SW BC

Hi All,
I just spent a few days in SW British Columbia. It was not a mammal-watching trip, but here are a few tips:
– Keen’s Mouse is abundant in Pacific Spirit Regional Park near UBC campus. On the campus there are lots of melanistic Eastern Gray Squirrels and Black Rats;
– I found a trail of the recently split Cordilleran Water Shrew (used by the shrew about once per hour) in Strathcona Provincial Park, on the W side of the stream under the bridge at the far end of Paradise Meadow loop trail. The trailhead is reached by taking a (signposted) left turn just before Alpine Ski Resort. I also briefly saw a Townsend’s vole along that trail at dawn. It takes less than half an hour to walk from the trailhead to the bridge. Look for a small rat-size mammal running through the grass parallel to the stream, about a foot from the shore on average.
– Vancouver Marmots are easy about 150 m up the main ski lift (the only one operating in summer) route at the resort. Look in the area where the ski lift route intersects with a gravel ATV road. They are generally a bit shy, but juveniles are more approachable.
Vladimir Dinets
P.S. If you are SCUBA certified, you can see an outstandingly huge giant Pacific octopus (the suckers are the size of a soccer, and the total diameter is way over 3 m) at Singing Sands dive site in Courtenay (near the turnoff for Alpine Ski Resort). It’s an easy shore dive and the octopus is easy to find as it hides under a sunken sailboat; ask for directions at the gear rental place in Courtenay (pacificprodive.com). Don’t delay this as octopuses don’t live very long. Introduced European rabbits are common in the area.

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