Strathcona Wilderness Institute

June Firsts

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With the first of June, there are a few more firsts ( the most notable – that this is the first time the Wilderness Centre has been open on the first of June!)

Western Bog-laurel

Western Bog-laurel

The first western bog-laurel has bloomed along the Centennial boardwalk. It should be another couple of weeks before the best showing of the pink flowers – Jeffrey’s shootingstar, western bog-laurel, and pink heather. About 2-3 weeks after the snow melts from the meadows is a peak time for pink blooms . Different flowers bloom all summer however, and many of the most beautiful are little white flowers – so there will be something new of interest every week!

Marsh-marigold & Globeflower

Marsh-marigold & Globeflower

The first globeflower has emerged along the Paradise Creek Trail near the Battleship junction. In a couple of places the blooms are right beside the alpine white marsh-marigold, allowing for a great comparison of these very similar flowers. The leaves of globeflower are fern-like whereas the leaves of marsh-marigold are round.

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper


We spotted a Brown Creeper making its way up the tree trunks along the Centennial Trail – these charming little birds are easy to miss with their cryptic plumage.

Visitors reported a Wilson’s Snipe in the meadows – a great sighting. I saw it flying a couple of times, but could not get a photo. We saw a flock of Red Crossbills fly chattering past the Centre, and have regularly been hearing Hermit Thrush, Sooty Grouse, and Olive-sided Flycatcher. Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow have been added to the bird sighting (and hearing!) list. A mystery bird described by a visitor from the UK as being similar to a Linnet may have been a Pine Siskin or female Purple Finch.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Many visitors have been asking about the fish in Paradise Creek & Ponds. They are most likely rainbow trout but could be cutthroat trout – an expert ID would be appreciated! The larger lakes in the Plateau area are stocked with trout every few years, and the fish make their way into all the smaller waterways.

Big Pond & Mt Washington

Big Pond & Mt Washington

Visitors to the Centre in the past couple of days have come from Ontario, Nova Scotia, Oregon, Florida & New Mexico! Many hikers have been doing the Lake Helen Mackenzie/Battleship Lake loop, and report a few snow patches, and four tent platforms clear of snow at Lake Helen Mackenzie.

A few hikers have ventured farther, and at least two have gone all the way up Mt Albert Edward. They reported a family of White-tailed Ptarmigan near the top, so I encouraged them to send a sighting report to UBC where researchers are collecting data on the birds. The hikers needed snowshoes & good navigation to get to Circlet Lake where they reported two tent platforms are clear of snow, but the lake is still frozen.

The gravel pile in the trailhead parking lot will be graded by the folks at Mt Washington this week, clearing the way for ample parking in the Parks lot.

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