Salmon Nurseries in the Tsolum River and its Tributaries

Guest post by Jennifer Sutherst As our noses are affronted with the smell of salmon carcasses feeding our aquatic habitats, our local streams and rivers are playing host to the completion of the salmon life cycle as adult spawners return to lay their eggs and die.  We saw a huge run of pink salmon a reasonable run of chum are just …

Ecosystems In Peril: The Coastal Douglas-fir forests of British Columbia

Guest post by Vijay Somalinga Forests in British Columbia appear to stretch forever. To someone who is seeing these forests for the first time, it seems like they have remained untouched since the beginning of time. But, even the remotest stands of pristine old growth forests have been logged, and only  scattered patches of protected old-growth forests remain today. Even these remnant …

Feral Carts Return

It’s been a while since I’ve posted observations on the natural history of feral carts that I’ve found and photographed here on Vancouver Island—I moved my cart related posts over to a separate blog but it’s now time to bring them back home. No real reason to keep them separate and it’s just too time consuming to keep multiple blogs …

An Estuary Walk

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks I am looking at Google Earth, following the coast south of Courtenay and I find myself staring at a river, the Trent, as it snakes down to the ocean, opening into a fan-like delta that forms a prominent bump on the coastline. Even from this bird’s eye view, I’m stuck by the estuary’s beauty—a geographic …

A Succulent Story

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks Whenever I come in my back door, I’m greeted by two pots of hardy native succulents that I planted last summer: Oregon stonecrop and broad-leaved stonecrop. Attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves have completely engulfed the pots, and I marvel at the vigour of these plants that thrive in wet winters and dry summers with no …

Here’s to Hemlocks!

Guest Post By Jocie Brooks Western Hemlock Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) is one of coastal BC’s most common conifers. It is also a very beautiful tree, with fine needles and attractive downward-sweeping boughs. Early settlers called the tree “hemlock” because they thought that the odour of the crushed needles resembled a European plant. “Tsuga” translates from Japanese as “tree mother,”and …

A Mountain Tree: Yellow-cedar

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks On a sunny Saturday during the recent cold-snap I took a morning off to do some cross-country skiing at Mt. Washington, gateway to Strathcona Provincial Park. The smooth, creamy-white snow glistened in the morning light, studded with troops of frosted trees. They call this “Paradise Meadows” for a reason; it’s a spectacular place and feels …

Winter Sparrows

All through the winter months, even on the wettest and dullest days, there are always birds in the shrubs and hedges of our neighbourhood. Sparrows are some of the most common winter birds, but I’m always glad to see them. They aren’t particularly flashy or colourful, but they have a subtle beauty, and like good friends they just get better …

Looking at Lichens

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks Old Man’s Beard and Bear’s Hair can be found on sub-alpine trees in Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Provincial Park. Most of us are familiar with the grey wispy lichens that garland tree trunks and branches. If you’ve been cross-country skiing at Mount Washington you’ve probably seen this stringy stuff that locals call “old man’s beard” or …

Hemlock is a Beautiful Tree

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks I drive through Miracle Beach Provincial Park quite regularly, en route to my mother’s house. I always enjoy going through the park, where the boughs of western hemlock fan out on each side of the road in broad, sweeping sprays. When dusted with snow the effect is even more enchanting, like entering a scene from …