Opinion

Steeves/Trail Mix: Lots happening outdoors

A bald eagle carries a duck off to its nest to feed its youngsters. - Judie Steeves/Capital News
A bald eagle carries a duck off to its nest to feed its youngsters.
— image credit: Judie Steeves/Capital News

For outdoors people, the change in seasons is marked by the new wildflowers that pop into bloom and the behaviour of birds and wildlife.

That riot of yellow spring sunflowers has been replaced by the dull gray of their big, arrow-shaped leaves, drifts of blue and purple lupines, sometimes paired up with vermillion clumps of paintbrush and yellow arnica.

There are also clouds of purple Dame’s Rocket now appearing in odd place, an escapee from the garden that produces an abundance of seeds and can over-run the natural landscape, out-competing native plants. Pull it out wherever you find it, along with the yellow flag iris which is also currently in bloom locally in moist areas.

The first tiny fluff balls surrounding adult quail, ducks and geese have now taken a shape that’s beginning to resemble mom and dad and does are dropping their tiny, dappled fawns in the deep grass and advising them to keep perfectly still until mom returns.

Their spotted flanks and complete immobility are excellent camouflage from predators as the deer babies have no smell to attract unwanted attention.

Unfortunately, helpful humans have a fatal tendency to meddle in things they don’t understand and often will pick up the vulnerable fawns, somehow imagining that mom has abandoned them and they know better how to look after her babies.

Don’t touch fawns if you come upon them. Leave them alone and take nothing but your delightful memory of that sight. Mom will return.

Camping over the weekend we watched as a bald eagle tore into the carcass of a duck he’d dispatched and then bore it off to a nest nearby; anything to feed the young.

And thinking of the young, it was good to hear that some of those young people who partied at Spring Lake west of Peachland over the May long weekend, leaving a deplorable mess of garbage and destruction behind them, returned and helped to clean  it up. We helped too, through our regional district taxes.

The Regional Waste Reduction Office paid for a contractor to spend two days cleaning up and removing debris. They took out more than 1,000 kilograms of materials.

The youtube video of the mess left behind was so popular, here’s the follow-up video of it now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESYZxfYIKso

One of the many offences committed there that weekend was driving into the lake, below the high water mark, what some call mud bogging.

Conservation officer Terry Myroniuk warns that they plan some aggressive enforcement efforts against mud bogging at local lakes such as Grizzly and wetlands such as those just up the Postill Lake Forest Service Road. Fines begin at $575.

He notes that it’s also illegal to drive ATVs or dirt bikes on forest service roads with liability insurance, and they will be enforcing that.

Incidentally, there’s an event sponsored by the Okanagan Trail Riders’ Association called the Ride for Dad being held this month to raise funds to fight prostate cancer.

It’s at the Bear Creek Off-Highway Vehicle trail system up Bear Main logging road Sunday, June 24 with registration starting at 8 a.m. and the ride beginning at 10 a.m.

The $25 entry fee includes lunch at La Casa overlooking Okanagan Lake. Pledge forms, OTRA membership or day use permits are available at dealerships and from members.

Be aware that there’s now a day pass fee of $10 to use those new trails in the Bear Creek area, or $50 for an annual pass, similar to fees for other enhanced recreation sites and trails elsewhere in the province, including snowmobile trails, ski trails and other recreation sites.

There are also site hosts at the campground at the Aspen Trailhead, one kilometre past the old Lower Pits, but there’s no charge for camping there.

Remember that vehicles must have a spark arrestor and be 96 decibels or less.

There are lots of other events coming up this month, including fishing for kids every weekend at Mission Creek Regional Park at the Hall Road pond and at Shannon Lake Regional Park in the netted-off bay, where catchable trout have been stocked and staff from the regional district or volunteers from local fishing clubs will be available to help teach them how to cast a line.

At Shannon Lake, there’s also a youth fly fishing day June 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ages 10 to 18,  with instruction from members of the Westside’s Peachland Sportsman’s Association. If you can help, you would be most welcome as well. Enjoy a barbecue and learn how to tie flies as well.

Those over 16 will need to have a valid fishing licence.

The annual Father’s Day fishing derby will be held Saturday, June 16 by the PSA at Shannon Lake from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with prizes and a barbecue.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

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