Searching for the Robust Lancetooth

Robust Lancetooth | Haplotrema vancouverense We’ve been keeping an eye out for some of the bigger snails during our forest walks this week – they’re much easier to identify than some of the smaller ones that we’ve discovered underneath paving stones and wood. This week we found the shell of a Robust Lancetooth (Haplotrema vancouverense), a fairly common large snail …

Varnish Clams

Walking on the beach at Goose Spit in Comox this weekend got me thinking about clams. I always enjoy sorting through seaweed in the strand line and taking a closer look at shells that have washed up on the shore before returning them back to the beach where I found them. On this walk I found several “old-friends,” including the …

Organ Pipe Cactus NM – Arizona Skywatch #5

Brittlebush, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona For this Skywatch Friday post I’m returning once again to the brilliant blue skies of Arizona. In March of 2008, my wife and I and our 8 month old son spent 10 days visiting a number of natural history destinations in this fascinating (and warm) state. One of our must see destinations was …

Cave Creek Canyon – Arizona Skywatch #4

Cave Creek Canyon With the cold October rains beginning here in British Columbia I returned to my photographs of last spring’s trip to Arizona in search of blue skies and warm memories for this week’s Skywatch Friday post. Part of our trip took us to Portal, Arizona and Cave Creek Canyon. This area is renown for its birding and was …

Black Spots on Bigleaf Maple Leaves

Bigleaf Maple | Acer macrophyllum It’s that time of year when the Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) leaves are changing colour and falling to the ground. I’ve always noticed the small, circular imperfections on maple leaves at this time of year and have wondered what they were. On the weekend I took a walk in Miracle Beach Provincial Park with my …

Flight of the Woolly Aphids

Woolly Aphid, possibly the Woolly Apple Aphid | Eriosoma lanigerum Over the last couple of evenings I’ve noticed a massive flight of woolly aphids both in Courtenay and today up at my mother-in-law’s house in Black Creek. I’ve managed to get a few decent images of these white furred aphids (though they are quite small). I initially thought that they …

Shootingstars

Jeffrey's Shootingstar | Dodecatheon jeffreyi I was fascinated by the colour of the leaves of Jeffrey’s shootingstar (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) alongside a cold sub-alpine stream this week in Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Provincial Park. The leaves were a stark contrast to the dark water and grey day and a beautiful sign that winter is not far off. Jeffrey's Shootingstar | Dodecatheon jeffreyi …

Thatching Ants

Thatching Ants (Formica spp.) As the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop activity at the thatching ant (Formica spp.) mound in my mother-in-law’s yard begins to change. Early in the cool morning there is little happening on the surface. A few ants move slowly around the entrance holes, arranging fir needles and other bits of woody and …

Red-legged Frog

Red-legged Frog | Rana aurora This handsome red-legged frog (Rana aurora) was hopping across a trail close to Black Creek in Miracle Beach Provincial Park this weekend. It was interesting to see the frog in the forest – when we first spotted it we thought it might be a western toad (Bufo boreas) due to its size and the habitat. …

There Be Dragons

Variable Darner | Aeshna interrupta I had the opportunity to lead a Young Naturalists Club walk this morning out at Woodhus Slough just north of the Oyster River. We were looking for dragonflies and on this sunny morning were fortunate to find a few. It’s late in the year for dragonflies and many of the ones that we caught (and …