Big Day Birding – Brant Wildlife Festival

Search for gulls during the Brant Wildlife Festival Big Day bird count. Saturday, April 10 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. counting 3:30 p.m. post count gathering (Shelley Hall) Shelley Road, Parksville $20 per person Enter your team for a chance to test your abilities at finding birds. Great prizes and a good time awaits at the post count gathering where …

The Littlest Duck

The male Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) sports attractive iridescent purple and colours on its head. The Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) may be the smallest ducks in North America, but they are the favorites of many bird lovers. Because of their petite size and elaborate courtship displays, they are always fun to watch. Whenever I see them in freshwater ponds or the shallow …

Spring Flowers at Mount Douglas

A small group of Chickweed Monkey-flower (Mimulus alsinoides) growing in a vernal seep. The vantage point of the top of Mount Douglas in Saanich offers a spectacular 360o view of rural Saanich, downtown Victoria, and the Olympic Mountains across the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington state. However, it is worth turning one’s eyes from the striking vista and …

Spawning Spectacle!

Herring roe on fucus, a nutritional meal for many birds and animals. Photo © Guy Monty. Each year herring spawns around Vancouver Island, British Columbia in early March. This year is no exception. Last week, I heard that the herring were spawning near French Creek between Parksville and Qualicum Beach. This area has traditionally been one of the most important …

It’s Satinflower Show Time!

Don’t let the rain stop you – Satinflowers (Olsynium douglasii) look splendid with a few drops of water on the petals. Early spring on Vancouver Island means it’s time to lace on the hiking boots and head out to see the Satinflower (Olsynium douglasii) show. From mid-February to early April this tiny member of the Iris (Iridaceae) family dots the …

20th Annual Brant Festival – March 5 to April 28

Brant (Image © Guy Monty) The return of Brant geese to the estuaries and bays of Vancouver Island in late February and early March on their migration from California and Mexico is celebrated annually by the Brant Wildlife Festival in Parksville/Qualicum Beach. This year’s festival runs from March 5th to April 28th and features a wide range of activities and …

Pacific Rim Whale Festival (March 6 to 14)

Pacific Rim Whale Festival – March 6th to 14th Every March, spring splashes into Canada with the Pacific Rim Whale Festival! This year’s festival begins in Ucluelet and Tofino on Saturday, March 6 and runs through to Sunday, March 14th. Join the fun on the shores of Vancouver Island’s wild west coast, as we celebrate the visit of approximately 20,000 …

Rainfall on the “Wet Coast”

It’s always a good idea to bring an umbrella. One of the questions I often get asked is, “How much does it rain on Vancouver Island? Good question. After all, we live here in a temperate rainforest. And the answer, of course, is “It varies!” But it is a considerable amount. I pulled out some precipitation data from the Environment …

Victoria Natural History Society Field Trips

Victoria Natural History Society Walk 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 …

See Shells by the Sea Shore

A young beachcomber discovers some Japanese Varnish Clams on the beach at Kye Bay, Comox, BC. One of the joys of walking the beaches of Vancouver Island is finding a clam shell or two while out on the sand or cobble. For those new to West Coast beach combing, determining the species of bivalve that the shell belongs to can …