Sulphur Tuft mushrooms are common around Vernon now. These ones are rotting a birch log at BX Creek. (Anne Tierney photo)

Sulphur Tuft mushrooms are common around Vernon now. These ones are rotting a birch log at BX Creek. (Anne Tierney photo)

Get Outdoors! And see all of fall’s changes

Mushrooms, colour and migrating birds are excellent reasons to get outside this season

October is a spectacular month to get outdoors to enjoy nature’s grandeur.

Look what’s happening:

Kokanee are

spawning

The Kokanee salmon should be spawning on Coldstream Creek. Go down to Creekside Park behind Coldstream Elementary to witness this astonishing event where startlingly large red and green mature female and male Kokanee swim upstream against the current, jump out of the water and fight for their partners and territories, then couple up to mate and lay eggs in the gravel, and then finally die.

Walk slowly and softly towards the creek. The salmon can’t hear you coming, but they can feel your footsteps hit the ground which vibrates the water and scares them away.

Leave your pets at home. Please walk your dog elsewhere while the Kokanee spawn.

Birds migrate

B.C. hosts about 550 species of birds; more than any other province or territory in Canada. About half our species migrate to warmer climates each fall to catch their food.

Hummingbirds and most insectivorous songbirds such as swallows, flycatchers and warblers along with many predators such as hawks and falcons fly to Mexico and Central America.

Generally, the larger and fatter birds such as geese, ducks, swans and herons migrate from the Interior to Coastal ice-free bays and inlets. But the Swainson’s Hawk wins the prize for migrating 12,000 kilometres down to the Argentinian pampas and returning in spring to breed. So look up and listen to witness the great migrations.

Some birds even migrate at night.

Also, a few bat species fly up to a few hundred kilometres to suitable hibernation caves while others migrate as far as Mexico.

Autumn leaves

change colour

Autumn leaf colours are delightful. Their warm gold to red hues only happens for a brief period each fall.

So head out to enjoy autumn’s sun-kissed, brilliant colours on a clear, dry, cool day.

One of my favourite autumn colour-viewing spots in Vernon is on Rocky Ridge at Turtle Mountain on a sunny, late afternoon.

Lumby’s Salmon Trail, just below the highway, is wonderful to hike in shimmering fall colour.

So is Mission Creek in Kelowna’s Springfield Park near Orchard Park Mall.

Check out my Facebook site to discover how leaves change colour.

Mushrooms sprout

As temperatures and rainfall, mushrooms sprout.

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi that you can see without a microscope.

A few are toxic, most are inedible, but a few of the Chanterelles, Oysters, Lobsters, Pines, etc. are choice edibles. You must be experienced in using a reputable, local area mushroom field guide to identify any wild mushrooms you plan to eat.

But you don’t have to eat mushrooms to enjoy them – they’re amazing! They pop up in a wild variety of sizes, shapes, textures and colours.

Most are camouflaged by the surrounding leaves or bark. So look carefully at the ground, logs and tree trunks as you wander through the forest.

October is the true, full-blown fall season – enjoy!

Roseanne Van Ee enthusiastically shares her knowledge of the outdoors to help readers experience and enjoy nature. Follow her on Facebook.