March 31, 2011

Tree-Climbing Snails Appear Again near Byrne Creek

Though I've been walking the Byrne Creek trails in SE Burnaby for about ten years now, I did not notice tree-climbing snails until last year. Well, they're back at it again, with a tree-climbing slug thrown in for good measure.






All of the above were around 1.5 - 2 meters above the ground.

Posted by Paul at 10:59 AM

March 28, 2011

Ways to Comment on Burnaby Draft Social Sustainability Strategy

Helping to spread the word!

To ensure that Burnaby will continue to be a great place to live, work, learn, play and visit, the City of Burnaby is developing a Social Sustainability Strategy.

A draft Social Sustainability Strategy has been developed by a 25-member Steering Committee, composed of Burnaby community members, and approved, in principle, by Burnaby City Council for public review.

Help Shape Burnaby's Future!

There are two primary ways to participate in the public consultation process:

1) By completing our survey

2) By attending one of our Public Open Houses

Read the draft Strategy: (If you require a hard copy of the draft Strategy, please call the Planning and Building Department at 604-294-7421. Limited copies are available.)

Take the Survey:

Attend an Open House:

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Confederation Centre
7:00pm - 9:00pm
* Open for display viewing at 6:00pm

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Cameron Recreation Centre
7:00pm - 9:00pm
*Open for display viewing at 6:00pm

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011
Edmonds Community School
11:00am - 1:00pm
* Open for display viewing at 10:30am

Monday, April 11th, 2011
Bonsor Recreation Centre
7:00pm - 9:00pm
*Open for display viewing at 6:00pm

All venues are wheelchair accessible.

Child-minding will be provided at the Open Houses.

If you wish to attend an Open House session and require interpretation/language translation, please arrange to have someone call us and we will try to provide that support.  Call 604-294-7421 and let us know which Open House you wish to attend and which language you speak.

Posted by Paul at 10:35 AM

March 26, 2011

Trillium Crime Scene in Byrne Creek Ravine

I'm sorry to report that someone cut off one of the rare trilliums known to flower in the lower ravine. Cut it off clean and took it away, leaving just the stem.

I don't understand such selfish, inconsiderate behaviour. Even if someone didn't know that trilliums are protected in BC and are not to be removed from public or private land, wouldn't they notice that there was only ONE flower as far as the eye could see, not a whole field of them? Sheesh.

So much for the enjoyment of many who would have seen the flower go through its lovely colour stages...


The trillium starting to bloom on Tuesday, March 22

It was still there on Wednesday, March 23, when I led a tour of the creek
looking for salmon fry popping out of the gravel.


All that was left on Saturday, March 26

Posted by Paul at 01:36 PM

March 25, 2011

Video of Coho Fry in Burnaby’s Byrne Creek

Here's a rough video of coho fry born in Burnaby's Byrne Creek. The filming was done handheld at 640 X 480 with an old Canon S5IS digital camera, and edited with Windows Live Movie Maker.

Posted by Paul at 10:05 PM

March 22, 2011

Burnaby Empty Bowls–Nosh For a Cause

Burnaby Empty Bowls - A Food First Initiative
Nosh for a Cause, Help Fight Hunger Across Burnaby

Wednesday, April 20 5:30 - 9:30pm
Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

Sample World-Class Food by Burnaby's Top Chefs, Silent Auction
Receive a hand-thrown ceramic bowl

$60 includes your bowl

604-664-8708 or 604-664-8225

Event Poster:


Posted by Paul at 04:27 PM

Burnaby Marks 76 Trees for Removal, Trimming, Along Byrne Creek

The City of Burnaby has marked 76 trees for removal and limbing along Byrne Creek. This happens every couple of years, and is due to them being regarded as "danger trees" that could topple in a windstorm and potentially hurt people or damage property. While Byrne Creek Streamkeepers recognize the need to remove trees that are dead or dying along public trails, we also urge the City to exercise restraint. Perhaps not all the trees need to come down. Perhaps some of them could be topped, with partial trunks left standing as "habitat trees." The City has always been accommodating to our concerns, and a few years ago sent out a forester to explain why each tree had to come down. We may submit a request for another tour, since 76 trees in the riparian zone is a lot!


Posted by Paul at 10:32 AM

March 20, 2011

Yay! We Have Coho Fry in Byrne Creek!

Well, Mother Nature has snookered us again. Against all odds - a very low spawner return last autumn, no coho females found spawned, and fish kills from toxins flowing down street drains and into the creek - we have coho fry in Byrne Creek.

Yumi and I spotted and netted fry in several locations, and all were identified as coho. Please note that it is illegal to net salmon fry, and streamkeepers do so with the permission of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for ID purposes only. All fry are returned unharmed to the creek.

I feel elated. I really wasn't expecting much this spring what with the lowest spawner return since streamkeepers began keeping records some 12 years ago after the creek was reconnected to the Fraser River. Plus we had a toxic spill in November 2010 that killed hundreds of fish, but obviously some redds (nests of eggs laid by salmon) survived.


Posted by Paul at 02:50 PM

March 18, 2011

Circles Within Circles

I have yet to write about the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The last week has been a blur, and I'll get around to it eventually. Immediately following the tragedy, after we eventually tracked down my wife Yumi's family and ascertained that they were OK, we decided we needed to refresh our quake kit here on the west coast of Canada where we've been living for the last 12 years or so.

We hauled it out of the front closet, and as I made my way through it, I realized that I'd bought the backpack that it was contained in around 1987 or 1988 while I was living in Japan. It's literally beginning to fall apart - signs of that hot, humid Asian climate that seems to eventually permeate backpacks with some impossible-to-get-rid-of mould that always rears its head eventually.



Posted by Paul at 09:14 PM

Changing Your Driving with the Seasons

I ran across an advert today in which a few photos had been flipped with likely unintended results:


The headline read: As The Seasons Change; So Should Your Driving!

From the photos, it appears to me that we should drive on the right side of the road in winter and autumn, and on the left side of the road in spring and summer. . .

Posted by Paul at 02:34 PM

Donation Option for Japan Aid

From my wife, Yumi:

My Japanese friends in Vancouver are calling for donations to this Japanese doctor, Dr. Norihiko Kuwayama.

He runs his own Tohoku International Clinic in Natori City in Miyagi Prefecture, but he is affected by the earthquake himself. Inside his clinic is all damaged and his nurses have lost their houses, so he even have to find new nurses. He moved his clinic to Yamagata Prefecture temporarily to continue helping people. He has been actively providing medical care in disaster areas around the world for more than 20 years, and he produced a film about his activities. I saw the film in Nikkei Centre in Burnaby last year.

His organization has non-profit status in Japan, but not a registered charity in Canada or US. His organization's name is Chikyu-no Stage (Earth Stage), but for overseas work, he uses the name "Frontline."

Website: (all Japanese. I don't think there is English site.)
You can read some description about him:

The group that organized the film viewing event in Vancouver area has set up an account that accepts donations, and they said 100% of your donation will go to his clinic (no administration fee).

Stage Earth Earthquake in Trust
TD Canada Trust
Como Lake Shopping Centre, Coquitlam, B.C. V3J 3R3

Since it is not a registered charity in Canada, they cannot issue a charity receipt, but if you would like, you can send a cheque to the following address to get a regular receipt.

Stage Earth Earthquake in Trust
c/o Tsuneko (Sue) Ishii
1957 Peterson Ave., Coquitlam, B.C.  V3K 1M2
If you have any questions, you can contact Ms Ishii: 604-521-4548

If you are more comfortable with a Canadian organization, and would prefer to get a charitable receipt, we are also donating to the Canadian Red Cross and its Japan Earthquake fund.

Posted by Paul at 12:25 PM

March 06, 2011

Cates Park Stroll

Cates Park in North Vancouver was lovely as usual on a Sunday afternoon. It's always fun strolling the beach.



Great views!


Interesting things on the beach - a heart-shaped, encrusted stone



A flock of Barrow's Goldeneyes was sifting through seaweed at the waterline

Posted by Paul at 08:04 PM

Spring Peeks Out in North Vancouver

A stroll in the North Vancouver cemetery found some spring blossoms peeking out this afternoon.




Posted by Paul at 05:18 PM

March 04, 2011

Grumpy Old Man…

I realize that I've had a couple of consecutive harsh posts to this blog. Barely into my 50s, am I becoming a grumpy old man? I hate to see what will happen if I follow this trajectory into my 60s and 70s! : - )

But, darn it, I just hate to see crappy behaviour by my governments, and crappy reporting by the press.

Posted by Paul at 09:21 PM

Sloppy Reporting in Shooting

I was surprised to see the following in a CBC story about a shooting in which RCMP had to shoot and kill an armed man with a known criminal past:

"The rifle was a standard .22 calibre that had been made to look like an assault rifle."

What the heck does that mean? And didn't the reporter and editors know to question it? There is no such thing as a "standard .22 calibre." A standard what? Bolt action? Semi-auto? Lever? Pump? How the heck was it "made to look like an assault rifle"? With cardboard, glue and paint? Duct tape? A portable holodeck? An astral projection?

It is important to be accurate when reporting the news. If you don't understand what something means, ask for an explanation, don't just regurgitate some nonsense.

Posted by Paul at 08:45 PM

March 02, 2011

Environment Canada Joke is Becoming a Tragedy

I really, truly would like to to be able to support Environment Canada. But in my experience, this Canadian federal department that's been a joke for some time, is rapidly becoming a tragedy. It appears to have no staff, no budget, no guts, no balls, no fiercely protective mother-love for the environment that it is mandated to maintain, regulate and enforce for present and future generations.

And with the present government's planned 20% slash-and-burn cut to EC's budget, what have we got to hope for?

I don't get it. What is more basic to human health and prosperity than the environment? Our water? Our air? Our land? Food, water, air are all elemental to human survival. And the survival of the entire food chain that we depend upon.

It's well past time that Environment Canada was a key ministry, with real powers and real teeth, and a concomitant budget and dedicated, passionate staff.

Shame on my federal government. Yes, shame!

And if EC Minister Peter Kent could still show a smidgen of the integrity that he was known for as a respected and honoured journalist, he would resign on principle at having the department that he is supposed to champion shafted like this. Equal cuts across the board are one thing, but EC is being targeted for dramatically deeper cuts than other departments. Why?

Posted by Paul at 09:59 PM

Photo Similarities

About eight months ago I snapped a quick photo of a Canada flag pin in the palm of my hand to illustrate a post on this blog. Today I saw a similar photo on the Globe & Mail website. The concept of holding a flag pin in one's hand is likely a common one.


Posted by Paul at 09:38 PM