Plants of Pipers Lagoon Park

Last Friday I had a chance to take a walk around Pipers Lagoon Park in Nanaimo, British Columbia. This small park includes a mixed Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) and Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii) meadow with associated plants. It looks like it could be a fascinating place to spend some time botanizing a little later in the spring. The twisted branches of …

Eurasian Collared-Doves

Last weekend when I spent a day birding and looking for salmon I checked out the small park at the end of Deep Bay Drive for waterfowl. The park is an excellent place to look for waterbirds and often they come in quite close to the shore looking for shellfish. While I had good looks at the ducks there wasn’t …

Finding Time for Flies

Time flies when you’re having fun, and one of the things that makes time fly is watching flies. I had a spare hour this week, and on a sunny afternoon decided to check out a purple aster on our back border that was in full fall bloom. This late in the season, anything that is producing nectar and pollen is …

Backyard Beetle

This interesting Ground Beetle (Pterostichus sp.) was hiding underneath some rotting wood in my mother-in-law’s backyard. I found some small black beetles underneath rotting wood up at my mother-in-law’s place in Black Creek a couple of weeks ago and had a chance to check on whether or not they were still there. What I discovered was a large Ground Beetle …

Gorgeous Ground Beetles

One of the joys about having a backyard garden is the opportunity to discover something new. It might be a strange looking slug, an odd looking sow bug, or in this case, a gorgeous beetle. The European Ground Beetle (Carabus nemoralis), a gorgeous introduced ground beetle that can be found in many North American gardens. This week I was prepping …

What’s that Woodlouse?

My 3 year-old son and I spent some quality time in the garden looking under pieces of wood and brick left on the ground from last fall. We discovered all sorts of “bugs” (Alden’s word for them) and watched them scurry from the newly exposed surface for the safety and moisture of the dark underside of the wood and other …

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 …

Self-heal

One of the advantages of my workplace is that my schedule is fairly flexible and if there is a break in the wet west coast winter weather I can take a short walkabout and look for interesting plants, insects and birds. Since my office is out in the country I’ve got lots of farm fence line and rural roads to …

Yet Another Eurasian Flower Spotted in the Comox Valley

At this time of the year it’s very difficult to find anything in bloom. Fortunately (and I say that tongue in cheek in this case) there are still a few introduced members of Asteraceae in bloom that can be counted on to add a bit of colour during an otherwise dreary West Coast fall day. Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe ssp. …

Giant Gardenslug

This Giant Gardenslug (Limax maximus) was moving so quickly it was a challenge to get a decent photograph. Slugs are notoriously hard to photograph – the challenge is to have enough depth of field (area of the image in focus) that both the near eye spot and the body are sharp and crisp. Since slugs are often prefer to avoid …