Herring Spawn Head’s Up

It’s all in the timing and it’s easy to miss. Last spring I was lucky, and the kids and I witnessed the amazing spectacle that is this country’s largest annual Pacific herring spawn. In other years, I’ve been a day or two late or early. The aquamarine colour of the water is a sure sign that the spawn is on! This …

Kye Bay Beach Walk

I had a couple of hours to myself on Saturday afternoon and thought that I’d walk from Kye Bay through to Air Force Beach and back. It didn’t take too long and the tide was low so I had plenty of beach and tidepools to explore. Water flows from one tide pool on the flats into another, draining as the tide drops. …

Green Burrowing Anemones

Miracle Beach Provincial Park is a spectacular place to take kids tide pool exploring—the wide expanse of sand allows for plenty of running in bare feet and the warm shallow tide pools are great for wading and searching for sea life. This weekend I took Alden and Clara up to “the beach house” and kept one eye on the dropping …

Saving the Magnificent Pacific Gaper

It is not often that you see a living horse clam on the surface of the beach unless you have taken the effort to dig one out yourself. That’s why Jocie and I initially thought that the Pacific gaper (Tresus nuttallii) that we found at Miracle Beach was dead. We quickly realized otherwise after touching the extended siphon and watching …

Strand Line Buffet

With the wild wind we have had in the Comox Valley this week, there are bound to be some interesting things washed up in the strand line along the beaches at Point Holmes and Goose Spit and other beaches on Vancouver Island. Earlier this week I was out at Point Holmes looking for some last signs of the herring spawn. …

Herring at Goose Spit

I always love getting down to the edge of the sea and at this time of the year there is even more incentive to wade into the tidal pools and poke around. In late February and early March it pays to watch for flocks of very active gulls and groups of barking and feeding sea lions. Both of these are …

Eelgrass Abstracts

A windy afternoon at Point Holmes, but nice to get some fresh air and look for nature abstracts in the strand line. Today there was plenty of eelgrass (Zostera marina) washed up on the sand and cobble but most of it was tangled and damaged from being tossed ashore in the waves. The blades of eelgrass were interesting and with …

Searching for Sand Dollars

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks As soon as we set foot on the beach, the kids take off like rockets. The expanse of sand and fresh air makes them giddy with excitement, and they have huge smiles as they bolt away from us. My son likes to dodge between the geysers of water that shoot up from the siphons of …

Searching for Sole

Last weekend I took off my sandals and, 4 year old son in tow, headed out onto the sand flats at low tide. We had some fun checking out the Fat Gaper siphons and then ventured into the shallow tidepools at Miracle Beach Provincial Park. There is always something interesting in the pools but often a little patience is required. …

Horse Clam Shells

In my last post I wrote about finding weird but fascinating Horse Clam siphons sticking out of the sand and trying to identify the species based on what could be seen on the surface. Fortunately it is a lot easier to separate the Fat Gaper (Tresus capax) from the Pacific Gaper (Tresus nuttallii) if you’ve got shells that you’ve found …