Nanaimo’s Ammonite Falls

When I first visited Ammonite Falls ten years ago things were different. At the time, the waterfall was “off the beaten track.” There was no established parking area, which meant that hikers left their cars on the shoulder of the road. Locals put up signs to prevent people from blocking access to their driveways. It was tricky to find the …

Gull Watching from Beechey Head

Most people visit Beechey Head for the spectacular views out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca or the interesting botany. This viewpoint in East Sooke Regional Park is also an excellent place to view the turkey vulture and hawk migration in the fall. The Head represents one side of the narrowest gaps between Vancouver Island and Washington State. Raptors …

California Broomrape, A Beautiful Surprise!

I’m not sure if I’ve seen California broomrape (Orobanche californica) on Vancouver Island before so when I saw a few plants on the rocky shoreline in East Sooke Regional Park I was pretty excited. Broomrapes are very interesting parasitic plants that are often overlooked because of their small size. And while I have seen naked broomrape fairly frequently over the …

Naked Broomrape – A Fascinating Parasitic Plant

British Columbia is home to a number of spectacular broomrapes like naked broomrape (Aphyllon uniflorum). These beautiful parasitic plants are easy to miss because of their size. However, once you know what to look for they can be found regularly. Understanding the connection between the parasite and the host plant is an important factor in locating and identifying different species …

Christie Falls Hike

If you haven’t had a chance to walk out to Christie Falls in Ladysmith, British Columbia make sure to add it to your list. You have a number of options to hike out to the short trail that leads to the waterfalls. However, the easiest access point is via Arroyo Road. The first part of the walk is along a …

Garry Oak Meadow Wildflowers at Mount Tzouhalem

The Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve is spectacular for viewing wildflowers typical of Garry oak meadows. Beginning in the early spring, deltoid balsamroot, shootingstar, and common camas are very prolific. In early summer, the onions begin in earnest and several species are easy to find in the long grass. Looking more carefully, it is possible to find a number of other …

Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve Wildflowers

Mount Tzouhalem is located near Duncan on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The area is recognized for its network of mountain biking and hiking trails. However, it is also the location of Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve and a spectacular Garry oak wildflower meadow. Path through grassy meadow at Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve. The meadows are a fairly short 15 minute walk …

Second Growth Forest Near Comox Lake

A short trail to Comox Lake Bluffs Eco-reserve winds through dark second growth forest. It can be a quiet and eery place, even on a sunny day. However, late in the day the shoulder of the Beaufort Range blocks sunlight. The setting sun illuminates the upper parts of the trees, while the understory is dark and gloomy with little vegetation. …

Sandcut Beach at Jordan River Regional Park

Sandcut Creek waterfall drops down to a gravel beach in Jordan River Regional Park. The waterfall at Sandcut Beach in Jordan River Regional Park is an easy destination for groups of all ages. The short walk through the forest and along the beach is ideal for families with small children. The waterfall is an attractive, and achievable goal. However, for …

Wildflowers at Harewood Plains

May and June are peak times to visit Harewood Plains to view wildflowers. In May, common camas (Camassia quamash), sea blush (Plectritis congesta), and yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) fill the open meadows of the plains with a beautiful wash of blue, pink, and yellow. The bloom begins in late April and continues through the month of May and into June. …