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It's not hard to see why this is one of your favourRyan Miller Photographyraphy . It's a fantastic photo.One of my favorite images I’ve ever captured. A playful sea lion playing fetch with a leather star. The sea lion would grab the sea star off the sea floor, swim up to the surface, let it go, and try and catch it before it hit bottom. I think he/she was definitely showing off. ... See MoreSee Less
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There is now an open application for intertidal geoduck on a current tenure, which will involve using PVC tubes. This application requests a change to the existing infrastructure at a shellfish lease at Tsable River situated between Buckley Bay and Fanny Bay. In this case, it is Mac's Oysters Ltd. (Crown Land File 0278767), but we expect more of these applications will be coming (including on Denman Island). We worry that approval of this application will set a precedent. In addition to plastic pollution from the chemicals in PVC tubes, we can also expect more plastic debris in local waters. A small pilot geoduck project involving PVC tubes on Denman's western shore, not too far from Hinton Road, resulted in PVC tube debris washing ashore for many years (2017-2023). Anti-predator netting is used to cover the PVC tubes, and this netting gets loose, breaks down into microplastics, and entangles marine mammals, fish, and birds. The public can submit comments until Feb 18. Please consider doing so! Mac’s Oysters Ltd. (Crown Land File # 0278767) comment.nrs.gov.bc.ca/applications?id=6362b28312126d00220eab25&fbclid=IwAR08zCGZ5cZL0IhJ023ksCq7e... ... See MoreSee Less
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Wow! The diversity and beauty of life never fails too amaze. The Giant Plume Anemone is apparently a common species yet most of us are unaware of its existence.Basket Star unfurling arms to feed. Giant Plumose Anemones near. Basket Stars are so otherworldly and yet . . . one world, one ocean, and no divide.______________ Adult disk diameter for Gorgonocephalus eucnemis is 7 to 8.5 cm. When their 5 seeming infinitely branching arms are fully outstretched, adults can be 75 cm from arm-tip to arm-tip.Giant Plumose Anemones to 1 metre tall. How I've strived to express my wonder about Basket Stars in previous posts: "This species represents so much to me of the mystery in this Ocean and the motivation for this work. It's a common species and yet so many of us do not know of its existence because these waters are dark with the plankton the fuels the food web; because of the bias of believing warmer, clearer waters have more life. Nope.Basket Stars unfurl their 10 branched arms to feed in the current, forming a basket-trap to ensnare plankton. They move around, climbing up kelp for better positioning to feed. I have likely photographed some individuals over multiple years at our dive sites but, because they move around, I don't realize it. Known to be at depths from 8 to 1,850 metres. Range was thought to be from the Bering Sea to San Diego until research published in 2014 reported on "a new record of this species obtained with a submersible at Guadalupe Island, Mexico . . . which extends its distribution range over 400 km".Photo: January 21, 2023 at ~17 metres in 'Namgis Territory, northeast Vancouver Island ©Jackie Hildering, The Marine Detective. #seastar #starofwonder #marinebiology #dailydoseofdepth #marinebiodiversity #biodiversity ... See MoreSee Less
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Wonderful photos/commentary on Black Oystercatchers. With their brilliant coloured bills, they are hard to miss on our shoreline!Black OystercatchersDennis Forsyth writes: The older I get the more my appreciation for the more common natural wonders becomes. So, I now spend more time watching and photographing the birds that aren’t particularly rare or unusual. Towhees and Juncos can be quite fascinating. Not to mention the usual suspects when I am beach walking. And that brings up one of my favourite shore birds here – the Black Oystercatcher.I can clearly remember the first time I saw one. It was here on Denman on our beach and I was entranced by it. I thought then, and still do, that I was looking at something put together by a six-year-old child. Those strange looking pale, gangly legs. The bright red, elongated chisel bill. Its teetering, fussy scuttling gait as it forages along the tide-line. They always brighten my day.Their official Latin name is Haematopus bachmani. The second term is for a well-known ornithologist who was honoured by having a bird named after him. The first part, however, simply translates as “blood foot”. And that name reflects the fact that the European Oystercatcher actually has bright red legs and feet and was given its name by Linnaeus long before Europeans had any idea there were other members of the family. Our Black Oystercatcher, of course, has pale, pinkish-grey legs and feet that in a less enlightened time were called “flesh-coloured” before the ornithological community became aware that not all humans had pink skin.That spectacular bill though is the standout field mark. Usually bright red, very long, sharp as a darning needle and strong enough to be used to pry open fairly large clams and other molluscs.We have them here all year. Sometimes we see them as solitary hunters or occasionally in pairs but usually, especially in winter, they are found in flocks of a dozen or more birds. I’m usually alerted to their presence by their piercing whistle-like call. A rather melancholy long descending note. When alarmed and in flight that whistle becomes very loud and quite chattery. I think this might explain why other shorebirds, Turnstones in particular, can often be found loafing and sleeping in company with them. The Oystercatchers make a great alarm system. They are almost entirely restricted to the shoreline within a few yards of the tide-line. They move only a short distance from the shore to raise their chicks and depend very much on blending the nest area and eggs into the gravelly beach area they have chosen. They feed their chicks almost exclusively on molluscs – mostly mussels and limpets which also make up most of the adult’s diet. I find it remarkable that they seem to have little trouble opening shellfish. Usually the process involves forcing that very sharp, very strong bill into the clam or mussel, sometimes by chiseling a hole, and then severing the abductor muscle. I have watched while one of them picked and opened a half-dozen clams in about five minutes. Just as efficient as I would be using an oyster knife. Although, despite their name, I have never seen one open an oyster. Black Oystercatchers can be found on nearly every beach on our island and are around pretty much all year. I am always happy to pause whenever I come across some of them to spend some enjoyable time watching some very interesting neighbours. Dennis ... See MoreSee Less
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Here are more details on the humpback whale who, thankfully, was successfully disentangled from prawn gear. Thanks to everyone involved! This has to stop! As noted in the post commentary, preliminary findings show that about half of Humpback Whales have scarring from entanglement. And these are only the ones we know about!January 16 - Northeast Vancouver Island.Successful disentanglement of a Humpback Whale from recreational prawn gear (Wells Pass). The entanglement was known thanks to local fishers who called Coast Guard. A DFO response was initiated. We were able to find the whale. Local DFO then put a satellite tracker onto the prawn gear the whale was wrapped in (the tracker is on the green buoy in the photos). This allowed the whale to be found back the next day and disentanglement to happen with the necessary equipment and expertise. We have dorsal fin photos that will allow us to know who this Humpback Whale is in future and hopefully track his/her welfare. So far, we have not been able to identity who the whale is from any catalogue photos from the Canadian Pacific Humpback Collaboration. It is so important to realize that the entanglements of many whales are never known. If no one had seen this whale and reported the entanglement, the whale's condition would have depreciated further, unable to feed or move adequately. With the vast expanse of BC's ocean, it really is a matter of luck when someone does note that a whale is entangled and reports it, whereby there is hope of disentanglement. Please ensure you know the Incident Reporting number at 1-800-465-4336 and be sure to give the whale space (at least 200 metres). More information about how dangerous disentanglements can be and what to do (and not to do), see www.HowToSaveAWhale.org Preliminary results from research conducted by MERS, DFO and Oceanwise indicate ~50% of Humpback Whales have scarring from entanglement. This data provides an indication of how serious the risk of entanglement is but does not reveal how many Humpbacks die after becoming entangled (because so often dead whales sink or wash ashore where they are not detected or cause of death cannot be determined). It's a problem that must be solved at the source.See CTV coverage at vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/young-humpback-whale-saved-from-dangerous-entanglement-off-northern-va... ... See MoreSee Less
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Spectacular photos of Sand-rose Anemones, taken north of Port Hardy by The Marine Detective. ... See MoreSee Less
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This is a wonderful article by environment reporter Christopher Dunagan on Ken Balcomb. As described by Dunagan, "the stories are too numerous to recount them all, but I would like to take time to share some of my reporting that became enmeshed with Ken’s life work."In his latest article for our magazine, environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan remembers the life and influence of pioneering orca researcher Ken Balcomb. "The stories are too numerous to recount them all," Dunagan writes, "but I would like to take time to share some of my reporting that became enmeshed with Ken’s life work." It is a must-read tribute to one of the great champions of Puget Sound's southern residents. www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/remembering-ken-balcomb-and-his-extraordinary-life-killer-whales ... See MoreSee Less
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