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Tracking winter greenery

A small group of natural history buffs met Dec 8 to look for animal tracks in the Kimberley Nature Park, but we found few tracks on the hard ice and crusty snow. With conditions less than ideal for tracking, our focus changed to discovering which plants and shrubs still had green leaves.

Kent Goodwin photo

The KNPS natural history committee on a recent outing to track down winter greenery in the nature park.

Surprisingly, even without considering evergreen trees such as pine and Douglas fir, our group found 17 different plants with green leaves as well as a variety of lichens and mosses. Some of the green plants we found included:

Kent Goodwin photo

- Oregon grape

- Racemosa pussy-toes

- Grass (pine-grass?)

- Rattlesnake plantain

- Pippsissewa

- Kinnikinick

- Snow-brush

- Green wintergreen

- One-sided wintergreen

- Twinflower

- Huckleberry (two species)

- Bunchberry

- Fern

- Falsebox

- Variety of lichens

- Variety of mosses

What do you think - will this fern stay green all winter?

Our group was surprised to discover a seemingly evergreen fern in the snow (above right), and tiny mushroom fungi (below left) evident in the bare patches.

There was precious little to be seen in the mosaic of hard snow, ice and bare ground, but we did manage to spot a few tracks including pine marten, squirrel, deer, a selection of dog varieties, and several types of ice-grippers.

We also saw or heard a small number of birds, including the Common Raven, Mountain Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper and two Three-toed Woodpeckers.

It wasn’t the outing we had planned, but the company and our interesting discussions made for an excellent morning. The KNPS Natural History committee will be venturing out again on Saturday, January 11, and our group is looking for new members who have an interest in the natural world. Please feel free to join us in January - details about this outing will be forthcoming.

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