Amphibian Fencing Volunteers Needed Sunday February 26th

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help install directional amphibian fencing for our Ryder Lake Amphibian Protection Project. The Toad Tunnel is not only used by the thousands of toadlets in the summer but also by the ecologically important breeding adults in the early spring as they migrate to their breeding pond. To ensure this crossing structure is effective, we need to install fencing that will direct amphibians towards the tunnel entrance. The adult amphibians will start migrating to the wetland for breeding in late February or early March.

The fencing will be constructed from silt fencing material attached to wooden stakes using staples or screws. This is the same type of lightweight black fabric fencing seen near construction projects.  The most challenging part of this project will likely be working in wet or muddy conditions on a steep slope. Volunteers must be prepared to work in cold or wet conditions and will need work gloves.

We will be onsite at the Toad Tunnel on Sunday February 26th starting at 10am (wrapping up at 1 pm). If you are interested in volunteering for this project to protect some frogs and toads please send Sofi an e-mail so she can send you further instructions!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail or call (604-625-0066).

Did you know… Great-horned owls are one of the earliest breeding birds in BC

Young Great-horned owl Photo by Barb Coote

You might have heard a pair calling back and forth in early January which is when they typically begin courtship. Their deep “hoot hoot” call is the classic owl call that everyone recognizes.

Great-horned owls like many other owls don’t make their own nests but rather adopt old stick nests made by other raptors, squirrels, or they nest in big tree cavities or snags.

The female typically starts laying her eggs in mid-February, often when there is still snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures.  The female lays on average between 1-4 eggs and incubates the eggs for 32-35 days before they hatch. The number of eggs laid each year has been shown to correlate with the availability of their main prey, which is small mammals.

Raising Great-horned owlets is no small feat, and it takes about 2.5-3 months after hatching before the young ones are able to fly. Like any predator, the young ones need to learn how to hunt and capture their own prey, so even though they are able to fly at 3 months, they are still dependent on their parents for food while they slowly acquire hunting skills. As the young ones become more independent and capable of capturing their own prey they will leave the parents’ territory and find their home, this usually happens in early- to mid-fall.

The oldest free living Great-horned owl documented was 27 years and 7 months!

Check out this webcam of a Great-horned owl nesting site. The owls are around but they haven’t started nesting yet. They typically start mid-February and you can hear the owls calling at night.

Unique Spring Break work experience for budding biologists…

Are you a grade 11 or 12 student (or know one) in Mission, Abbotsford or Chilliwack who is interested in getting into a career in conservation biology? If so, check out this great opportunity to learn from the biologists working with the highly endangered Oregon spotted frog during Spring Break 2017. This is a temporary paid position with the Fraser Valley Conservancy from March 13th to 24th, 2017. Full training and field gear will be provided. You do not need to have previous experience, just a willingness to learn and great enthusiasm for the outdoor environment. More details included in the attachment: spring break job posting.

Send your resume to Aleesha@fraservalleyconservancy.ca by February 5th to be considered for this rare opportunity.

Notice of Upcoming AGM – February 7th

Notice of Annual General Meeting

February 7, 2017  7:30 pm
33171 2nd Avenue, Mission BC

  • Meet the FVC staff, Directors, and other members
  • Learn what we’ve been up to in 2016
  • Hear about our plans for the future
  • Participate in society business including election of board members
  • If you are interested in sitting on our board, contact us for details and to apply to the nominating committee.
  • Annual $10 membership fee will be collected at the door.

Guests and new members are always welcome!

Meet and greet starts at 7:00 pm. The AGM will commence at 7:30 pm.

We are meeting in the Training Room to the right of the FVC office (Google Maps link)

Windebank Creek Update 2016

Every year in November we look forward to having a volunteer event at our Windebank Creek property that corresponds with the seeing the salmon returning to spawn. Unfortunately this year we had to cancel our annual event due to yet another serious flood that deposited over a metre of silt over the lower half of the property.

But just like the salmon, who refuse to give up on this site, so do we!

We have just approved our management plan for this property and have an interested funding source lined up to help us implement it in 2017. Nothing is confirmed yet, but we will have news about our plans and events where the community can help in the spring – so make sure you check back then!

Tiny Toadlets use the Tunnel!

On July 7th, the same day as we started our sub-adult Western toad road surveys, we installed a camera in the tunnel so that we could count the number of sub-adult toads that used the tunnel during the migration.  The camera was in the tunnel from July 7th – 20th, and took a picture every minute, resulting in 13,119 photos to sort through after the migration was over. Thanks to Lisa and Sasha, who patiently counted all of the toads seen on the photos, we documented a total of 34,915 sub-adult toads using the tunnel!

We tried a new and improved camera set-up this year, and while it worked better, we can’t directly compare numbers between last year and this year. But we are very pleased and excited that so many sub-adult toads used the tunnel rather than the road. There were also other critters seen on the pictures such as a skunk, possum, and a deer mouse. Interestingly, the photos also revealed several people looking into the tunnel to see how the toads were making out. We discovered that after a human was seen at the entrance, fewer toads used the tunnel until about 15 minutes after the person left… an interesting insight into their behaviour!

We are now working with our partners on ideas on how we can improve the directional fencing for next year to ensure that the tunnel captures even more toads and the always important but rarely seen breeding adults. Stay tuned!

Thanks to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for funding our monitoring work of the tunnel!

HCTF

A fun day celebrating wildlife in Chilliwack!

We had a great day on Saturday, hosting our annual species at risk outreach event in Chilliwack. With over 200 people attending, we heard about all sorts of interesting critters they see in their homes and backyards.

We got to meet Stomper the Barn owl, who was a great ambassador and very patient for such a long day being the center of attention, and learn all about owls and what they eat.

There was big Bullfrog and a beautiful Painted turtle, both of whom live in our local waterways, along with other rare and more common amphibians.

There were native plants on display that can be planted to enhance our backyards. Those who wanted to learn more signed up to participate in our Nature Stewards program.  If you didn’t get a chance to come out, but are interested in participating on our Nature Steward program you can still sign up by contacting us.

 

A huge thanks to our host (The Local Harvest Market), our participating partners (South Coast Conservation Program, Raptors Ridge, Precious Frog), and of course our awesome staff, board members and their helpful volunteers!

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