Sensational Sea Lions

A juvenile Sea Lion swims by me at Norris Rock near Hornby Island, BC. My partner and I are the only divers in the water this afternoon and we are outnumbered 30-2. We hover in 20’ of water anxiously watching an undulating cloud of sand, silt, fur and bubbles head our way. A welcoming committee of curious juvenile California Sea …

Rathtrevor Ramble

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park Most people mention the endless stretches of sandy beach, ocean swimming and eel-grass tide pool exploration when they talk about Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. However, this 347 ha Provincial Park has much to offer the terrestrial naturalist as well. There is no question that the rich eel-grass beds hold a treasure …

Brandt’s, not Brant’s

A Brandt’s Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) showing off its exotic blue gular patch and white breeding feathers. If I only had a dollar for every time I’ve seen the confusion in the spelling of Brandt’s and Brant, I might be able to afford my dream birding trip to Ecuador. Right now we are nearing the end of the Brant Goose migration …

A West Coast Giant

Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) grow to an average 70 meters in height although some are much taller. Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is in the big leagues as far as trees are concerned, along with other west coast giants like Douglas-fir and western red cedar. To me, the very name “spruce” conjures up an Emily Carr-like image of a dark green, …

Ripple Rock Trail

Seymour Narrows and the former site of Ripple Rock from the viewpoint. A hundred years ago, the name of Ripple Rock evoked dread in the hearts of mariners, but today entices hikers to explore natural history as well as human history, on the Ripple Rock Trail. The stretch of water in Seymour Narrows, part of the Discovery Passage north of …

Ancient Horsetails

The pale, fertile shoots of Giant Horsetail (Equisetum telmatiea) are visible for a short period in the spring. During a recent visit to Sayward I happened upon a patch of giant horsetail rising from a roadside ditch. Strangely alluring, the pale brown wand-like fertile shoots appear in spring, followed shortly after by green, vegetative shoots. These anemic fertile shoots, which …

San Josef Bay

The beach at San Josef Bay, Cape Scott Provincial Park. I have made two visits to the San Josef Bay area of Cape Scott Provincial Park. The area is an excellent place for both beach combing and photography. On the first occasion we drove to the trail head, parked and backpacked the short distance to San Josef Bay. This is …

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 …