Browne Creek wildflowers

Browne Creek wildflowers
by David Bedry
, 7 May 2023

Four of us met at the north end of the mall to carpool to Browne Creek.  Dinner Rock Park is still closed.  We parked at the gate for about a fifteen minute walk to the area where the wildflowers were finally blooming.  The chocolate lilies are finally starting to bloom.  We also saw yellow monkey flowers, shooting stars, white death camus, saxifrage, strawberry flowers, and Oregon grape flowers.

One of the members had her cell phone along which she opened up to a birding app called Merlin. It would identify the bird songs so we had a birding by ear field trip as well. We could not see everything that it identified, but a treat was to see two brown creepers.

Comox Estuary Tour #2

Comox Estuary Tour #2
by Pat Cottingham
, 3 Oct 2022

An enthusiastic group of 12 spent a stunningly beautiful, warm and calm day on the Comox Estuary and in the Baynes Sound area.  We went over as foot passengers from Westview and boarded bus transport at Little River….to take us to Comox Harbour to link up with Duncan Cameron (skipper of the “Twee Schoenen”/Comox Harbour Tours) and our engaging and very informative guide for the day, Caitlan Pierzchalski. She is a Marine Biologist, with a graduate degree in Ecological Restoration, and is the Executive Director of “Project Watershed” ….an organization that is involved with a multitude of habitat improvement and restoration projects. Many of their projects are connected with other grassroots, provincial and federal agencies and many involve the input from the K’omoks First Nation; traditional territory of the Sahtloot, Sasitla, Leeksun and Puntledge peoples.
On our slow trip up the Comox Estuary (where the Courtney River meets the sea; and fresh and salt water mix), Caitlin provided fascinating historical, cultural, and physical details to set a context for what we were viewing. We were hoping to see the remnants of the fish weirs that an earlier earthquake unveiled …. but the tides were too high. It was a great day for our birders however, as there was a plethora of canada geese (they are one reason we need to restore the foreshore eel grass areas; agh), common mergansers, surf scoters (not scooters as I thought), american wigeon ducks and others that I missed making notes on; sorry!
We were able to see the progress of a major Project Watershed/K’omoks First Nation habitat restoration project… “Kus-kus-sum”… at the site of the former Field Sawmill. Instead of using this vacant site for residential and retail development, significant monies were raised through community fund raising, donations and multiple grants to buy the land from Interfor and commence work on restoration and conservation of the site. It really is an impressive and awesome endeavour to provide fish and wildlife habitat, attenuation, carbon sequestration as well as recreation and educational opportunities.
We had time for a leisurely trip towards Baynes Sound; checking out Tree Island and viewing the lovely beaches. We returned home slightly sunburned, totally relaxed, and again thankful to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

Comox Estuary Tour #1

Comox Estuary Tour #1
by Cindy Dalcourt
, 19 Sept 2022

A beautiful sunny fall day with calm seas for 12 of us to head over to Comox for our first ever trip with Comox Harbour Tours.  On the way there we were lucky to see whales spouting in the distance on both sides of the ferry.  As we had walked on we were met on the other side by our Captain, Duncan Cameron and boarded the arranged bus transport to Comox harbour.

Once aboard we met Cailin Pierzchalski – Director of Project Watershed who was our guide for the trip.  She was a wealth of knowledge about everything we saw.  The estuary is very shallow but with the draft of this boat we were able to go up the Courtenay River to see where Project Watershed is restoring the former Field Sawmill site back to native vegetation.  There was a lot of equipment working and it is a huge project funded by grants from many different agencies.  It was inspiring to hear of all the restoration work that has been done in the estuary area.

We saw a lot of seals and many different types of birds including turkey vultures enjoying a meal on shore.  We also learned that the Canada Geese are one of the main contributors to the destruction of the foreshore eel grass areas.  We definitely enjoyed our day and hope to make use of this tour company again in the future.