May 29, 2014

Choco the Cat Shows How to Stay Hydrated

Choco is an adult rescue. We got her when she was about three years old. But this behaviour makes me suspect that she had special forces survival training in her past. That, and her wicked right hook, when she doesn't like my moustache wiggling at her.

Posted by Paul at 09:39 PM

May 28, 2014

Sockeye to ‘Overwhelm’ Fraser River? Yeah, right… NOT

Whenever I see headlines like "Projected Sockeye Run Could Overwhelm Fraser River" I shudder and shake my head. Ain't no such thing. This is the "human management mind" in action.

Damn, we may not be able to freeze, can, smoke them all.

What crap.

Why the hell should we freeze, can, smoke them all?

Were sockeye runs "overwhelming" the Fraser River 100 years ago? No. 200 years ago? No. For the last century, or more, it's been humans overwhelming the sockeye, and other salmon runs.

Let's celebrate massive returns of sockeye. Let's fish them for First Nations, let's fish them commercially, let's allow sport fishers at them, too.

But we also have to let them spawn and die. Let's allow their decaying carcasses to enrich our rivers and streams, and feed wildlife other than our selfish human selves, and enrich forests, and meadows, and marshes.. 

Posted by Paul at 09:36 PM

May 25, 2014

Unique Daily Visits Top Out at 4,006 Last Week

I hadn't looked at my blog stats for awhile, and was pleasantly surprized to see that over the last week I averaged 3,430 unique visits per day, with a high of 4,006 on Tuesday, May 20.  A few years ago I was happy to get around 500 per day.

Posted by Paul at 11:11 AM

May 24, 2014

Katzie Slough Tour in Pitt Meadows, BC

Took part in an interesting tour of Katzie Slough in Pitt Meadows, BC, today. Some history, some watershed lore, some personal recollections, and fighting the good fight to preserve and enhance urban biodiversity. Thanks to Watershed Watch Salmon Society organizer Lina Azeez and tour leader Scott Magri.

I have an album of tour photos on Flickr available here.

Posted by Paul at 09:32 PM

May 21, 2014

Leafy Byrne Creek Ravine Park

On today's photo ramble I kept a 70 - 300mm zoom on my Nikon DSLR (105 - 450 mm equivalent), and concentrated on isolating leaves in the forest.











Posted by Paul at 07:40 PM

Birds, Bugs, and Bees on Byrne Creek Walk

My circumnavigation of the Byrne Creek trail in SE Burnaby this afternoon produced several animal photos.


This pileated woodpecker was using the metal top of this light standard to drum up
a girlfriend and/or warn off territorial encroachers.


More and more millipedes are steadily appearing in the 'hood. An inquisitive ant circled
this one several times before finally giving up and leaving.


Bumblebee hanging out on the job.


A brace of bees a'buzzing.

Posted by Paul at 07:26 PM

May 20, 2014

Young Mallards Eat Dead ‘First-Flush’ Coho Smolts on Byrne Creek

Unfortunately we had yet another "first-flush" kill of juvenile coho smolts on the creek in SE Burnaby, BC, over the last day. Whenever we release hatchery coho smolts, we're always on edge, hoping there is no rain for a week or so following. That's because the first rain after release that washes all the crap off our roads and into the creek tends to kills a significant proportion of the newly released fish. Indigenous coho and trout appear to survive just fine, so it seems to be an acclimatization issue with a certain proportion of the hatchery fish. Today I counted 40 dead smolts following yesterday's shower. That's not bad -- in previous years we've enumerated as many as 400-500 morts. This year's batch had six days to acclimatize and start moving downstream before the first flush of accumulated pollutants such as gas, oil, antifreeze, brake-lining dust, pesticides, and whatever other toxins that make it onto our urban streets.

I should point out that I also saw lots of live fish ranging from fry to smolts, so they are likely coho and cutthroat trout that hatch and and are resident in the creek.

byrne_creek_coho_smolt_first_flush_kill_1 _20140520

On happier note, in contrast to the dead "first-flush" coho juveniles, I was pleased to see that the mom mallard and ducklings that have been hanging around the Byrne Creek habitat seem to be doing well. She still has six ducklings, and they're getting to be of a size where predation is gradually becoming less of a worry. I dunno about the little ones, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mom hasn't scarfed a good feeding of dead coho smolts. Yes, I've seen mallards eat dead smolts before.



And then, as I was going through my photos, I noticed something dangling from a duckling's mouth. I did a massive crop on the photo, and yep, even the ducklings are scarfing the dead coho yearlings!


Posted by Paul at 02:32 PM

May 18, 2014

Tiny Fry Spotted in Burnaby’s Byrne Creek

Yumi and I saw two distinct size groupings of fry in Byrne Creek on a walk today. There were dozens in the 5 - 7 cm range, and then there were a few smaller ones in the 3 - 4 cm range. I would guess that the larger ones are salmon, likely coho by appearance, and the smaller ones may be cutthroat trout, since the salmon spawn Oct - Dec and the trout spawn Feb - May. Incubation time for trout is 6 - 7 weeks, so that would be about right if they spawned a couple of months ago.

Here's a shot of one of the smaller ones:


Posted by Paul at 06:26 PM

May 15, 2014

Touring Students on Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby

I led three tours of art students from Byrne Creek Secondary in SE Burnaby today over to Byrne Creek. We didn't have oodles of time per tour, but we spent time at Griffiths Pond looking at the fish ladder and talking about streamkeeper activities, and then went over to the old homestead and talked invasive plants, etc. It was a great day, almost verging toward too warm. But I got my exercise walking back and forth three times : -).


Talking about the Stream of Dreams installation on the Skytrain pedestrian overpass near
Edmonds Station.


Scrambling down to Griffiths Pond to view the fish ladder and talk streamkeeping.


Posing for photos near the old homestead. Kids click everything and everywhere
these days!

Posted by Paul at 03:34 PM

May 14, 2014

Manning Park Beasts and Birds

Saw mammals large and small at Manning Provincial Park. I stayed in the car for the bear photos. The ground squirrels were way more aggressive, because they expect a constant flow of handouts. Not from me, though.


Black bear


Black bear butt - this is the end that you want to see moving away from you,
particularly if you're not in your car


Too darn cute for their own health!




A turkey vulture on the prowl.

Posted by Paul at 07:38 PM

This butterfly/moth has both camo and party modes

Not sure if this is a butterfly or a moth, but it's very cool. When its wings are spread it's vivid orange with black spots and trim, and when it closes them, it blends right into the ground.



Posted by Paul at 07:13 PM

May 12, 2014

DFO ‘Wins’ Code of Silence Award from Canadian Journalists

Let me preface the following by saying that for many years I've volunteered with many excellent DFO staff, and it saddens me that they are so hamstrung by Harper's minders in Ottawa. Here's yet another ludicrous example:

VANCOUVER, May 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Who would have thought a routine question on the salmon fishery on Vancouver Island would require navigating the hoops and weirs of the federal government?

Yet when a journalist working in Port Alberni asked, "How many Chinook salmon do you require for your annual egg take?" the answer would take four days and the assistance (sic) of a communications staffer over 4,500 kilometres away in Ottawa. To show how ridiculous this obstructive delay was, this is information Robertson Creek Hatchery's manager and interpretive staff members routinely share with visitors from local schools and youth groups.

The lockdown on that elusive number was implemented when the answer was prefaced by the journalist identifying himself and that he worked for a media outlet. It's symptomatic of the situation journalists working across Canada face whenever they attempt to interact with government staffers working in their local communities. For this reason, the CAJ awards its annual Code of Silence to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. . .

Read the entire press release here.

This obsessive centralized control is not only silly and anti-democratic, it's also a massive waste of taxpayer dollars. Can you imagine how many staff hours were devoted to this insane exercise?

For an example of how to do it right, simply look to our neighbours to the south.

Here are media guidelines for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) staff:

Fundamental Research Communications

  • DAO 219-1 explicitly allows researchers to publicly discuss the results of basic or applied research in science or engineering - termed "Fundamental Research Communications" -- without prior approval from NOAA's Office of Communications. This includes media interviews.
  • In these discussions or interviews, you may draw scientific conclusions from your research. If your conclusion could be misunderstood as an official NOAA position when it is not, you should say that it is your individual conclusion and not the view of the Department or NOAA.
  • You are encouraged, but not required, to use your public affairs specialist to facilitate interviews. If a member of the media requests an interview on a Fundamental Research Communication through public affairs, and you agree, the Communications Office will facilitate the interview.

Media Interviews

  • You are no longer required to submit anticipated questions and answers prior to media interviews unless requested to do so by public affairs.

The Canadian federal government's stance is akin to that of a totalitarian system.

Posted by Paul at 10:32 AM

May 11, 2014

Richmond/Delta Youth Orchestra Amazes

Jeez these kids were good. Yumi and I were floored. We stayed and drank it in. The Richmond/Delta Youth Orchestra in the rotunda at the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond today. We were just passing by to get some Asian groceries.


Posted by Paul at 10:30 PM

Sunny, Busy Day in Steveston, BC

Steveston was bustling today with families eager to get out in the sun and celebrate Mother's Day. There was lots of action on the Fisherman's Wharf, and restaurants were packed. Yumi settled for bargain hunting in a local thrift store, while I picked up a few books at a new/used bookstore.

It was definitely shorts and sandals weather, at least for me. Yumi found the breeze a bit cool : -).








Posted by Paul at 06:18 PM

May 07, 2014

South Burnaby Photo Ramble

I took a walk down Byrne Creek Ravine in SE Burnaby this afternoon to enjoy the sunshine. I didn't feel like lugging my DSLR gear, but ended up taking lots of shots with my pocketable Canon Elph 520HS.






Salmon fry - possibly chum released last week with schoolkids






A tree-climbing snail. At certain times of the year you see lots of snails climbing
trees in Byrne Creek Ravine Park.

Posted by Paul at 04:37 PM

Fisheries Protection Program Presentation in Parksville, BC, May 30

The Salmon Enhancement & Habitat Advisory Board will host a Friday Night Forum in Parksville, BC, on May 30, on the new Fisheries Protection Program.

Please plan to attend a presentation on the Fisheries Protection Program being held in Parksville on May 30th 2014 at 7:00 pm. We are very pleased that DFO's Adam Silverstein is able to come out to present at this focused meeting.  The Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board (SEHAB) is hosting this evening event as a part of our ongoing Friday Night Forums series.

We are hoping you and members of your organization can make it out to hear Adam, in an informal setting. Adam has been firmly engaged in SEP over the years and is well versed in your efforts. He is supportive of community, salmon and salmon habitat and will be providing an overview of the changes to the act, the policy and the program.

Fisheries Protection Program Presentation

Friday May 30th, 2014
7:00 - 10:00 pm

Light refreshments will be served

Parksville Civic & Technology Centre

132 E Jensen,
Parksville, BC

If you can please RSVP to so we can plan the refreshments, chairs etc. BUT if you find yourself able to attend last minute please come even if you hadn't sent an RSVP. This is an important topic and DFO staff is stretched as you can imagine.

Posted by Paul at 11:55 AM

May 06, 2014

Nature Inspiration Awards from the Canadian Museum of Nature

The Nature Inspiration Awards will honour Canadian-resident youth, adults, not-for-profit organizations and corporations for their exceptional initiatives in helping to build a brighter, sustainable future. This year's deadline for nominations is May 16.

  • a Grand Prize of $5000 will be awarded in each category to a project of the recipient's choice
  • national recognition through various channels
  • travel and accommodations for the award ceremony in Ottawa, in early November
  • a membership in the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Check out the website for more information and nomination forms.

Posted by Paul at 12:02 PM

May 04, 2014

Burnaby’s Riverway Clubhouse Features ‘Live Music Thursdays’

My wife and I had dinner at the Riverway Clubhouse last week. The food was good. We went for the 3-course special (starter, main and desert for $33/person - PDF menu here), and found it a bit too much. I had the calamari starter and Yumi had the salt-and-pepper wings (it seems like they don't get too many folks asking for the dinner special, and they said we could have any starter from the day menu as well), with both of us following with steaks. Yumi finished with tiramisu, while I had the chocolate mousse. We're not used to that much food in one sitting, so felt somewhat "heavy" in the digestion department for the rest of the evening, but it all went down great : -).

It was that evening that we discovered the "Live Music Thursdays". Solo performers, 2-course dinner plus desert buffet for $19.95/person. That seems like a great deal. You can check out the summer 2014 lineup here: PDF download.

Posted by Paul at 06:32 PM

May 03, 2014

Discovered Miss Quincy, and I Like It!

Somewhere or other I heard of Miss Quincy, and took a flyer on buying and downloading the Roadside Recovery album from iTunes.

Whoa! I am a new fan. BC girl blues rock. Done very well.

I checked out the Miss Quincy website, and when I clicked on "Shows" I made the serendipitous discovery  that she'll be appearing at the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival this summer on August 9 - and I already have tickets!


Posted by Paul at 07:22 PM