Horse Clam Hitchhiker

One of the fun things that you can do with your kids at the beach is look for the dramatic siphons of the Horse Clam (Tresus sp.) at low tide. Most people don’t connect the somewhat grotesque looking tube sticking out of the sand with the feeding apparatus of a clam but that is indeed what they are. Below the …

Shore Crab Uncertainty

Common shore crabs on Vancouver Island are usually pretty easy to identify. Colour isn’t always a good way to separate out the Green Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus oregonensis) from the Purple Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus nudus) since both have some variability in colouration. The more reliable way to tell the two apart is to look at the legs – Green Shore Crabs …

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) …

Hello Hermit … Crab

On the beach with the kids this week and we found a beautiful hermit crab in its shell. All we could see was its blue claws. A shy hermit crab at Miracle Beach Provincial Park. Hello! I thought that with those blue claws this would be an easy crab to identify. I think that it might be a very worn …

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 …

Beneath the Mud

There's something going on beneath the surface of the mud at the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area. There’s something lurking beneath the mud in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area. Actually, there’s a great deal of biodiversity underneath the nearly 1770 hectares of tidal mudflats protected since 1997 by this WMA. The challenge is getting out to see it without …

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 …

Sea Lemons and Eggs

Last week I took advantage of the lowish low tide (it was around a 2.3 foot tide) to make my way out to Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Schooner Cove on a good low tide is excellent for intertidal life. This past week’s low was borderline, low enough that it was possible …

Flotsam and Jetsam at Goose Spit

We’ve been pretty much house bound over the last couple of days due to the weather here in the Comox Valley – high winds and lots of rain. We made a few short forays out for walks around the neighbourhood between squalls but for the most part hunkered down. When I woke up this morning I was stunned to see …

Varnish Clams

Walking on the beach at Goose Spit in Comox this weekend got me thinking about clams. I always enjoy sorting through seaweed in the strand line and taking a closer look at shells that have washed up on the shore before returning them back to the beach where I found them. On this walk I found several “old-friends,” including the …