Natural History – Caving near Sayward – 31 May 2017

Activity Natural History – Caving
Destination East Memekay Caves
Date 31 May 2017, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Cyndy Chidley
Contact Info Cyndy Chidley: 250-285-3575
Bill West-Sells: 1-778-860-3131
Description Introductory caving (with some challenges) on north Vancouver Island.  Challenges include bridging, climbing, stretching, wriggling.
Meeting Place Q Cove ferry terminal in time for the 8:00 am ferry
Departure Time 8:00 am ferry to Campbell River
Difficulty
First cave “Chicken II” – easy; second cave “Scallop Falls” – moderate.
Costs Ferry and shared gas
Trip limits 12
Dogs? Possible; check on carpooling
Notes:
Wear rubber boots or runners that you don’t mind getting wet. Bring coveralls, a helmet that you are able to fit with head light and a head light, if you can get one.  Bill has some extras that he will bring.  Flexible gloves, if you have them. A change of shoes and socks. A lunch.  Not essential, but whoever has a walkie talkie, or VHF radio, please bring it with charged batteries.  The more we have of these the better.

Trip Report – Qualicum Area Birdwatching – 12 Apr 2017

A small group of us set out with low expectations, under heavy grey skies, to look for migrating geese. We were in quest of Brant, a beautiful small goose that makes a stop-over in this area to re-fuel on the trip north. We started our exploration at Rathtrevor Beach, just south of Parksville and had several other sites located in case we had to search the length of the estuary area to find groups of Brant. But as soon as we walked over to the edge of the sand we were delighted to see large numbers of these elegant black and white geese strung along the waterline. Among them were a number of shorebirds – Black Turnstones and Black-bellied Plovers. We walked out along the sand as far as we dared without disturbing the birds, set up the spotting scope, and enjoyed the show.

As we had a closer look, we realized that there was a lot of activity offshore as well. A bunch of immense sea lions were splashing and interacting just beyond the Brant, and we spotted a group of porpoise swimming by. Beyond all that were large rafts of Scoters and the occasional loon. There was a feeling of excitement in the air as all these critters were energetically feeding and organizing themselves for the next leg on the push northward to breed.

After taking in our fill at this location, we moved to the forested area on the other side of Englishman River to see what we could turn up there. The forest was beautiful, but there was not a lot of bird activity. We did spot large numbers of Swallows (Bank, we presumed) zooming about along the river. It’s always nice to see these birds in good numbers, knowing that their populations are struggling worldwide.

After a warm-up lunch in a pub in Parksville and we made a final stop inland at Hamilton Marsh near Coombs. A short walk took us to a large open wetland area with a dock extending into the water. We spotted many Canada Geese, Buffleheads, Red-winged Blackbirds and lots of Tree Swallows swooping about.

Altogether, our bird list for the day totaled 37 species:
American Robin
Northwest Crow
Bald Eagle
Brant Goose
Black Turnstone
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Black Oystercatcher
White Winged Scoter
Surf Scoter
Common loon
Eared Grebe
Black-bellied Plover
Mew Gull
Thayer’s Gull
California Gull
Pine Siskin
Dark-eyed Junco
Spotted Towhee
Wilsons Warbler
Red-breasted Merganser
Belted Kingfisher
Common Raven
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Mallard
Savannah Sparrow
Bank Swallow
Pacific Wren
Red-winged Blackbird
Bufflehead
Tree Swallow
Brown Creeper
Great Blue Heron
House Finch

Kathryn

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Thanks to Kathryn and Norris for the photos

Bird Watching – Qualicum Shoreline – 29 Mar 2017

Trip Report – Karst Formations – 5 April 2017

Eleven of us took advantage of a break in the rainy weather to visit some of the Karst features on Quadra Island: sink holes, insurgences, resurgences, caves, and grikes – holes in the limestone surface which connect to the underworld.  Thanks to the recent rains there was plenty of water coming and going.  We also visited a horizontal mine shaft.  We don’t know what they were mining, but they made an impressive tunnel to explore.  Thanks to James and Carley, young geologists, for their interpretation and commentary on what we were viewing.

Norris

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Natural History – Karst Formations – 5 April 2017

Bird Watching – Qualicum shoreline – 29 March 2017

 Change of date from March 29 to April 12!

Activity Bird Watching
Destination Qualicum area shoreline
Date 12 April 29 March 2017, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Mark Zimmerman
Contact  mz.markzimmerman@gmail.com or 285-2103; please contact the coordinator ten days to one week prior to the trip to ensure car pooling availability.
Description The focus of the trip will be on local area birds and water birds, particularly brants.  The group may visit more than one location depending on the cooperation of the birds.  Actual destinations will be decided closer to the time of the trip and will remain flexible.
Meeting Place Q Cove ferry terminal
Departure Time Early ferry departure TBD
Difficulty
Easy walking
Costs Shared fuel and ferry costs
Trip limits
Dogs? no
Notes: Bring lunch, gear for the weather and binoculars.

Natural History – Karst Formations – 22 February 2017

 Postponed to 5 April 2017

Activity Natural History
Destination Quadra’s karst formations
Date 5 April 22 February 2017, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info 285-3710 or norris.weimer@ualberta.ca; please contact the coordinator by Sunday if you are interested in going
Description Visit some of Quadra’s Quatsino limestone formations, an area which contains karst sinkholes, intakes, resurgences and underground streams.   We will visit two or three areas, which involves a bit of driving on logging roads and bush walking.  We will not be walking in caves.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay store parking lot for car pooling. High clearance vehicles will be preferable.
Departure Time 9:30
Difficulty
Easy to moderate
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: Bring lunch and gear appropriate for the weather.  Also, bring a flashlight to see into these geological formations.

Trip Report – Karst Formations – 12 Nov 2016

After yet another night of heavy rain, the weather improved and four of us went on an impromptu walk in the afternoon to see the karst features off the Granite Bay Rd.   We followed a sketchy route along the sinkholes, climbing down into the depressions and exploring the insurgences and resurgences.  There wasn’t as much water flowing as we had hoped, but we enjoyed the water disappearing and reappearing in the Quatsino limestone.  We then walked over to the falls into the really big sinkhole off of North Mtn Hookup. About 2 hours.  On the drive back we stopped to see the Chum spawning in Haycinthe Creek.  Though many were dead, some were still fighting their way upstream.

Debbie

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Naturalist – Karst Formations – 12 Nov 2016

Naturalist – Karst Formations – 12 November 2016

Activity Naturalist outing
Destination Quadra’s karst formations
Date 12 November 2016
Trip Coordinator NA
Contact Info RSVP to qioutdoorclub@gmail.com
Description This will be a short walk to see the volume of water coming through some of Quadra’s Quatsino limestone formations.  There is no trail; we will be following a route which may be slippery.  Conditions may not be favourable to descend to the creeks.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay store parking lot for car pooling.
Departure Time 14:00
Difficulty
Easy to moderate
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: Bring gear appropriate for the weather.  Poles and a flashlight to see into these geological formations may be useful.