The Next Hike

Check here every week for details on the next Trekker hike!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 30th May.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we had a cloudy start to the day and decided there was not much point in hiking up to some interesting viewpoint that had low cloud preventing us from enjoying the view.  Instead we started walking from the Ballpark and took the usual route uphill to the lunchspot at Cap Sheaf Lake.  It turned out to be quite a memorable and funny time for a rather odd reason.  As we settled to eat several bullfrogs began a curious sequence of booming croaks from different locations in the swamp that surrounds the lake.  It was odd the way they would take it in turns to impress the females, and each seemed to have something distinctive about its voice, some with very low notes, some not so low and none in clear view.  

A few days ago I hiked north from Van Anda to Eagle Cove and beyond in search of a rare plant that had been seen close to that trail.  I was able to photograph the flowers, but along the way I also came across a Barred Owl that was upsetting some robins that probably had nests not far away.  The robins were taking turns diving down to try to get rid of the owl and my photo shows it a moment after one of the smaller birds had managed to hit it on the head!  

A Barred Owl that was being mobbed by several very upset robins.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 13th May, 2015
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we decided to check on the cactus that grow on the seaside bluffs south of Mouat Point.  We parked this time just past the Eagle Creek culvert and took the gravel side road that heads towards Mouat Point.  At the third fork in the road we swung left and then used the first winding trail that heads out to the bluffs.  It's always nice to sit on the rocks close to the water for our lunch break, but I was careful to not scare the twenty or so seals that I felt sure would be basking down close to the water.  After a short time they decided the neighbourhood was getting a bit too crowded and swam away to find a quieter spot. After lunch we checked on the cactus clumps, but it turned out we were too early and none had any open flowers. 

Harbour Seals basking at low tide on seaweed covered rocks south of Mouat point. The white one is a bit unusual.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 16th May.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we hiked up through the forest to a viewpoint near the top of Black Mountain.  This mountain has steep sides, is rounded at the top and almost entirely covered by mature forest.  However, on the south side there are some small open spots which offer great views over Malaspina Strait to the Sunshine Coast and beyond.  While it was a nice sunny day on Texada there was too much cloud over the Lower Mainland area to allow us to see the more distant Mt. Baker in Washington State.

On the way back to the vehicles we spotted an early butterfly species that I have never seen before and while it was very skittish it did pause long enough on the road gravel to allow me to get a good shot of it.  The zig-zag pattern on the underside of the hind wings is so distinctive I was able to track it down quickly and identify it as a Western Pine Elfin.  This is a common species in most parts of North America, but fairly rare west of the Cascades which explains why I probably did not see one before.  They lay eggs on pine trees for the young to feed on the needles and the adults visit a variety of wild flowers for nectar.

A very frisky butterfly called the Western Pine Elfin on a logging road near Black Mountain.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Next Hike.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 9th May.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we drove north from Van Anda and parked where people park for swimming at the quarry.  We started by walking north up the hill and then turned off onto the right of way leading to the Rogers cell phone tower.  Just as you reach the tower there is an old partly overgrown logging road that leads down through the forest and joins with a network of mixed good and poor logging roads that extend north and south in this part of the island.  It was a lovely day and we wandered around, visiting a clump of the uncommon Douglas Maple and viewing many clusters of the rare in Canada Giant Chain Fern.  They always look very shabby this early in the summer so I didn't bother to photogarph them for this email. 

The week before last on our visit to the area south of Favada Point where we were lucky enough to see a pod of Orcas close to the shore I photographed an adult Bald Eagle that seemed very much more tame then is usual with this species.  It didn't bother to look at us at first even though we were making quite a lot of noise not far away.  When it did turn to look our way I got this nice shot, but then it turned back again to concentrate on what was happening out to sea.  I'm not sure there were any Orcas around at that time, but we did see a pod just after we finished lunch and that turned out to be quite a memorable experience.

At the time we were walking along grassy bluffs above some high cliffs and the Orca were close to the shore, heading south in clear view.  I made videos of the activity going on below us and an edited version is online at this website:—

Scroll down to 25 April to read my report on the sighting, and click on the image above that note to view an edited version of my video. Without realising it at the time I had filmed the killing of a California Sea Lion.

Mich also has some of her photos on the same website at this archive location:—

Scroll down to "TRANSIENT BIGGS ORCA"  and her photos of the same Orcas are below her report dated  25 April, 1.30 to 2.00pm


        A relatively tame adult Bald Eagle on a cliff top tree not far south of Cabin Cove, north-west coast of Texada Island.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Next Hike from Van Anda - again!

The next hike will be on Saturday, 2nd May.
We meet at the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.
Last week we hiked south near Favada Point on the north-west coast of Texada Island and had lunch on a high cliff at Arbutus Arch.  As we walked back along the shoreline bluffs a group of five or six Biggs Transient Orcas were headed south quite close inshore.  Soon after passing us they started to mill around and began to rush about quickly diving and surfacing and for a few minutes it was not clear what was happening.  However, I shot some video and it was only much later on at home when viewing it on the computer that I realised I had recorded a sequence that included an attack on a lone California Sealion. At the end of the hike we visited the beach south of Maple Bay and enjoyed watching the antics of a large number of Steller and California Sealions, some in the water and some on the rocks basking in the sun.  Both species are pretty noisy with the massive Steller males being the loudest by far I would say.

    Four adult Orcas in a row near Favada Point. This is a frame from a video I took of their unusual behaviour.