Tag Archives: Pacific Tree Frog

A walk through memory lane to Carrington Lagoon and Grandmother Grove with George Sirk

George Sirk explained some of the history and wildlife that he and Kim and their friend Janet Gemmel recently explored during a walk to Carrington Lagoon and Grandmother Grove.

“Janet Gemmel came to visit us for a week. Her husband, Jim Palmer, died last December. He had a very rare lung cancer.”

“Jim and Jan lived out in Carrington, at the Reversing Rapids, in the 80’s.  So Jan wanted to take the ashes back and release them there, but she forgot to bring them from Courtenay.”

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The Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration: What did they accomplish?

There was a celebration at Linnaea Farm on Friday, March 31. While they will continue to monitor the site until at least 2026, Cortes Island’s first wetland restoration project is largely finished. The surrounding community was invited to tour the project, enjoy a potluck supper and watch Beatrix Baxter’s documentary film ‘Replenish: Bringing Back the Dillon Creek Wetland.’

“We’re just at the end of a three year grant. The Environment and Climate Change Canada ‘Eco Action Community Funding Program‘ ends today. We have a little bit of funding for this next year of monitoring and maintenance and we’ll be pursuing additional funding for future years of monitoring and maintenance,” explained Project Manager Miranda Cross.

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Autumn Barrett-Morgan: Soundscapes

The audio portion of this story starts with a chorus of croaking frog voices, rising up from a wetland. After a few seconds, the distant call of an owl is introduced.

Autumn Barrett-Morgan first learned about soundscapes when she was studying bird identification in college, but it really come alive after she became a Monitoring Technician with the Friends of Cortes Island Society.  

“In the past two or three years, I started  really diving into the soundscape on the Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration Project. I found it really important in birding, because not all birds are visible or make themselves visible and that left me not knowing who I’m listening to. So it got me really inspired to dive into observing the soundscape through studying the bird calls once I got back home.” 

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George Sirk: Frog Stories 

Cortes Island naturalist George Sirk knows a lot about frogs.  

GS: “A lot of people know me because of my interest in birds, which is really an addiction, isn’t it?  I’m just hopeless when it comes to birds.  I’m just totally into them. They’re so fascinating.  I came from Venezuela when I was 10. My parents immigrated to Vancouver and I couldn’t speak English. I could speak Spanish and I knew a little Estonian and I could understand German because my parents argued in German.”  

“So there I was in Vancouver, a little weird guy 10-years-old, and I met some other weird young people too, what we would call nerds.” 

“They were into frogs. Jim Palmer was one,  Lowell Orchid, that’s another.  Jim just passed away actually in December, but Lowell’s still with us all here. We used to collect frogs  very close to Kits Beach, the Lacarno beach area. It used to be a military base at one time.  So there used to be a lot of empty properties,  fields and it  got very wet in the wintertime. The tree frogs would all go in there and have a great time.” 

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Wildlife returning to the Dillon Creek Wetlands

It has been a year since Autumn Barrett-Morgan was hired as a Biological Monitoring Technician at the Dillon Creek Wetlands Restoration Project. This is in Cortes Island’s oldest farm site, currently known as Linnaea Farm, but prior to the land being a farm, it was wetlands. Three years ago the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) and Linnaea Farm partnered in a project to restore the wetlands, to help reduce the sediment and thus reduce the nutrients flowing down Dillon Creek into Gunflint Lake. The wetlands are also meant to enhance the breeding and foraging grounds for wildlife, including Species at Risk. 

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