Garter Snake

GARTER SNAKE

Thamnophis sirtalis

HABITAT:

The Garter Snakes in Pacific Spirit Regional Park live near aquatic or wet areas of the park, including the Camosun Bog.  They live in hibernacula with snakes of other species.

DIET:

They feed upon earthworms, small fish, larvae and amphibians.

BEHAVIOUR:

They will slither into the water when the snakes are startled and can dive right to the bottom of the bog pond to hide.  They also hide under the boardwalk or under rocks and logs.  The Garter Snake can strike and bite when threatened, but are not poisonous.  They do emit a foul-smelling musk from their gland vent and release feces and excrement in order to escape.

 

 

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Shore Pine

SHORE PINE

Pinus contorta

BARK:

Scaly, or deeply furrowed into plates, dark brown to blackish

LEAVES:

Needles in pairs, oven curved or twisted, deep green, 2-7 cm long

CONES:

Pollen cones are small, reddish-green in clusters at the tips

Seed cones are egg-shaped and slightly curved, scales are stiff and brown with a sharp prickle at the tip, 3-5 cm long

ECOLOGY:

Grows in and around the Camosun Bog, since it can tolerate low-nutrient wet areas

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Western Hemlock

WESTERN HEMLOCK

Tsuga heterophylla

BARK:

Mature bark is reddish-brown, scaly, thick and furrowed.

LEAVES:

Needles are yellowish green on their upper surface and whitish with 2 thin lines of stomata on their lower surface. They are short, flat and blunt, irregularly spaced and of unequal length: needles on the same twig can be 0.5-2 cm long. They are arranged spirally around twigs, but are twisted at the base so they appear to extend horizontally in two tiers.

CONES:

Pollen cones are small and numerous.

Seed cones are also numerous and approximately 2 cm long and oblong. They are purplish-green when young and become light brown when mature.

TIPS:

Western hemlock are distinguished by their unequal needle length and the feathery, flat appearance of their branches. They have a noticeably drooping leader.

 

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Douglas Fir

DOUGLAS FIR

Pseudotsuga menziesii 

BARK:

Younger bark is smooth and grey-brown. Mature bark is very thick, fluted, ridged, rough, and dark brown.

LEAVES:

Needles are 2-3 cm long, deep yellowish-green, and flat with pointed tips. They are arranged spirally around twigs and have one groove on their upper surfaces and two lines of stomata on their lower surfaces. Buds are sharply pointed.

CONES:

Pollen cones are small, yellow to reddish.

TIPS:

Douglas-fir can be distinguished by the “mice” hiding in their cones. The long, three-pointed bracts look like the hind legs and tail of a mouse. Their thick bark is sometimes described as being corky-like and helps protect them from moderate surface fires.

 

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Western Red Cedar

WESTERN RED CEDAR

Thuja plicata

BARK:

Bark is grey to reddish brown, ridged and fissured. It tears off in long strips.

LEAVES:

Leaves are scale-like, glossy, and yellowish-green. They are opposite, overlapping and pressed to the stem in a way that looks like a flattened braid.

CONES:

Pollen cones are minute (tiny), numerous and red.

Seed cones are about 1 cm long, egg-shaped and in loose clusters. Young seed cones are green. Mature green cones become brown, woody and turn upwards.

TIPS:

The branches of Western redcedar trees are J-shaped: they spread or droop and then turn upwards towards the tips. The bases of mature trees are often fluted and buttressed.

 

 

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Grand fir

GRAND FIR

Abies grandis

BARK:

The bark is greyish-brown. Younger bark is smooth with resin blisters. The bark of older trees becomes ridged and then scaly.

LEAVES:

Needles are 2-4 cm, dark green and flat with rounded, notched tips. (However, needles on branches with cones may be pointed.) They have a groove on their upper surfaces and two lines of stomata on their lower surfaces. They are usually arranged in two rows spreading horizontally from the branch so the upper and lower sides of the branches can be seen easily.

CONES:

Pollen cones are yellowish.

Seed cones are 5-10 cm long, yellowish-green to green, cylindrical shaped and erect. They are usually found higher up in the tree.

Photo: André-Philippe Picard

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Red Alder

RED ALDER

Alnus rubra

BARK:

Bark is thin, yellowish-brown or grey and often has white patches of lichen on it. Mature bark becomes scaly.

LEAVES:

Leaves are alternate, 5-15 cm long, elliptic with sharp points at the base and tip. They are dull green and smooth on their upper surfaces and rust-coloured and hairy on their lower surfaces. The margins of the leaves are wavy, slightly rolled under and have course, blunt teeth.

FRUITS AND FLOWERS:

Flowers are male and female catkins that appear before the leaves. Male catkins are 5-12 cm long, cylindrical and reddish. Female catkins are 2 cm long and cylindrical. Cones are up to 2 cm long and brownish.

 

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Vine Maple

VINE MAPLE

Acer glabrum

LEAVES:

Leaves are opposite, decidous with 7-9 lobes

FLOWERS & FLOWERS:

White or pink in clusters; Winged green fruits that turn brown in fall

ECOLOGY:

Vine Maple usually grows in wet areas of the park or under other trees

Photo: André-Philippe Picard

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Summer Solstice

SUMMERTIME!

Summer solstice has past and summer is officially here!  Even though the days will start to get shorter, we are just beginning to enjoy the warmer weather.

We are looking forward to a busy summer in the park.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Partnering with a youth settlement group (South Vancouver Neighbourhood House) to introduce new immigrants and refugees to Canadian wildlife and ecosystems
  • Testing out activities and lessons from our new EcoKITS with Eagles in the Sky (Britannia Community Services)
  • Removing invasives Holly from the Acadia Forest Restoration site with the EcoTEAM
  • Counting aquatic invertebrates (insects) at Spanish Creek with StreamKeepers, Catch the Spirit youth and Nature Kids members
  • Piloting our new EcoWATCH monitoring programs out with volunteers

We hope that you have a chance to explore a new trail in the park or come out to one of our Saturday EcoTEAM events from 1:00-4:00.

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Bird Week 2017

Have you ever been to a Vancouver Bird Week event?

This year you can learn how to identify birds by

sight or sound

on

 bike, kayak or foot.

With 40 free events to choose from, there is something for everyone –

young, old and hipsters!

Find your guide here.

Photos: Linda Mueller

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