Critters in my garden

Discussion in 'How's It Growing?' started by Margot, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. Keith Elliott

    Keith Elliott Rising Contributor

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    Thanks for that @Georgia Strait. I was still trying to find some earlier photos when you posted. Certainly does look the same, or at least extremely similar. Next time Jeff shows up here I'm going to see if I can con him into scrambling down the bank to snip off a couple of blooms. Hopefully he will be here before the blooms fade away.

    Yes, that's the sort of ground where the plants are growing. Actually, that top one looks more like a clump of small trees.
     
  2. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    As far as I can tell there is only one native mock orange that grows wild all across southern BC and that is Philadelphus lewisii - Lewis's mock orange. It is fragrant. Here is mine that I started from a cutting several years ago and blooming now for the first time.

    Philadelphus lewisii 06-2021.JPG
     
  3. Keith Elliott

    Keith Elliott Rising Contributor

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    That's quite lovely. Looks identical to all those that are here.

    I'm thinking that the plants on the lower 40 were very likely in the ground when everything got cut back about five years ago. I'm sure they were in bloom last year, but I wasn't taking photos then as we were right in the middle of trying to build things at the time. So when yours get to the ripe old age of five, they should really start to flower.
     
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  4. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Keith, I think your big clue will be “fruit - berries” (photo link below)

    I can’t quite see leaf detail ... I think wait and see from safe vantage

    Hère are good photos of Saskatoon on eFlora

    The birds like the berries
    I believe the Saskatoon were/are cared for and harvested traditionally by First Nation people. A lady who visited our Okanagan acreage lamented the loss (to residential, industrial and agriculture) of traditional Saskatoon picking areas — she recalled as children going with grandmother in to the hills to pick berries. And probably not many decades ago - the Okanagan (like Kamloops etc) has grown so fast.

    E-Flora BC Mobile Photo Gallery

    Again - photos from a safe vantage pls ... no way do we wish for Val to lead a rescue mission to find you (esp after YOU removed HER landscape fabric :)
     
  5. Keith Elliott

    Keith Elliott Rising Contributor

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    My second reply to your post #92 in this thread.

    Just out in the carport cutting up some wood and I noticed this guy buzzing around against one of the windows. Out of about 25 photos, only four or five are in any way clear. I think it is the same bug, now I think some sort of bee, as you suggested before. Clever girl!

    IMG_5598.JPG IMG_5607.JPG IMG_5609.JPG IMG_5610.JPG
     
  6. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    That is a mystery to me

    Meanwhile I have attached a couple of rattlesnake pictures from our place in Okanagan

    Broken rock that faces south so they love this winter den - a professional biologist friend says the snakes have had this den for decades — and in fact have a front door and a back door

    And hang out there in spring (these pix are May when they start hunting and sunning themselves

    You can see the distinct diamond shaped jaw / head structure

    You can also see how they are so well camouflaged by the skin pattern (for UK - it is almost argyle pattern)

    I have almost accidentally run over a big one because I thought it was a fallen Ponderosa pine branch twig. (Those are cones and needles of Ponderosa in pix)

    They like an even 80F

    So on the hot days - you’ll find them on the forest floor in shade under the big trees - we saw one a few yrs ago that had stunned a squirrel that likely did not live to tell its descendants

    As much as you think a snake just slithers along — no way! These can move FAST - we witnessed a pair on our patio one time either in a territorial dispute ... or a romantic interlude — scared me! We grabbed our friends dog so it wouldn’t pester the snakes (and likely die)

    The big rule we learned as kids in Okanagan was “do NOT step over logs” and “don’t climb rock faces”

    We don’t tell many people about the snakes because some silly humans do harass them (throw rocks; poke with sticks etc) — that said, our biologist pals know about them so as to help the species maintain their living spaces.

    We also see Gopher snakes which some people think are rattlesnakes - the Head shape is a big clue. And obviously the end of the tail.

    The one I have never seen is a desert night snake - it is likely extirpated in our BC Okanagan

    They sure are efficient rodent control !
    Therefore we do not use poison for the rodents (hawks would die too)
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    100% agree.
     
  9. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Is this story true? I remember as a child, my mother telling me that a very large, non-venomous snake (a bull snake, I think) was introduced to the Okanagan to reduce the rattlesnake population by eating them. Instead, as the story went, the two interbred, creating a new type of venomous snake even larger than rattlesnakes. This would have taken place in the mid-20th century or earlier.

    The lesson was not to mess with nature.
     
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  10. Keith Elliott

    Keith Elliott Rising Contributor

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    Thank you very much Margot and to Dr. Linda Gilkesen as well. No wonder I couldn't find it anywhere under bees!

    Now, here's another addition to that story. I went over to St. Ives Park again this afternoon, we were under 100% cloud cover and it wasn't too warm, which was quite nice. Take a look at these photos.

    IMG_5735.JPG

    About 20 minutes later I came back past this same rose and...

    IMG_5763.JPG IMG_5765.JPG

    So it seems this one likes to stay awhile and gorge itself.
     
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  11. Keith Elliott

    Keith Elliott Rising Contributor

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    A quick search shows any number of reasons why this is impossible. So, no, mum was telling you a little white one.
     
  12. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Here is a snake list from OSCA
    Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance

    Sure - I can talk about the snakes - and show you photos - tho my “base brain” shrieks when I see one

    Spotlight on Snakes of the South Okanagan Similkameen - OSCA
     
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  13. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Mom was not given to lying - for whatever reason, she believed the story to be true.
     
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  14. Keith Elliott

    Keith Elliott Rising Contributor

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    Good for Mum!
     
  15. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I think in every day parlance - the term or nickname “bull snake” is same as “gopher snake” —- I have even heard it sometimes as recently as 10 yr ago
    https://www.env.gov.bc.ca/okanagan/esd/atlas/species/gopher_snake.html

    I think the rattlesnake and gopher snake get along as well as one might imagine those searching for same homes & food - the best amateur comparison I can think of is — I’ve never seen a moose chase a deer or vice versa

    I would be interested to learn more Margot - the usual hitch is that the people we’d like to ask may no longer be here on Earth. In fact while I had a chance - I asked our Dad and his cousin why their families (from Britain - settled Okanagan 1900 approx) never really mentioned snakes —- nobody knew.

    Back to reptiles -

    These two snakes are certainly hard to tell apart at a glance (which is as much as I can do despite my many self-interventions.)
     
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  16. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I'm afraid it's a myth Margot. But easily believed as they do hibernate together. So I totally understand your mum believing the story and passing it on to you.
    Myth 1 . Bullsnakes and rattlesnakes breed together: Rattlesnakes and bullsnakes commonly hibernate together, along with other snakes and amphibians. Rattlesnakes are live-bearers and bullsnakes are egg layers, and even within the reptile group, where breeding between species of like physiology can happen (i.e. egg layers with egg layers, live-bearers with live-bearers), successful breeding between egg layers and live-bearers could never occur due to the biology involved.

    D
     
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  17. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    That's really interesting @Acerholic about how some snakes are egg layers while others are live-bearers. I'm afraid I have never been terribly interested in snakes.

    The story I heard from my mom though, regarded the introduction of a non-native species. Really, I don't know why I remember this so clearly! I think it was the moral of the story that trying to solve one problem may create an even greater one. As @Georgia Strait observed, "the usual hitch is that the people we’d like to ask may no longer be here on Earth." There's got to be someone, somewhere who knows about this - however ridiculous we now know it to be - it must have been a story circulating in BC in the mid-20th century . . . I'm sure my mother didn't dream it up herself.
     
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  18. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I have seen hybrids of various snakes in private collections. I was as an exotic animal handler in my job, so saw this fairly often.
    But in the wild it is 'extremely' rare.
    Perhaps a quick email to your local wildlife centre would put your mind at rest over this story Margot. From my experience here in the UK, they are more than willing to pass on their knowledge.


    D
     
  19. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Perhaps. But I am pretty skeptical that my 'local wildlife centre' would have any inkling of a theory circulating at least 70 years ago.

    I am not looking to have my mind 'put to rest' but rather to find how the story originated.
     
  20. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Understood Margot. But as Georgia stated, sadly the people we want to ask are no longer here. Good luck in your research.

    D
     
  21. Keith Elliott

    Keith Elliott Rising Contributor

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    No, of course she didn't. But remember this was back in the day long before we had Mr. Google looking over our shoulder. You remember the expression "Old wives tales" I'm sure. Who knows where that expression came from, but it was just one thing after another passed around from one friend or one family to another.
     
  22. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I'm quite familiar with that expression. My mother was a born skeptic, too busy to spend time gossiping over the fence.

    I believe she read about it in The Vancouver Sun or Province newspaper article. Now, if only I could find a date . . .
     
  23. Keith Elliott

    Keith Elliott Rising Contributor

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    I did try a quick look at the Sun archives, but no specific success. Could it have been as far back as August 1939? There was something there, but I wasn't able to follow it up properly.
     
  24. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks for taking the time to do that, Keith.

    I wrote to a Dr. Karl Larsen (Karl Larsen | Wildlife research at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada) who is a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Thompson Rivers University. Among other things, he studies rattlesnakes, which he fears could be extirpated in the BC Interior within 100 years if measures aren't taken to protect them.

    If anyone would know where my mother's story originated, it would be him. I'll let you know when I hear back but I think he's out doing fieldwork at this time.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/brit...y-from-being-extinct-biologist-says-1.4733511
     
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  25. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Some shoot pretty interesting videos about critters in their backyard. Like this:
     
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