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 …

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 …