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Bob's Blog

Environment Category

Howie the Whale?

bc-whale-nixon-100503.jpgI have done a couple of wildlife stories in Squamish over the past couple of years and both involved very good news.  The first was two years ago when massive numbers of herring arrived to lay eggs in the estruary, after largely ignoring the area for decades.  Much of the credit for the revival was due to the Squamish Riverkeepers, who had worked with industry to wrap creosote soaked pilings in non-toxic fabric so the eggs laid on the pilings could survive. 

Some people believe the success of that project, coupled with other efforts to revive the estruary, is linked to the arrival of the first Gray Whale in 100 or more years to feed in the shallow waters off Squamish.  Whatever the reason, it certainly drew scores of people to the Squamish Spit, many of whom were among to the first to catch a glimpse of this leviathan.  But let me tell you, when that whale is a few kilometres away, it is not easy to film.  Though we saw it rise more than a dozen times, we managed just one brief shot of it. Gray Whale icon_video.gif



City Hall Bees

bc-bees-nixon-100319.jpgFull disclosure time now.  I have an interest in this story.  The miracle of honey production has fascinated me ever since I was a kid on the prairies.  Manitoba creamed clover honey sent me into the most wondrous sugar high.  As a teenager, I once spent months poring over a bee catalogue imagining myself as an apiarist (that's fancy for beekeeper).  But I lived in the city, everybody knew you could not raise bees in the city. 

Fast forward 30 years and I discover that cities are changing.  Vancouver ended its ban on backyard beehives.  I called up the head provincial apiarist and took a beginner course.  Got some hives.  My life has been sweet ever since. 

Now Vancouver City Hall has gone one step further.  Not just allowing its citizens to engage in this sometimes stingful hobby, but deciding to put hives at City Hall itself.  Proving you can flight city hall.  (I'm sorry, but you need to be prepared for the painful puns you are about to hear.)  Bee City icon_video.gif


Swan Release

bc-flock-nixon-net.jpgMost people like wildlife.  Nobody wants a bear or cougar to attack them, but the idea of bears or cougars wandering about in the wilderness is usually a pleasing thought.  We like to live in harmony with our fellow creatures.  We often travel long distances to see them. 

That connection to wildlife often becomes an emotional one when we come across animals in distress.  We know all about it being a jungle out there, survival of the fittest and all that - creatures get injured and die in all kinds of natural ways. 


Winter Solstice

bc-solstice-nixon-n36.jpgHere's something I did not know.  Solstice comes from a Latin phrase meaning Sun Stands Still.  It refers to the week or so twice a year when the sun appears to follow the same path on the horizon as the earth finishes one wobble and begins to wobble the other way, giving us our seasons.   Of course, the actual moment of solstice - 9:12 a.m. on December 21 in Vancouver this year - comes when the sun appears to rise higher in the sky each day, thankfully bringing us longer days. 

So armed with this information, I ventured out on what began as very cloudy day to view Vancouver's winter solstice 2009 (and do a story about it).  Sun Stands Still icon_video.gif

Quest for Food

You've heard of food banks.  But did you know there's a grocery store in Vancouver that offers food at a fraction of the price that it costs in regular supermarkets?  Now, of course, there's a catch.  Still, it is a remarkable service and one you should know about, especially if you qualify for the discounts.  Discount Dinners icon_video.gif

Mushroom Hunt

Back in the 90s, I did a story about a group of people who hunt for mushrooms, year round, but mostly in the fall when the forests explode with fungal delights.  They tend to be a furtive, secretive bunch who keep to themselves the location of their favourite 'shrooms.   

Osprey Magic

One of the great things that can happen when you wander about with a video camera is you discover stories that are even better than the one you intended to shoot.  Case in point, this one.  

Eagle Cam Chicks

The eagle cam sensation continues to attract web viewers worldwide, attracted to this up close view of wild life the makes for some amazing reality TV.  

Eagle Cam Fever

They're back, and bigger than ever.  B.C. eagle cams waiting for the eggs to hatch at three separate locations.