Warden’s report -Visit to ER #76 – Fraser River Islands, April 22 2006
Visit to ER #76 – Fraser River Islands, April 22, 2006
by Ecological reserve wardens Bill and Bev Ramey
First sunny and warm day for about a month of unseasonably low temperatures; fresh snow on mountains. Windy. Water level around 1.3 metres at Mission.
Paddled at 11:00 am from Deroche Boat Launch Ramp, which Fraser Valley Regional District had posted closed, but the gate wasn’t locked, so we were able to drive right to the ramp.
Water level low enough that we paddled around lower ends of sand bars, and ferried across channels without losing too much distance. Made it to the EcoReserve without having to walk across gravel bars between the river channels.
At mud flats between upper and lower islands, there was a Greater Yellow Legs feeding at edge of pool; on other side were two small sandpipers. A red tailed hawk flew low overhead. We heard song sparrow and several ruby crowned kinglets. Walked through interior and along shore of upper island to upriver tip, then back down on main current side. There were numerous old campfire rings, about 30 near high water mark, and about another 50 along a lower line of lower water; some garbage, but not extensive. Vegetation on upper island included twin berry just leafing out and with flowers on upper branches and buds on lower, red osier dogwood leafed out, and cottonwood and willow. Many young plants of sweet clover or alfalfa. Saw a few blackberry canes.
Several flocks of 50+ gulls were feeding in main channels of the Fraser – they would fly low over the water heading upriver (and in the wind) and then drop down, put bill in water and float briefly downriver before flying upriver again. Saw several small blue butterflies, and a few orange coloured ones.
Returning through central pool area saw a pair of killdeer calling on sandbar. In main beaver slough were about 200 mallards loafing and they flew up when they saw us. About eight common mergansers flew upriver and landed, and later possibly the same group flew again. Eagle sitting on nest, and partner flying overhead. Then they were both on the nest. Two black-tailed deer (neither with antlers) walked across the shallow channel, swam the next one, and then continued upriver browsing on willow.
We headed downriver along the north shore of the biggest island and around the downstream tip. In the quiet water there were a large flock of mallards, likely those scared into flight from the interior slough. We then walked back up the centre dry channel. There were blackberry growing out and down from the cottonwood forest, both on the north side of the main island, and into the central dry channel. That channel had a lot of new silt/mud deposited in some areas. The site of the marijuana growing garbage had filled in and looked clean. Noticed about 7 Douglas fir trees in that area, about 15 feet high, a holly shrub(about 5 feet tall) and a hawthorn tree. Cherry trees in flower.
Returned to boat launch ramp around 5:00 pm.