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Butterfly - Which One?
We all enjoy the beauty of a fluttering butterfly as it makes its way from plant to plant. But most of us are lost when it comes to figuring out what butterfly just went by!
There is a new butterfly identification booklet, Butterflies of the North Cascades, now available through British Columbia Wildlife Watch and BC Parks. Illustrated in the booklet are 32 common species that occur in Skagit Valley Provincial Park in B.C., and in Ross Lake National Recreational Area and the North Cascades National Park in Washington. Many of these species are common elsewhere.
The key to identifying which butterfly species you are observing may rest on the presence or absence of an eyespot on the hindwing, or by the colour of a bar on the wing tip. For example, is that swallowtail butterfly an Anise Swallowtail or a Western Tiger Swallowtail? Both have a yellow strip that runs along each side of their body. But the Anise has an obvious eyespot with some red on the inside tip of the hindwing, near the end of the body.
Another key to helping you identify butterflies is the plant you find them on. Most adult butterflies seek out specific plants on which to lay their eggs. Learning to identify these "host" plants will help you to find butterflies in areas you visit.
Favourite host plants for many species include stinging nettles, thistles, lupines, bleeding heart, violets, wild mustards (native Arabis), red flowering currant, ocean spray and willows. A careful look at host plants may reveal the presence of butterfly eggs, usually laid singly, and rarely in pairs. Or you may find a small caterpillar that has hatched from its egg and is feeding, or a chrysalis (pupa) from which the adult will emerge.
For swallowtails, the caterpillar spins the silk chrysalis in late summer and overwinters in the chrysalis to emerge as an adult when conditions are right in the spring, usually May. Some adult butterflies will live for only a week or two, while others hibernate locally or migrate to the southern states and Mexico.
This booklet was produced, with colour photographs, by Denis Knopp and Lee Larkin of BC's Wild Heritage Consultants. The funds to print the booklet were provided by the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission.
Through the continued generous support of the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF), the British Columbia Wildlife Watch program will continue for another year.
In addition to being active in the Lower Mainland, many projects will be completed on Vancouver Island, including the Gulf Islands. Look for more binocular logo signs and new brochures and interpretive signs. There will also be site information added to the web page for the Vancouver Island sites.
The HCTF funds are handled by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia (WBT) through a partnership with British Columbia Wildlife Watch. For more information on WBT, a provincial non-profit society, write #124 - 1489 Marine Drive, North Vancouver, B.C. V7T 1B8 or phone 604-924-2581.
Indian Arm Provincial Park - New Viewing Guide
The best way to experience the wonders of this provincial park is by water. A new wildlife viewing guide booklet is now available to help park visitors appreciate the ecological significance of the park, and to highlight viewing opportunities throughout the year.
Viewing opportunities on land and in the water are summarized for four habitat areas, deep and open water, intertidal and shoreline, the Indian River estuary and mountain slopes.
Park visitors may see Harbour Seal, Coastal Black-tailed Deer, bats and a wide range of birds. The intertidal areas may be covered in barnacles, mussels, anemones, sea stars and seaweeds. Chum and Pink Salmon may be seen in the Indian River.
The Indian Arm Provincial Park - Wildlife Viewing Guide is a joint publication of British Columbia Wildlife Watch and BC Parks, Lower Mainland District. The funds to print this booklet were provided by BC Parks, Lower Mainland District and Canada Trust's Friends of the Environment Foundation, Vancouver Chapter. The Canada Trust funds were obtained by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia.
Sidney Spit Provincial Marine Park
This relatively small park, only 400 ha in size, offers day-trippers and campers a diversity of viewing opportunities. Sidney Spit Provincial Marine Park is about 4 km offshore from Sidney, near Victoria, on the northwestern end of Sidney Island. Access is by a passenger ferry service or private boat. There are 20 walk-in campsites that are very popular.
The upland areas, shorelines, saltwater lagoon and 2 km long spit are visited by over 150 bird species. As many as 1,000 Brant may be seen in the lagoon area during spring migration. All three cormorant species are present, while Rhinoceros Auklet are numerous during the summer months. There is particularly good viewing of Pigeon Guillemot, Oldsquaw, Black Scoter, Common Murre and Marbled Murrelet.
The park is an important feeding, resting and roosting site for migrating shorebirds, including Western Sandpiper and Black-bellied Plover. The best viewing periods are from the middle of March through May and from the middle of July through October.
The spit is used by some birds for nesting, including many ground-nesting species such as the Common Nighthawk. During the summer months, you should look before putting your foot down lest you walk on a nest full of eggs or young!
One of the viewing highlights of the park is the large population of Fallow Deer. Their impact on the island is easily noted as every edible plant and tree is pruned to as high as the deer can reach.
The deer were originally imported to nearby James Island in the early 1900's. They swam over to Sidney Island.
Between 1906 and 1915 the Sidney Island Tile and Brick Company operated on the island. Broken red bricks are scattered throughout the park. However, most are located along the beach near the brick foundations of two company buildings.
For more information on this park contact the Malahat District office of BC Parks at 250-391-2300. For the sailing times and rates of the Sidney Spit ferry call 250-727-7700.
Coquihalla Canyon - Steelhead Migration
The summer months of June, July and August provide opportunities to observe the upstream movement of summer Steelhead Trout and Bull Trout. The Kettle Valley Railway trestles in the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park allow visitors to see into the deep pools between the waterfalls. A careful observer will see large steelhead swimming around. This recreation area is located a short drive from downtown Hope off Kawkawa Lake Road.
Up and Running, but More Coming - Web Page Highlights
After several months of development, the British Columbia Wildlife Watch Home Page is up and running. However, there is still lots of information yet to be added. For now, there are nine main sections listed on the home page:
Visit often, and be sure to e-mail your comments and suggestions on the information provided.
Somenos Marsh - Fundraising Book
On June 21st, Father's Day, the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society hosted a special evening in Duncan to launch a new book, Somenos ... the Grandfathers Spoke to Me. It is filled with photographic images of Somenos Marsh taken by Paul Fletcher and with inspiring words from many individuals.
Only 2,000 copies were produced, and all of the $25 per copy price will go towards the Society's land acquisition activities, specifically, a parcel of land on which a Nature Centre is planned.
Somenos Marsh is identified as a viewing site, and over 200 bird species have been observed. During winter, the lake and flooded fields provide critical habitat for hundreds of Trumpeter Swan as well as flocks of Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail and Green-winged Teal.
For information on purchasing a copy of Somenos ... The Grandfathers Spoke to Me contact the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society [Box 711, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y1; phone 250-746-8383; fax 250-746-9710; e-mail].
Stamp River Provincial Park - Fish in Late Summer
While some salmon don't reach spawning areas in streams off the Fraser River until October, there are summer viewing opportunities at Stamp River Provincial Park.
The most visible salmon species is Sockeye Salmon. From late June to early September sockeye may be observed as they move up the Stamp River and through the fish ladder on their way to spawn in the upper Stamp River and Great Central Lake.
Small runs of Coho and Chinook Salmon may also be observed. Coho are seen from mid August to December. Chinook migrate upstream from mid September to mid November.
Salmon runs attract many wildlife species that feed on the dead and dying fish carcasses or on fish eggs. At Stamp Falls, Black Bears are possible. Be alert and make lots of noise when you visit during the spawning season.
Other viewing includes American Dipper, Glaucous-winged Gull, Bufflehead, Harlequin Duck, Common Merganser and Belted Kingfisher. Common forest residents are Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Varied Thrush, Red Squirrel and Mule Deer.
How did the river and the park get their name? According to British Columbia Place Names by G.P.V. and Helen B. Akrigg, the name Stamp is after "Captain Edward Stamp, an Englishman who first visited Vancouver Island in 1857 and began placing orders for timber for the British market".
This provincial park is located on the Stamp River about 13 km from Port Alberni. Pass through town and turn right onto Beaver Creek Road and follow the park directional signs. There are 20 vehicle/tent campsites. More information on the park can be obtained from the Strathcona District office of BC Parks [Box 1479, Parksville, B.C. V9P 2H2; phone 250-954-4600; fax 250-248-8584].