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 …

Pollen is in the Air

Red Alder (Alnus rubra) begins to produce pollen as early as late February on Vancouver Island. When my husband starts sneezing and snuffling, I know that allergy season has arrived. Here on the coast, pollen related allergies can start in late February and continue through to September. To better understand my husband’s suffering I went to the source, the pollen …

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 …

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 …

Exploring Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Beach walkers at Schooner Cove. We have just returned from a wonderful weekend get-a-way at Pacific Rim, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Winter is our favourite time to visit the west coast. There aren’t too many tourists, and rain or shine we are always dazzled by the area’s natural beauty. Established in 1970, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve …

Merville Woods Mushrooms – Part 2

Earlier in November we enjoyed some mushrooms at Merville Woods, a second growth forest characterized by mixed conifers including pines. This post features a few more mushrooms that we found there. One was a mushroom that we had identified on a previous walk at Woodhus Slough but others remained a mystery even after creating a spore print and consulting our …

Mushrooms at Miracle Beach – Part Two

Last weekend Jocie and I collected some mushrooms and made some spore prints. We were lucky to identify a few reasonably conclusively. Today I’m going to introduce you to some of the mushrooms that we struggled to identify. Even though I can’t tell you what these mushrooms are I think that you’ll enjoy them as much as we did! Cortinarius …