Phlox, Frogs and Snow!

Today is the day before we take our leave of E.C. Manning Provincial Park. In the morning we were being pelted by rain, which was much warmer than the light and sparse flurries of snow we had received the night before”… Snow!!! In June! Definitely enjoying the variety of weather here in British Columbia that we have experienced so far, everything from heavy rain, to sunshine, and now even snow.

Mountain Phlox Flower found at our sub-alpine site.
Mountain Phlox Flower found at our sub-alpine site.

We drove out to our first site at Bonnevier Trail after breakfast, we were being drizzled on almost continuously over the past few days and so our site had transformed, adopting the bright greens of newly growing grasses, trees and shrubbery. As we were walking towards our site we spotted an amazing little green frog, which we quickly identified as the Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla). The Pacific Tree Frog is the frog that actually provided Hollywood’s “Ribbit” sound, and is the only frog that makes the traditional ribbit noise we regularly associate with frogs. This particular frog lives on the West coast of North America, specifically in dense vegetation close to water. Our Bonnevier site has exactly what the frog needed, with dense shrubbery, thick grasses, fallen logs, and a fast-flowing creek several meters away. We were able to get some fantastic pictures of the little guy and we thoroughly enjoyed the mini-ecology lesson we were all able to get.

After the take down and storage of the collected insects from Bonnevier, we then drove to our sub-alpine sampling location, Dry Ridge Trail. We snapped a few pictures, because the mountains were enveloped in clouds and it looked very much like the world stopped just past the trees, and hiked up to our site. It was still a breathtaking view from our site; you could see all the mountains and the tiny Manning Resort at the base of the mountain ridge we were on. This particular site was littered with a beautiful tiny purple-pink flower known as the Mountain Phlox, which stays low to the ground and is scattered all along the rocky treeless slopes of the mountain. This Phlox species, which is only in bloom from May to August, is a major attractor for pollinating insects, (the ones we were hoping to entice with our pan traps!).

Pacific Tree Frog found at our Bonnevier site. Ribbit away little guy!
Pacific Tree Frog found at our Bonnevier site. Ribbit away little guy!

After the takedown of Site 2, we drove down to Lightning Lake, to do some basic outreach. We gave tours of the bus, answered questions about what we do and how we do it, and taught a variety of children how to use a sweep net. Soon we will have a whole generation of little bug catchers! Later, we went and attended an insect presentation, and provided one of our own, at the Amphitheatre they have in the campground. It was an amazing turnout and we were able to teach people about our work, as well as learn about a few cool bugs ourselves. We wrapped up the day with a night sheet that unfortunately – because it was snowing and windy – did not manage to catch the normal variety of bugs.

Hopefully the weather in our next parks will be a little more cooperative!

Danielle

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