Although birds were not plentiful we kept our binoculars handy, just in case, and were rewarded with sightings that included the following:
Elaine, Peter and Sandi, who came down from Fairmont, went the furthest, out to the pump house, and saw some Spotted Towhees and what they believe was a Short-eared Owl, a species that has been seen in this area before.
Kent shared information about lichens and Max got photos of bear, wolf and coyote scat for his scatology collection as well as a shot of a small bear paw print on the trail. There were several large piles of fairly fresh bear scat at the drop-off to the river, near a copse of hawthorn bushes and snowberries. Daryl introduced some of us to milkweed, the only plant on which monarch butterflies will lay their eggs. The two-foot high plants were found alongside the jeep track, with their large pods split open, exposing silky tufts of seeds. The sun brought out black and brown Wooly Bear caterpillars, larvae of a species of Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella), which wriggled their way along the track, oblivious to our dangerous feet.
As we turned and walked back the Kootenay River wound its way lazily alongside us, sparkling in the sunshine and reflecting the brush and trees on its opposite bank. The shrubs had already turned a hundred shades of gold and red and the river’s mirrored surface threw back every detail in sharp relief. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day!
Article and Photos Submitted by Helga