Winter Sparrows

All through the winter months, even on the wettest and dullest days, there are always birds in the shrubs and hedges of our neighbourhood. Sparrows are some of the most common winter birds, but I’m always glad to see them. They aren’t particularly flashy or colourful, but they have a subtle beauty, and like good friends they just get better …

Looking at Lichens

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks Old Man’s Beard and Bear’s Hair can be found on sub-alpine trees in Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Provincial Park. Most of us are familiar with the grey wispy lichens that garland tree trunks and branches. If you’ve been cross-country skiing at Mount Washington you’ve probably seen this stringy stuff that locals call “old man’s beard” or …

Hemlock is a Beautiful Tree

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks I drive through Miracle Beach Provincial Park quite regularly, en route to my mother’s house. I always enjoy going through the park, where the boughs of western hemlock fan out on each side of the road in broad, sweeping sprays. When dusted with snow the effect is even more enchanting, like entering a scene from …

A Shortage of Short-eared Owls on the Nanaimo Christmas Bird Count

I was up at around 6 am yesterday to make the drive down to meet a group of birders doing the 2010 Nanaimo Christmas Bird Count. As I scraped the frost of the windows of the car I was hopeful – the sky was clear and it actually felt fairly mild. Weather on Vancouver Island is know to be changeable  …

Dining with Great Blue

To my surprise Great Blue landed right in front of me and started hunting. Sometimes when you are looking for birds they just don’t cooperate. They become invisible and disappear. Your only choices are to curse and go home, or to exercise a little patience and sit and wait. A few weeks ago I was faced with that decision. I was on the beach at the …

The Nature of Texada Island

Dick Island, a pleasant hiking destination on Texada Island, British Columbia. With a warm, sunny weekend weather forecast, my mother and I decided to go camping on Texada Island. Boarding the ferry from Comox at Little River, we crossed Georgia Strait to Powell River, then re-entered the terminal for the shorter passage to Texada. The largest of the Gulf Islands, …

Birds of Vancouver Island

Birds of Vancouver Island – A Photographic Journey by Glenn Bartley These brief reflections represent but a few of my memories of the beautiful birds of Vancouver Island. Over the past four years I have spent as much time as possible out in nature finding and photographing birds. I feel fortunate to have been able to see such wonderful creatures, …

Changing Points of View

Lazo Marsh, Comox, British Columbia Early this summer my wife and I moved from our 14 year residence in the Royston area to North East Comox. The two homes are only a half an hour apart by road and we remain in the Comox Valley where we have lived for over 30 years. Long enough to have a good general knowledge …

The Beauty of Arbutus

Groves of twisted Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii) can be found at Helliwell Provincial Park on Hornby Island, British Columbia. A painting called “The Sunbathers” (by Daphne Stevens) hanging on my kitchen wall depicts a group of smooth, orange-barked arbutus trees basking in the sun on a hot, rocky hillside from BC’s southern Gulf Islands. There is something mesmerizing about this tree, …

Mount Washington Mine Remediation Site Off-limits

Early spring water sampling at the old Mount Washington copper mine site. The Mount Washington Mine Remediation program has begun again for the season. Signs have been placed at all road and trail accesses to the site reminding everyone that this is an Active Mine Work Area and is off limits to visitors. For their safety, all road and trail users …