Thanks to Jim H., Lyle G., Bob W.and Greg R. for the Great Photos!
The Rocky Mountain Naturalist's early morning birding outing leaves every Wednesday (usually) at 8AM and returns (usually) by 11:30AM. If you would like to join us please contact Jim H. via our request tab on the Home Page.
Thanks to Jim H., Lyle G., Bob W.and Greg R. for the Great Photos!
As September advanced, the warm days dwindled, & summer faded from the Rockies. On the east side of Mount Broadwood, beneath the China Wall, sunlight illuminated an aspen grove as the trees were bowed by an upslope breeze. September 8th, 2018.
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), looking south from above Spectrum Pass Creek canyon (north side) to the Tchaikazan River (upstream), Friendly Peak (center), & Carefree Mountain (right, in cloud); Tsylos Provincial Park, BC. August 19th, 2013.
Dan Hicks photos
Mount Broadwood & the lower Wigwam River are within the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Elk Valley Heritage Conservation Area. A September survey by a small party of Rocky Mountain Naturalists revealed that the whitebark pine seedlings, planted by dedicated Rocky Mountain Naturalists on this very slope two years previously, had perished in the dry heat of succeeding summers. Picturesque whitebark pine is the highest elevation pine, a source of seeds & habitat for various subalpine creatures, its numbers have been much diminished, & its very existence threatened, by white pine blister rust, mountain pine beetle (aided by rising temperatures), & an absence of cyclic low-intensity surface fires. In montane ecosystems, surviving as a tree is challenging, but growing to become one is even more daunting.
By Dan Hicks
RDEK / RMN Bird Checklist updates to Oct 2018
Edited 14-Oct-2018 (now 314 species)
By Dianne Cooper
With the recent publishing of the Checklist of British Columbia Birds by British Columbia Field Ornithologist (BCFO), and the sighting of another new species in the East Kootenay, I thought I would tally up the changes over the past 2 ½ years to our newest bird checklist published in 2016.
The East Kootenay Bird Checklist was published May of 2016 in preparation of the BCFO meeting that month in Cranbrook. Every BCFO member in attendance received a free copy. Our 2016 checklist replaced the previous one published in 2003. The earlier one covered the traditional Rocky Mountain Naturalist birding area from the US border to Canal Flats and from halfway to Creston to the Alberta boundary. The new checklist, with the advent and popularity of eBird, covers the Regional District of East Kootenay, the “administrative” area used by eBird.
The BCFO checklist records 301 species in Ecoprovince #4, which includes the RDEK. The Southern Interior Mountains ecoprovince goes north almost as far as Prince George and west to the other side of the Monashee Range, bordering on the Okanagan. There are many species further west and north that we haven’t gotten yet.
36 species found in Ecoprovince # 4 have not yet been found in the RDEK. Perhaps some of these are more likely to show up here? Watch for:
What will show up next! There’s always something new!
The BCFO records 265 species of what we do have.
EK birds not on the BCFO checklist number 48 species.
At time of publishing our last checklist, we had 303 species.
Now (12 Oct 2018) we have 313 species. We also have 4 hybrids, but we won’t count those.
Now (14 Oct 2018) we have 314 species! (see below: Species not on eBird but seen prior)
Species that were seen after May 2016 are:
- Oct 2016, Wasa Lake, Dean Nicholson
- Nov 2016, Wycliffe, Lil McPhail (Dean Nicholson)
- Nov 2017, Cranbrook, Katrin Powell (Greg Ross)
- July 2018, Canal Flats, Gord Littlejohns
- Aug 2018, Fernie, Mike Bentley, Liz Creighton
- Oct 2018, Wycliffe, Dianne Cooper, Joe Rothermund
Of course, these are all classified as “accidentals” – one or two individuals sighted in the past couple of years. They are all recorded on eBird.
Species documented after May 2016 – but seen before then
a. Now on eBird
These are historical records entered into eBird by people documenting their own or others’ birding journals, much like I did with Mildred White’s records. The oldest “new” species (added after May 2016) goes back to 1984 (Pacific Golden-plover, Harmer Ridge, 26 Sep 1984, David Fraser). The oldest “first” record on eBird goes back to 1930.
- 1984, Sparwood, David Fraser
- 1992, Fort Steele, Doug Brown
- 1997, Richard Guillet
- 1998, Michael Preston
- 1984, Mildred White
b. Species not on eBird but seen prior
eBird records 301 species in the RDEK but not all species on our checklist are on eBird. Missing on, or not included on eBird are:
- escapees, sightings discouraged on eBird
- 2010, Ta Ta Creek, reported to the Breeding Bird Atlas
- 2010, Columbia Lake, Jason Rogers
- 1919, Newgate, Birds of British Columbia
- 1944, Columbia Lake, Walter B. Johnstone, specimen, Royal BC Museum (RBCM)
- 1915, Cranbrook, unknown collector, specimen, RBCM
- 1976, Spillimacheen, Birds of BC
- 1930, Tobacco Plains, R. M. Anderson, specimen National Museum of Canada (NMC)
- 1930, Tobacco Plains, Rand, specimen, NMC
- 1996, Spillimacheen River, unknown obs, Birds of British Columbia
Black-throated Blue Warbler
- 2002, Kimberley, Ruth Goodwin
- 1971, Wasa Park, Neil Dawe, in Dawe 1971
- 1997, Cranbrook, G. Ross, G. Ross, J. Lawrence, G Davidson, in Am. Birds, Vol 51 No 4 Fall 1997
The BCFO Checklist lists 522 species for British Columbia and eBird records 517.
We have contributed some eBird firsts for the province.
Go to https://ebird.org/canada/region/CA-BC?yr=all and click on “First Seen” to see the BC list on eBird.
There was the Northern Cardinal last winter of course, and the Curve-billed Thrasher last July. Also (but maybe more, and it’s always changing as more people upload historical data):
- 1992, Fort Steele, Doug Brown
- 1967, Forst Steele, Tom Briggs
- 1998, Dutch Creek, Cam Gillies
- 1930, Newgate, Ian McTaggart-Cowan
In summary, changes to our checklist to date are:
chart section of RDEK 2016 checklist 245
RDEK 2016 checklist total 303
seen and added after 15 May 2016 6
seen before, added after 15 May 2016 5
RDEK total to 13 Oct 2018 314
If you have an eBird account, for some fun online browsing of birds of the world, head to the eBird “Explore” tab at:
- hit the “Surprise me!” link under the box: “Enter species name”, to see a randomly selected world species.
- hit the “Change species” link at the top right, then in the popup, again hit “Surprise me!” to see another.
It’s so fun! I didn’t know there was such a thing as a “Melancholy Woodpecker”! It lives in Ghana. Or a “Quailfinch Indigobird”. What the heck is that! There are only a handful of records of it on eBird and no photos. It is from Cameroon.
This feature is in development on eBird and hopefully will soon be available to the general public.
And don’t forget the RMN Photo page at:
Happy birding and um, er, naturing!
July 24, 2018
Leaders: Wendy Hogg and Gretchen Whetham
On a warm summer morning fourteen members set off up Maus Creek and arrived at the Maus/Tanglefoot trailhead parking lot with only one flat tire. It was changed very quickly and we set off up the trail. The low early sunlight made the Indian Hellebore and Cow Parsnip radiant and the woods were noisy with Pacific Wrens and Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes. Jo Ellen compiled a plant list (68 species of flowers and shrubs) and Katrin kept a bird list (20+ species). We also saw mule deer, pikas, marmots, and a frog and tadpoles.
After a leisurely lunch at the Tarns, we retraced our steps and explored the entry of the old Victor Mine on our way back to the trailhead. By mid-afternoon the temperature was up to the high 20's and we enjoyed ice cream before returning to Cranbrook.
Posted by Dianne C.
Here are some new maps of both the Cranbrook and Kimberley Christmas Bird Count Circles.
Each circle is 24 km in diameter; and we traditionally include some areas outside the circle, as shown.
So, if you are a feeder watcher, you can double check which circle you are in!
Check out our Christmas Bird Counts tab for details and results
The East Kootenay has had a couple of rare bird sightings in the last two weeks. The first was an Anna's Hummingbird first seen by residents on Clearview Road in the Wycliffe area. Four verification pictures were sent to the British Columbia Field Ornithologists (BCFO) and confirmed as an ANNA’s by Mel Hurting, the BC Rare Bird co-ordinator.
The second was a female Northern Cardinal first seen by Katrin Powell and identified by Greg Ross again confirmed by the BCFO rare bird committee. The Northern Cardinal (once thoroughly investigated by the BCFO rare bird committee) will be the first accepted sighting in British Columbia.
Anna's Hummingbird photos - Lyle Grisedale
Northern Cardinal photos - Katrin Powell
The BC Rare Bird Blog regarding the Northern Cardinal can be viewed here =
Following is an archive post of past Little Big Days, as we revamp our web page a bit.
Ruth and Jackie did a great job in organizing our Winter Social this year. Naturalists from Cranbrook and Kimberley met at the Kimberley Nordic Club Trails for x-country skiing and snowshoeing, than afterwards gathered for the social and a fantastic potluck dinner.
The Rocky Mountain Naturalists held their Annual General Meeting on January 18, 2017. The new executive now included; Greg Ross, BC Nature Director, Linda Hastings, Treasurer, Helga Knote, Vice President, Virginia Rasch, President, Marianne Nahm, Secretary and George Rogers, Past President.
President’s Report, Rocky Mountain Naturalists. 2016
The Rocky Mountain Naturalists have had a very active year once again. We hiked, biked, canoed/kayaked, snowshoed and more. A huge thank you go out to all the hard working people that make our club great. This includes all the members of the Executive, which I think you all know. Susan Walp for putting out such an informative Kestrel, Tara and George Freitag for their coordination of all the work at Elizabeth Lake, Paula for keeping us all up to date on the variety of outings through-out the year. We are getting more new people who have been stepping up to be leaders of the outings. This is great as we all have that special place to share with the club. I also would like to thank Sue Ross for looking after the membership duties, and all the people who chair the many committees on various topics that have been emailed out to all members.
Paula and I attended the BC Nature AGM in May this year that was hosted by the Comox Valley Nature Society. They had great field trips and lots to choose from, interesting speakers, the people who ran the event did a great job and the food was good too.
This year’s AGM (Canyon to Alpine) is being hosted by The Lillooet Naturalists Society from May 4th to the 7th of course in Lillooet BC. The registration and itinerary you will find in the BC Nature Winter magazine on pages 29-30. The RM Nats have decided to put up a little cash to help fund members who might be interested to attend these meetings by offering up to $600.00 maximum per year in allotments of $150.00 each for travel expenses per membership.
Just a note to say our Bylaws have been registered and are now in the books.
We had an amazing turtle day on April 25 with over 500 people turning out to learn about our Western Painted Turtles. Over 220 students from area schools early in the day and 300 plus visitors from the public in the afternoon. A big thanks goes out to Greg for all he does with the turtle habitat and all the other volunteers that were there that day to make it all go smooth. Please see the reports that were emailed out for the final numbers of nest sites and so on.
On June 17th we went up the valley to Dry Gulch Provincial Park to enjoy our 2016 Club Camp. We had a good turn out and went to John Zehnder’s Ranch and he toured us around his property where we saw some great birds, old buildings and much more. Then we had member Randy Hopkins take us birding up to the Wilmer area which is pretty much his back yard. Again a great outing. Smokies on the open fire, need I say more?
In September we had our annual garage sale and a big thanks go out to Max and Candace for hosting again and to all the volunteers that spent time during the day, helping to set up, sell items and take down after. It was a great success with over $800.00 raised for The Rocky Mountain Naturalists Memorial Scholarship Fund. A good time was had by all who were there.
Now these are just the highlights as I see them. Let’s all pull together to do it again this year.
Thank You; George Rogers.
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