What’s that Woodlouse?

My 3 year-old son and I spent some quality time in the garden looking under pieces of wood and brick left on the ground from last fall. We discovered all sorts of “bugs” (Alden’s word for them) and watched them scurry from the newly exposed surface for the safety and moisture of the dark underside of the wood and other …

West Coast Rollout

I love this time of year when spring migration is just starting and the number of shopping carts on Vancouver Island are starting to build. Hard to believe with the recent snow fall we’ve had that last week we were battling through a couple of windy and wet days. It’s often said that storm days are great for birding since …

Snow and Spring Flowers

Despite several centimeters of snow our crocuses are doing well along the south facing flower bed. Hard to believe with the snow we had last week but here on the west coast spring is definitely in the air. Our domestic hazelnut has produced catkins (so that’s why we’ve never gotten hazelnuts!) and along the south side of our house crocuses …

Beige Rustler Returns

Beige Rustlers are early winter migrants on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Look for them in back alleys and other edge habitat, particularly in areas thick with fallen leaves. Beige Rustler Classification: B/1 or possibly A/9 While out on a family walk around the neighbourhood I spotted another lifer for me – the Beige Rustler. These large carts are late winter …

A Winter Song

I did a little afternoon birding with the kids down at the Courtenay Estuary. There’s a nice easy paved walkway that runs from the parking area on Mansfield Drive in two directions – one way takes you around the Airpark Lagoon proper and the other follows the edge of the estuary towards Millard Creek. I usually do the lagoon loop …

Silver Rivercarts Return to Spawn

Salmon aren’t the only species returning to the Courtenay River to spawn. The Courtenay River is awash in life and death these days. Spawned out salmon litter the banks of the river. Gulls have gathered to feed on the carcasses and countless diving ducks are feasting on salmon eggs washed downstream. With death comes new life. Silver Rivercart Classification: B/12 …

Something’s Brewing at the Courtenay Airpark

While there is a great little cafe at the Courtenay Airpark, the coffee didn’t attract my attention on this cold wintery day. I bundled up the kids and loaded them into the double stroller and headed out to the walking trail that loops around the Courtenay Airpark Lagoon. As winter progresses, the lagoon (a former sewage pond) is an excellent …

Giant Gardenslug

This Giant Gardenslug (Limax maximus) was moving so quickly it was a challenge to get a decent photograph. Slugs are notoriously hard to photograph – the challenge is to have enough depth of field (area of the image in focus) that both the near eye spot and the body are sharp and crisp. Since slugs are often prefer to avoid …

Amongst the Lily Seeds

A side view of the pod showing the seeds inside. Managed to get out to the garden with the kids today and did a little bit of fall clean-up. Today I focused on trimming the lily seed heads and collecting the seeds. From what I’ve read on-line, growing lilies from seed is a bit of a hit and miss project …

Fall Shorebirds at the Courtenay Airpark

A flock of about a dozen Long-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus scolopaceus) have been hanging out at the Courtenay Airpark for the last week or so. The Long-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus scolopaceus) that I wrote about in late September last year are back at the Airpark Lagoon in Courtenay, BC. For the last week or so there’s been a nice flock of dowitchers …