A Few More Chums

A Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) and fall colours on the banks of the Puntledge River. The weather has been rather wet and dark over the last couple of weeks making photography challenging. Fortunately, the rain has brought a rise in the water levels of rivers emptying into the Courtenay River estuary (both the Tsolum River and the Puntledge River join …

Return of the Tent Caterpillar

I was out supervising the neighbourhood kids bicycling in the back alley when I noticed a very interesting caterpillar on the leaf of a lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) in our rather wild roadside flower bed. Several of the kids took a break and had a closer look at this striking caterpillar and one mentioned that he had seen several similar …

The Not So Red Common Red Paintbrush

One of the plants that seems to be common in the Courtenay River estuary is the common red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata). What interested me about the plants that were growing along the edges of the slough and wetter areas was the variety of colour represented. Colours ranged from deep red through to a pale yellow. The classic Common Red Paintbrush …

Redhead

A great day out birding for the Comox Valley Nature spring bird count. Like Christmas Bird Counts, the spring count is an attempt to tally as many species as possible while trying to document the number of individual birds in the count area. Unlike Christmas Bird Counts, the weather is generally a little better. I spent the first hour at …

An Estuary Walk

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks I am looking at Google Earth, following the coast south of Courtenay and I find myself staring at a river, the Trent, as it snakes down to the ocean, opening into a fan-like delta that forms a prominent bump on the coastline. Even from this bird’s eye view, I’m stuck by the estuary’s beauty—a geographic …

Bird on a Wire #3 – American Kestrel …. and Dinner

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been keeping an eye out for the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) that I’ve seen occasionally near an old barn just north of Courtenay, British Columbia. Yesterday afternoon it was at its usual spot on the telephone wire after being absent during several weeks of bad weather. Guess who’s coming to dinner. The American …

The Tsolum Celebrates Another Year in the Right Direction

The Tsolum River Restoration Society is celebrating a positive year of conservation and restoration work in the Tsolum River watershed, Comox Valley, British Columbia. Water quality continues to improve, our understanding fish is improving and we have  small improvements in pink and coho salmon and cutthroat trout numbers.  In addition we have been active with bank stabilization, riparian zone replanting. …

Bird on a Wire #2 – American Kestrel

On my drive to work on the “Old Island Highway” I’ve seen an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) on a couple occasions in November and now December. With my experience seeing an American Kestrel last year on several occasions throughout the winter of 2009/2010 I wonder if this might be the same bird overwintering on Vancouver Island again this year. An …

Three Kings

I managed to get out and enjoy a sunny afternoon at the Courtenay Airpark photographing a variety of birds along the way. I have to admit that I’m never really satisfied with my bird photography, but I think that it may have something to do with the poor quality of glass in my secondhand (now I know why the photographer …

A Few Dead Chums

You can smell when winter arrives in Courtenay, British Columbia, particularly if you’re driving through an area of town known as the “Puntledge Bowl.” Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) lie draped over the rocks in a side channel slowly decomposing and adding nutrients back into the river and surrounding land. At this time of year, the Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) are …