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.
Fifteen field observers in four teams and 10 feeder watchers participated on the Cranbrook Count on the 28th of December, 2016. Temperatures were chilly that day, starting at -8 C, and snow depth was up to a couple of feet; but the roads were clear. After a warm autumn and the late arrival of snow, the chill set in quickly the beginning of December.
You can see more details regarding both the Cranbrook and Kimberley Christmas Bird Counts on our Bird & Nature Counts /Reports page.
Fifteen field observers in 5 teams braved the clear bitter morning temperature of -32 C to go count birds from Wycliffe to Wasa, Kootenay Reserve to Kimberley. A couple of us even cross-country skied the Rails to Trails. Six feeder counters helped us out, too. The warmest it got was -18 C.
Our annual spring club camp in June was well attended in Radium this year. Most stayed at the Dry Gulch Provincial Campground (don't be fooled by the name is was a beautiful spot) and others stayed in nearby hotels. We enjoyed two evening meals together, early morning birding and various trips. Guided by RMN member Randy Hopkins we visited the Zehnder Ranch which included a walk around and lots of great birding. We also visited the Wilmer area overlooking the Columbia Valley and a couple of small lakes. A mixed hiking/biking trip to the Old Coach Trail with many beautiful overlooks again of the Columbia Valley, this time from the east side.
A beautiful, sunny, warm day for everyone. This year our lowest temperature at 6AM was 3°, creeping up to 22° in the afternoon.
We enjoyed our meal and count-up at The Heid Out in Cranbrook as great bird stories fluttered about.
Four teams took part, raising $105.00 to be donated to an environmental cause in the Kootenays.
The total number of species seen by all of the teams was 144, compared to last year’s 140.
The winning team, Cooper’s Hawks, Dianne, Dean, and Joe found 119 species followed by the Craned-necked Out-of-timers with 92 species. Special note to the Pedal and Paddle team for their environmental endeavor, getting 80 species and The Tea Party for their stories of their actual bush tea party, good china and all, and having 74 species
Congratulations to everyone!
Dianne, Dean and Joe
Spotted 119 species
Greg, Sue, Glenda and Helga
Spotted 92 species
Pedal and Paddle
Ruth, Kent, Karen, Tara, Jim and Laura
Spotted 80 species
The Tea Party
Cathy, Audrey and Andrea
Spotted 74 species
You can see more detail on our Bird & Nature Counts page HERE.
Yes, over 500 people attended the "Turtle Day" at Elizabeth Lake on April 25th! The Rocky Mountain Naturalists and the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program did a GREAT job! Thanks to the local schools (3) and classes (8) that attended, 220 of you, and the public, for coming out. There were 4 stations displaying various aspects of the turtles live cycle.
Here are a few pictures.
(Gerry Warner Pictures)
A handful of semi-experienced snowshoers didn't mind the huffing and puffing as we trekked the 5 or 6 km loop through the Salesbury Deep Wood trail up past Lumberton. Our mission was to find and identify any animal tracks we might come across and we did, Lynx, Moose, Snowshoe Hare and Squirrel.
Tell us your birding goals or results in the comment section. Did you keep track? How many species did you see?
Our club is wonderfully varied in interests and skills. For those of us who are more 'avid' birders, or for those wishing to practice their birding, winter is a good time to view our resident species.
On average, 51 species of birds have been recorded on eBird for the East Kootenay over the past six years.
This year, 56 species have been recorded in the regional district.
There are higher than usual numbers of Pine Grosbeak and White-winged Crossbill. Numbers of Bohemian Waxing are lower than usual.
Of all the species that have ever been recorded, there are still a couple of dozen we could get in January. Since our club is not doing a 'Winter Challenge' this year, perhaps you would like to focus on getting these for the monthly list and adding them to eBird (for eBird beginners, I recommend starting with the 'Incidental' or 'Stationary' types of checklists - correct species, date, time, location, and duration are all you really need).
Here are the possible species we could add to the January list:
TRUS NOPI GWTE RNDU HOME RBME DUGR PBGR RNGR TUVU GOEA NOHA NOGO AMCO KILL MODO BDOW NSWO NHOW ATTW AMKE HOLA BOCH PYNU MOBL BRTH CEWA WCSP WTSP BRBL GCRF CAFI HORE AMGO
For those not familiar with these abbreviations, take a guess! Consider this a quiz! Browse a bird guide or the eBird Web page linked above for clues!
Way to go team of 30 eBirders! You have recorded above average species for January with 68 species - 17 species above the average of 51!
And the muffin prize goes to the contributors to Wardner--Ha Ha Creek Rd hotspot with DOUBLE the number of species compared to the closest hotspot (number-wise) of Marysville. To collect your muffin ..... P-)
FEBRUARY eBIRD GOAL: 52. And it's a leap year! Go!
By Gerry Warner
It was an enjoyable time, but tinged with sadness as the Rocky Mountain Naturalists Club hosted a hike through Moe’s Canyon Nov. 4 in memory of long-time member Peter Davidson, who passed away suddenly on a club hike only a week before.
Some 24 people participated in the two and-a-half hour hike including several non-club members that were friends of Peter’s.
It was a cool and cloudy day with about half an inch of new snow on the ground for the hike which was quickly organized after Peter’s funeral. Participants met at the Kimberley Nordic Trails parking lot and started up hill on the new “Magic Line” mountain bike trail to the Boundary ski trail run, which leads to the west entrance of Moe’s.
We then followed the trail underneath an old mine portal and a mixed forest of aspen, fir and larch which still bore some golden needles but were well past their peak. As the trail followed the canyon bottom we climbed slightly and passed some damp, mossy areas then crossed an area of rock slides and large windfalls that were fortunately cleared from the trail. After passing the crest of the canyon floor, we descended into a narrow valley where we started to encounter old growth timber culminating in a small flat at the eastern end of the canyon where there was a magnificent stand of Golden Western Larch including one with a huge burl about 40 feet up its trunk and measured more than 13 feet in circumference at breast height.
Unfortunately, the giant larch named “Big Bill” started to lean about five years ago and may not stand erect much longer. It began leaning at the same time as some lodgepole pine salvage logging took place within a hundred yards or so and may have been a factor in the tree’s possible demise. Time will tell.
On the way back, we joined up with the Magic Line Trail again and climbed to the canyon’s rim and followed it back to the beginning of the trail which formed about a seven km. loop. Back at the parking lot the group broke up for home with about a dozen retiring to Montana’s Restaurant in the hotel where a toast was raised to Peter and a late autumn day well spent.
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