Author Archive | Christian Gronau

The Mystery of the Perambulating Clam

Some time ago, Aileen and I found a Manila clam near our house, which is to say about 100 metres from the nearest saltwater. The shell surface was somewhat corroded, so we knew where on the beach the individual had come from: a sandy area which receives a lot of freshwater runoff, hence the surface […]

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“F” Stands for Fossil

The capital “F” in a circle is a symbol only rarely encountered on the Bute Inlet Geology map (National Topographic System reference 92 K). One can be found adorning the southern end of the Twin Islands, which are tucked in close to the southeast coast of Cortes Island. Quite remarkable, really. The literature accompanying the […]

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GLOWING FISH (rotten and otherwise)

Text and photographs are by Christian Gronau unless indicated otherwise. This story reminded me of a story and then another: A friend, after walking his dog at night on a Cortes Island beach, reported how some old and smelly fish remains, being pawed by his excited companion, glowed in a pale bluish-green light. He had […]

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Still Alive and Skipping

A few years ago this unremarkable photograph of an unassuming little brown butterfly was taken on the foliage of a Cortes Island butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). During the 2017 Bio-Blitz, the image was brought to the attention of Libby Avis and her husband Rick from Port Alberni – both are local experts in matters lepidopteran […]

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Erratics – by Christian Gronau

A Brief Survey of Cortes Island Beach Rocks DEFINITION: erratic (er-rat’-ic) n. A rock fragment carried by glacial ice, or by floating ice, deposited at some distance from the outcrop from which it was derived, and generally though not necessarily resting on bedrock of different lithology. Size ranges from a pebble to a house-size block. Bates […]

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The Biggest Moon of All – by Christian Gronau

(All photographs are the author’s unless indicated otherwise.) We all have seen and marvelled: Lewis’ Moon Snail (Neverita lewisii), just as a shell and even more so in the flesh, is a very impressive marine snail indeed. Difficult to imagine, but the large body of this snail can be withdrawn into the shell completely. It […]

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Owls Are the Best Field Assistants in Biodiversity Studies – by Christian Gronau

Owls Are the Best Field Assistants in Biodiversity Studies – An Appreciation of Owl Pellets Oliver Pearson, a pioneer in Patagonian mammalogy, always said that owls were his best field assistants during Patagonian surveys. They hunted more species and more individuals than his trap lines, so they were useful estimators of field abundance.                […]

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The Northwestern Toad – by Christian Gronau

(All photographs are author’s, unless indicated otherwise.) Once known as Bufo borealis, then corrected to Bufo boreas, now changed to Anaxyrus boreas, it’s still the same, one and only, (North) Western Toad to be encountered in our area (including Vancouver Island). Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Amphibia Order: Anura Family: Bufonidae Genus: Anaxyrus Species: A. […]

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The Salamanders of Marina Island – by Christian Gronau

Some stories bear retelling  – perhaps because there are newcomers who haven’t heard them before, perhaps because there are oldtimers who didn’t pay attention the first time.  Or, perhaps, because the concept of cumulative learning (especially on a societal level) is just a hopeful notion  – and the old, much resented, high school saying:  “repetitio […]

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