A Shortage of Short-eared Owls on the Nanaimo Christmas Bird Count

I was up at around 6 am yesterday to make the drive down to meet a group of birders doing the 2010 Nanaimo Christmas Bird Count. As I scraped the frost of the windows of the car I was hopeful – the sky was clear and it actually felt fairly mild. Weather on Vancouver Island is know to be changeable  …

Coastal Naturalists on BC Ferries this Summer

The Coastal Naturalist program begins on Friday, June 25th on BC Ferries sailings between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Photo by Sara Borck – © Parks Canada Have you ever wondered why Orcas are called ‘Killer Whales’ or what an eelgrass meadow is? Did you know that during the BC Ferries sailing between Victoria and Vancouver, you are actually in the …

Cattails

One of the things that impressed me at Buttertubs Marsh last week was the endless stretches of Cattail (Typha latifolia). At this time of year, the leaves of this plant are a pale brown – new green leaves will emerge in the spring. The flowers, which we generally see as a brown “hot-dog” shape on the end of a stalk …

Nature’s Ornaments

One of nature's many winter ornaments – Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) berries. Earlier this week while at Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo I was captivated by festive colours of the berries of the Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). It got me thinking about how in the dead of winter here on the West Coast, Nature does her own good job of dressing …

Birding at Buttertubs

Open water at Buttertubs Marsh from the vantage point of a viewing tower. No ducks here! Yesterday I headed down to Nanaimo to pick up my brother-in-law at the ferry and planned the day to include a little morning birding at Buttertubs Marsh. Buttertubs is accessible in a couple of places but I find that the easiest access point is …