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Rithet's Bog LogoThings You May Have Noticed at the Bog

BARA Bugle (Broadmead Area Residents Association Newsletter),
Fall 2006 - Sharon Hartwell

Nest boxes on sign posts –

  • This spring the Rithet’s Bog Conservation Society installed seven swallow nest boxes as a “biological mosquito control and wildlife viewing” project.
  • Five of the seven boxes were occupied – one by Tree Swallows and four by Violet Green Swallows. All were successful in rearing young.
  • Swallows can eat more than a thousand mosquitoes in a single day, especially when they are feeding hungry nestlings.
  • We plan to expand the program by mounting more boxes next spring.

Flagging tape tied on shrub branches by the trailside

  • Song Sparrows at Rithet’s Bog have been part of a multi-site study for the past six years. Flagging tape is used to identify nest locations.
  • The dedicated scientists start their day at 4 a.m., and may spend hours crouched near a nest, observing and recording.
  • Video cameras at nest sites have identified two main predators - cats (domestic and feral) and garter snakes!
  • The Virginia Rail, a reclusive waterfowl, is also a predator. Rails pierce Song Sparrow eggs with their long bills and drink the contents.

Willows being cut and hauled away

  • Rithet’s Bog, itself the site of a successful restoration project, is now a source for native willow to be used at other restoration sites.
  • Willow stakes are cut and trimmed, then used to build woven fences on badly eroded stream banks. The willows take root and grow, stabilizing the soil and enhancing fish and waterfowl habitat.
  • Willows from Rithet’s Bog have been used at Bowker Creek in Saanich/Oak Bay and Banfield Park in Esquimalt.

Tall cat tails on the Chatterton wetlands

  • Stands of cat tail 3 to 4 metres tall have grown near the pathway on the Chatterton wetlands. While the cattails provide nesting habitat, their size is frustrating birders and limiting views of the wetland.
  • The extreme size of the cat tails may be due to the bloom of red mosquito fern on the wetland last year. When this floating plant died, it released massive amounts of nitrogen into the water, fertilizing the cat tails.
  • Ducks Unlimited has established ten experimental plots in the cat tail stands, and is clipping the plants to test mowing as a control measure.

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