Tag Archives | Cortes Island Nature

Rewriting History

It first happened a few years ago and it was kinda cute. I recall thinking, “Wow.” And then the next time it happened, it was “seriously?” And then again. Now it is time to get it straight. Poison Bay. A small bay, about a kilometre northeast of Hank’s Beach, a bay so small that if […]

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Hoping to Curry Favour!

This young raven had a rough day. I found him late this afternoon while gathering eggs during a lull in the rainstorm. He may have been hung up for as long as five hours. The chickens didn’t seem overly alarmed and luckily for the raven, the farmer was not overly alarmed! With Donna’s help using […]

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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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A Zero Tide

Friday the 13th was special for more than its usual notoriety. Just after noon, we had a zero tide. This is a relatively rare event, often not happening for a number of years. The “zero tide” refers to the tide height. Typically for this area “a low tide” is measured in the range of 2 […]

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2017 Christmas Bird Count

On a very rainy Sunday, December 17, 2017, thirty-five bird enthusiasts attended the CBC – Christmas Bird Count Day, sponsored by the Cortes Island Museum, Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. In the heavy at times and continuous rain, with water covered eye glasses, binoculars and cameras, it was difficult to spot and recognize birds. […]

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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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Heritage Garden – by Donna McLaren

Living History — The Heritage Garden at the Cortes Island Museum. The Heritage Garden in late summer and fall — a transition season. Here are some plants that will reliably provide bloom and colour in the garden at this time. Dahlia species were first introduced from Mexico to Europe in the 1800s. A different species […]

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Orcas in Von Donop Lagoon, ca. 1949 – by Lynne Jordan

Like a number of families in the 1940s, the Herrewigs were a logging family living on their camp floats in Von Donop Creek (now called Von Donop Inlet) on the northwest of Cortes Island. Violet Herrewig and Amy McKenzie remember in 1949 when five blackfish (that’s what everyone on the coast called killer whales/orcas in […]

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Heritage Garden – by Donna McLaren

Living History – The Heritage Garden at the Cortes Island Museum. Early summer in the garden – peonies, roses, lilies and lavender – a wonderful season for colour and fragrance. One of the first flowers to bloom in the early summer are peonies. The selections in the Heritage Garden were introduced in the 1880s and […]

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Nature Notes – by George Sirk

Hi to everyone who is interested in the arrivals of different species to our area. And not just birds! (but mostly!) But let’s start with our feathered dinosaurs… Spring migration is just ramping up. That includes the species that travel through our coastal flyway on their way to their northern nesting areas and the ones […]

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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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