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. …

Gorgeous Gold Star in Bloom

Spring is definitely here on Vancouver Island. Forget about the crocuses and snow drops and all of those other flower bed plants, the true signs that winter is moving on are the return of the Pacific Herring and the small yellow bloom of Gold Star (Crocidium multicaule). While it is hard not to notice the herring spawn, the diminutive Gold …

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 …

Glaucous-winged but no Glaucous Gull

Portuguese Joe’s is usually good for gulls any time of the year – there’s a regular group that waits for scraps from the fish market here on Comox Road (also known locally as the Dyke Road). I’ve stopped in a couple of times over the winter hoping to see a Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) that makes the occasional appearance with …

American Pipits at Goose Spit

I went out to Goose Spit this weekend hoping to relocate and photograph a Snowy Owl that had been reported there earlier in the week. I didn’t find the Snowy but did get some great looks at another interesting bird that turns up on our beaches in the winter time – the American Pipit (Anthus rubescens). One of two American …

Boning up on Bonaparte’s

With several Christmas Bird Counts coming up in just over a month, it’s worth taking a look at two more easy to identify gulls. The Mew Gull (Larus canus) is a small white-headed gull with a delicate yellow bill and yellowish legs making it a relatively easy gull to identify. The Mew Gull (Larus canus) is a small, white-headed gull …

A Trio of Gulls

I was down at Air Force Beach in Comox, British Columbia doing some birding this past weekend and was amazed at the amount of red seaweed washed up on the beach – in places it was at least thigh deep and was so thick that it was holding the incoming tide back from flooding the beach. Hundreds of gulls worked …

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 …

Golden-eyed Grass

Driving past the Griffin Pub on Kilmorley Road in Comox, British Columbia, you probably wouldn’t think to stop and take a look in the ditch. Odds are you’d be thinking about reaching more well known destinations like Air Force Beach or Kin Beach. Both of the latter are excellent for botanizing – Kin Beach is superb for Gold Star in …

Looking and Listening for Long-tailed Ducks

During a break in the weather this week I had a chance to get down to Goose Spit to look for a short-eared owl that had been reported near the tip of the spit. There’s a large grassy area at the end of the spit that was once a hideous thicket of Scotch Broom. The Department of National Defense has …