Herring Spawn Head’s Up

It’s all in the timing and it’s easy to miss. Last spring I was lucky, and the kids and I witnessed the amazing spectacle that is this country’s largest annual Pacific herring spawn. In other years, I’ve been a day or two late or early. The aquamarine colour of the water is a sure sign that the spawn is on! This …

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) …

Big Day Birding

Back from a full day of birding with some good folks down in the Parksville/Qualicum area. The weather cooperated and the rain held off. Our Big Day team – “Herring Today Gull Tomorrow” took 2nd prize in the “expert” category, with 104 species. One of the things I like about any kind of bird counts of any kind is that …

Herring Roe Feast

I never seem to get the timing right when it comes to the spectacle that is the herring spawn on the east side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I’m usually a little too early or a little too late and I have to settle with looking at the amazing photographs of other birders and naturalists like Guy Monty who have …

Marvelous Mudflat Snails

A couple of weekends ago we enjoyed a sunny trip down island to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. This BC Park is a fantastic place for kids and in the winter time the number of people using the trails and beaches are few(er) – note that on a sunny day there are still plenty of people out enjoying the park. The …

Pacific Rhododendrons at Rhododendron Lake

Early blooms of Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) stand out against green leaves. For those interested in botany and unusual plants it is often necessary to get off the beaten path and explore areas that are sometimes a little less accessible. Rhododendron Lake, just south of Parksville on Vancouver Island, British Columbia is one such destination. At the end of a …

Madrona Point Nudibranchs

A pair of Monterey Sea Lemons (Doris montereyensis) meet in a bed of cup corals on the wall at Madrona Point. On windy days like today when the Mud Bone is grounded, (our converted river boat doesn’t take too well to swells) we pick a shore dive like Madrona Point in Parksville for quick access to a host of sea …

Rough Road to Rhododendron Lake

Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) just starting to come into bloom at Rhododendron Lake on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It was years ago, back when I was in the Recreation Administration program at then Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University), that I took a field trip out to Rhododendron Lake, just south of Parksville, British Columbia. The lake is unique in …

Rathtrevor Ramble

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park Most people mention the endless stretches of sandy beach, ocean swimming and eel-grass tide pool exploration when they talk about Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. However, this 347 ha Provincial Park has much to offer the terrestrial naturalist as well. There is no question that the rich eel-grass beds hold a treasure …

Big Day Birding – Brant Wildlife Festival

Search for gulls during the Brant Wildlife Festival Big Day bird count. Saturday, April 10 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. counting 3:30 p.m. post count gathering (Shelley Hall) Shelley Road, Parksville $20 per person Enter your team for a chance to test your abilities at finding birds. Great prizes and a good time awaits at the post count gathering where …