I am amazed at the diversity of wildlife on Burnaby Mountain and of Burnaby Mountain Conservation Park, Burnaby, BC.
(ok! you’ve heard this before…)
I have seen barred owl, hummingbird, bobcat, on a regular basis as I go about the neighbourhood. Most neighbours, as I experience, up here at UniverCity, such as our intrepid partner Lois (birder blogger), join in an overwhelming respect and enthusiasm of our natural community.
The fresh air, quiet and! human community is a salve in our day of high tech, busy lives.
On the weekend I joined members of Stoney Creek Environment Committee for a spawner count. The activity involved walking upstream for 4 kilometers to count the large Chum, our first returning fish of the season. I volunteered to record data.
I have seen movies of the spawning salmon in Stoney Creek. This was my first live encounter (I have completed the Streamkeepers training). Our team had to work well together as the three of us carefully slid (and splashed) through the water. We pushed away blackberry for each other’s passage. The rocks and rushing water can be dangerous.
I was picking up on the knowledge of the seasoned volunteers.
It is a communion with nature and a spiritual foray.
The fish are swimming upstream even as you walk upstream. Sometimes a fish will follow behind… We kept our eyes open for "reds" – disturbed river bed that is the bed for eggs. The fish are big and strong and are a capable species. Sometimes they thrash when you get close. Further into our mission a fish, swimming actively in the pools, stopped at Christine, then myself as we stood quietly. And then many of the fish stay behind, in the pools they've chosen, waiting for rains? and the filling of the creeks that will allow them to swim upstream.
We met some of the public during the day. They were enjoying the fish from the banks, in the lower areas.
Christine showed them how to distinguish the different salmon: the Chum females have a continuous line down the side, and the larger males have mottled uncontinuous distinguishing spots along their sides. The passerbies looked very thankful for the information.
Picking up the garbage as we trecked along, I felt a lively curiousity becoming a part of a group that has done so much. We are not grandly charismatic people.. The streamkeeper is ever-working and devoted. Our strength is our ability to learn.
To learn what is needed for fish habitat.
The presence of these great fish, spawning, and dying; renewing the cycle of life in our midst is a testimony to the nature systems we need to steward. The salmon is evidence that change is possible. Global disaster and destruction is not necessarily our lot. It is so rewarding to see the success of this group and the action of the salmon.
Stoney Creek Environment Committee will engage future spawn counts every two weeks, weather permitting.
Do you want to be a streamkeeper? The help of committed residents is needed!