Author Archives: chickadee5454

PGNC Events and Notes, August 19, 2017

Club Events

  1. Field Trip to Shelley Lagoons, Sunday August 20

There will be a field trip to the Shelley Lagoons (also known as the Smelly Lagoons) on Sunday August 20 to look at shorebirds and ducks. We will be walking about one kilometer around the lagoons on a gravel road. Closed footwear is recommended. Bring binoculars if you have them; scopes will be available. Dress for the weather –  a jacket if it’s a cool day, a hat if it’s sunny. Bug spray is optional. Meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. This event is open to members and non-members. For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca.

  1. Wednesday Walkers August 23

On August 23, 2017, we’ll visit the trails and fields west of Kueng Road. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. Travel cost for passengers will be $2 for gas. All are welcome on this walk. Call Dora Hunter for more information: 250-596-6772.

  1. Fungi Field Trip to Wilkins Regional Park, Saturday September 9

On Saturday September 9 the Club is hosting a field trip to learn more about fungi.  More details to come.

  1. Thursday Night Presentations

The Executive is busy lining up a series of presenters on the third Thursday of the month from September to November 2017 and January to May 2018. If you know of a presentation that would be of interest, please send us an email at pgnaturalists@hotmail.ca. Save the dates and stay tuned for more details.

Club Notes

  1. Solar Eclipse, Monday August 21

Prince George will experience a partial eclipse of the sun on the morning of Monday August 21. The Royal Astronomical Society of BC will open its observatory to the Prince George public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For details about location and parking visit the Society’s website at http://pgrasc.org. The Exploration Place is hosting solar eclipse activities from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, including the NASA livestream. The first 100 visitors will receive free eclipse sunglasses (providing they arrive on time!)

For tips on eye safety while watching an eclipse, visit NASA at https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive-info. NASA’s livestreaming of the eclipse will also be available on the same page.

  1. Protection of Tallurutiup Imanga /Lancaster Sound

On August 14, Canada, Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced an agreement on the final boundary for a future national marine conservation area in the high Arctic. To read why this is important to all Canadians, see https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/amnc-nmca/cnamnc-cnnmca/lancaster and check out the short video on this significant region.

PGNC Events and Notes, August 1, 2017

Club Events

  1. Wednesday Walkers, August 9 

On August 9, 2017, we’ll walk at Wilkins Park in Miworth. The site, while not large, offers a variety of habitats. The trails are near river level, making for easy walking. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. Travel cost for passengers will be $3 for gas. All are welcome on this walk. Call Dora Hunter for more information:250- 596-6772.

  1. Field Trip to Shelley Lagoons, Sunday August 20

There will be a field trip to the Shelley Lagoons (also known as the Smelly Lagoons) on Sunday August 20 to look at shorebirds and ducks. We will be walking about one kilometer around the lagoons on a gravel road. Closed footwear is recommended. Bring binoculars if you have them; scopes will be available. Dress for the weather –  a jacket if it’s a cool day, a hat if it’s sunny. Bug spray is optional. Meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. This event is open to members and non-members. For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca.

  1. Wednesday Walkers August 23

On August 23, 2017, we’ll visit the trails and fields west of Kueng Road. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. Travel cost for passengers will be $2 for gas. All are welcome on this walk. Call Dora Hunter for more information: 250-596-6772.

Field trip reports

  1. Invasive plants cleanup at Hudson’s Bay Wetland, July 25

Seven happy volunteers worked on the south side of the Wetland near the footbridge and the observation deck. We collected twelve large contractor bags with common tansy, Canada thistle and other spreading plants.

  1. Wednesday Walkers at Shane Lake, July 26

On July 26th six of us, including one fire evacuee from Williams Lake, walked around Shane Lake at Forests for the World. Summer is well underway with most shrubs sporting berries and the asters and goldenrod coming into bloom.  Thirteen species of birds were noted, but except for begging young birds, the woods were quiet. A MacGillivray’s warbler was a highlight for one sharp-eyed birder. A duck feeding on Reflection Lake, even after much discussion, remained a mystery.

DSCN2048 Small

Club Notes

  1. Message from the Executive

The PGNC Executive regrets to advise that Clive Keen has resigned from the Executive for personal reasons. Clive was instrumental in reinvigorating the Club at a public meeting at UNBC in November  2010 and was the inspiration behind the Hudson’s Bay Wetland project which he saw as a Club legacy for residents of Prince George. He led the original Events Planning Committee which also included Sandra Kinsey, Anne Hogan and Carol Fairhurst. He retired as President in 2014 to encourage another generation of leaders to take over the reins. Clive is one of many members of the Executive who have shared their skills and strengths for the benefit of the Club. Today we have a growing membership, an active Executive and a legacy project at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland that continues in partnership with the City of Prince George, Caledonia Ramblers and other organizations. Thank you Clive for your inspiration and contributions.

  1. Purple Violet Green Flowers in Your Lawn?

Several people have noticed a small purple flower growing in their lawns. It’s Prunella vulgaris or self-heal, which has long been used medicinally. It’s an introduced species and a member of the mint family. It grows from a rhizome and may be difficult to eradicate. In at least one local lawn, it grows alongside another mint. Mowing keeps both varieties under control, creates a soft carpet to walk on, and generates a wonderful fresh scent with every footstep.

  1. Northwest Invasive Plant Council at the BCNE

Will you be in the Prince George area between August 17 and 20? Attend the BC Northern Exhibition for free! Help out at the NWIPC Information Booth. The Northwest Invasive Plant Council is asking for volunteers to help out. You do not need to be an invasive species expert. Just bring a passion for educating the public on the impacts of non-native invasive species. Help us spread the word on how we can help prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species! Booth hours: August 17, 18, 19 (Thursday – Saturday) 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM August 20 (Sunday) 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. You can expect to be helping out for 2 – 3 hours, depending on day and time. Contact Penni Adams, NWIPC Program Manager manager@nwipc.org. Or call toll free 1-866-449-3337 – Leave a message with your contact information and we will get back to you.

PGNC Events and Notes, sent 22 July, 2017

Club Events

1. Invasive Plants Cleanup, Hudson’s Bay Wetland, Tuesday July 25, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 
Club members and supporters are invited to help out on Tuesday July 25 to cut flower heads of common tansy and Canada Thistle. We will also dig out clumps of immature tansy plants where feasible. Meet at the small parking lot at The Exploration Place, 333 Becott Place in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park to register. We will walk to the Wetland from there. 
 
Long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe footwear are recommended as we will be working in tall grass. If possible, bring your own hand tool for cutting off flowers and seed heads, work gloves and a personal water bottle. Long bladed trimmers are also useful. The Club will provide garbage bags as well as extra work gloves and clippers if someone needs them. The work is suitable for adults and teens. Non-members, especially temporary visitors to Prince George, are most welcome to join us for some outdoor therapy! For more information, contact Dora at hunterdora@shaw.ca.  
 
2. Wednesday Walkers, July 26 
On this walk we will circumnavigate Shane Lake at Forests for the World. Bring your binoculars to view the flotillas of young ducks that are often spotted there each summer. Because the trail is not rugged, sturdy shoes are adequate for hiking. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign. We meet there, at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. All are welcome on this hike. We extend a special welcome to fire evacuees.
 
3. Hike at Pidherny Bog Trail (Swamp X), Saturday, July 29
This hike will do a loop from Summer Place. The trail is on a combination of retired Forest Service Roads and mountain bike trails. A boardwalk aids crossing the bog, where we’ll see Sundew and Bog Cranberry. There are a few long hills and several short steeper hills, so you might want to bring your walking stick and wear sturdy shoes. Bring water, bug repellent and, as we’ll be out for a few hours, a snack. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign, at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. All are welcome on this hike. We extend a special welcome to fire evacuees. 
 
Report on July 12 Wednesday Walk:
Our visit to Ferguson Lake Nature Park added some new species to our checklist for the park. Most notable were Creeping Snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula) and Spotted Coral-root (Corallorhiza maculata). At a glance the Creeping Snowberry could be confused with either Bog Cranberry or even Twinflower. As our photo shows it loves to perch on a sphagnum-covered stump. The Coral-root, like all in that genus, is a saprophyte feeding on decaying matter in the soil – no need for food-producing green leaves or even sunny days.
Spotted Coral-rootCreeping Snowberry
Club Notes
 
1. Mugaha Banding Station, Mackenzie – Volunteers Needed
Message from Vi Lambie: Mackenzie Nature Observatory still has some openings for volunteers for this fall season.   A couple of our long term volunteers had to cancel their times at the banding station so more time is available.  If you are interested in volunteering for a few days during any of these time periods please let us know. Dates available: July 26 – August 2, August 12 – August 17, August 21 – August 24, August 30 – September 7, September 11- September14. We started banding on July 19th.  We open at sunrise (time is adjusted at the 15 min interval) – at present the opening round is 5 am and we close at 11 am.  For more information please send an email to Vi Lambie at JLambie@telus.net
2. New Conservation Area, Valemount
Nature Conservancy Canada has established its first conservation area near Valemount. The 12 hectare (29-acre) Anne Hicks Conservation Area is on the banks of Swift Creek.  Read more about the significant features of this special area at http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/british-columbia/featured-projects/anne-hicks-conservation-area.html

PGNC Events and Notes, 9 July, 2017

Club Events

1. Wednesday Walkers, July 12
This Wednesday we’ll be visiting Ferguson Lake, a walk featuring both woods and a boardwalk over a marsh with relatively flat terrain throughout. Ferguson Creek drains north into Wright Creek which in turn runs under Hwy 97 and into the Salmon River. As always, meet under the large Spruceland Mall sign for car pooling and waiver-signing in time for a prompt 9:30 a.m. departure. Walks finish around noon.
Report on the June 28th walk:
Seven of us took a short walk on the Tabor Mountain Recreation trail off Klein road. There we found many species of woodland flowers with the highlight being a Round-leaved rein orchid (Platanthera orbiculata) with its two, flat-to-the-ground basal leaves, each as big as the palm of your hand. Photo below. Then we were off to the nearby Great West Life Mobility Trail to see, in particular, five species of ferns: Ostrich fern (Matteucia struthiopteris), Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), Spiny wood fern (Dryopteris expansa), Oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) and, tucked in a rock crevice, a special treat Fragile fern (Cystopteris fragilis).   – Dora Hunter.
Round Leaved rein orchid
2. Shorebird Migrants at the Shelley Lagoons, Trip Date TBA
The annual run of southerly migrating shorebirds has started, and will be building up in coming weeks. When the run is at its prime, a short-notice announcement of a trip will be sent out. A dozen species can be expected during the July-August passage, and there’s always the possibility of a true rarity, particularly since these are in vogue at present (see below).
3. Fungi identification Trip, Wilkins Park, Saturday, 9 September
We’re pleased to say that fungi expert Keith Egger will be leading this trip. Meet at Spruceland for a 9:30 departure.
Club Notes
 
1. Yet more rarities
The latest report of a rarity in our region is the most surprising yet – a Curve-billed Thrasher, the first ever in BC, seen and photographed at Francois Lake. See http://bcbirdalert.blogspot.ca/ .

Below is a different sort of rarity, spotted in the Shelley area. It’s  a common enough bird – a Pine Siskin – but it’s a rare leucistic (white) form.  Talking of birds, watch out for very young ones on the road at this time of year – they’ve not yet learned to get out of the way.

Leucistic Siskin
2. Tick Safety
Following up on the earlier discussion of the dangers of ticks, Jack Bowling sends a simple tip (attached document) for staying tick-safe.

PGNC Events and Notes, 21 June 2017

Club Events


1. Field Trip to Fishtraps, Tuesday evening, 6: 30 pm, June 27
The City has been carrying out some impressive work at Fishtraps, an area between Wilson Park and the Foothills bridge, creating a new wetland with significant promise. According to the 2017 Parks Strategy, the area is destined to become in time a nature park. Mike Nash will lead this evening walk to explore the area. As per normal, meet under the large Spruceland shopping centre sign for waiver signing and car pooling, and dress appropriately for a fairly easy hike. Bug spray will no doubt be useful.
2. Wednesday Walkers, June 28
We will journey to Tabor Mountain to see in bloom, we hope, a Round-leaved Rein-orchid (Platanthera orbiculata) observed in bud earlier this season. Then we’ll visit the Great West Life Mobility Park where among lush vegetation we will find at least five species of ferns. Logging in the Park for campground improvements will prevent wheelchair access, but the day will be mostly on relatively flat hiking terrain. As always, meet under the large Spruceland shopping centre sign for car pooling and waiver-signing in time for a prompt 9:30 a.m. departure. Walks finish around noon.
Trip Report
On June 14th the Wednesday Walkers visited the bog found on the Pidherny Swamp X-cycling trail. We found Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum), Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) and Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) all in bloom. Not in bloom, but most fascinating, was the Round-leaved Sundew photographed by Rob Watt the next day, shown below. Don’t let its small size or charming appearance fool you. This plant is a deceitful carnivore, capturing any insect that dares to sample the sweet, but sticky, “dew” drops on its leaf tentacles. This diet supplements the dearth of nutrients to be found in the acidic, sphagnum-bog environment.   – Dora Hunter
sundewSmall
Other Events
Family Hike, Hudson’s Bay Wetland, Saturday, June 24th
For those that missed the Club trip: the Caledonia Ramblers will be hosting an easy one-hour hike, covering a maximum distance of five kilometres. Participants should bring suitable light hiking shoes or boots, a light backpack, sufficient water, food and/or snacks, insect repellent and/or a head net and hat, extra clothing, sunscreen and rain gear. Hikers can also bring hiking poles if they’d like. Please meet 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time of 11 a.m. at Exploration Place. There is no carpool fee. For more information, call Nowell at 250-301-8247.
Club Notes
1. More Rare Sightings
There has been another racoon sighting, this time in the Duchess Park area. Also, a Rock Wren, the first-ever sighting in our area, was found by Cathy Antoniazzi on June 4 out at Eaglet Lake. Jeff Dyck’s photo and a recording of the distinctive Rock Wren song can be found at: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37395298
2. Found a Baby Bird?
It’s baby bird season, so some of us will be asked questions about what to do when one is found.  Direct people to the following:
http://www.spca.bc.ca/animal-issues/wildlife/injured/baby-birds/found-a-baby-bird.html

 

3. All You Ever Wanted to Know About Ticks
With the expanding presence of ticks in Canada and the serious diseases that they can cause, a new publication by the Biological Survey of Canada is timely. A Handbook to the Ticks of Canada. is available for free download from: https://biologicalsurvey.ca/monographs/read/18.  There is also a $29.95 print edition.
4.  Goodsir Nature Park
Goodsir is holding special events on Canada Day, BC Day, and Labour Day. To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, free refreshments will be on offer during each long weekend. For details about the Park, phone 1-250-971-2337.

News and Events Updates

PGNC Events and Notes Newsletters dated May 17 and June 1. Members and friends enjoyed successful field trips on May 18, June 3, and June 14.

PGNC Events and Notes from June 1, 2017

Club Events

1. Field Trip to Wilkins Park, 8:30 am, Saturday, 3 June
Heather Meier and Dora Hunter will lead a trip around a park rich in bird and plant life, finishing around noon. Meet under the large Spruceland sign for car pooling and waiver-signing at 8:30 am. Dress for the weather, bring your choice of bug repellant, and no dogs please for this trip.
2. Wednesday Walkers, Wednesday, June 14
Having cancelled our May 24 walk to the Pidherny Hills Bog due to windy weather, we will try again to reach this interesting area. Lavender tea, bog cranberry and bog-laurel are all to be found.  The sundew and bog-rosemary are waiting for sharp eyes to spot them. The walk will include some hills to climb, but, as we did when making our way to the larches, we’ll take our time.  As always, meet under the large Spruceland sign for car pooling and waiver-signing in time for a prompt 9:30 a.m. departure. Walks finish around noon.
 
Club Notes
1. Raccoon Sighting
A member recently reported seeing a raccoon walking along fence tops in PG. The accepted range is far from Prince George, though the Club’sChecklist of North-Central BC Mammals, Amphibians and Reptiles notes an unconfirmed sighting in Beaverly. If you have seen a raccoon in our area, please let us know by return email. And while on the subject, it has been five years since the checklist was prepared, and it almost certainly needs updating. Take a look at the URL below, and let us know of any amendments needed.

 

2. Rare Birds, too
Cape May Warbler, Ross’s Goose, American Avocet, American Golden-Plover, Arctic Tern – a whole raft of rare birds have been spotted in the PG area of late. If you’d like to hear about such rarities, you can keep tabs on them at:

 

Unlike the birds above, the one below, photographed on the long weekend, is actually not at all rare. Wood Ducks are quite often spotted at Cottonwood Island Park, the Hudson’s  Bay Wetland, and other of our watery spots.

wodu

PGNC Events and Notes from May 17, 2017

Club Events

1. Urban Wetland Nature Walk, 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Thursday, May 18, The Exploration Place
Meet at The Exploration Place at 6:45 p.m. for sign-up and waivers, with a brief information session starting at 7 p.m. The nature walk will take about an hour, followed by coffee and wrap-up at the Museum. Plan to wear sturdy footwear in case of wet patches on the trails. The City of Prince George welcomes dogs on leashes in the Wetland area; however, for this nature walk we request that participants leave their dogs at home.
 2. Wednesday Walkers, Wednesday, May 24
Once again the Wednesday Walkers will venture into the Pidherny Hills, this time to visit a most interesting bog. Lavender tea, bog cranberry and bog-laurel are all to be found and may well be in bloom. The sundew and bog-rosemary are waiting for sharp eyes to spot them. The walk will include some hills to climb, but, as we did when making our way to the larches, we’ll take our time.  As always, meet under the large Spruceland sign for car pooling and waiver-signing in time for a prompt 9:30 a.m. departure. Walks finish around noon.

3. Field Trip to Wilkins’s Park, Saturday, 3 June
Heather Meier and Dora Hunter will lead a trip around a park rich in bird and plant life. Details of where and when to meet will be given in the next Club email.

 

Club Notes
You may have been seeing some of the following around town in the last week.  There’s been something of a fallout – the storms brought us an unusual number of Western Tanagers.
weta5

PG Naturalists Club Events and Notes, May 6, 2017

Club Events

1. Wednesday Walkers, 9:30 a.m. to noon, May 10
Starting at the confluence of the Nechako and Fraser rivers we will walk through Cottonwood Island park and up-river along the Nechako. We will finish back at the confluence of the rivers. For those who wish to remain longer, a spotting scope will be at hand so we can have a close look at the bird life there. (A Glaucous Gull, a rare visitor to the region, has ben spotted this week, and an Iceland Gull was seen a few weeks back.)
As always, meet under the large Spruceland sign for car pooling and waiver-signing in time for a prompt 9:30 a.m. departure. Walks finish around noon.
2. Urban Wetland Nature Walk, 6:45 p.m. to 9:00- p.m. Thursday May 18, The Exploration Place
The presentation planned for May 18 has been postponed to the fall. We are now inviting all Club members and potential Club members to join us on an urban wetland nature walk at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the Club’s new observation decks and learn about the birds, fish, animals and plant life that inhabit this urban wetland in the heart of Prince George.
Meet at The Exploration Place at 6:45 p.m. for sign-up and waivers, with a brief information session starting at 7 p.m. The nature walk will take about an hour, followed by coffee and wrap-up at the Museum. Plan to wear sturdy footwear in case of wet patches on the trails. The City of Prince George welcomes dogs on leashes in the Wetland area; however, for this nature walk we request that participants leave their dogs at home.

Club Event Reports
 
1. Presentation on Edible Wild Plants, April 20
A capacity audience enjoyed an entertaining and informative presentation by Elena Thomas on local edible wild plants. Igor Sainchuk followed with the dos and don’ts of gathering and eating wild mushrooms. Both presentations included helpful photos for identification purposes. Presenters referred the audience to a variety of plant and mushroom books available at the local independent book store. Books & Company on Fourth Avenue currently carries 18 titles on mushrooms and at least five titles on edible wild plants.  – Anne Hogan
2. Long-billed Curlew Trip to Shelley, April 23 
The sight of over thirty Long-billed curlews rewarded thirteen hardy birders on a chilly, rainy Sunday. A spotting-scope view led more than one birder to exclaim that they saw a bug in a bird’s bill, and others to marvel at the beauty of curlew plumage. With cinnamon underwing displayed, and with much calling as they arrived on the field, the birds demonstrated their common name derives, not from their curved bill, but the cuuurlee of their call. With spring in the air, cavorting pairs helped identify the shorter-billed and smaller-bodied males.
Other happy sightings near the field were two Savannah Sparrows, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, thirty Yellow-rumped Warblers and the Osprey sitting on its nest. Around the corner at the swamp the migratory season is getting underway with Bufflehead, Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser and Wood ducks all spotted.  – Dora Hunter
Notes
 
1. Caribou and Wolverine
Mike Nash notes that there was plenty of interesting wildlife sign on Viking Ridge in Sugarbowl-Grizzly Den Provincial Park this past week. There was more evidence of caribou than for the last five years, and there were tracks of a lone wolverine criss-crossing the treed slope between about 4,000 feet and 4,500 feet elevation.
2. Mount Robson Bird Blitz – 2018
Gail Ross sends a reminder that there will be NO Bird Blitz at Mt Robson this year as it is now run every second year rather than every year.

3. Global Big Day, Saturday, 13 May
Last year 17,561 people around the world participated in this annual event, sending eBird reports of 6,331 bird species spotted during the 24-hour period. To participate in this year’s event, head to: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/globalbigday/