Strathcona Wilderness Institute

Inspiring awareness, appreciation and stewardship of Strathcona Provincial Park BC through education and participation

May 27, 2015
by KapteinK
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Lots of News!

It’s been a busy week at Paradise Meadows with the Wilderness Centre opening on Friday May 22. Visitors have already come from Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, and the UK. As of Friday May 29, the Centre will be open every day, staffed by our summer student & volunteers.

Bog-laurel Meadow

Bog-laurel Meadow

Lots of pink western bog-laurel is now blooming in the meadows. Magenta Jeffrey’s shootingstar & mauve marsh violet are increasing.

Rosy Twistedstalk (Streptopus roseus)

Rosy Twistedstalk (Streptopus roseus)

New flowers just starting include mountain arnica, Drummond’s cinquefoil, three-leaved goldthread, rosy twistedstalk, pink mountain-heather, bunchberry, and buckbean.

Drummond's Cinquefoil (Potentilla drummondii)

Drummond’s Cinquefoil (Potentilla drummondii)

Campers are already well out into the Park , at Lake Helen Mackenzie & Kwai Lake campsites. Hikers from the Comox District Mountaineering Club have gone as far as the shoulder of Mt Albert Edward & up Jutland – reports are here. The CDMC has planned a camp at Kwai Lake this weekend- no camping fees yet! – not until June 15.

Canoe on Battleship Lake

Canoe on Battleship Lake

Even a canoeist was out, on Battleship Lake! He must have portaged in at least a couple of km.

Boston Lake Overlook

Boston Lake Overlook

At the Wood Mountain end of Forbidden Plateau, Mt Becher has been free of snow for more than a week. Spreading phlox & paintbrush are blooming, and the rare Olympic onion should be out soon.

buttle-map-cover-small

The latest SWI publication is the Trail Map for the Buttle Lake area of Strathcona Park – you can get it online here or at the Buttle Lake Information Hut when it opens on Saturday June 6.

May 20, 2015
by KapteinK
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Three-toed Woodpecker!

The most elusive bird in Paradise Meadows is the American Three-toed Woodpecker. Until yesterday I had never identified one in the meadows, though I have seen it in parks on the BC mainland. While looking through past photos on this blog, I reviewed several Hairy Woodpecker photos , a bird I have photographed in the meadows many times. Now that I am more knowledgeable about birds, however, I realized that I have in fact seen the Three-toed Woodpecker in the meadows after all! on August 4, 2012 – in the woods on the Centennial Trail.

Here is a link to the blog post that I wrote at the time, with an indistinct photo.

Three-toed Woodpecker

Three-toed Woodpecker

If I had used the photo above, taken at the same time, in the posting, it would have been more obvious that the bird was a Three-toed : not only the barring on the back, but the barred flanks are a definitive field mark. Other subtle differences are the more extensive black on the head & the wings. The three toes can also be seen indistinctly in this photo. I suppose another clue should have been that this woodpecker was quite shy, whereas the Hairy Woodpecker is usually not so much.

Several times when looking through old photos, I have found that I have actually photographed something wonderful that I didn’t realize – usually a flower, that I hadn’t previously known about. This is another example!

May 19, 2015
by KapteinK
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Bedwell Area Conditions

Members of the Comox District Mountaineering Club spent the long weekend at the Bedwell area of Strathcona Park. Trip report & photos here. Sounds like lots of snow still beyond the Bedwell Lakes, in the vicinity of Little Jim Lake & Cream Lake.