by Tom Koleszar, 19 July 2016.
On July 19 the Malaspina Naturalists made the annual trip out to Mitlenatch Island, departing from Lund once again aboard the Misty Isles with Captain Mike Moore. The weather was a bit cooler and windier that we are used to in mid-July – but at least the wind meant we had the opportunity to raise the sails!
Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park protects the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia, and, since its boundaries extend 300m from shore, all marine life near the island as well.
The group split into 2 parts and took turns going ashore and viewing the island and its wildlife from the zodiac. The group ashore saw a few wildflowers still blooming, but the highlight was viewing the gull chicks from the bird blind. We were able to see many ~2 week old chicks at very close range! Unfortunately due to the blustery weather, the zodaic was not able to circumnavigate the island. We had to stay mostly on the north and west sides, but still saw lots of seals and many seabirds, including Glaucous-winged Gulls, Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, and Black Oystercatchers. Insome places the rocks and cliffsides were covered in nesting cormorants!
We all had a great time at Mitlenatch Island, and then enjoyed a relaxing trip back to Lund on the Misty Isles (complete with tea and cookies!).