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Nature Notes: Life on the slough

I am one of those fortunate people who lives along Chilukthan Slough in Ladner.
Nature Notes -Val's wood ducks
Female and Male Wood Duck.

I am one of those fortunate people who lives along Chilukthan Slough in Ladner.

There is so much wildlife in and around the slough I don’t know where to begin. I wonder how many times, you have driven over one of the four bridges in Ladner Village and haven’t given the slough beneath your wheels a second thought. You’d be surprised what you might find there.

Chilukthan Slough is an off-shoot of Deas Slough and begins around the Government Dock near Sharkey’s Pub, meanders along Arthur Drive, past Save-On Foods, between residences and farmland, and disappears from view around 34b Ave. Along that stretch of the slough a vast array of wildlife, including fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects, makes its home. 

Herons stalk along the banks hunting for fish, frogs, and snakes. The Belted Kingfisher can be seen diving into the slough from a branch to catch its prey, and yet another fish-eater, the River Otter, occasionally swims the length of the slough, but perhaps more for fun than serious fishing. River Otters make “slides” on the bank of the slough and play on them like children in a playground.  

Not exactly the first animal you might think of when asked to name a rodent, but there are beaver living in the slough and as the legend goes, they are very busy. There is one persistent beaver who has tried on a couple of occasions to chomp down my apple tree. I have wrapped stucco wire around the trunk now and “my” beaver seems to be focussing his efforts elsewhere.     

In addition to beautiful Wood Ducks, the slough attracts a myriad of birds, resident and migratory. I have counted more than 50 species of birds, which have been attracted to my yard next to the slough, but that’s another story.

The slough is alive and well and certainly worth a second look.

Editor’s note: This is new twice-monthly column from the Delta Naturalists Society and its other community partners. It will appear online at: and as space is available in print.