White Fawn Lilies at Pipers Lagoon Park

The white fawn lilies (Erythronium oregonum) at Pipers Lagoon Park in Nanaimo, British Columbia are in full bloom this week. Jocie and I were doing a bit of botanizing last week and were astounded by the display. White Fawn Lilies (Erythronium oregonum) cover the ground at Pipers Lagoon Park in Nanaimo. The dense carpets of white nodding heads and mottled …

An Estuary Walk

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks I am looking at Google Earth, following the coast south of Courtenay and I find myself staring at a river, the Trent, as it snakes down to the ocean, opening into a fan-like delta that forms a prominent bump on the coastline. Even from this bird’s eye view, I’m stuck by the estuary’s beauty—a geographic …

Let Sleeping Lions Lie

If you have a chance, pull over at the Government Wharf in Fanny Bay and enjoy the show. The floats just off the dock are a regular haul out for California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and are usually far enough away that the sea lions can sleep in peace while on lookers can watch without disturbing them. Occasionally they’ll jockey …

West Coast Safari

If you truly want to experience the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, you need to get out on a boat and make your way to that thin line between the shore and the vast Pacific Ocean stretching westward towards Japan. It gives you a whole new perspective on the power of the ocean and the wildness of the …

Gorgeous Gold Star in Bloom

Spring is definitely here on Vancouver Island. Forget about the crocuses and snow drops and all of those other flower bed plants, the true signs that winter is moving on are the return of the Pacific Herring and the small yellow bloom of Gold Star (Crocidium multicaule). While it is hard not to notice the herring spawn, the diminutive Gold …

The Budget Pelagic Tour

Whenever I make the crossing between Vancouver Island and the mainland on BC Ferries I always try to do a little pelagic birding, especially if the weather is good. Today I had a chance to look for alcids on the run between Nanaimo and Tsawwassen. This isn’t a particularly good route for budget birding (the Little River/Powell River route is …

Surreal Somass Estuary

The forecast was pretty good and I decided to check out an area that I haven’t birded before: the Somass Estuary in Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island. Sandy McRuer of Rainbird Excursions wrote up a post describing the estuary and how to get there and I figured that it might be good for some winter birding. Sandy’s directions to get …

Campbell River Christmas Bird Count – January 2, 2012

Another early morning and I was on my way north to Campbell River to do my second (and last) Christmas Bird Count of the 2011/12 count period. I didn’t do the Campbell River count last year (substituting it with the Nanaimo CBC) and, since I was able to do the Comox count this year, I thought it would be good …

Searching for Salmon

If you want to experience the awe inspiring spectacle of a salmon run, consider making a trip up to the hatchery on the Big Qualicum River in the next week or so. I headed down island and checked out the Big Qualicum River Hatchery and was amazed at the number of Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)  and Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) …

Three Kings

I managed to get out and enjoy a sunny afternoon at the Courtenay Airpark photographing a variety of birds along the way. I have to admit that I’m never really satisfied with my bird photography, but I think that it may have something to do with the poor quality of glass in my secondhand (now I know why the photographer …