Exploring Qualicum Beach

One of the things about living on Vancouver Island is that there are so many beautiful natural places to visit. This week we took advantage of a break between storm fronts and packed the kids, backpacks and strollers into the car and drove south to Qualicum Beach, a sleepy little retirement town on the eastern side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Our mission was two-fold – we wanted to enjoy the sun and revisit Hamilton Marsh near Qualicum Beach to research the destination for a new web site called Island Nature that we’re planning to launch at the end of January. Island Nature is envisioned as a on-line magazine/resource for nature lovers who want to explore Vancouver Island and discover natural places that are generally not described on traditional tourism web sites. In order to get local inside information on prime birding locations, interesting plant communities, and special places on the Island we’re enlisting the help of contributors who know their own backyards like the back of their hand. But we’re also using the project to spur our own exploration of the back roads and lesser traveled trails.

Hamilton Marsh
The floating dock at Hamilton Marsh, near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.

Hence the trip to Hamilton Marsh. I had been to the marsh once many years ago while I was living in Coombs and working at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park as a naturalist. We managed to find the access point and took a short walk out to the marsh and it was spectacular. I’ll put together a longer post about our walk when we have Island Nature up and running, including more photographs and directions to the marsh itself. I’m also looking forward to revisiting Hamilton Marsh in the spring when the birding will probably be better.

Qualicum Beach
Looking out at blue skies over the Salish Sea at Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island.

After the walk in the forest we went down to the water’s edge and strolled the promenade at Qualicum Beach. It’s a pleasant walk and definitely suitable for baby strollers. There were a couple of flocks of Black Scoters and Surf Scoters fairly close to the shore as well as an assortment of other birds further out. It was a gorgeous way to end a pleasant half-day trip “down island!”

If you’re a nature writer or photographer, live on Vancouver Island (or have visited Vancouver Island) and are interested in contributing to Island Nature please feel free to contact me – I’d love to hear your stories and talk about our project!