Orange-crowned Warbler

A flash of yellow/olive-green in a thicket of Salmonberry caught my eye on a recent walk at the Courtenay Airpark Lagoon. We had completed the main loop and were walking back along the Courtenay River towards the 17th Street Bridge. This section of the river walkway is productive bird habitat with a mix of Red Alder, Big-leaf Maple and a …

Fish Wrangling

I have to admit that I don’t usually go out of my way to photograph Great Blue Herons. When I’m out walking with my camera and telephoto lens I’m often approached by people with asking me if I’m photographing either Bald Eagles or Great Blue Herons (or in their words -“cranes”) when I’m focusing on something a little more interesting …

Fall Shorebirds at the Courtenay Airpark

A flock of about a dozen Long-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus scolopaceus) have been hanging out at the Courtenay Airpark for the last week or so. The Long-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus scolopaceus) that I wrote about in late September last year are back at the Airpark Lagoon in Courtenay, BC. For the last week or so there’s been a nice flock of dowitchers …

In a Bind

Every so often, I realize that a plant that I think I’ve identified correctly is actually not what I originally thought it was. Learning to identify plants can be fairly challenging, especially given the fact that many look very similar to each other. Field guides can be limited in their scope and images on the internet are often mislabeled. Part …

Black Twinberry

The thing that I love about nature walks is that the more often you visit a place, the more likely it is that you’ll see something new. Such is the case with the small introduced flowers that I’m training myself to notice. It is also the reason why I “discovered” a nice stretch of Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata) growing alongside …

Vexed by Vetches

The Pea Family (Fabaceae) can be a little vexing at times – with this group the small details are often what separates one species from another fairly similar looking species. Fortunately the two vetches that I’ve found so far at the Courtenay Airpark are fairly distinctive and easy to identify. Vetches can be differentiated from most of the other members …

Musing about Mustards

A closeup detail of the flowers of American Winter Cress (Barbarea orthoceras). As I begin to tackle some of the more difficult plants here on Vancouver Island I find that I’m spending a great deal of time musing about mustards. Earlier last month I wrote about Field Mustard (Brassica campestris), a common mustard found at the Airpark Lagoon in Courtenay, …

Exquisite Equisetum

I’ve been on the look out for two kinds of Equisetum over the last couple of days and have found both growing nearby. I often stroll the kids around the paved walkway that loops around the Courtenay Airpark and this is where I found both the Giant Horsetail (Equisetum telmatiea) and the Common Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) growing along the edge …

Courtenay Estuary – BC SkyWatch #3

During the dull gray days of November and December in the Pacific Northwest it is always a treat to get a sunny day. This week we’ve been fortunate with a string of clear (but cold) days and the sunsets and sunrises have been magnificent. Looking east over the water of the Courtenay Estuary. This series of sunset images was taken …

Ducks on the Pond

Decision making from a mallard’s perspective. It's a beautiful evening, let's swim this way. On second thought, maybe the sunset would be better in this direction. Oh yes, it is much better swimming this way. Follow me! Now I'm not so sure, let's discuss this. These indecisive mallards were photographed down at the Courtenay Airpark Lagoon enjoying a beautiful sunset …