Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


While March wasn't an excessively warm month as they go, it still marks the month where most plants 'do something' about getting going on their annual cycle of growth.  The evidence is all around, not noticeable daily, but when you look back after a week, you notice greener lawns and fields and trees with shades of light green starting to show.

Today helped a little bit, even though Environment Canada said we were to have sunless day, we had a nice afternoon of sun poking out, just enough to help out the heli-skiers who had what looked like lots of fresh spring powder snow to ski on in the mountains around the Bella Coola Valley this morning.  Grizzly

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Bluster

Blustery is the best way to describe the weather today in the Bella Coola Valley. Throughout the day numerous rain showers and dark cells of clouds moved through the valley.  I think there was a lot of weather going on out on the coast, but for us it meant a steady westerly wind, cool and showers.  The high was only 7 C, so not a very warm March day, but a typical one.    The Bella Coola River appeared to be up about 10 cm from the previous day, but still very clear and fishy looking.  A short stay at the river and I noticed cutthroat trout hitting the surface in several spots.  Grizzly

Monday, March 29, 2010


Sometime around now marks the arrival of a small flock of usually around 12-15 Mountain Bluebirds that make a stop in the Bella Coola Valley.  This year they arrived sometime over the weekend or even today. They spend most of their time in the mid to lower valley area especially the Airport area as it has the habitat they love which is fields, fences, and edges of fields.  I've kept note of their arrival time for a number of years and it ranges from an earliest date of March 24 to the latest of April 4 in the last 10 years.  Unfortunately they are only here for a week or two before they continue their migration northward.  I have seen them up the valley a fair ways, but most reliably lower down.   A number of old timers that also used to watch the bluebirds have told me the same thing - they never nest here, just stop and feed and move on.  They even tried to put nest boxes up but they wouldn't stay.  So we get to enjoy them once a year and that's it.

Had a nice little rain shower go through the valley last night, leaving fresh snow about 2/3rd of the way down the mountains.  It stopped raining in mid morning and cleared a little bit in the afternoon. Grizzly

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Now that we are through the winter and on to spring, the frost that was in Highway 20 is mostly gone and all that remains is the residual bumps in some areas that don't seem to disappear after the frost heaved the pavement.  Usually it's the regular spots year in and year out that you get to know, but there's always one or two new spots that don't seem to go away and then you have to commit them to memory and make sure you take appropriate action so that you and your vehicle contents don't get sent in some unexpected direction.

Don't worry though - if you don't drive Highway 20 regularly there are signs, just make sure you pay attention to them.

Today was a lot like yesterday for weather, starting out with a bit of an overnight shower, but quickly smartened up to be a respectable spring day in the Bella Coola Valley.  Grizzly

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Nice Day

It was not a blue sky day in the Bella Coola Valley but the temperature picked up nicely and there was no wind, just high grey skies.  It actually got warm and little bit muggy for a while when some partial sun came out  which made it quite pleasant for yard work and some building.  Who can argue with a high temperature of 16 C at the Bella Coola Airport in late March?  Grizzly

Friday, March 26, 2010


Bombus "a deep, hollow noise; a buzzing or booming sound,"
Bombus sp. is the latin name for the genus of any of the 800 or so species of bumble bees that one could run into in the world.

The last few days in the Bella Coola Bella have been cool with a few showers. There was one day this week when it was just warm enough to get the bumble bees mobile.  It didn't take them long to find the few garden flowers that are out, because there aren't very many so far.  It's always nice to see these big guys return and start working over the plants and having the flower pollen stick to them so they will transfer it to some other deserving flower.   The guy in this photo had two buddies, but the trio wasn't any threat, because there just wasn't enough heat to let them get too revved up, so the most they could do was lazily crawl around the crocus and hope some rays hit them long enough to fly off to wherever they make their nest.  Grizzly

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pollen Extravangaza

In a previous post I talked about the red alder (Alnus rubra) catkins that were about to explode their pollen packages in the Bella Coola Valley so all the allergy sufferers could feel the full effects of the irritating alder pollen.  Seems like we are well underway now on this phase.  On a walk the other day we watched a raven land on a large alder branch and when it touched down, he shook the branch enough to send out a cloud of yellow dust drifting away. Because the Bella Coola Valley is a rather unique place (I think I've mentioned that before) and sits between the wet Pacific Coast & the cold dry continental interior plateau we have many species of plants that would normally occur in one or the other area, but in our case often both species  do quite well in the Bella Coola Valley.  
One of these species is the paper birch (Betula papyrifera) which is very widespread in the valley.  It's more of a continental species, occurring across BC in the interior and only in the occasional place on the coast. One of drawbacks of living in an area with fairly significant stands of both red alder and paper birch is that the pollen season can be fairly drawn out because while the red alder pollinates about now, the paper birch is still weeks away, much more closely tied to the phenology of where this tree evolved and that is in the colder, longer winter interior areas.  These photos both taken yesterday show the difference in the stages, with the red alder catkins shedding pollen, while the birch catkins are still well underdeveloped.

Sorry allergy sufferers, there is more to come from the trees before we enjoy the rest of the grasses and plants that will pollinate this spring and summer. Grizzly

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cottonwood - Sticky Buds

If you've ever handled a cottonwood tree this time of year you probably have cursed them.  For the last few weeks the buds of the black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) have gradually become more and more 'sticky'.  This week the buds are starting to burst, the scales will fall away and then basically the young leaves are out.  The stickiness is a resin that has a very aromatic unique smell that you can actually grow to like after your hands have been covered in it for awhile and you start smelling it wherever you go.  The sticky resin is slightly yellow or reddish and very sticky (it can really mess your car up if you leave one parked under a cottonwood this time of year).

Cottonwood buds and the resin is used in many places to make what is referred to as "Balm of Gilead".  A lady in Bella Coola used to make a lovely cottonwood cream in a beeswax base, that my wife swore by for any sort of skin ailments.  The buds and resin of cottonwoods are said to have many medicinal properties and uses by people and even other animals such as bees use it for an anti-infectant in their hives.

It will only take a couple of moderately warm days now and most of the cottonwood buds will be bursting and the leaves out

It was a pleasant day in the Bella Coola Valley, very high and thin cloud that a fair bit of sun got through and a high temperature of 16 C with no wind to speak of.  Don't forget to move your car if it is parked where cottonwood scales might fall on it.  Grizzly

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Serious British Columbian!

A "serious British Columbian" is how the online BC newspaper "The Tyee" described the Bella Coola Blog this week in their online newspaper section where Bella Coola Blog was picked as Blog of the Week.  Have a read what they said about it:

The must have liked my post, The Smell of Skunk Cabbage in the Morning or just have a soft spot for the lovely Bella Coola Valley, aka Shangri-La! 

Seriously though if you are looking for blogs that are almost entirely about British Columbia, check out their BC Blog Directory - it's a really good source of information if you are traveling around the province or looking for opinions on stuff going on in BC.  Grizzly

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cottonwood Posts

With spring just around the corner I decided to write a series of posts about black cottonwoods (Populus trichocarpa). I’ve done this because I like cottonwoods. They are ubiquitous in the Bella Coola Valley and all the other large coastal river valleys that spill out of the Coast Mountains and into the inlets and fjords of the Pacific West Coast. Great stands of cottonwoods in the river valley bottoms of the Central Coast for the most part are not economical to log except in a few locations where the conditions are suitable and markets close enough.  Many of the stands also occur in areas reserved for fish habitat or grizzly bear habitat as well.   Cottonwoods are a pioneer species, they come in first and fast whenever ground gets disturbed.  They are usually the first species to colonize freshly created gravel river bars along the Bella Coola River, especially after a year like we had in 2009 with the October flood.   If the stands are left to grow, they pass out of existence over a 100 years or so as the cedar, Douglas Fir, spruce and western hemlock species slowly emerge and the big cottonwoods die and let more light in. 

Black cottonwood is a widespread species in western North America.  In some places on the great plains of the USA and the Prairies of Canada the other closely related species of cottonwood are really important as they tend to be "gallery" forests, confined to stream banks and low areas and then ending abruptly where it turns back into prairie.  People and wildlife both enjoy those kinds of areas on the prairies.  I hope people reading elsewhere can relate to my posts and that maybe I will learn a few more things about cottonwoods.

The posts will roughly follow the phenology of the plant throughout the season, so watch for the first one soon.   

Spring has taken a slowdown the last few days in the Bella Coola Valley, today we barely saw the mountain tops, had a cool breeze and the occasional raindrop are all very typical of the month of March in the Central Coast.  Grizzly

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Dutch Harbor Fisherman

The Dutch Harbor Fisherman is the name of a small newspaper published in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.  Dutch Harbor is a remote community in the Aleutian Island chain of islands in Alaska.  It can only be reached by air or boat and is the home of the largest industrial fishing fleet in the world.  It has a population of around 4000 people, but is subject to huge influxes of fishermen, money and people with time on their hands between fishing activities.  But basically it's a small remote town.  There is an interesting twist  in that the weekly police "blotter" published in the The Dutch Harbor Fisherman - Law and Order section is famous and read around the world.  It's not because people are desperate for crime writing or scoop, but it's the quality of the writing and the content.  My research tells me it's written by a former wildlife biologist, Sgt. Jennifer Shockley.  The writing style she applies to the reporting of crime in a small frontier town is a style that a biologist would use to record things, a matter of fact style without adding too much opinion.  It's kind of different and a nice change.  Having spent a fair amount of time in fishing and mining towns in this province in the last five decades I can relate to the events they report in the paper as well, and it's not hard to think of similar things that happen in Bella Coola or any small town. While some are very serious, others make you smile.  I'm sure these same kind of things happen in neighborhoods of big cities, it's just not news worthy enough to report.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Bella Coola is like Dutch Harbor in terms of crime, but do read the police blotter once in awhile, it's refreshing in it's honesty and the simplicity of how they report daily life in the Aleutian Island town of Dutch Harbor, and the rather pragmatic way in which some problems reported are solved - good small town stuff.

Here's a sample from a recent edition:
  • 11:21 a.m., Caller reported a sturdy Boston terrier was preventing her and passengers from exiting her car with its aggressive barking and stance. The individual watching the dog was advised of leash laws.
  • 8:30 p.m., Officer observed a dog at large. The owner has been issued many citations and does not seem inclined to keep his dog corralled. The officer, having captured the dog, put it in the owner’s vacant but open house.
  • 1:23 p.m., Caller reported her vehicle had been stolen while she was out of town. Investigation revealed that her significant other had made a deal to sell one of their vehicles to a local resident over the phone, and the buyer misunderstood which of the two similar vehicles parked outside of their house with keys in the ignition he had purchased. The vehicle was returned without delay.

A paper closer to home with the same matter of fact style is the police blotter in the Bridge River Lillooet News which of course owes it's style to the famous Ma Murray who was the owner and publisher for many many years and is a  BC figure famous for her forthright and honest style.  Grizzly

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Smell of Skunk Cabbage in the Morning

Nothing beats the smell of stepping outside first thing in the morning this time of year in the Bella Coola Valley and breathing in the smell of skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanum).  I think it's kind of like acquiring a taste for certain foods, because I'm pretty sure when I was a kid, I didn't like the smell of it when we used to go bush whacking through groves of it, but now, it's another key marker in the passage of the season which I really look forward to.  We are only a few days or a maybe a week away from the rich and unique smell that will waft around anywhere there are patches of skunk cabbage.  It's fun driving along the valley and getting hit with the rich, slightly sour smell when you drive through a wet area with a lot of skunk cabbage or along a  highway ditch.

It's a really important plant for bears as well.  This time of year when the bears emerge from their dens the fresh shoots and roots of the skunk cabbage plant are one of things you will see all dug up as they start their feeding routines.  

Today was a nice day in the Bella Coola Valley.  It started out grey, but in the late afternoon it went to full sun and was really pleasant for awhile at 15 C on what they are calling the first day of spring. Grizzly

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flood Plains

When you start looking at the formations on the Bella Coola Valley bottom, you realize that most of the valley bottom is or was a flood plain at some time in the past.  It's just a question of how recently it was flooded, whether it's from the time 10,000 years ago of glacial melt or the more recent seasonal freshets and the occasional moderately serious flood like October 2009. 

Looking at some of the areas where the Bella Coola River 'spilled' over a wee bit last fall and deposited silt, sand and gravel, it's apparent only 6 months later how fast things start to look normal.  Lots of areas had whole gravel bars removed and added in other places.  Some of the spill over areas seem unusual now that the water is so low; it's hard to picture how material could have been deposited way up there.  But in any case, it doesn't take long for plants to start colonizing the new areas which are rich with nutrients and the competition is minimal at this point, so the early season plants don't waste any time getting ahead.   

It was a pleasant day in the Bella Coola Valley today, although our high of 13 C didn't quite make the 16 C that Tamara from CTV news said we would see.  It was plenty to make it nice and push the various plants and animals along a little further.  We had a large butterfly around this afternoon which seemed peculiar for so early in the year, but maybe it's a sign of more nice weather to come.  Grizzly

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Snootli Peak

It was supposed to be a nice sunny day all day today in the Bella Coola Valley, but that never worked out.  It was still quite pleasant though with no rain or significant weather.  The Bella Coola River is extremely low, everyday it seems to drop a tiny bit more, typically we reach the lowest point sometime in April, just before the warm weather starts the spring freshet, so if it keeps going as it is, the river will be very low by then.

The views were good though today - this shot is Snootli Peak at 7,651 feet (2,332 metres) located south of the Bella Coola valley at the headwaters of Snootli Creek.

CTV weather lady Tamara Taggart on the 6 PM News said that Bella Coola will have 16 C tomorrow, so we'll see if she is right.  Often Bella Coola is the hottest place in BC and sometimes Canada in April and May, while the rest of the country shakes off winter, but March is a little bit early to be getting too hot.  Grizzly

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Depending where you live in the Bella Coola Valley, you probably heard quite a bit of gusty wind and rain squalls through the night and into the mid morning.  Just another weather system passing over, but we still made a high temperature in the 7 or 8 C range and the sun even tried to poke through a couple of times in the afternoon.  The fresh snow line was mid way down on the mountains in the morning, but I don't think there was a huge amount of new snow.  Grizzly

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The other day while doing some yard work and general bush whacking, at the end of the day when I was done both the dog and I had to get deburred.  These burrs are from one of the nastiest of plants in the Bella Coola Valley, the common burdock (Arctium minus).  It's an introduced weed that has been in the valley for quite awhile.  It is mostly confined to the roadsides, especially along Highway 20 and other side roads and margins of fields and woodlands.  Quite a bit of effort has gone into it's eradication in the valley through pulling and cutting it before it seeds, which is successful if you're are persistent year after year.

When you remove the burrs from clothing or the dog, they will stick to your bare skin, so I had a closer look at them and you can see why.  The individual hooks are so stiff and sharp I think they actually grab onto the ridges of your skins fingerprints.  It's easy to see why the inventors of Velcro apparently got their inspiration for their idea from burdock, I wish I'd have figured that out before today.  Grizzly

Monday, March 15, 2010


A little bit of a rain squall went through the mid-valley area during the morning, bringing rain and some wind and low valley cloud.  It was quite breezy for a short period with one gust hitting 50 km/h.  By mid day it had improved a bit and the rest of the day in the Bella Coola Valley was just dull and windless.

Another tree close to pollinating is the Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), these male catkins broke off and fell in the wind.  They are not easy to photograph on the trees because they produce on mature trees which are very tall in the Bella Coola Valley.  I'll have more to say about cottonwoods in future posts.  Stay tuned.  Grizzly

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mild & Grey

Today was another good March day, windless and with mostly grey skies.  It was a good day for some yard cleanup and pre-season maintenance.  Most of the day had high cloud, with a few bright spots, but then around dinner time we got some light showers. The high temperature was around 8 C.  At least there is more daylight in the evenings now to spend a bit more time getting yard work done. Grizzly

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Calm Day

Today started out with some frost in the morning, but it didn't take long to warm up to 8 or 9 C.  It was pretty grey in the lower valley, but we took a drive to the upper Bella Coola Valley where there was some pleasant filtered sunlight.  While the cool weather this week has slowed the advancement of spring, there are still plenty of plants developing and more bird activity around to suggest spring is moving forward. Grizzly

Friday, March 12, 2010

East & West

The first photo tonight is the view towards the east in Bella Coola today.  For the most part kind of grey and wintry. There was a tiny bit of snow in some areas last night, but more on the mountains.  For most of the day we had east (outflow) wind, not very strong but by the look of this photo, it was enough to blow away the snow on the mountains everywhere there are east facing slopes.  I always enjoy the view when this condition is created, because it tends to highlight the contours of all the ridges and gulleys on the mountains between the areas with trees bared of snow by the wind and the lee side of the ridges which hold the snow.

Looking west this evening is is how the day ended.  About as good as it gets for a Bella Coola Valley sunset - I've mentioned it before this is not a place known for it's sunsets, when you live down in a valley with 5-8000 foot mountains in all directions you take what you can get.  Otherwise today was a good day, nothing extreme. Grizzly

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March Gardening Thoughts

Last fall while away from Bella Coola I had the chance to browse through a market where every manner of fresh fruit and vegetable was on display and for sale.  While it was eye catching then, it caught my eye even more recently when I was looking through the photos from that trip.  With March comes the odd teaser day where you think you could start some garden activity and my annual enthusiasm for gardening starts to pick up.  Of course the annual mail out of seed catalogues are one of the worst vices, with all the new and interesting plant varieties that all seem so possible to grow when you look at them in the catalogues, but sometimes they often do not turn out like the pictures.  It's still a good time of year to start the mental planning though.  Although this year I am determined to fight back against the weeds, by fallowing one half of my garden, which will give me time to work on a major building project I plan to take on as well.  We'll see if I can leave the soil bare, that trait doesn't run in the family.  

Today was another 'typical' March day, cold, wet, snow showers and generally blustery. The high temperature at the Bella Coola Airport was 4 C. Grizzly

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mixed March Weather

Definitely more like a March feeling this week.  The snow has been down very low on the mountains in the morning, with occasionally flurries in the valley bottom.   Today was dull and grey with the mountains mostly shrouded in the cold misty clouds, that usually mean they are receiving their own dose of mountain generated precipitation.  The rapid advance of spring that was evident has been slowed a bit this week with night time temperatures near or below 0 C and the days not quite as warm.  In an earlier part of my life we used to call these kind of days "herring weather" for the kind of weather that was typical in the days of the great Central Coast herring fisheries. Grizzly

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Alders are going Red!

For a few weeks now the alders (Alnus rubra) have slowly being intensifying their red colour when you view a stand from a distance.  It's sometimes a subtle change or one day you just notice the alders seem really red.  The red colour is due to the male catkins that are rapidly maturing right now.  We are getting very near pollination and this can be a bad season for people who are prone to allergies.  Red alder trees produce one of the worst forms of pollen for allergy sufferers, apparently bad enough the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology issued a special news alert before the Olympics to warn athletes that the Olympics in Vancouver were taking place at the peak of  tree season pollination and singled out the nasty nature of red alder pollen.  They were concerned there could be a shortage of allergy medications in Vancouver.  In case you haven't noticed we've got a lot of red alder in the Bella Coola Valley and a nice long windy trench to blow it up and down the valley to make sure everyone get's their fair share.  If you suffer from allergies - brace yourself, time is short.  Grizzly

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gin Clear

The only way to describe the colour of the Bella Coola River right now is - Gin Clear.  Days of virtually no significant precipitation and cold at night in the mountains mean no turbidity from glacial melt, soil or freshet based sources.  In case you've only been to the Bella Coola Valley in the summer when the river is glacial green and really doubted us locals when we tell you the river goes clear in the winter - take this photo from today as proof.

The weather this morning started out a little uncertain and the -4 C temperature at the Bella Coola Airport was a bit cool, it cleared quickly and was another nice sunny day in Bella Coola.  Grizzly

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Firewood Followup

There are simply too many distractions on a nice winter like this one that compete for how to use up your weekend time.  Cross country skiing, snowmobiling in the Rainbow Mountains and fishing in the Bella Coola River are all strong competitors to getting the firewood finished. While this project was started at Christmas time when the "boy" was home to help out, I finally got everything piled and ready to store this weekend.  It took a fair bit less wood to heat our home so far this winter, so it doesn't take too many piles like this one to replace what was used up. We need a winter like this once in awhile, to remind you when you have a bad one and the wood really disappears.   It's a mix of birch, alder and a little bit of cottonwood.  Almost all of it blew down in the fall storms with the saturated ground we had after the October flood.

Quite the contrast in weather this weekend.  While Saturday was a spectacular blue sky day with highs of 12 or 13 C, Sunday dawned with low cloud, fresh snow on the mountains and even a snow flurry or two in the valley.  Much more typical March weather.  Grizzly

Saturday, March 6, 2010


February and March are good seasons to listen for owls calling in Bella Coola.   One quite common owl we have is this guy, the Barred Owl. I surprised this one while driving along the Nusatsum Forest Service Road one day in the fall, and he seemed quite content to watch me from his perch barely 4 or 5 metres away.  Barred owls have that distinctive "who cooks for you" call and if you spend some time near or in the forest you can often spot them. Yesterday I could hear a Barred Owl in the woods near our house calling, sure signs that they are looking for mates and thinking about nesting . Grizzly

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Ten Degree Week

No big weather events to talk about so far this week. Most days the high was in the 10 C range, a few minor rain showers, some sun and some cloudy days.  So far March isn't looking to be very exciting, but consistent with January and February patterns. Today had high cloud and a bit of wind, but to the east there was some blue sky visible. Grizzly

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Great rock features deserve to be singled out.  A rock formation called Basalt rock columns are one of the great rock features in this country and likely anywhere in the world.  They stand out for their uniqueness because of their geometric shape.  While they can have a number of sides, my experience of the ones around British Columbia that I`ve looked at, they are very commonly 5 sided.  When you find a formation whatever number of sides the blocks have, it will be very consistent within the formation.  Basalt is a hard dense rock of volcanic origin, which when it cools does not shrink too well in the horizontal direction, sort of pulling away from their neighbor causes the columns of regular shapes to form.  In the Central Coast and Chilcotin area there are good examples in the Machmell River, the Precipice (eastern Chilcotin near Anahim Lake) and in this one in the photo, the Rainbow Mountains.  A number of areas in the interior have them and one good example is a rock cut that was put through a basalt column formation on Hwy 24 just east of Lone Butte. Grizzly

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Snow Pack

March is really the last month to make up or hold our mountain snow pack in the Coast Mountains - well April can have some good snow as well, but the trend this year seems to be that winter is waning quickly so we shouldn't count on too much beyond this month.  As far as current conditions for snow pack at the start of this month -- Bella Coola Valley bottom, patchy remnants of snow, snow guage at Heckman Pass on Highway 20, 3.5 feet (106 cm), East Branch ski hill 4.5 feet (135 cm) - my estimate of mountain snow pack in the mountains north and south of the valley is 6-7 feet (190 cm).  We should have more for a good balanced spring and summer runoff, but it could be worse.  Grizzly

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

American Dippers

When I grew up and was tagging along with my dad and family fishing for trout in small West Kootenay creeks, we used to call these interesting little birds, "water ouzels".  It seemed like a really appropriate name for a bird that was always leaping and jumping into fast cold water looking for insects and other goodies floating by.  I thought the word `ouzel` had some special meaning, but alas it`s just an archaic term for a black bird.  I was dissappointed when they were officially renamed the Ă€merican Dipper` but such is the world.  They are still often referred to as water ouzels, so that`s good enough for me.

The Bella Coola River and any of the tributaries are all excellent habitat for dippers, they are territorial, so you`ll only find them every so often along the streams banks which is where they nest under over hanging banks and root wads.

Being close to spring, these guys are starting to think about a mate.  The other day I had a chance to hear one singing along the river bank when it didn`t know I was there--they have a beautiful song if you have a chance to hear one.  The dipper part of their name adequately describes their behaviour, these guys are hard to get a picture of because of the constant bobbing up and down that reminds you of a fidgety kid after too much Halloween candy. Grizzly

Monday, March 1, 2010

First Mosquitoes

It's not an event to celebrate in the Bella Coola Valley, but it does mark the passage of another winter when the first mosquitoes appear.  Unfortunately we've reached that time, this last weekend in the lower valley, those first big slow dumb mosquitoes, that must be holdovers from last year are out.  They are pretty easy to smack down before they bite, but you know the small, fast, smart ones are only another 6 weeks or so away. 

On a happier note, buds are a bursting from some of the real early shrubs, red elder berries (Sambucus racemosa) , and honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata).  They are always some welcome greenery early in the year.
A number of other currants and wild roses are also in similar near bud burst condition.  The signs of spring are undeniable even though we are several weeks early.

The weather today had a calm before the storm feeling, with high uniform grey clouds and very calm, it felt like something serious was happening out on the coast, but it was a pleasant day in the Bella Coola Valley.  Grizzly