Category: Flora


Grasslands of Merritt BC Canada

Hay bale: File Photo KDG

Merritt BC has a huge impact on the province because of grasslands. It is the biggest part of the Southern Interior Uplands region (185 thousand hectors  of grasslands in The British Columbia Grasslands Conservation Councils operations.

The Southern Thompson Upland is the rolling plateau area south of the Thompson River and bounded by the Fraser River valley in the west, the Okanagan valley in the east and the Similkameen River valley in the south. Almost 75% of the grasslands occur in the Interior Douglas-fir zone and 20% in the Bunchgrass zone. Over 85% of all the grasslands are found in the Nicola Valley with smaller areas around Princeton, at Tunkwa Lake and in the Mamit valley. Variations in the grassland species throughout the plateau reflect influences from the surrounding large valleys.

Douglas lake cattle company is a major operation with cattle  in the grasslands and is positioned n the watershed above Merritt. The Douglas through Nicola lakes by the Nicola river drains a major highland plateau. The area also supplys a history back to european contact and province building under BCs first British Governor  James Douglas.

The largest area of grasslands is located in the Nicola Basin area east of Merritt and extending north towards Kamloops. This area matches the extent of the Glacial Lake Merritt that drained north towards the Thompson River. A smaller area of grasslands around Princeton covers another former glacial lake that occupied the Similkameen valley. source GCCofBC

The local Nicola Naturalists  have had a serious concern for the grasslands of the Valley. since 2010 they have had fall and winter meeting, spring outings, Christmas bird counts, Frog surveys and many other activities in respect to the land and creatures. They usually meet on the 3rd Thursday of the month starting in September.  Alan Burger contact UVic.

On  this  Day: September 19th 1970

The first Glastonbury festival is held.

 

 

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Invasive, biological insect control

 

Any one following this?
File photo KDG

Tired of thistles?

The Regional District had a booth at the spring festival last week, it was about invasive weed and plant control.
Herbicide free options include insect introduction to deal with :

  • Diffuse Knapweed
    Spotted Knapweed
  • Dalmatian toadflax
  • Hounds Tongue
  • Leafy spurge
  • St. Johns Wort
  • Thistles ( select species)

Merritt is circled by a large rural population of land holders, maybe you might not be using insects to control weeds but your friends may want to . Also in the city there are bylaws against bad weeds over a certain height and they need to be removed by cutting if necessary. To that end the TNRD is having a long term strategy to control select invasive species with insects.

An assessment of your property is available by contacting the TNRD   They say that free insects are on a first come first serve basis.

On this Day: May 31st 1977

The Trans Alaska pipeline is finished.

The Nicola Naturalists meet on the 3rd Thursday of each month. The speaker this month is Joanne Hale. Hale will present on the habitat adaption by Spade Toads on disturbed land.

Jo-Anne Hales is a professional agrologist and the Environmental Specialist for the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. She is also completing a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science at Thompson Rivers University studying the Great Basin Spadefoot (an amphibian species at risk) on the New Gold – New Afton Mine site. Come and hear about these charismatic little critters.

Programs start at 7 PM in the local college lecture theater, top of the hill on Belshaw avenue in Merritt. No food or drink allowed in the lecture theater. Membership in the Society or donations is requested. Draw for donated prizes go toward scholarship at school.

The Nicola naturalists are a not for profit with an ecological responsible conversation. They have a pronounced interest in migratory birds.

On this Day: May 11th 1792

Captain Robert Gray becomes the first documented European to sail the Columbia River.

 

 

Butterflies

Visitor to the Nicola Valley
Ran a program with youth
File Photo KDG

Butterflies have  a following  in the Nicola Valley.

The Nicola Naturalists are having their March meeting on Thursday the 16th  . The speaker will be local Bob Scafe and will present butterflies and Moths of the Nicola Valley.

Bob is an active member of the Nicola Naturalists, a keen photographer and a very enthusiastic investigator of  butterflies and moths. Bob’s presentation on this topic was very popular so we’re getting him back with new photos and new information on these colorful insects. Bob’s documentation of our local butterflies and moths is a popular feature of the Nicola Naturalist Society website – .. Come and see great photos and learn about these interesting members of the Nicola Valley area fauna.

Start  time is 7PM at the  NVIT lecture hall, top of the hill Belshaw  Ave. in Merritt BC. Membership or donation requested

On this Day: March 15th 1892

The Liverpool Fo0tball Club is established.

Once they were Hats ,Frances Backhouse

Beaver

File photo live beaver on the Nicola River.:KDG

The Nicola  Naturalists are having their February meeting on Thursday February 16th and have invited author  and biologist Frances Blackhorse to present.

The evening begins at 7 PM at the NVIT lecture hall, top of the hill on Belshaw Avenue in Merritt. “All welcome membership or donation requested.”

 

Frances Backhouse has published books on a wide range of nature topics, including owls and woodpeckers, and also on historical topics such as the women in the Klondike gold rush. Her latest book examines humanity’s 15,000-year relationship with Castor canadensis, and the beaver’s even older relationship with North American landscapes and ecosystems. This will be a fascinating presentation blending biology and history.

 

 

On this Day: February 14th 1998

Over  hundred people die in a fire caused by one person  trying to salvage fuel from a oil tanker train collision in Cameroon, Central Africa.

 

Ducks and Ice

dsc_3676-2

These creatures were at the Highway 8 bridge on Nicola Avenue , Sunday,few skaters among them.

The ducks came to me as if to want to be fed….

Editors Note: the Nicola Naturalists are having their regular monthly meeting on Thursday. The group did a Christmas bird Count in December and their is likely to be a report….

On this Day: January 18th 1670

Henry Morgan captures Panama.

 

Bobcats

Dr Kerridge gives a talk on bats at local college File photo KDG

Dr Kerridge gives a talk on bats at Nicola Naturlists.
File photo KDG

The Nicola Naturalists are having a night on Bobcats and their possible change of range. The meeting is at the local community college ,top of the hill, Belshaw avenue on November 17th, 7:30 PM, in the lecture theater.

T.J. Gooliaff is a graduate student at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna. He is studying Bobcat and Lynx distributions in the BC Interior. Climate change is causing numerous species across the planet to shift their range to higher latitudes and elevations. Using historic harvest records and sightings, T.J. is analyzing whether Bobcats and Lynx are among those species moving northwards. He is also using photographs submitted by the public to map the current provincial distribution of both species. This will be a fascinating presentation on these elusive cats.

The Ware family at the end of Garcia street had trouble with a Bobcat and chickens on their property at the end of Garcia street on the Nicola river last year. The property historically a small farm has an application to the change the zoning from single family residential to agricultural. The Bob cat was destroyed and the noise from the acreages chickens when disturbed is a concern.

 Bobcat prefers rabbits and hares, it will hunt anything from insects, chickens, geese and other birds and small rodents to deer. Prey selection depends on location and habitat, season, and abundance. Like most cats, the bobcat is territorial and largely solitary, although with some overlap in home ranges. It uses several methods to mark its territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine or feces. The bobcat breeds from winter into spring and has a gestation period of about two months.

Source Wikipedia

The group is getting ready for its participation in their Christmas bird count on December 18th. The count is a global effort and monitors birds health and numbers for various conservation or interdiction reasons.

You don’t have to be an expert birder to participate in our Christmas Bird Count. It is a great way to get to learn the local winter birds – each birding group has at least one experienced birder. Followed by a festive potluck for participants. If you are interested in participating and not already on the contact list send us an e-mail  nicolanaturalists@gmail.com

http://www.nicolanaturalists.ca/2016/09/04/nicola-naturalist-society-fall-events-2016/

On this Day: November 2nd 1960
Penguin books is acquitted in an obscenity action.

Editors note: Freedom of expression is a right, civility ( not at the expense of truth) a choice…

Good authors too who once knew better words, now only use four-letter words. Writing prose, anything goes.

— Cole Porter, “Anything Goes” (1934)

Ants-Dr. Bob Higgins, October 20th…

The Nicola Naturalists have had heir AGM and are onto the fall program with monthly speakers and activities. A big one is the Christmas bird count likely to be in the weekend of the 17 th of December any one keen on taking on a supporting or another role in the count would do well to start thinking for this annual event.
The October meeting will be on ants with speaker Dr. Bob Higgins of Thompson Rivers University. The talk is titled Ants of British Columbia ecological giants; the meeting will begin at 7 pm on the third Thursday as usual.

Ants are one of the most successful groups of animals on the planet. About 15,000 species have been described and they contribute more biomass to most ecosystems than any other animal group. Dr. Rob Higgins is an entomologist at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops – a keen naturalist and an enthusiastic speaker. He will describe this diversity of ants and the ecological roles that ants play in British Columbia. He will also talk about new arrivals – the fire ants – that are overshadowing our native species.

The Christmas bird count for members goes beyond the local count to compilation and a reading  of the health of the ecosystem in respect to how the critters are doing.

You don’t have to be an expert birder to participate in our Christmas Bird Count. It is a great way to get to learn the local winter birds – each birding group has at least one experienced birder. Followed by a festive potluck for participants. If you are interested in participating and not already on the contact list send us an e-mail

 

http://www.nicolanaturalists.ca/2016/09/04/nicola-naturalist-society-fall-events-2016/

 

On this day: September 21st 1897

The yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus editorial make s it around New York.

 

TGIF-Bug spraying, over head aircraft

Helicopters doing work can be an overhead hazard File photo KDG

Helicopters doing work can be an overhead hazard
File photo KDG

 

A helicopter was seen over the nature preserve off Blackwell Avenue , the Nicola River and Dr. Simons hay field. The aircraft was carrying an application bucket. Fields are sprayed for mosquito larva at this time of year.
The preserve has a large mature eagles nest on it the rotors of the bell 206 came within an estimate 100 of the nest.

Mosquito-control operations are targeted against three different problems:
1.Nuisance mosquitoes bother people around homes or in parks and recreational areas;
2.Economically important mosquitoes reduce real estate values, adversely affect tourism and related business interests, or negatively impact livestock or poultry production;
3.Public health is the focus when mosquitoes are vectors, or transmitters, of infectious disease.

: source Wikipedia

Helicopter drop buckets are also used in fire fighting and Merritt hosts a training center for summer crews to qualify for the suppression crews.

Creatures of the  forests such as eagles and even household pets fall victim to the expedience of emergencies, but a cavalier attitude should never be allowed to develop. In particular in practice situations.

On this Day: May 6th 1997

The Bank of England becomes separate from the British Government.

Hiking trails

The Nicola Naturalists are having two more regular meetings in the winter, spring season. On April 21 the presentation will be on the use and restoration of hiking trails in the southern part of the province. Characterized as Heritage Trails, Kelley Cook will present on what he has been doing to preserve these venues. Some of the trails have easy access from Merritt.

Kelley Cook is an active member of a group publicizing, maintaining and restoring some of the historic Hudson’s Bay Company trading routes across the mountains of SE British Columbia. Many of these trails are within easy access from Merritt. Kelley’s presentation will cover both the human history  and the nature to be seen on these scenic trails. A talk to get us fired up for the spring hiking and naturalizing season! source: http://www.nicolanaturalists.ca/2015/12/17/winterspring-programs-january-to-may-2016/

The May meeting will feature the Merritt Green Energy project as a season capper.

All meetings are at 7:PM at the NVIT lecture theater, no food or drinks in the theater, free parking. Membership or donation in the Naturalist society is requested.

On this day: March 23 1094

A Russian airliner, Aeroflot flight 593  crashes in Siberia after a teen accidentally disengages the planes auto pilot.

Antarctic visit

 

 

Alan Burger has returned to Merritt from a trip to Antarctica. The Nicola Naturalist President will present at the local community college on Thursday March 10th at 7:PM.

NNS President Alan Burger regularly goes to the Antarctic as a naturalist/lecturer on small adventure-tourism vessels. In 2015 he completed a 31-day voyage from New Zealand to the Ross Sea – the deep south – and along the West Antarctic coast. He visited many areas where people seldom go. In January-February 2016 he was in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. Global climate change is affecting the Antarctic and its wildlife but sometimes in unexpected ways. Enjoy many photos of wildlife and spectacular scenery.

Alan has recently taken on the executive of the Provincial Naturalists organization.
The lecture theater allows no food or drink, There is free parking in the College Parking lot, at 4155 Belshaw avenue at the top of the hill.
Membership or donation requested.

On this Day, March 1st 2002

An Earth Observation Satellite for environmental purposes reaches orbit. Envisat is a the largest environmental satellite put in orbit and is operated by the European Space Agency.

 

 

Butterflies

Bob Scafe is presenting at the monthly meeting of the Nicola Naturalists on Thursday February 18th.

Bob is a director of the Nicola Naturalist Society and one of our most prolific nature photographers. Lately, he and his wife Bev have become interested in butterflies and moths – getting to know and identify the local species. Bob will give us an introduction to the rich butterfly fauna of the BC interior. Later this spring he has promised to lead a few butterfly field trips so this presentation is a valuable primer. We’ll have lots of great photos too!

Bob recently presented on his trip to South East Asia , mostly highlighting people and lifestyle. He has titled this presentation The wonderful world of butterflies. The presentation starts at 7PM in the NVIT lecture theater in Merritt, no food or drink allowed in, free parking, and membership or donation requested.

March will see club president Alan Burger back from a trip to Antarctica. the meeting will be on the 17th titled:  Antarctic Wild  Life-  Life in a changing environment .

http://www.nicolanaturalists.ca/2015/12/17/winterspring-programs-january-to-may-2016/

Meetings continue through May.

On this day: February 16th 2005

The Kyoto protocol comes in to effect after Russian ratification.

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