Green Burrowing Anemones

Miracle Beach Provincial Park is a spectacular place to take kids tide pool exploring—the wide expanse of sand allows for plenty of running in bare feet and the warm shallow tide pools are great for wading and searching for sea life. This weekend I took Alden and Clara up to “the beach house” and kept one eye on the dropping …

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 …

Wonderful Western Trillium

It’s definitely that time of the year – spring flowers are appearing everywhere. If you’re on Vancouver Island make your way to any riverside trail and search for the wonderful Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum). I found several while walking along Black Creek in Miracle Beach Provincial Park 30 minutes north of Courtenay, British Columbia. Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) – a …

Pacific Sideband Snails

Pacific Sideband (Monadenia fidelis) crossing a trail at Oyster River Nature Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed Pacific Sideband (Monadenia fidelis) snails crossing the trails that I’ve been walking at Miracle Beach Provincial Park and at Oyster River Nature Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This large native British Columbian snail is comparable …