Tuesday 7 May 2013

BC Nature Spring Conference

May3-5 2013 BC Nature Spring Conference, Abbotsford B.C.

'Along The Fraser-Adapting to Change'
Pine siskin(Spinus pinus)
Pine Siskin at Burrowing Owl Conservation Centre Feeder.
Nikon D300 300mm F4 handheld

An aggressive display shows off the colourful wing patterns.
Never waste an opportunity. These picture were taken at a feeder while waiting for a workshop to start.
Although I wasn't able to attend all the talks, I did hear Dr Jonathan Hughes excellent talk about 'The History of Flooding on the Fraser Valley' and Ryan Durand's 'Sumas Mountain Ecology' presentation. It is somewhere I want to explore the next chance I have. The schematic maps certainly gave a new perspective for me and the importance the area has for flora and fauna.
The thought provoking presentation Dr Kent Mulinex's 'Sustainable Food Systems for the 21st Century' was the highlight for me, so much information to 'Digest" As a presenter myself, the pace and delivery was perfect and a lesson to anyone who gets up in front of an audience. As a birder Ross Vennesland's 'Great Blue Herons' talk was of great interest to me. His talk centred around the 5000 B.C./Lower Mainland herons, a slightly smaller subspecies that are facing habitat loss due to encroaching development, the increase in Bald Eagle numbers and other mitigating circumstances.
There were also plenty of outdoor activities where some of us were fooled by the appearance of a 'hairy creature' who later posed for pictures. 
Some of the 'wild' creatures spotted during the weekend
While there were many outdoors field trips options my choice was to kick off the weekend with a visit to the Mission Interpretive Forest/Stave Lake with District of Mission's forestry staff Bob O'Neal and Kelly Cameron. Here are a few snapshots taken during the day.
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow/Stave Lake

Brown-Headed cowbirds/Stave Lake

White-Crowned Sparrow /Stave Lake

Friday May 3 2013 6.a.m. Early Morning Birding
An early start for birders meant the rattle of a 5 a.m. alarm clock. A group of about 15 of us took a walk along the the Sumas River.  Savannah Sparrow, Osprey, American Goldfinch, Purple Finch, Marsh and Bewick's Wren, Pine Siskins, White and Golden Crowned Sparrows and Rufous Hummingbirds were spotted. A Belted Kingfisher was heard and no doubt other birds were missed by me. I look forward to returning to see the Bullock's Orioles when they return to nest in the next couple of weeks.

Friday May 3 2013 Field Trip #2Douglas Taylor Park/Matsqui First Nation Reserve
It always surprises me when I discover a new place to walk, bird or just enjoy the quiet of a babbling brook. One such place is Douglas Taylor Park in Mission. Our group was led by GVRD's Jill Deuling and Jeanne Hughes who gave a lesson on native plants, scrubs and trees on the six km round trip. The heat of the day is not always the best for wildlife so a return during the morning would perhaps produce more birds.

Bleeding Heart.

'The Sentinel' 
Saturday May4 2013 Field Trip #3 Hogan Family Nature Park, Bradner  Rd.
How often have I driven past this little park tucked away among blueberry farms and dairy farms on Bradner Rd. The field trip was advertised as an 'Art Experience' and after a walk through the trail we all sat down to try out hand with pencil and paper. I must admit to being more comfortable with a camera.
Backlit to bring out the veins in the petals.

Sunday May 5. Field Trip #4 Burrowing Owl Breeding Facility Port Kells, Surrey
Rather than try to explain the program that Steve Howard has spent so much time developing I include the link here. This was the last field trip of the weekend. I had a wonderful time and I would to thank the Abbotsford Mission Nature Club for all the hard work hosting the convention.

Feeding time.

Each bird has a colour tag for easy identification in the field. 
Steve Howard with the Burrowing Owl pens which include underground Burrows.

This close-up is one of the original breeding birds that has now gone blind.
It now gives the opportunity for visitors and schools groups to see the bird up close.

Feeding time draws out a Burrowing Owl .

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