we missed!

Posted by Paul at 04:09 PM

October 08, 2005

Spawning Salmon Return to Byrne Creek

Yumi and I spotted a distinct redd (nest made by spawning salmon) in Byrne Creek today, so the spawners are back! Unfortunately we didn't see any spawners, though the redd triggered a 1 - 1/2 hour search in the stretch between the confluence with John Mathews (Tag 506) up to the bottom of the stairs (Tag 521) in the ravine.

We were elated to see the redd, as we've been expecting the recent rains to trigger the final migration from the Fraser River up the creek.

It's an exciting period for streamkeepers. The final leg of the spawners' odyssey as they return from the ocean to start a new generation of fish is an affirmation of all the work we do throughout the entire year.

Posted by Paul at 06:48 PM

October 04, 2005

Byrne Creek Patrol Oct. 4

With other streamkeeping groups reporting the appearance of salmon returning to lower-mainland creeks in the last few days, Yumi and I decided to do a thorough patrol on Byrne Creek this morning.

We covered the area from Byrne Bridge (Tag 507), through the spawning habitat, and upstream as far as Tag 518 in the ravine. We didn't see any spawners, but there were hundreds of cutthroat trout and coho smolts throughout the area, with concentrations in the spawning channel pools, the sediment pond, and pools in the ravine.

We found a dead cutthroat in the sediment pond. We pulled it out and inspected it. It had no visible signs of external injuries and measured 20cm from nose to fork.

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We also drove down to Foreshore Park where the creek empties into the Fraser River, however we didn't see any salmon at the mouth. Perhaps the rain forecast for later this week will trigger some spawners to come up the creek.

As we circled the artificial pond just west of the creek in the Glenlyon development, we were surprised to see hundreds of small golden-coloured fish ranging from about 2-4cm in size. More invasive species?

Posted by Paul at 01:54 PM

October 02, 2005

Coning Deflates Exuberant Cat

We coned Choco the Cat today, and our formerly bouncy feline instantly turned into a picture of limp, listless depression.

The "play with me!" kitty of yesterday was transformed into a tentative, teetering, rubbery wreck. From the minute the cone went on, she assumed an air of suffering and persecution.

It's all for her own good, of course. She'd scratched herself below her right eye, opening up a small wound that she wouldn't leave alone. After close to a week of applying salves and admonishing her not to scratch herself (good luck), we finally took her to the vet today.

The verdict? A likely infection, and with the wound being so close to her eye, a couple of shots, 10 days worth of antibiotic doses, and a cone to keep her from disturbing the area. For $83. Ouch. So that with luck she won't need surgery...

So will she *really* mope for the 10 days she must wear the cone?

Will she morosely cuddle, as she's been doing for the last few hours, instead of demanding to play?

Aside from commiserating with the poor meowker, I'm curious to see how this will play out.

Posted by Paul at 07:00 PM