In the Small, Small, Pond

Mosquito larva hanging out in the water column. We’ve had a couple of days of rain and several centimetres of water has been sitting in a small Rubbermaid tote that we use when gardening. I happened to look into it earlier this week when getting ready to put the yard waste out for Courtenay’s recycling program to pick up and …

Of Sponges and Sea Pork at Schooner Cove

Of the two islands at Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, I typically focus on the first large one that is visible as you enter the cove. At low tide (usually lower than 2.0′) this area is spectacular for intertidal life, a display that I like to call “shock and awe,” albeit in a positive sense. A mix …

Surfbird Surprise

A flock of Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata) on the rocks at Schooner Cove. I watched a flock of Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata), possibly fresh in from breeding grounds in Alaska’s rocky alpine areas, as they worked the intertidal zone in front of the large rocky island in the middle of Schooner Cove¬†yesterday. I love visiting Schooner Cove and consider it one of …

Lunch with Tiger Beetle

I spent most of the morning at Florencia Bay today on a fruitless search for two endangered Pink Sand-verbena (Abronia umbellata) plants¬†that had been reported last week. Despite being unsuccessful I enjoyed poking around looking at plants and examining the flotsam and jetsam that was being brought in with the tide. The beach at Florencia Bay is over 5 km …

Pacific Sideband Snails

Pacific Sideband (Monadenia fidelis) crossing a trail at Oyster River Nature Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed Pacific Sideband (Monadenia fidelis) snails crossing the trails that I’ve been walking at Miracle Beach Provincial Park and at Oyster River Nature Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This large native British Columbian snail is comparable …

Glorious Grovesnails

A solitary Grovesnail (Cepaea nemoralis) makes its way along a fence rail. On my regular afternoon walk to the Courtenay Airpark I noticed a rout of close to two dozen snails on the rail of a cement fence near the Old House Restaurant. The snails were Grovesnails (Cepaea nemoralis), a common garden snail that was introduced to North America from …

Smells Like Almonds

The yellow spots on black make the Cyanide-producing Millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana) easy to identify. I’m always on the lookout for the small and interesting while walking in the forests of Vancouver Island. While at Seal Bay Regional Park near Comox, British Columbia this week I came across a large yellow-spotted black millipede crossing the trail. I’ve seen these Cyanide-producing Millipedes …

Oyster Bay – BC SkyWatch #7

Oyster Bay Sky #1 I’ve stopped in at Oyster Bay on my way through several times this week for a quick look for birds and to admire the setting sun. Oyster Bay is on the east side of Vancouver Island but the sunset lights up the Coast Mountains across the Strait of Georgia making for some dramatic skies. I captured …

A Glorious Morning – BC SkyWatch #6

In the dead of winter here on the West Coast of Canada one knows that if the sun is shining in the morning it is imperative to seize the day before it vanishes. Such was the case this Tuesday when we had a break in the deluge. After a quick breakfast we headed to Goose Spit to do some beach …

Simply Saguaro – Arizona SkyWatch #7

It’s a dark, wet, rainy night here on Vancouver Island so my thoughts turn southward once again to the blue skies of Arizona for SkyWatch Friday inspiration. Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) with arms reaching to the sky. Last March I traveled with two other naturalists to Arizona for a week of botanizing and birdwatching. One of the National Parks we …