PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

September 26, 2011

Stop the invasion!

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 4:09 pm

Bullfrog Pair  
Photograph by S. Price; courtesy The Bullfrog Project
From the Pender Islands Farmers Institute:The American bullfrog is one of the 100 worst alien species in the world and is now found on Pender in increasing numbers.

Help stop the invasion!

The American bullfrog Rana (Lithobates) catesbeiana is a robust, brilliant green amphibian native to eastern North America.  However, its natural range does not extend across the prairies or west of the Rocky Mountains.

It is an unwelcome visitor!

Thriving populations of bullfrogs are now found all over the world because people have imported and released them.  This has resulted in unwanted, noisy, and ecologically damaging American bullfrog populations.

What’s the problem?

  • Adults are carnivorous and feed ravinously.
  • They eat anything they can swallow, including native birds, invertebrates, mammals, fish, reptiles, frogs (even other bullfrogs), newts and salamanders.
  • Bullfrogs’ prey includes endangered species like painted turtles and economically important species like coho salmon.
  • Bullfrogs decimate native species through direct predation and competition for food resources.
  • On Pender there are few, if any, natural predators.
  • Native ecosystems are at risk, including riparian zones.

What’s the solution?

  • Humane removal of bullfrogs without disturbing other species.
  • Complete eradication on Pender may take 2-4 years, as existing tadpoles mature at varying rates.

What does it look like?

  • No pair of raised lines (dorso-lateral ridges) on it’s back.
  • Huge tadpoles; up to 10 cm.

What does it sound like?

  • Juveniles make a “meep” sound when startled.
  • Adult males make a very loud, sonorous basso profundo mating call that sounds like the distant roar of a bull.

Life Cycle (lifespan about 5 years)


  • Tadpoles, juveniles and adults sit at the bottom of lakes or ponds in a cold-induced torpor.


  • As water warms up, tadpoles and frogs emerge, and can be seen along pond margins and surface, and hopping around on land.


  • Major growth (and eating) period.
  • They grow up to 8″ (20 cm) long, *plus legs!* and 1.5 lbs (750 g).
  • Each adult female deposits up to 20,000 eggs in a jelly-like mass.
  • Tadpoles hatch from eggs; may take 2-4 years to mature.
  • Tadpoles and frogs are not preferred by potential predators.

Late Summer – Fall

  • Juveniles migrate to nearby ponds, spreading the population.

Success stories

  • Bullfrog eradication program on Vancouver Island has collected over 15,000 bullfrogs, and examined the stomach contents of over 5,400.
  • Numbers can be driven down to zero in 4 years or less.

How to help

For more information, or to volunteer  or contribute to the Bullfrog Eradication Project, please contact:

Dianne Allison  250 629-3372  or  Margaret Alpen  250 539-0848

Please make any donations payable to:

Pender Islands Farmer’s Institute, PO Box 38, Pender Island, BC, V0N 2M0 (Attn Bullfrog Eradication Project)

More Information:


With thanks to Stan Orchard and

February 12, 2011

Muses on proposed riperian and aquatic development permit areas

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 2:13 am

From the Blog “Salt Spring Folly”


Magic Lake

A Riperian Areas Regulation (RAR) draft bylaw (view here: rar-draft-bylaw.pdf – map.pdf ) is in the works on North Pender. [Public hearing on Bylaw 184 on the 26th at noon. Anglican church hall. Mice or menMayne time.]

The idea for a an RAR draft bylaw on North Pender goes back to 2006 but maps were poor and the work was delayed. Trust Council’s strategic agenda includes RAR adoption in every OCP as a primary goal. The North Pender LTC, obedient servants, designated RAR a top priority and work began in late 2009. Staff were directed. A consultant was hired.

North Pender is almost all private land. One cannot wander willy nilly across property. That would be criminal trespass. The consultant would need to ask permission to cross private property while tracing watercourses. An easy way out was needed.

For the full account, go here:  The smell of fish on North Pender

January 7, 2011

Deer population management forum

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 7:33 pm


From the Islands Trust:

Deer Control

The Regional Conservation Plan identifies black-tailed deer as one of the most significant threats to biodiversity on the islands. Deer populations on South Pender (as on every other southern Gulf Island) are out of control. In addition to creating a significant traffic hazard, deer populations that thrive in the absence of natural predators threaten the survival of other native species that are ecologically important even if they lack the apparent virtue of being cute and cuddly. The Islands Trust is a partner in the UN International Year of Biodiversity (South Pender Trustee Greer submitted the partnership application on behalf of the Trust), and one of the most important steps in conserving biodiversity on our islands is to find a way to keep deer populations in check. A forum on options for deer control will be held at the Mayne Island Agricultural Hall on January 14 from 1 to 4 pm. For further information, please contact Dave Maude by email at (end)


Pender Island residents who are concerned about the over abundance of black-tailed deer on the Pender Islands may wish to attend this forum.

For more information about proposed deer culling on Vancouver Island go here:  Heather Reid: Stories from an Island – A question of culling

April 23, 2010

For a great cause…

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 4:46 pm


From the Islands Trust Fund (

Join us in welcoming Woodland Telegraph and Happy Feet Howe, two music groups who throughout May and June will serenade the islands while raising money for a great cause – land conservation in the Gulf Islands.

Woodland Telegraph and Happy Feet Howe will be performing their toe-tapping tunes at the Driftwood Cafe (Pender Island) on May 8th (9:00pm).  A portion of all CDs sold during their performance will be donated to the Islands Trust Fund, a regional land trust working with island communities to protect fragile ecosystems in the Gulf Islands.  Please come out to support the preservation of our natural areas.

Described as Canadiana Roots – stomping Bluegrass West Coast G-Funk, the music of Woodland Telegraph and Happy Feet Howe is guaranteed to shake your body and stir your soul.  Their lyrics weave through the history and geography of British Columbia and other iconic Canadian places.

For more information about the Islands Trust Fund, visit us at

For more information about Woodland Telegraph and Happy Feet Howe and their fundraising concerts, visit them at

April 6, 2010

Black-tailed deer on Pender

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 6:34 pm


photo: Jocko

If you have ever wondered about what really goes on in the secret life of our deer, please read on.

Mule and Black-tailed deer are both members of the same species, Odocoileus hemionus, yet they are very different from one another. In British Columbia, these two subspecies or races are the most widespread members of the deer family (Cervidae) and probably the most familiar.

They become quite tame in parks and residential areas where there is no hunting and few large predators.

The number of antler points is not a reliable way to determine the age of these deer, but in general, yearling blacktails almost always have unbranched spikes. Two-year-olds mostly have small two-point antlers, but they may also have spikes. Bucks three years old and older may have two, three, or four points on each antler.

Black-tailed Deer occur along the entire coast of British Columbia, west of the summit of the Coast and Cascade ranges, and on most coastal islands. Blacktails are excellent swimmers and inhabit most islands.

This is a prolific species which can double its population in a few years under favourable conditions. Black-tailed and Mule deer live more than eight to ten years. Predation, starvation, and hunting are the main causes of death.

Mule and Black-tailed deer are vital components of their ecosystems and provide food for several predators. The Cougar depends on both species for its survival in British Columbia. Wolf populations in several areas, including Vancouver Island, also rely heavily on deer. Bears, Bobcats, and Coyotes supplement their diets by killing deer when the opportunity arises or by scavenging on carcasses left by Cougars or wolves. Other scavengers include Wolverines, Ravens, and Magpies. (Pender Island has only Ravens as predators)

For the most part, Mule and Black-tailed deer live amicably with a number of parasites and disease organisms. These kill deer only when the deer are starving. Epidemic diseases have not caused large die-offs in deer in British Columbia.

Excerpted from B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks Brochure entitled Mule and Black-Tailed Deer in British Columbia.  Original Text by Donald A. Blood.  For the complete story on black-tailed deer, download the brochure here:  muledeer.pdf

October 31, 2009

Open house for new ecosystem maps

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 12:18 pm


A touch of frost on a mossy knoll in Abbott Park, Magic Lake Estates last winter (photo by Jocko).

From the Islands Trust:

The Islands Trust and Islands Trust Fund will host open houses throughout November to introduce new ecosystem maps to Gulf Island communities. Join Kate Emmings, Ecosystem Protection Specialist, as she leads a journey into the world of ecosystem mapping.

A diversity of plants and animals – many of them rare and endangered – make the ecosystems of the Gulf Islands unique in the world. The natural landscapes that support this diversity are fragmented and in urgent need of conservation. For example, less than 1% of the region’s old forests remain. The Islands Trust and Islands Trust Fund have partnered to identify and map these fragile ecosystems to meet conservation goals.

In collaboration with Parks Canada and the Province of British Columbia, ecosystem maps are being created for the entire Islands Trust Area using the most recent aerial photography and field data collection. These maps are the foundation of the Islands Trust Fund’s 2010-2015 Regional Conservation Plan. The new five-year plan will focus staff and volunteer attention on the most at-risk ecosystems and on identifying a possible network of protected areas. The ecosystem mapping will also be available to local trust committees for land use planning.

The Islands Trust and Islands Trust Fund invites Gulf Island communities to the November open houses to learn more about ecosystem mapping and to provide feedback on maps of their islands.

An open house will be hosted on South Pender, Thursday, November 26th 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. South Pender Fire Hall 8961 Gowlland Point Rd.

Drop by at the start of the open house for an introductory presentation to learn how and why the maps were created and how they might be used by your community. Stay to interact with the digital mapping displays and 3-D air photo viewing that will enable you to dive into the many layers of ecosystem mapping. Kate will be available during these times to answer questions and receive community feedback. Come out and try your hand at mapping.

Everyone is welcome.

For more information about the Islands Trust Fund, visit

or telephone Shawn Black,  A/Manager,  Islands Trust Fund at 250.405.5191 or Mac Fraser,  Director,  Local Planning Services at 250.812-6944

October 30, 2009

The eagle has landed!

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 10:14 am


Brad Powell photo

For more amazing eagle photos visit

October 6, 2009

Stewardship Day ’09

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 3:03 pm

westernpaintedturtle2.jpg  western painted turtle

From the Islands Trust:


The North Pender Island Local Trust Committee is sponsoring the Fourth Annual Stewardship Day Fair, Saturday, October 10th at the Pender Islands Community Hall. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. and the fair ends at 3:00 p.m. Admission is free and residents and visitors are cordially invited to attend.

A number of interesting and informative presentations will be featured on the hour from 12 noon to the conclusion of the event.

Biologist Christian Englestoft’s year long research project will reveal fascinating information on the home life of the Western Painted Turtle on the Penders. It is scheduled for 12:00 noon.

At 1:00 p.m. one of the featured presentations entitled “Supernatural Pender” will be a view of the Penders through the lens of a biologist photographer. It will invite you to meet your wild but secretive neighbours and discover their weird habits. Hummingbirds, orchids, turtles, tree frogs, deer and arbutus trees will be included in this family oriented 30 minute slide presentation narrated by Todd Carnahan of the Habitat Acquisition Trust.

Then, at 2:00 p.m., the Islands Trust Fund’s Kate Emmings and the Pender Islands Conservancy Association’s Sylvia Pincott will discuss special features and the availability of the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Plan (NAPTEP) to property owners on the Penders.

Complimenting the presentations will be displays by more than a dozen organizations including the Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT), Solar BC, Wildlife Nest Tree Watch, the Pender Organic Garden Society, the Islands Trust Fund Board, and the Eco Homes Network.

“This year we are hoping to provide information about the land and water we live with and the astonishing array of wild life and biodiversity found in our unique part of the world,” said Gary Steeves, Local Trustee for North Pender Island. “We live in one of the most diverse yet fragile environments in this country and we need to share the wonders of this place and how we can live in the spirit of preserving and protecting it.”

“The sustainability of our island and all who live here is our shared community vision and is at the heart of stewardship. We encourage everyone to attend our Stewardship Fair,” said Derek Masselink, North Pender Island Trustee.

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