Joining a local natural history club is an excellent way to learn more about nature and meet like-minded people. The Victoria Natural History Society (VNHS) has a number of interesting walks and presentations for both members and non-members throughout the year. Field trips are ranked according to difficulty:
- Level 1 – easy walking, mostly level paths
- Level 2 – paths can be narrow with uneven terrain
- Level 3 – steeper grades or obstacles in paths requiring agility
- Level 4 – very steep, insecure footing or longer hikes requiring good physical condition
August 2010 Field Trips
The following are walks and presentations hosted by the Victoria Natural History Society during the month of August, 2010. To learn more about the VNHS please visit their website at http://www.vicnhs.bc.ca/.
Monday, August 2
Dragonflies for Beginners
As Dennis Paulson says in his book, Dragonflies of Washington, “Perhaps even more than butterflies, dragonflies are bird-watchers’ insects.” Meet Darren and Claudia Copley at the Beaver Lake Retriever Ponds at 1:00 p.m. (an advantage over birding) and we’ll see what we can find. We’ll look at what field guides are available, some tricks to catching dragonflies, and even how to key out the difficult ones. Bring binoculars, an insect net (if you have one – we can provide), and hope for sunny weather. Field Trip Level 1.
Tuesday, August 3
Insectmania at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary
They’re creepy, they’re crawly and they’re cool. Explore with us the fascinating world of insects and spiders. Hands-on exploration, live bugs, crafts, songs, and games. Admission by donation, Crafts $3. Event is at the Nature House 12 noon to 3:00 p.m.
Friday, August 6
Mount Washington Botanical Day Trip
This trip is planned for peak bloom time but the area is interesting over several weeks with a succession of flowers. The plan is to meet at Raven Lodge on the mountain around 11:00 a.m. and decide when we get there what we will do with our day. If snow levels permit, we will walk around the Lake Helen MacKenzie – Battleship Lake route. We will also fit in a tour around Paradise Meadow on our way to and from our main adventure. The trail will be on hilly and uneven ground but will be done at a slow pace. We will leave Victoria at 7:00 a.m. and return late, stopping for a quick supper on the way home. Pack a lunch that we’ll eat someplace out on the trail. Preregister by contacting Agnes after July 1. First nine people to sign up have the option of coming in her van. Others to carpool by pre-arrangement. Cost to come in the van or carpool with others will be about $30 for the day from Victoria. Additional cost of $15 ($12 senior) if we go up the chairlift for a scenic tour if time permits and weather cooperates. Remember to bring money for a fast-food supper. Wear proper footwear and bring a hiking stick plus bring warm clothes as it is usually cold up there. No pets please. Contact Agnes at ‘thelynns at shaw.ca’ or 250-721-0634 to register or for more information. Field Trip Level 3.
Sunday, August 8
Olympic Park Hike from Obstruction Point to Deer Park
This hike in Washington’s Olympic National Park is only for fit hikers as it is almost 13 kilometers over challenging terrain, along open ridges exposed to winds. The flowers and the views make it worthwhile. We will be dropped off by our bus driver at Obstruction Point and we have arranged for the bus driver to meet us at Deer Park to take us back to the ferry. Both ends of the hike are excellent wildflower areas as well. Be prepared for all kinds of weather. Also wear sturdy hiking boots and hiking poles would be an asset. Bring a lunch, snacks and lots to drink as we will not be near any facilities. Meet at the Black Ball Ferry terminal in the Inner Harbour at 5:45 a.m. for the 6:10 a.m. sailing of the M.V. Coho. Allow time to park and purchase your ferry ticket which costs about $31.00 CDN return. Important!! You will require a passport or enhanced driver’s licence for going through U.S. Customs. You’ll have to get your birding in on the way over because we will return to Victoria on the 9:30 p.m. sailing (90 minute crossing time). We will have dinner in Port Angeles. Cost of the charter bus and entry to the park is $70 CDN. Very limited number of participants so reserve your spot early. Do not book before July 1 or after August 1. Reserve your spot by paying through Paypal on the VNHS website or you can pay by cheque. Send it to VNHS, Box 5220, Victoria BC, V8R 6N4. Either way, you must let Agnes Lynn know that you are coming on the trip after you have made a payment. Contact Agnes at ‘thelynns at shaw.ca’ or 250-721-0634 for more information. Field Trip Level 4.
Saturday, August 14 and Sunday, August 15
Victoria Butterfly Count
We are always looking for keen-eyed volunteers, so get out your field guides. Call James Miskelly (count coordinator) at 250-477-0490 if you would like to help out.
Sunday, August 15
Olympic Peninsula: Tufted Puffins, Brown Pelicans and More
We are going to merge two trips on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula that we have done before with our trusted tour bus leader. This time, we hope to enjoy seeing some good birds but there will be lots for all to enjoy along the way at a leisurely pace. We will start with the tour to Cape Flattery, the most northern point on the west coast of the continental United States and one of the closest locations to Victoria where you can see Tufted Puffins. Islands off the point are home to thousands of seabirds throughout the year. The birds can be observed from platforms which are located about a half hour’s walk through the forest. Instead of stopping at the excellent museum on this trip, we will continue south to La Push and other beaches where we hope to see Brown Pelicans and other sea birds that might not venture as far north as Victoria. We will make intermittent stops along the way to enjoy the beaches, where we can test our knowledge of dune plants. The Olympic Peninsula is covered with the lush growth of giant trees and luxuriant vegetation, making it a very scenic trip. Tour leader Willie also is full of fascinating facts about the area. This will be a long day so bring a lunch, snacks, and drinks as we will not stop near any facilities. Meet at the Black Ball Ferry terminal in the Inner Harbour at 5:45 a.m. for the 6:10 a.m. sailing of the M.V. Coho. Allow time to park and purchase your ferry ticket which costs about $31.00 CDN return. Important!! You will require a passport or enhanced driver’s licence for going through U.S. Customs. You’ll have to get your birding in on the way over because we will return to Victoria on the 9:30 p.m. sailing (90 minute crossing time). We will have dinner in Port Angeles. Cost of the charter bus and entry to the park is $60 CDN. Limited number of participants so reserve your spot early. VNHS members get priority. Do not book before July 1 or after August 8. Reserve your spot by paying through Paypal on the VNHS website or you can pay by cheque. Send it to VNHS, Box 5220, Victoria BC, V8R 6N4. Either way, you must let Agnes Lynn know that you are coming on the trip after you have made a payment. Contact Agnes at ‘thelynns at shaw.ca’ or 250-721-0634 for more information. Field Trip Level 2.
Tuesday, August 17
Fabulous Frogs at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary
Long sticky tongues, breathing through skin, and webbed feet! Discover what makes frogs so fabulous. Join us for a puppet show, hands-on displays, live animals and froggy crafts. Admission by donation. Crafts $3. Event held at the Nature House 12 noon to 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 22
Discovery Island and Chain Islands Ecological Reserve Bird-watchers Kayak Tour
Discovery Island Provincial Marine Park presents many opportunities for viewing wildlife. The tour will also explore the nearby Chain Islands, which are protected bird sanctuaries and seal rookeries. You may see Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Harlequin Ducks, various sandpipers, and other shorebirds. By kayak, we are able to see the numerous sea birds that nest and feed in and around these shores such as the Pigeon Guillemots, Black Oystercatchers, and cormorants. Baby Harbour Seals remain undisturbed as we quietly glide past. You do not need to be an experienced kayaker as enough instruction will be given for you to enjoy a safe day on the water. Cost: $95.20 for a 5-hour guided tour starting at 9:00 a.m. Minimum required: 8 people/tour. Sign up as soon as possible but at least a week in advance. We normally pull up on a beach to have our lunch and do a bit of exploring on the island. Depending on the day’s weather, be prepared to layer up or down while on the water. Suggested gear: sunglasses, sun hat, sun screen, footwear you can get wet, windbreaker, toque, binoculars, lunch, snacks, and lots of liquid to drink. For more information/to register, phone Pacifica Paddle at 250-665-7411. Field Trip Level 3.