Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists’ latest field trip found us down by the riverside, as we traversed the steep slope of Frank and Jean Turner’s property, from high hills to valley bottom, alongside the Similkameen River. Seventeen of us, ranging in age from eight to eighty, made our way down a sandy trail, taking pleasure in the landscape, birds and wildflowers as we walked. We were fortunate enough to have with us Okanagan biologist, Jessica Hobden, an invasive plant specialist, and she took the time to identify some of the insidious weeds that have permeated local areas: leafy spurge, sulphur cinquefoil and hound’s-tongue are three of these more common plants. Although their creeping, intertwined root systems make them impossible to eliminate by pulling, Jessica showed us specific beetles and fleas that she has introduced to these weeds, insects that feed on and ultimately should eradicate the invasive plants. Another highlight of the morning was spotting a Barrow’s Goldeneye with her nine ducklings, swimming single file across a small pond. Eventually we made our way to the river, viewed the rushing torrent of high, muddy waters, as snow melt continues to contribute to the Similkameen. After trekking back up the mountainside, we relaxed on bales of hay and were treated to food and beverages – thanks to Frank and Jean for their hospitality!
Our next field trip will take place Saturday, July 12, when we will hike to the top of the world off Hembre Mtn. Road, with south Okanagan lepidopterist Dennis St. John, who will educate us on the various butterfly species and their behaviours. We’ll meet at Billy’s Restaurant parking lot at 10 a.m. Please confirm with me at 295-7560.