Bird Recording Project

SWAMP has recently acquired a Song Meter SM4 forSong Meter SM4 recording bird songs and calls in the various wetlands in the Slocan Valley. These recorders are completely programmable as to when, how often and how long they record so they are ideal for archiving what birds were in the area where the recorder was deployed. This is the start of a project to document the bird use of our wetlands. We will have a permanent record of any changes in bird migration and breeding over time.


NorthernSaw-whetOwl-Vyn_081210_0001Testing of the unit in this area has resulted in the capture of the call of a Northern Saw-whet Owl just outside of New Denver. He called for several late evenings for a couple of hours  each night and moves around while calling but monotonously repeats his beeping, like a persistently backing-up garbage truck. The photo is from Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

Saw-whet Owl


The attached picture shows one minute of his calling via a sonogram. The horizontal axis is time, the vertical, frequency. The little yellow bars are the calls. To hear the actual calls please email me for a download or visit the MacCauley Library at Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Link:






Completed Hydrogeology Studies

In 2016 the Slocan Lake Stewardship Society received a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust under their CIP-AAP program to perform two studies of the hydrogeology of the Silverton Creek area.

The first study examines the Silverton Aquifer, the alluvial delta upon which the Village of Silverton has been built. It relates the water in the aquifer, from which the Village gets its drinking water, to Silverton Creek and its watershed.

The second study relates the Silverton Creek watershed to the bedrock and glacial geology that have controlled its development. It then goes on the describe how this relates to the water flow and water quality.

Both reports can be download by clicking the images below.


Slocan Lake Water Level

This chart shows the lake level history since December 2014 together with the mean temperature and precipitation. These weekly measurements are being taken by Hennig von Krogh in New Denver. We will periodically update the graph and publish it on this website.
Slocan Lake Water Level to July 27,2015

Western Toad Migration at Summit Lake getting ready to start.

The annual Western Toad migration from Summit Lake to their winter range up the mountainside to the south has begun with the toads staging at the lakeshore. The following is from Bruce Cottingham who was at Summit Lake yesterday, August 6, 2014.

It appears that the toadlets are starting to gather in relatively limited numbers at the moment. However, apparently there are large numbers in the lake on their way to the beaches. Biggest gathering noticed was at the Day Park boat launch as per picture attached.

Western Toads staging for the migration.

Western Toads staging for the migration.

The annual Summit Lake Toadfest, sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, is scheduled for August 26 and 27, 2014 but the toads have their own calendar. Angus Glass, coordinator of Toadfest, reports that this is earlier than usual and “… And yes, given the hot dry weather may be best not to move any right now, especially as they do like to hang out in the staging areas, possibly for a week or more. They will be looking for rainfall for sure.

Let’s hope for rain when the toads are ready.

Western Toads and Spring Beauties

On May 16, 2014 I took a trip to Fish Lake Lake (50 deg 03 min 40 sec N, 117 deg 10’ 51 sec W, elev. 1074 m.). At the picnic site at the east end of the lake I was happy to see about 20 Western Toads by standing in one spot and watching along just 30 meters of shoreline. Two were already coupled, so the spawning season has begun. I took several pictures.



Nearby I took some pictures of a large patch of white Claytonia full bloom. Verena Shaw had pointed out to me on a previous trip. My books calls them Spring Beauties but I have also heard them called Snowdrops. They were growing on an outwash fan and mingled with them were yellow Glacier Lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum) and yellow violets (prob. Viola orbiculata). All excellent Grizzly bear food I understand.



SWAMP releases Report on Phase I of the project

Click to download the report.

Click to download the report.

Slocan Watershed Assessment and Monitoring Project (SWAMP) has just released its final report on the first phase of its multi-year project to look at all of the wetlands in the Slocan Watershed of south-eastern BC. The Report, entitled SWAMP Phase I, is available for download by clicking here. Funding was provided by Columbia Basin Trust and BC Wildlife Federation.
This initiative is an outgrowth of the wetlands training program put on by BC Wildlife Foundation (See June 23, 2013 post below.) The collaborative SWAMP joins the non-profit organizations Slocan River Streamkeepers, Slocan Lake Stewardship Society and Slocan Solutions Society with the BC Wildlife Federation, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Regional District of Central Kootenay, and other provincial organizations.
Phase II of the SWAMP project, mapping the initial wetlands, is underway. Columbia Basin Trust has again provided funding.

Giant Water Bug

I have been meaning to post this for some time. You will note that the “bug” was found in November.. partially frozen. Thanks to Tyson Ehlers for this information and the pictures.
I thought I’d share these photos of Lethocerus americanus (Giant Water Bug) that my 9 year old son Silas and his friends found in the wetlands adjacent to the river by our place in Vallican (site of the BCWF wetlands tour last summer). They found the bug partially frozen in ice in late November and it has since been living in a goldfish bowl. It is very active and feeds readily on minnows. I had no idea these existed in our area. The other common name is ‘Toe Biter’ as they can inflict a painful bite. They inject their prey with powerful enzymes like spiders and then feed on the partially digested insides.

photo by Tyson Ehlers

photo by Tyson Ehlers

photo by Tyson Ehlers

photo by Tyson Ehlers