Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Wildlife bonanza

As we begin to move south after our extended visit to the Broughtons, it seems appropriate to do a round-up of the wildlife we've seen. It truly is extraordinary.

• raccoons
• black bears (a pair!)
• bald eagles (countless, both mature and juvenile)
• ravens, crows, and jays (numerous)
• Canada geese
• cormorants
• loons
• osprey (fishing!)
• kingfishers (fishing!)
• herons (hunting)
• auklets (innumerable)
• various other birds, particularly gulls and ducks (zillions)
• orcas (never enough!)
• humpback whales (feeding!)
• Dall's porpoises
• harbour porpoises
• Pacific white-sided dolphins
• sea lions
• seals (innumerable)

Still waiting...

• otter (B and Z saw four! but I haven't see one yet)
• wolf
• cougar
• grizzly bear

... and all the other sea life that complements the basic setting of trees and rocks, such as clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, barnacles, starfish, jelly fish, and fish.

(If my round-up looks like a tick list, I suppose it is. Or maybe a wish list. This trip has underlined how much I value the opportunity to view animals in their natural habitat. Some of our encounters on this trip have been mind-altering.)

If I had more of my plant books with me or could remember them better, I'd be better prepared to discuss the various tree species we've seen. Zak brought us a copy of Pojar and MacKinnon's Plants of Coastal British Columbia (revised ed.), though, so I know we've seen hemlock, various fir, Sitka spruce, shore pine, western yew, red-cedar and yellow cedar, arbutus, red alder, and of course Pseudotsuga menziesii, AKA Douglas-fir (but Pseudotsuga menziesii is more fun to say), as well as the ubiquitous salal (a shrub, not a tree) and many other trees and shrubs. I like the berry shrubs best, particularly the blackberries. (Am missing raspberries, though.) The diversity of plant life is astonishing.

If you have the chance to visit the Broughtons, go: it's a fantastic trip. Prepare to be changed!