Sand Dollar Safari

I love taking the kids to the beach because it’s an adventure for both of them and me as well. I never know what we’ll discover and they’re always finding something interesting in the sand. Jocie and I try to encourage a sense of respect for the living things that we find and at their age (2 and almost 4) …

Meet the Meadow Slug

If you’ve got a garden or a flowerbed it’s always fun to leave some boards lying around on the ground. Come back in a week or so and you’ll discover some of the organisms that live in your garden but perhaps have never seen before under this makeshift shelter. A warning to the squeamish – you may not like what …

Marvelous Mudflat Snails

A couple of weekends ago we enjoyed a sunny trip down island to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. This BC Park is a fantastic place for kids and in the winter time the number of people using the trails and beaches are few(er) – note that on a sunny day there are still plenty of people out enjoying the park. The …

Of Sponges and Sea Pork at Schooner Cove

Of the two islands at Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, I typically focus on the first large one that is visible as you enter the cove. At low tide (usually lower than 2.0′) this area is spectacular for intertidal life, a display that I like to call “shock and awe,” albeit in a positive sense. A mix …

Pacific Sideband Snails

Pacific Sideband (Monadenia fidelis) crossing a trail at Oyster River Nature Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed Pacific Sideband (Monadenia fidelis) snails crossing the trails that I’ve been walking at Miracle Beach Provincial Park and at Oyster River Nature Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This large native British Columbian snail is comparable …

Glorious Grovesnails

A solitary Grovesnail (Cepaea nemoralis) makes its way along a fence rail. On my regular afternoon walk to the Courtenay Airpark I noticed a rout of close to two dozen snails on the rail of a cement fence near the Old House Restaurant. The snails were Grovesnails (Cepaea nemoralis), a common garden snail that was introduced to North America from …

Smells Like Almonds

The yellow spots on black make the Cyanide-producing Millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana) easy to identify. I’m always on the lookout for the small and interesting while walking in the forests of Vancouver Island. While at Seal Bay Regional Park near Comox, British Columbia this week I came across a large yellow-spotted black millipede crossing the trail. I’ve seen these Cyanide-producing Millipedes …

Jingle Shells

After Monday’s deluge there was a break in the weather yesterday and we made the most of it, taking the kids to Air Force Beach in Comox to enjoy the sun. Surprisingly, we had never been to Air Force Beach before despite the length of time we’ve lived in the Comox Valley. We’ll definitely be back – it’s a beautiful …

Marvelous Millipedes

Millipede | Family Julidae, Cylindroiulus sp.? I love turning over pieces of wood, bark, leaves, boards and rocks and discovering things lurking underneath. I found this millipede under an old rotting board at my mother-in-law’s house up at Miracle Beach. I’m unsure what species it is but have fairly confidently narrowed down the Order to Julida and Family to Julidae. …

Thatching Ants

Thatching Ants (Formica spp.) As the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop activity at the thatching ant (Formica spp.) mound in my mother-in-law’s yard begins to change. Early in the cool morning there is little happening on the surface. A few ants move slowly around the entrance holes, arranging fir needles and other bits of woody and …