Don’t miss the awesome Kokanee spawning run on Coldstream Creek. (Roseanne Van Ee photos)

Get Outdoors!: Behold! Migration season is upon us in North Okanagan

Outdoors columnist Roseanne Van Ee presents ample opportunity to commune with nature this autumn

Summer’s winding down. Our kids go back to school while we prepare our yards and freezers for winter. Meanwhile, Okanagan wildlife tend to migrate, estivate or spawn.

Some people think that hummingbirds catch rides on the backs of geese for their migratory trip down south.

Truth is; hummingbirds are well on their way to Mexico when the geese are just taking their “practice flights” for migration to the coast or just into the warmer United States.

Physics gives hummingbirds an advantage with a smaller, light body weight.

They just need to refuel all along the way to maintain their energy. That’s why all hummingbird feeders should be taken down by mid August. If the “hummers” stay too late, they could succumb to freezing.

Big Canada Geese, on the other hand, store fat for their trip. That’s why they’ve adopted the energy efficient “V” flight formation.

Our Great Blue Herons (that nest on 24th St.) have already been dispersing to various open-water lakes for the winter.

Some may migrate to the coast to winter on good fishing grounds.

Most birds migrate at night following the stars (like sailors) along migratory pathways (usually air currents of least resistance).

Some of our birds migrate all the way down to South America.

I love sitting back on mosquito-less, moonlit September and October nights with binoculars in hand to spot flocks passing in the night sky.

If you’re in a quiet spot; listen. Could it be the calls of migrating flocks or the rustle of dry leaves in the breeze?

You might even see bats migrating to their winter colonies further south. Their “flutter” of wings distinguishes them from birds.

Don’t come to the Allan Brooks Nature Centre looking for the yellow-bellied marmots now.

These large rodents, like the Columbian Ground Squirrels, have gone underground for an early rest to “estivate” while they’re still fat from summer’s seed bounty.

They re-emerge with young in April.

Snakes, frogs and other reptiles and amphibians are moving towards their wintering grounds now, too.

Watch for late emerging Mourning Cloak and Tortoiseshell butterflies in the fall. They’ll overwinter here tucked behind bark or in tree grooves. The large yellow and black butterflies are non-migrating Swallowtails, often mistaken for the orange and black migrating Monarchs.

Don’t miss watching the Kokanee spawn on Coldstream Creek in late September to early October.

The best spawning beds for viewing are in Creekside and Coldstream Parks (behind Coldstream School).

These Sockeye Salmon descendants became “land-locked” as the glacial-produced massive waterways, which once connected to the Pacific, drained and evaporated into separate lakes.

For thousands of years Kokanee annually spawned to lay eggs in gravel creekbeds and shorelines.

Until the early 1900s, almost every major creek flowing into Okanagan Lake supported thousands of spawning Kokanee each fall.

I’ve seen a sharp decline in spawning numbers in the past 25 years.

Get out there with your children and friends to enjoy this miraculous phenomena before it dies out (or can we save the Kokanee?).

Leave your pets at home!

Fall’s a great time to observe nature.

Thankfully, Vernon has many opportunities to enjoy it:

  • Visit the Allan Brooks Nature Centre. www.abnc.ca.
  • The North Okanagan Naturalist Club welcomes anyone interested to join their free Saturday morning nature hikes. www.nonc.ca
  • Join the Vernon Outdoors Club for a variety of great fall hikes and cycles.
  • There’s many hiking groups on Facebook.

Fortunately we’re surrounded by spectacular provincial parks: Camp and/or hike Kalamalka Lake, Ellison, Kekuli Bay, Sovereign Lake, Mabel Lake, Fintry and Bear Creek.

READ MORE: Get Outdoors! and learn about rattlesnakes

READ MORE: Serious Enderby motorcycle crash sparks probe into police work


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

EMBED PHOTOS

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Protest planned after Vernon man’s probation conditions lifted

Richard Slobodian had his probation order cancelled in B.C. Provincial Court Sept. 14

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Schubert Centre reopens with new chef, menu to serve Vernon

Farm-to-table focused chef aims to serve up more local eats to seniors, diners

COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read