Sunday, 29 November 2015

November 29th.....Gabriola Island

Today we took a quick trip over to Gabriola Island to do a little hiking.  The island is approximately 60 square kilometres with a population of ~4000.  There appears to be significant green space on the island but driving down the main roads certainly reveals the extent of urban development (predominately personal dwellings).

We visited 3 main sites on the Island: Descanso Bay Regional Park, Malaspina Galleries and Drumbeg Park.

The highlight of the trip was the Orca observed breaching numerous times ~800m south of the shoreline at Drumbeg Park with the only interesting birds seen being Marbled Murrelets.

Below are some photos from the day
Descanso Bay (snorkel gear in the summer time seems like a great idea)

 Descanso Bay (a spot to check come spring)

Heavily eroded rock Malaspina Galleries

 Barrows Goldeneye & Surf Scoter

Marbled Murrelet 

 Dorsal fin of the Orcinus orca

Possibly Antlered Perfume (E. prunastri)
Possibly Beaded Bone (H. enteromorpha)....potentially more than 1 species of lichen here.

Friday, 27 November 2015

November 27th.

I have been neglecting the blogging lately, mostly because I have not seen much I felt worthy of blogging.  That being said, I figured a few photos from various day trips would help fill the void of any followers (LOL).

On November 22 we decided to climb to the summit of Mt Benson in Nanaimo.  From what we could see the warmer weather had resulted in some snow melt which would make the climb a bit easier (especially to get to the top).

This was a "lung buster" of a climb as the majority of the trip up is a steep slope (>45 degrees), and consequently your knees take a beating on the way down.

There was not a large diversity of birds observed this trip, but that is to be expected at the higher elevations this time of year.

The following are some photos of flora or fauna observed

Ragbag Lichen (Platismatia glauca)
Menzies' Wintergreen (Chimaphila menziesii)

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) at the summit of Mt Benson

 A photo of myself with Nanimo and the Straight of Grogia behind me

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

November 18th

It has been a while since I dedicated some time to birding so with low winds and a clear sky I set out with scope and binos in hand.

I drove up to Qualicom River Estuary hitting the usual spots along the way (Englishman River Estuary, Mouth of French Creek, Qualicom Beach).  Overall it was a productive day with 56 species observed.

The following are some photos from today..

Englishman River Estuary

Surf Scoter

Female California Quail

Male and Female California Quail

Dunlin Rock

Monday, 9 November 2015

November 9 - Western Toad Tracking

Today I was fortunate enough to join a local research project which involves the radio tracking of Western Toads (Anaxyrus boreas).  It has been a while since I radio tracked herptiles, so this was an exciting trip.  Getting to the close proximity of the individuals was not the challenge, but finding them proved to be more challenging than the snakes I had radio tracked back in Ontario.  Regardless, we found a few individuals above ground and after data was collected a quick photograph of this handsome guy was taken.

                                      Western Toad with waistband transmitter

Pacific Treefrogs (Pseudacris regilla) were very vocal today (hearing frogs vocalizing in November is very much a treat for someone from Ontario), and we were were lucky enough to observe one on the ground.

Pacific Treefrog

No interesting birds observed today but I did have my eyes directed on the ground rather than towards the sky.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

November 3...Campbell River

Today I made my way up to Campbell River for an interview and had to be back in Nanaimo for 5 to assist with some amphibian surveys so exploring Campbell River was restricted to a couple quick stops.

We visited the Quinsam River Salmon Hatchery to have a look at some salmon.  This hatchery allows visitors to get good looks at pink, coho and chinook salmon at various stages of their development. 

Salmon making its way over an obstacle 

 Salmon attempting to get over a larger obstacle

Before returning back to Nanaimo, we took the scenic route along the ocean to look for some birds, there wasn't anything outside of the ordinary but there were some pleasant scenic views.

Ohh, there was one bird worth mentioning, I didn't think much of it at first as they are fairly common back in Ontario, but this Snow Bunting is apparently not so commonly reported on Vancouver Island.

Snow Bunting along the beach