Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) are found up and down the BC coast and are rarely found far from the shoreline. They prefer rocky shores and outcroppings but are also sometimes found on sandy beaches and are usually seen in small groups. They primarily consume molluscs, such as mussels, but will also eat crabs and isopods and other marine invertebrates. They nest on the ground in depressions they make out of small rocks and usually have 2-3 offspring in the spring or early summer.
Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar polysepala) is an aquatic perennial plant that is found in marshes, wetlands, ponds and slow moving water across southern and central BC and along the coast; becoming less common in northern and eastern parts of the province. It is a perennial plant that usually flowers from June to late-July depending on latitude, elevation and local conditions. The build up of decomposing lilies and other aquatic vegetation is part of the succession of marsh habitats to meadows and eventually forests. This process allows for shrubs to move in and eventually trees. The plant has many potential medicinal uses and was/is used by First Nations.
Fawning season is well underway for BC’s two native deer species. Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are found across most of BC except for the extreme North. White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are found in BC’s Southern Interior, Central BC and sections of the northeast. Both have one or two and rarely three fawns in late-May or June. For the first few months the fawns are light tan with white spots. These spots are thought to help camouflage them when their mothers leave them to go off feeding. The mothers do this regularly as the young slow them down and hinder them while they try to gain the nutrition needed for nursing. The fawns are weaned by the end of summer but start to consume vegetation before then. BC’s other cervids (members of the greater deer family) are also raising young at this time; Elk (Cervus canadensis), Moose (Alces alces) and Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) cows are raising their calves in many places across the province.
The Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is one of nine snake species and one of three garter snakes (the others being the Western Terrestrial and Northwestern Garter Snake) found in BC. It has the largest range of any snake in BC and is found across the entire province except the extreme north and Haida Gwaii. They are found in many different habitats but are most common near marshes, ponds, riparian areas and meadows. Garter snakes can sometimes be hard to distinguish from each other but the Common Garter Snake is usually black with three yellowish stripes running from the back of the head to the tail and has red spots running down the body. They give birth to live young in the spring and hibernate over winter in communal dens, sometimes with other snake species. They are strong swimmers and can be seen hunting or lounging in the water.
Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor) is a shrub found across southern BC and north to the central coast. It is common at sea level to mid-elevation sites especially in open areas like clearings, trails and along coastal beaches. It generally blooms in May/June depending on latitude, elevation and local conditions. Its white flower clusters stay on the plant for a long time and turn brown in late summer. It can grow to over 10 feet tall.
Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) are found across southern British Columbia during the summer. They have a strong sense of smell that helps them to find carrion (dead animals) and rarely hunt live animals. They ride thermal currents looking and smelling for carcasses and are easy to identify in flight with their v-shaped wing flying pattern. They do not make true nests but may pull together some loose soil or vegetation usually on cliffs but also sometimes use hollow logs, old burrows or other raptor nests.
The Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) is found across most of British Columbia; on the coast year-round and in the interior during summer. As their name implies they live on fish gathered from marine and freshwater environments. They also consume crabs and other crustaceans and even amphibians. Their call is a long rattle and is very distinctive. They do not make their nest out of grasses or twigs but burrow into riverbanks and sandy cliffs. These long tunnels are made by both the male and female and both also incubate the eggs.