Bowser Ecological Reserve wardens report 2019
2019 Bowser Ecological Reserve
Wardens’ Annual Report by Gerry van der Wolf On behalf of Chris James and Peter Spodzieja
February 1, 2019
Gerry and Chris arrived at the ER mid-morning, then checked the plantation road to the fork at 1.8 km. We noted that someone had remove sand with a shovel along the roadside, at a location where significant erosion is occurring on the roadbed. Parking at the .5 decommissioned road we encountered two ladies walking their dogs. We introduced ourselves as Wardens of the reserve. They reported that they had come across an individual cutting a Douglas Fir further up the plantation road. He had explained his actions by describing the tree as diseased, which it certainly was not. We explained that we had noted the offence and reported it to the poaching line the previous month. They expressed reluctance in taking pictures of the offender or his vehicle and we responded that it was wise not to get involved at that level. They also related that they had once encountered an individual with a firearm shooting from the plantation road. We agreed with them that it would have been even more unwise to confront the individual in that circumstance. They asked why there was no gate to prevent these types of intrusions, we responded that we have been advising that course of action.
We then hiked a loop, re-measured two large Douglas Firs that were way-pointed, one 19’ 8” the other 17’ even. Then we proceeded to the trail camera which we retrieved; there were no pictures so we re-positioned it at the hollow tree, hoping to capture hibernation shots. The batteries were replaced. We then hiked back to the .2 decommissioned road, encountering and cutting down large holly plants in three locations. Chris spotted a deer running from us along the hike. We collected garbage along both roads.
Gerry and Chris arrived at the gate at 9:30 am and proceeded up the road to the fork at 1.8 km. where we noted an abandoned utility trailer with a badly worn wheel. We also had noted several trees had been cut on either side of the road. Some had been completely removed, others only partly. We took pictures of each site and Gerry later reported the incidents to the poacher tip line by phone and also to Erica by email. We parked at the .2 decommissioned road. During setup of the GPS the waypoints were deleted. We proceeded by memory to locate the camera at the hollow tree. There were no game pictures and we decided to relocate the camera to the plantation road in an attempt to capture images of the offenders. We proceeded by reckoning eventually coming out on the road above the parking spot. We mounted the camera along the road then left at 2:30 pm. Distance covered 6.5 km.
Chris later retrieved the camera and delivered it to Gerry who downloaded a number of pictures of vehicles and pedestrians entering and leaving the area. The pictures of suspect vehicles and of some of the trees cut were sent to the poacher report line and to Parks BC. Using the time/date stamps it was possible to narrow down the potential poachers which was also reported. Licence plates were not legible in the pictures.
Gerry and Chris arrived at the gate at 8:30 am and proceeded up the road to the gravel pit road. We noted that the abandoned trailer had been moved from the fork at 1.8 km to part way down the road. We followed the gravel pit road to the fork, took the right fork and then the next left fork and proceeded to the end of that trail then headed towards a waypoint designated “pond” in the field notes, intending to check for amphibian egg masses. As all the waypoints on the GPS had been deleted the last trip out, Gerry had used coordinates from the field notes to re-establish waypoints. The “pond” waypoint turned out not to be the beaver pond. Another “pond” waypoint’s co-ordinates were entered, but did not deliver the beaver pond either. We proceeded back towards the gravel pit and mounted the camera in an old growth area. We headed back to the truck and headed further up the road to the fork at 1.8 km and hitched the trailer up and hauled it back down to the main gate. We picked up some garbage that had been dumped at the gate during the time that we were on our hike and placed it in the trailer. Gerry later reported the trailer to the RDN by email. We left the gate at 11:30. Distance covered, 4.8 km.
Gerry and Chris arrived at the main gate at 8:30 am where we observed the trailer was still there and that more garbage had been deposited around it. Gerry will remind the RDN that it is still there. A short way in the plantation road we observed a blue Chev pickup with aluminum racks parked off the road. A short way further in we observed an older male walking a golden lab. We drove to the fork and then back to the gravel pit road without observing anything notable. While gearing up we encountered an elderly male on a bicycle who stopped to talk. He had observed the man cutting the trees down in March; the man had claimed that they were wind blow downs. The man was not known to him and was described as powerfully built. We hiked down the gravel pit road to the fork, bore right, then left at the next fork and proceeded on to the camera location. Pictures of deer were observed. We took the camera for repositioning. We proceed on to the beaver pond where we observed a couple of egg masses which were too far from shore to properly photograph. We also observed several salamander swimming. We headed back towards the gravel pit road and mounted the camera just off the trail where there were deer tracks observed. A pair of Towhee were spotted (wordplay intended). Total distance walked was 4.1 kilometers. We left the main gate at 11:00 am where we observed a red Dodge Dakota quad cab parked.
Gerry and Chris arrived at the main gate at 8:30 am where we observed that the trailer had been removed as had the yard waste that had been accumulating for years. We proceeded up the plantation road followed for a short distance by a pickup truck which reversed into the trees a short distance in where we had observed a truck parked on an earlier visit. We observed some plywood dumped at the side of the road midway between the .5 km access road and the gravel pit road. We drove to the fork then returned and parked at the gravel pit road where we could hear a woodpecker working on a tree. We hiked in to retrieve the camera then hiked back to the truck. We parked at the .5 km decommissioned road, and hiked partway in then struck off towards the berry patch. We checked the camera batteries and swapped out the memory card, then mounted the camera overlooking the berry patch and observed some serious disturbance of a rotted log, speculating that it was caused by a bear. We were puzzled by the observation of aged mollusc shells at the base of a small upturned tree. We speculated that we might be standing on a First Nations’ midden, but also noted a large upturned tree nearby without any shells. We then hiked back to the truck, observing another site where likely a bear had been digging at a rotted log. We noted some scat which did not appear to be bear but we could not identify conclusively. At the truck we observed a squirrel up a tree and photographed it. The camera card yielded numerous nighttime and daytime pictures of deer, including one of a dappled fawn, and one daytime picture of a black bear. We travelled 5.6 km. including the drive between parking spots.
Gerry and Hazel Foster arrived at the main gate at 9:40 where a dump of yard waste was noted and photographed. We proceeded up the plantation road to the .2 km access road, parked and headed up the access road. At the point where we struck off towards the berry patch, Hazel noted two red squirrels chasing each other round and round the base of a tree. Gerry took photographs of the pair. We proceeded to the berry patch where the game camera memory card was switched out and checked. There were both day time and night time pictures of deer. We measured the berry stems and counted the berries and recorded the data. A woodpecker could be heard drumming in the distance. We crossed the gully where we observed a frog leap into the stream, then proceeded back towards the access road in a clockwise direction. We took pictures of fungi which might be Lobster Mushrooms. We observed one of the way-pointed large Douglas Fir on the far side of the gully. We reached the access road at the way-pointed large maple which had been cut years before. We proceeded back to the vehicle, completing 5.6 kilometres of hiking under clear skies, then drove to the fork on the plantation road and collected a bag full of garbage on the drive back. A young couple drove by in a car heading up the plantation road. We left the main gate at 12:30.
As the stem measurements have been performed to date by Bill Image using a manual caliper and are now being performed by Gerry using a digital caliper, there may be discrepancies between the sets of data.
|#||Stem size||# of berries||comments|
|2||.44||0||Berries on other branches|
|5||.12||0||Berries on other branches|
|6||.9||0||Berries on other branches|
|7||.14||0||Broken, still alive, transferred to another branch, recorded below|
|8||.16||0||Berries on other branches|
|9||.20||0||Berries on other branches|
|10||.19||8||Berries all dried|
|11||.13||0||Berries on other branches|
|12||.18||0||Berries on other branches|
|14||.47||1||Berries on other branches|
|15||.17||0||Berries on other branches|
|16||.18||0||Berries on other branches|
|19||.16||0||Branch almost dead will be transferred in future|
|20||.15||0||Branch almost dead will be transferred in future|
Due to scheduling difficulties, there was no visit to the reserve in August.
Chris and Hazel and Gerry arrived at the main gate around 9:00 am and drove to the fork at 1.8 km. on the plantation road. There was little garbage and no trees cut. There was evidence of vehicles crossing the ditch onto the road heading westward from the fork into the reserve. We returned to the .5 decommissioned road and parked. While suiting up we met a man walking a young white lab. We explained that we were Wardens checking the reserve and asked if he had observed, during his walks, any activity such as tree cutting. He responded that he didn’t see anything wrong with cutting trees and that he was a fourth generation Canadian and felt he was entitled to cut trees if he wanted. We wished him a pleasant walk and left it at that. We walked through light rain to the berry patch and collected the berries. There were only 7 berries to pick on the 20 stems in the study group so we picked another 30 from other branches. The 37 berries we picked weighed .25 grams. We switched out the memory card and checked the batteries in the game camera which had been trained on the berry patch. We then took it for repositioning. We backtracked along the gully to one of the large Douglas Fir and measured it at 20’. We proceeded along the rim of the gully to the way pointed crossing then headed towards the way pointed squirrel transect. There we mounted the game camera and first heard then observed a red squirrel running up and down a Douglas Fir. We hiked towards Chef Creek and the edge of the reserve then struck north towards two more large Douglas Fir that had previously been way pointed. We measured them to be 19 and 22 feet. We then followed another gully eastward and encountered another large Douglas Fir that measured 27 feet. We way pointed it as well. We headed towards the .5 decommissioned road and back to the vehicle having covered 10.9 km under drizzle and through undergrowth soggy from days of heavy rain. We saw many fungi on the walk including two cauliflower mushrooms (Sparassis), many lobster mushrooms (parasitic ascomycete fungus), Artist’s fungi, Turkey Tail, Red Belt Fungus, and others that we photographed. We spotted two salamanders, one brown (Northwestern?) the other orange (Roughskin Newt?), and a number of slugs, both green and black, on the forest floor. The camera card contained day and nighttime pictures of deer as well as pictures of two dogs and then, taken another date, four pictures of a young man and woman, walking back and forth through the berry patch, each with a large bag, perhaps there looking for mushrooms but appearing to be picking the berries.
We picked up some garbage then left the main gate shortly after 1:00 pm.
Gerry and Hazel arrived at the main gate at 9:00 am and proceeded to the .5 decommissioned road and parked. Hiking in we entered the reserve and immediately saw a squirrel in the distance. We proceeded on towards the camera and half-way there saw another squirrel close in front of us. At the camera we heard then saw another squirrel. We took down the camera for repositioning then headed towards Holly which had been previously removed and way-pointed. We located one of the five and also spotted another which we removed and way-pointed. Two large white pines were way-pointed. Many different types of fungi were photographed, including Fluted Black Elfin Saddle, Short-stemmed Rusula, Smoky-gilled Woodlover, Purple Fairy Club, Crested Coral Fungus, Black-eyed Parasol, and Shellfish-scented Rusula. We completed the hike of 6.2 km under bright skies and cool temperatures. Some broken glass and other litter were collected along the plantation road. We then drove to the fork at 1.8 km and back without noting any illegal tree cutting or garbage dumps. Two bags of garbage were photographed at the main gate which we left at 12:30.
Chris and Gerry arrived at the main gate at 9:00 am under clear skies, and drove to the .5 decommissioned road and parked. We hiked in past the berry patch and then crossed the gully and proceeded to the camera location. There were pictures of deer in low light on the card. The camera was left in place and we proceeded back towards the road. Pictures of mushrooms were taken along the way, including Oyster, Angel Wings, Pacific Golden Chanterelle, and Orange Jelly. We noted and photographed scrubbing on tree trunks that looked significant enough to perhaps be elk rather than deer. We completed the 4.5 km hike in a counter clockwise direction through wet underbrush. At the vehicle we heard squirrel chatter and noted two red squirrels, one on either side of the road. We drove to the fork at 1.8 km stopping at the spot where dumping often occurs. There was a blue and yellow bundle far down the embankment, too steep to check out. Back at the main gate we identified the contents of the bags which had been noted there the previous month. They both contained marijuana leaves. There was also a deposit of leaves nearby which we also photographed.
Gerry and Chris arrived at the main gate at 8:30 am and proceeded to drive to the fork at 1.8 km on the plantation road without noting any illegal tree cutting or garbage dumping. We parked at the .5 decommissioned road and proceeded down it then cut into the reserve towards the berry patch, crossed the gully and proceeded on to the camera. We took it for repositioning then headed towards the edge of the reserve and Chef Creek. We noted a hummingbird along the way. We repositioned the camera after changing out the batteries and memory card. We headed back towards the vehicle in a clockwise fashion completing the 3.5 kilometers hike in light rainfall. We left the main gate at 11:00 am. The camera card revealed many pictures of deer and two pictures of German Shepherds.
Invasive species of plants including holly and Scotch Broom are removed whenever encountered. Small amounts of garbage are removed when encountered. Larger amounts or heavier items of garbage were reported for removal. Cutting and removing trees was reported to the poacher tip line and to Parks BC. Additional signage for the reserve is recommended. Locking the gate to prevent illegal dumping and tree cutting is recommended.
Respectfully submitted by Gerry van der Wolf
On behalf of Chris James and Peter Spodzieja