Andrew Bryant – “I’m STILL wearing a mask”

by Andrew Bryant, 14 September 2022.

Even though mandatory mask requirements have been lifted…

I’ve been out snorkeling pretty much every day since 12 June.  I’m not a marine biologist.  The best part of that fact is that everything is still new to me.  Which keeps me excited about learning new things – and that happens pretty regularly.

There’s a whole network of local scuba divers who’ve helped me identify many of the species shown here – especially Sean Percy.  And yes perhaps one day I will find time to create an “underwater life-list”…but not today.

Because snorkeling season is not quite over yet!



Winnie Ferrier – “The Great Backyard Bird Count”

by Winnie Ferrier, 6 March 2022.

The Global GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) celebrated its 25th anniversary this year in February.  For me it was just one year ago that I tentatively recorded in a notebook bird sightings from my yard, and for the first time put into my computer the species and numbers onto eBird.  I spent half an hour each morning and afternoon of the four days of the GBBC observing birds and accumulated 15 species, and a total of 147 birds.

I have learned so much since then.  Firstly, it doesn’t have to be just in my yard that I count birds for the GBBC.  It can be anywhere in my neighborhood or community.  So this year over the four days I submitted 9 checklists – 2 from looking out of my home window, 3 from walks around my neighborhood, and I went birding to Cranberry Lake, Myrtle Rocks, Brew Bay, and the Beach Gardens Marina.

I was fortunate enough this past year to participate in a Zoom course through Rocky Point Bird Observatory in Victoria that gave me the confidence to tally birds on my  iPhone using an eBird app – I’ve been inputting the birds that I observe on outings ever since!  Me – who has always been intimidated by anything “techy”!  My observation times for the GBBC this year ranged from 15 minutes to 1 ¾ hour each.  I had a terrific time with binoculars on my front, a backpack on my back and my point-and-shoot camera over my shoulder.  I felt like an adventurer, excited about what I might see next.  My goal was to try and find some birds that I hadn’t seen before. I was gratified in that I found three that were new to me.  In total I recorded 38 species and 863 birds in total.

I look back from just a year ago and celebrate my successes!



Andrew Bryant – “I’ve been wearing a mask”

by Andrew Bryant, 29 August 2021.

So, thought…well if I have to wear a mask anyways…

Why not make it a snorkel?  I’ve been out pretty much every day since 15 June.  I’m not a marine biologist.  And I’ve probably not even found the best local snorkeling spots yet.  Willingdon Beach is a marvellous Powell River asset.  You can always find a helpful child to point that “elephant-head” water feature at you and thus rinse off the salt.

My first encounter with a “moon jelly” on 21 June demanded that I buy a proper underwater camera.  The first camera was a bust.  The 2nd camera is a keeper.  Now I need to get over the fact that I know very little about what I’m photographing.

Yup.  I feel like I’m a non-birdwatcher showing up in Algonquin in May of 1984.  Again.



Gail Schofield – “indigenous plants inspire”

by Gail Schofield, 15 Sept 2020.

Here’s a 2 page newsletter about new developments at the Lang Creek Gardens.  In spite of Covid, we’ve found a way to move forward with projects and signage installation.

We remember meeting you at the gardens for a tour this time last year – it feels like a lifetime away!

We hope your members well and finding interesting ways to stay busy and safe….



Tom Koleszar – “the new Emma Direct Trail”

Tom Koleszar – “the new Emma Direct Trail”
by Tom Koleszar, 20 August 2020.

I recently explored the newly cleared trail up to Emma Lake called “Emma Direct”, and another club member had asked me to submit a report on it – so here it is!

The trail starts about 600m up Branch A800 at an elevation of 200m (the turn off is roughly 4km past the head of Goat Lake on the Goat Main).  From there you proceed 2.5km along the old A800 road, enjoying several waterfalls and views along the way. After the road ends, the trail continues another 3km up through regenerating forest and older subalpine forest until you reach Emma Lake 1150m higher than where you started, coming out right behind the cabin.  The trail itself is rough – as is typical of a new trail – and quite steep, but the end makes it all worthwhile.  There are a couple of spots where ropes are emplaced to assist with steep sections, and even a short tunnel through boulders!  Less than 1km before Emma Lake, there is a side branch to Scrub Lake – a worthwhile diversion to a picturesque little spot!

The views of mountains and lakes, along with the creeks and ponds and wildflower meadows, make this a truly wonderful and popular spot.  We passed groups of all ages from children on up both coming and going (the children didn’t have to carry packs, and seemed the happiest of all!).

Special thanks to the Knuckleheads Winter Recreation Association for all their hard work on the trail, and to PRPAWS for lending them some of the necessary equipment to do the work.


Tom Koleszar – “Slide Mountain”

Tom Koleszar – “Slide Mountain”
by Tom Koleszar, 17 August 2020.

Slide Mountain is an impressive peak about 40km NNE of Powell River, near the head of Powell Lake. At 2105m, it is one of the highest peaks in the area. I selected an area 2.5km NE of the peak along a ridge extending out towards the Eldred Valley for a day of hiking in an untouched alpine area. We were dropped off by helicopter near a small lake at 1370m elevation, in a spot with a magnificent view of the north face of Slide Mtn.

Our day’s hike was a circumnavigation of the lake, beginning with a sometimes very steep and rocky ascent of the ridge along its SW side. We eventually crested the ridge (1580m) overlooking the upper Eldred Valley with a view to Mt Alfred – it was a great lunch spot! After lunch we descended the opposite side of the lake on more gentle slopes and through heather meadows. When we got back down to the lake, it was time for a VERY refreshing swim (there was still snow at the other end of the lake!). We then had a couple of hours of relaxation and photography until the helicopter arrived to take us home.

We encountered many wildflower areas – mostly pink and white heather, but also saxifrage and others as well. The few trees were gnarled old yellow cedars and mountain hemlocks. At the higher levels there was still plenty of snow (this was in mid August) melting, and thus water running everywhere. Lots of mosses and waterfalls! However, we did not see any wildlife – only some goat tracks in a drying pond.

For the geologically inclined, Slide Mtn is a fascinating area. Though we spent the day hiking on Mid Cretaceous (~100 million years old) granitic rocks, Slide Mtn itself is composed of a mix of Triassic aged (200-250 million years old) basaltic volcanic rocks and Lower Cretaceous (100-150 million years old) interlayered volcanic and sedimentary rocks.


Andrew Bryant – “Heron and Neowise at Mowat Bay”

Andrew Bryant – “Heron and Neowise at Mowat Bay”
by Andrew Bryant, 13 Jul 2020.

Having seen some wonderful images of Comet NEOWISE from around the world, I thought I’d dust off my trusty Nikon and take a stab at it myself.  My immediate impressions were:

Wow: there sure were a lot of people at Mowat Bay at midnight on a Monday!  I think most people were inspired, as I was, by this being a one-in-6800 year event.

I suspect the entire Powell River “camera community” was there.  Along with others.  There were dogs, and flashlights, and a whole lot of conversations going on.  Complete with fast cars peeling out with impressive exhaust systems.  Man.  I’m so very glad to be old.

Because nobody else noticed the heron just sitting there.  Quietly.
Not twenty feet away.
While the heavens unfolded above.

Thank you, Mr/Mrs Heron.  Let’s see what we can do to return the favor.

Heather Harbord – “Willingdon Beach Trail”

Heather Harbord – “Willingdon Beach Trail”
by Heather Harbord, 7 Jul 2020.

In my anti-Covid battle, I try to boost my immune system by tramping along either the Sea Walk or the Willingdon Beach Trail twice a week.

Here are some of the plants I identified recently along the Willingdon Trail.  Towards the far end of the trail, where there are less people, there are lots of bird songs.  Swainson’s Thrushes are much in evidence.  There must be lots of nests in the undergrowth probably well hidden from the trail.  Occasionally there’s the loud hollow rat-tat-tat of a Pileated Woodpecker.

Heather Harbord – “McFall Creek Trail”

Heather Harbord – “McFall Creek Trail”
by Heather Harbord, 7 Jul 2020.

Walking in the woods behind  the Complex, I noticed several prime clumps of Indian-Pipes (Monotropa uniflora) which all that rain has brought out.  Sometimes called ghost flowers, these white clumps, 5-25cm high, lack chlorophyll and have to feed on the nearby conifer trees via the fungi which connect their roots to them.

To find them, start at the Triple Bypass Loop and walk north on the McFall Creek Loop.  Between the picnic tables and  the bridge, there are several easily seen clumps beside the trail.  Look at the pictures on our website before you go.  In a few days, the 2 cm long white flowers will turn upwards, withering to dark purple and black.  In this phase, they are more difficult to see.

Also, watch for the similar yellowy-pink Pinesap (Hypopitys monotropa), which you may also spot.



Tom Koleszar – “The new March Lake trail”

Tom Koleszar – “The new March Lake trail”
by Tom Koleszar, 18 May 2020.

In mid May we walked most of the new March Lake trail.

This is a new section of the Sunshine Coast Trail constructed last Fall to go around the north and west sides of March Lake, and part of it goes through an old growth forest. This forest is unusual in that it has a great deal of Yellow Cedar at a relatively low altitude (and believe me, this made for hard work on the build as it is a very hard and heavy wood!).

There is also lots of blueberry, and everything is covered with moss!  The trail also goes right by a giant Western White Pine.  Though the trail does not go right down to the lake, a side branch (an old quad route) does.  At the lake there is a bench to sit and enjoy the view, and the shore is surrounded by wetland shrubs – for us, the swamp laurel had almost finished flowering and the Labrador Tea was not quite out yet!

Finding the access to this section is not easy, but our plan is to take a field trip here when we are able.



Tom Koleszar – “Lost Lake”

Tom Koleszar – “Lost Lake”
by Tom Koleszar, 5 May 2020.

In early May we walked into Lost Lake to look at the bogs along the shore, and especially to see the flowering Bog Laurel (also known as Swamp Laurel).

We were not disappointed – their pink flowers were in full glory!  The shore of Lost Lake is easily accessible from the Sunshine Coast Trail, coming either from Inland Lake or Haywire Bay (see attached map).  If you approach from the Inland Lake side, you will pass a very large Western White Pine not too far from the Lake – see if you can spot it!

The bogs themselves can be a bit of a challenge to move around on and require some care, but are a fascinating place to see whether from the shore or the bogs themselves. There is even a brand new bench from which to enjoy the view (donated by Scott and Margo Glaspey and installed by the Sunshine Coast Trail Crew).