Trail Mix/Steeves: Spring is wet & noisy

Even the brassy, bold spring sunflowers currently filling local hillsides with colour drooped Thursday as all of spring’s rainfall took a notion to pour down at once.

The heavy, unrelenting rain pooled up on streets, overflowed gutters and storm drains—and even some creek beds.

But it is a sign of spring, just as the owl chicks that are finally taking independent forays from their Knox Mountain nest now, and the flickers doing a mating dance just off my deck the other day.

They’re probably the same ones doing the territorial drumming on the bit of metal at the top of my roof at 5 a.m.—not one of my favourite signs or sounds of spring.

I’m okay with those noisy robins at first light and even the alarm call of the California quail lookout, but the woodpeckers’ drumming on metal is a step over the line—especially when it wakes me from a sound sleep.

I also have no sympathy for small mammals requiring large amounts of tender greens to feed their young, especially when it means my young lettuce plants are whittled down to stems by their sharp little teeth.

Nor am I impressed by the cleverness of Stellar’s jays who have discovered that a dot of green emerging from the dark ground may mean there is a whole pea seed just beneath, that they can steal from me.

They, apparently, think it’s clever that the fence that keeps the deer from munching my garden down to its roots, doesn’t prevent them from flying over the top and removing even the roots.

Oh sure, birds and wild critters are great fun to watch and listen to, but they can be annoying too—especially in spring, after a quiet winter.

At least I haven’t had the terrifying experience of at least one Kelowna jogger who crested a rise at the top of Knox Mountain last week and nearly ran smack dab into a grizzly bear.

I suppose that grizzly woke up this spring somewhere on top of the Aberdeen Plateau, left the den and found way too much snow still hanging around covering any green shoots he might nibble on.

It’s possible that experience told him there was a greater likelihood he’d find some munchies closer to the lake in the valley bottom, but his arrival has created a bit of a sensation.

Hopefully, this rain will help melt the snow up in his part of the wilderness sooner rather than later and he’ll amble off home again without creating any problems here in the city.

Spring also means it’s time to renew licences such as those you need for fishing or hunting. Unfortunately, a couple of young people I know forgot that little detail and went off fishing last weekend. They got caught and instead of buying schoolbooks, they had to put their hard-earned cash into paying tickets.

Those taking their toys off-road into wetlands around the Okanagan are warned there will be a concerted effort this spring to catch and charge those damaging the environment with their rubber-tired machines. It will turn out to be an expensive, as well as illegal, recreational activity for them.

As well, be warned that mid-elevation lakes are honeycombed with rotten ice at this time of year, so use common sense when sledding in the high country.

Play safe and sensible out there.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.



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