A Helleva lot of Velella

One of the early arriving Velella velella last week on Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It’s like some ill-conceived, poorly planned invasion on the shores of the west coast of Vancouver Island. In the last week, small blue jellyfish-like creatures have been landing on the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in the millions—large swaths of …

Cassin’s Casualties

I usually find interesting things washed up at the high tide line along Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve—fresh bull kelp is common, as are various types of shellfish and moulted dungeous crab shells. Sometimes the odd sand lance silvers in the sand, and once I found a dead seal. Birds are much more rare. A couple of …

Beach Hopper Party at Wickaninnish Beach!

Sand fleas, beach hoppers, beach fleas – these are a few of the names given to the (usually) small little jumping things leaping about on the sand in a frantic attempt to escape your descending bare feet. At first encounter they can be a bit hard to love, maybe due to the unpredictable trajectory of their jumps and the possibility …

Dunes at Wickaninnish Beach

One of my favourite places in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are the dunes at Wickaninnish Beach. It is unusual to see many (if any) people in the dunes so it is easy to imagine the wildness of the place, despite the signs and tracks of people who have gone before you. From a botanical perspective it is a very …

Capture the Coast

I have worked off and on at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve as a Heritage Interpreter and loved being able to combine my passion for photography with my work. In 2010 I developed a program called West Coast Walkabout that was the perfect way to introduce park visitors to the landscape and ecology of the west coast of Vancouver Island. …

Sand Patterns

Long curves of rippled sand mark the beach where Sandhill Creek empties into the Pacific Ocean. I’ve been busy working on a project related to the sand dunes at Wickaninnish Beach and haven’t had as much time to devote to my blog as I’d like. However, in the process of sorting through vast numbers of dune related images I stumbled …

Learning about Ligules

I’m out on the west coast of Vancouver Island this weekend finding out more about Parks Canada’s dune restoration program in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. European Beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) creates a wall at the edge of the dunes that prevents sand movement. Sand dunes up and down the west coast of North America are being choked with introduced grasses, …

Wickaninnish Beach – BC Skywatch #11

Well folks, another SkyWatch Friday has rolled around. Located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia the sandy beaches in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are known for their spectacular sunsets (when it isn’t foggy or raining!). Sunset at low tide is ideal since the wet sand adds sky reflection into the composition.  A few dramatic clouds don’t …

Countless California Gulls Hide Heermann's Gulls

A small section of the large flock of California Gulls (Larus californicus) at Wickaninnish Beach, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It’s hard to describe the number of California Gulls (Larus californicus) that have descended on the beaches in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island since last week as the numbers continue to build. Fall migrants are arriving from …

California Gull Zen

A bit of a feeding frenzy today at Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. A huge flock of mostly California Gulls (Larus californicus) descended on the beach in the late morning and were still there in the late afternoon despite some folks who thought that it would be fun to flush the flocks resting on the sand up …