Probably the last post of 2011...

The sky cleared a bit in the afternoon, so I decided to go a bike ride when the weather is decent. Plus, I wanted to test out my new camera outdoors.

The new camera is small and easy to carry. But the image quality suffers when compared with the Olympus DSLR - due to the smaller image sensor. The lens on the point and shoot is not very good either - look at the landscape to the left of the photo, blurry and not sharp at all.


False alarm

When I was woken up the emergency fire alarm early in the morning and realize there was a power outage, the first thought that went into my mind was the world was coming to an end (ahead by 357 days).

I snapped a photo of the dark and yet beautiful starry night in case that was true. Unfortunately, it was only a temporary power outage and was restored back to order shortly.

I don't think I have yet gotten a good night sleep since coming back to BC (especially with our terrible, noisy, and rude neighbors upstairs).


Arctic ground squirrel in Ivvavik National Park

Here's another post about the animals of Ivvavik National Park - the Arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii) or as the northerns like to call it "Sik-sik" (because of the chattering sound it makes).

They are found in all the places I was at this summer and quite entertaining to watch sometimes.

Baby Arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii)
We found this baby on our second hike to Inspiration Point. It was hiding underneath a rock and making threatening noises.


Test shot of Nikon Coolpix S4100

Got myself a little point and shoot camera yesterday so that I don't have to bring my DSLR to events not worthy of bringing it, e.g. socializing with friends, biking to get groceries, etc. It is a Nikon Coolpix S4100. Not exactly the type of camera I was hoping to get, but it is small and portable enough for my to use everyday. For example, while I was working this afternoon (yes, I am working on my research from home during the holiday season) and I heard geese calling from a field nearby, I quickly grabbed the camera, lifted the curtains, and snapped the shot. As simple as that.

Really wish the weather would get better at least once before I leave BC next month.


Abstracts from conferences

I am currently putting together a scholarship application and need to include abstracts from my past conferences. It took me a while to find them. Not the most well-written abstracts, but here they are, just in case if I ever forgot about them.


"Examining the roost selection of Formosan Tube-Nosed Bat, Murina puta, in the Taipei Zoo Forest," Taiwan Tech Trek 2008 Academic Conference, August 2008.

From June to August of 2008, we studied the roost characteristics of the Formosan Tube-Nosed Bat, Murina puta. Roost conservation is important for M. puta, because they are considered a threatened species and endemic to Taiwan. Our sampling area was the Taipei Zoo Forest, a temperate forest region spanning 14.4 hectares. To capture the bats, harp nets were left overnight in the forest. Radio transmitters were glued to the captured bats, which were released at dusk, their usual feeding time. Upon release, the bats were tracked for a maximum of twenty-one days in which the location, temperature, luminance, and moisture of their roost area were recorded. To prevent disruption of bat roosts, data such as roost length, area, and height were collected after the bats moved to other locations. Upon analyzing our data and past data, we found that tube-nosed bats prefer to roost in Alpinia speciosa K. schum second to dead tree ferns, Cyathea lepifera, and its primary roost selection. This is the first study in Taiwan to track bats in their specific roosts, and thus can be used as an example for future research on other bat species. Through this study, we can make more knowledgeable decisions for the preservation of M. puta and conservation of its natural habitats in Taiwan.


“Primary investigation on the breeding biology of Taiwan Barbet (Megalaima nuchalis) in Taipei Botanical Garden,” Taiwan Tech Trek 2009 Academic Conference, Taiwan, August 2009.

The breeding biology of Muller’s Barbet (Megalaima nuchalis) was studied in Taipei Botanical Garden (TBG), Taipei City, Taiwan during the breeding season of 2009 (ongoing). The breeding activities of Muller's Barbet began in April and likely to end in September based on last year’s observation. Muller’s Barbet is a monogamous species, and both parents share duties in nest excavation, egg incubation, and chick rearing. The average clutch size was 3.07 eggs (n = 13), and it took an average of 15.8 incubation days (n = 5) for the eggs to hatch. Once hatched, the nestlings required an average of 28.0 brooding days (n = 4) for them to develop and fledge. On average, 56.7% of the eggs successfully hatched new nestlings (n = 10), and the mean fledgling success rates were 52.4% (n = 7) and 77.8% (n = 7) relative to the number of eggs laid and number of nestlings hatched, respectively. Overall, out of the 13 clutches with eggs, 6 clutches successfully produced one or more fledglings. In TBG, a total of ten nest trees were located, and the predominately tree species was Cinnamomum camphora (40%). Most of the nest cavities of Muller’s Barbets were located inside dead branches or trunks of either living or dead standing trees, with the exception of a nest cavity in a living branch of a Cordia dichotoma tree. Overall, this study provides a source of information for future researches on the ecology of Muller’s Barbet and the effect of green spaces on urban biodiversity.


Strolling in Terra Nova and seeing a lifer - Greater White-fronted Geese

Today, I drove my father to work so my mother and I could use the car to run errands, e.g. buy groceries, etc. Afterwards, we went to Terra Nova for a stroll.

Reflection on the slough


Another bike ride to South Dyke

Another bike ride to South Dyke before the sun sets. Along the way, I saw a female Hooded Merganser in the ditch and a Bald Eagle flying over me. In total, I saw at least three different Bald Eagles.

Shining down on us


Burning bright

I fixed my punctured bike tire this morning and tested it out in the afternoon. Not too bad for a first-timer (learning from watching YouTube videos).

Here were some photos from the South Dyke. Did I mention there are many feeders along the trail now - compared to before? I guess people like to watch the birds and dogs at the same time.
Back of a Downy


Back to BC

I am finally back to BC for a bit of break. Well actually, I still have a lot of work to do but it would be interesting to do them in a different (and more relaxing setting). I arrived on Wednesday (14th) but it wasn't until today that I decided to bike out to the dyke.

Everything looks so familiar and yet so intriguing.


Some of the birds in Ivvavik National Park

Life is still very busy right now - I have a final exam (on Statistics) on Sunday, a committee meeting on Monday, need to grade all the research reports for the Plant Ecology class, invigilate the Plant Ecology final exam on Wednesday, and fly back to BC on the same night. Phew!

I can't wait to go back to BC to relax (just a bit...still a lot of work to do back home) and do some birding - I have seen a lot of Snowy Owls photos by Lower Mainland photographers that I am feeling very jealous of. Birding is not particularly interesting here, or maybe I am just way too busy.

Here are some of the bird photos that I took this past summer in Ivvavik.

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) - they were found in alpine tundra areas - grassy or rocky with very little vegetation.


Porcupine caribous in Ivvavik National Park

First, some things that I did on the days that I did not write a post. On Saturday (11/26), I went to a show where bands Bruce Peninsula and Snowblink were playing. It was awesome - very entertaining and great music! On Sunday, I went to one of my supervisor's end-of-year party. And then back to school once again.

Sometimes after working on my assignment about my thesis project, I take a break by watching the latest documentary by BBC called Frozen Planet. It's very relevant to me because it is about the polar regions and some of the scenery from the Arctic reminds me of my summer. The episode I am watching now is titled "Autumn" and one of the segments is about the fall caribou migration in north Canada (I watched this episode from this uploaded video because I am not in UK).

This reminded me of June 13, a day when an astonishing number of caribous moved on the hills on the other side of the Firth River. It was definitely one of the most memorable wildlife moments in my life.

People watching from a comfortable distance.
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