Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill | Loxia curvirostra Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) have been fairly common up in the sub-alpine this weekend. These finches are named after their very noticeable “crossed bill” which is useful for extracting seeds from conifers. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds the “bird’s biting muscles are stronger than the muscles used to open the …

Mt. Elma

Mt. Elma, Forbidden Plateau, Strathcona Provincial Park Not a pleasant day to be hiking in Forbidden Plateau, cold and wet for most of the day with a bit of a window in the weather around noon. This image of Mt. Elma was made from my lunch stop at Lake Helen Mackenzie where I enjoyed a well needed thermos of coffee.

Cow Parsnip Seeds

Cow Parsnip | Heracleum maximum While out on a family walk at Rosewall Creek Provincial Park south of Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island we discovered a small patch of Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum). Some caution is advised with this plant due to the furanocoumarins in the outer skin that can cause skin irritation when handled by people who are sensitive …

Lake Beautiful

Lake Beautiful, Strathcona Provincial Park Located in Strathcona Provincial Park, Lake Beautiful is an aptly named hiking destination. It takes a bit of effort to get to the lake but it is well worth the long hike and on a hot day the swimming is fantastic. From the trail head at Paradise Meadows the total hiking distance is approximately 18km …

Summer on the Wane in the Sub-alpine

Menzies’ Burnet | Sanquisorba menziesii Subalpine Daisy | Erigeron peregrinus The last two days up at Paradise Meadows (located in Strathcona Provincial Park, BC) have definitely had a hint of the fall in the air. While this makes for good hiking weather (cool but not cold) it’s also a sign that the late summer bloom is nearly done and that …

Exploring Eel-grass

Eel-grass | Zostera marina With the excellent low tides this week I was able to get out and do some poking around in the eel-grass beds at Miracle Beach Provincial Park. Patience and careful walking are required attributes for tide pool exploration, as well as a sharp eye for movement and small creatures. Slow wading serves to reduce the impact …

Swimming with Bonapartes

The swimming was excellent at Miracle Beach this afternoon and as an added bonus a flock of Bonaparte gulls (Larus philadelphia) was actively feeding on invertbrates in floating bits of seaweed. I normally enjoy birdwatching from the shore but I have to admit that floating quietly on my back and watching the Bonapartes fly over added a whole new dimension …

Paradise Meadows

Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Provincial Park has a number of hiking loops that are excellent for both photography and botanizing. We headed out to Lake Helen Mackenzie today on a family hike and I attempted to squeeze in some photography along the way. Thankfully, Alden our 2 year old, is a slow walker and likes to check things out as …