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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Exploring Near Campbell River, BC

After our whale-watching trip last Saturday, we had a full day to explore near Campbell River on Sunday. We spent some time on the trails near Elk Falls Provincial Park along the Campbell River. We didn't see any elk, but did see a mama deer with this fawn:

Despite being relatively close to the roadway, it was a beautiful trail through the woods:

It was an interesting site right along some industrial complexes. The bridge visible in this picture was actually built on top of a pipeline that crosses the river there. There were also lots of people actively fishing, and a few snorkeling down the river. One thing they advertise that you can do in Campbell River is go snorkeling with salmon - interesting!

We got to Elk Falls when the lighting was just right to create this little rainbow. It made for an interesting contrast in a bright waterfall lit by the sun, the dark shadows of the river valley behind, and the scintillating rainbow:

It was a warm day - warmer than most of the afternoons we've had on San Juan Island this summer - so after birding a little along the shoreline of Discovery Passage it felt great to sit on the shade of the deck at the hotel and enjoy this interesting beverage: hard cider made out of saskatoon berries. Known in the US as serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), the road or trail side plant often gets overlooked by Americans. Canadians, however, enjoy the fruit in pies and jams, dried, or infused into beverages. Look at that color!

That's Quadra Island in the background of the above photo, reflected both right side up in the middle of the glass and upside down at the top of the liquid.

We also made two visits to Tyee Spit at the mouth of the Campbell River, and this was the best little birding spot we found in our explorations. On each visit we saw half a dozen bald eagles, multiple swallow species, harlequin ducks, common mergansers, Canada geese, mallards, killdeer, and several hundred Bonaparte's gull. On our second visit, however, we also found a single mute swan (year bird 191)! The mute swan, introduced to North America, is more established on the east coast, and only has a few population centers this far west. One is at the southern end of Vancouver Island, and occasionally they roam over to the San Juan Islands from there, though I have never seen one in San Juan County. I was surprised to see one this far north on Vancouver Island, but I have no idea if this is normal or not!

The park at Tyee Spit, looking inland
Overall it was a great trip to Vancouver Island! I also succeeded in proving to myself that it's really not so hard to get over there - after all, it's only a ferry ride away, just like the mainland. Next year I hope to go back, spend a little more time, and get a little further north on the island.


Lois Evensen said...

What a gorgeous part of the world. Wonderful images. Love the deer. It appears there is a very heavy winter coat forming.

Julie said...

i loved reading about your great trip up north, monika... and yeah, next year! port mcneill and telegraph cove are calling your name.

mine, too!

The K said...

Mmm the Saskatoon six pack is now gone. I actually liked it and will see if it's around somewhere in Portland. Nice post