Monadenia fidelis // Pacific Sideband Snail // Camas Hill

Metchosin Arts & Cultural Centre Association (MACCA) and the Metchosin Foundation (MF) announce Metchosin, Naturally, the first Metchosin biodiversity photo contest and exhibition.

The Metchosin MycoBlitz is coming up on November 2nd and 3rd. See below for details.  Also see the event poster.

We are sad to report the loss of Moralea Milne one of the Metchosin Biodiversity Project coordinators. More about Moralea and her work on the website of the Metchosin Foundation.

Welcome to the web site of the Metchosin BioBlitz and MycoBlitz. The team at the Metchosin Biodiversity Project sponsors the blitzes and publishes the results on these pages in order to:

  • Increase our understanding of Metchosin’s species and ecosystems.
  • Share natural history information with interested people in Metchosin and adjacent jurisdictions.
  • Use this information and awareness to protect and restore Metchosin’s species and ecosystems.

A large number of Metchosin species have been located during the seven years of the Metchosin BioBlitzes and MycoBlitzes. Our species count edged over the 2400 mark in 2017. Here is the summary of our counts in May of 2018, broken down by organism groups.  You can view the entire set of observations--more than 10,000--by species group and by scientific name. You can also download an Excel spreadsheet of all of our data (but with specific observation locations removed). The spreadsheet and observation lists were last updated in May, 2017.

Species counts continued to mount during our various 2018 blitz events (described below). In May of 2018, we reached 2420 species.

Metchosin MycoBlitz 2018 -- Upcoming

Clavaria Clavaria purpurea, Matheson, 2010

The sixth Metchosin MycoBlitz will take place on Saturday, November 3, 2018. At the spring Metchosin BioBlitzes (eight, so far), we've counted all manner of birds, bugs, fish, plants, fungi, bees, butterflies,etc. Fungi, however, are thin on the ground in the spring, so we extend our blitzing to the fall in order to inventory some of the hundreds of fungi that press up their autumnal fruiting bodies.

A number of mycology specialists will be on hand to lead us to three Metchosin locations. At these locations the experts will do field identification (where possible) and collect samples of mushrooms for table display and further study. Metchosin residents, members of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society, Pearson students, and anyone else with an eye for/interest in mushrooms are welcome to join the MycoBlitz leaders on the Saturday hunt. Rain or shine!

golden pholiota
Pholiota aurivella, Golden Pholiota, Neild Road 2011
Know Your Mushrooms
Know Your Mushrooms film poster

The November 3 MycoBlitz will start at the parking lot of the Metchosin Municipal Hall, 4450 Happy Valley Road (just behind the Fire Hall) at 9:00 am. We will return to the same place by noon. At 12:10 pm, Guest are invited to attend a mini-film fest on mushrooms at the nearly Metchosin Community House. Bring a brown bag lunch (coffee and tea and popcorn will be provided) and eat it while you watch the film "Know Your Mushrooms." Then hop across the road to the Metchosin Arts and Cultural Centre to see the amazing nature photography exhibit (including mushroom pictures). After seeing the film and exhibit, walk back to to the Council Chambers after 2:00 pm and see the immense bounty of Metchosin fungal species that the experts have laid out and labeled for our Metchosin inventory of species.

The MycoBlitz doubles as November's Metchosin Talk and Walk event. Everyone is welcome to join us the evening before the MycoBlitz, on Friday, November 2, 2018, 7:00 pm, for a talk by Dr. Denis Benjamin on "The Art and Science of Mycophagy (eating mushrooms)." He is a world renowned expert on mushroom toxins and the author of several books on mushroom foraging and eating. In addition, he is an incredible watercolourist (see one of his watercolours at the right). The talk will be at the Metchosin Municipal Hall Council Chambers.  Talk poster

Denis Benjamin watercolour mushroom
Watercolour by Dr. Denis Benjamin

Metchosin Biodiversity Day 2018

The Metchosin Biodiversity Project linked hands with CRD parks this summer to bring you a new and improved Metchosin Biodiversity Day. We were at a tent table during the CRD Parks Marine Day event on Saturday, July 14, from 10 am to 1 pm.  People dropped by to visit us at the tent and to see the results of the CRD beach seine and scuba-diving for marine organisms. Naturalists from the Metchosin Biodiversity Project and HAT led several walks to look at beach plants, the estuary environment, and the Witty woods. Here was the day's schedule.

Metchosin BioBlitz 2018

Sooke flow line
The Sooke flowline. It is wide enough to walk along. Picture from Wikimedia. Click for larger version.

On the tip of the District of Metchosin that juts to the northwest are several parcels of crown land. These lie on the right side of the Sooke Road for the traveler going from Langford to Sooke. They are forested properties that were expropriated from pre-WWI property owners so that the City of Victoria could accommodate a water flowline. The flowline supplied residents of Victoria with water from Sooke Lake. The 44-kilometre flowline is composed of concrete pipe that is over a metre in diameter.

Marked trails in these crown land parcels are relatively scarce. Access to the parcels is either via private property, or from a handful of points along Sooke Road, or from Impala Road, a no-exit road which cuts across the parcels from south to north. On the map at the right, these lands are designated Section 64, 66, and 67. The crown parcel that is Section 62, which is leased to Camp Thunderbird, is similar to these other parcels.

map of crown land parcels
Map showing three of the crown land parcels, sections 64, 66, and 67. Section 62, unlabeled, is on the left side of the map. Click for larger version.

pre-bioblitz team
The exploration team at one of the Douglas-fir giants in section 66. Left to right are Joel Ussery, Moralea Milne, Gerry Allen, Kem Luther, Hans Roemer, and Joe Antos. Picture by Andy MacKinnon, also part of the team. Click for larger version.

The Metchosin Biodiversity Project decided that its 2018 project would be an inventory of species in these crown land parcels. The project began in late winter with two trips to explore access to these parcels and to get the lay of the land. The exploration group found access points where larger teams could be sent to conduct the actual surveys.

The BioBlitz survey group, pictured here, convened at Moralea Milne’s Camas Hill house on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at 9 am. Waiting for the crew were breakfast rolls, scones, coffee, and tea. The Metchosin Biodiversity Project presented each of the members of the survey teams with insulated hot drink mugs with the BioBlitz logo. The crew, after packing up their field lunches, divided into two groups, one to go to section 62, the other to sections 64 and 66. The section 62 group gained access through private property along Sooke Road. The other group departed from the Camas Hill meeting site.

2018 BioBlitz team
Team members (l to r) were Juliet Pendray, Hans Roemer, Leanne Gallon, Daryl Thompson, Kem Luther, Terry McIntosh, Moralea Milne, Joel Ussery, Andy MacKinnon, James Holkko, Kent Brothers, Kent Anders, and Steve Joya. Picture by James Holkko. Click for larger version.

matchstick lichen
Pilophorus acicularis, one of the matchstick lichens. Picture by James Holkko. Click for larger version.

Though these were the first BioBlitz teams to reconnoitre the parcels, the survey teams were not starting from scratch—they were able to build on previous work. Hans Roemer, one of the members of the 2018 team, had done a species inventory of these parcels in 1979, almost 40 years earlier, as part of a proposal to include these lands in the BC Ecological Reserve system.

The 2018 BioBlitz survey team was able to add another 320 species to Hans Roemer's initial 1979 tally of 150 species. Lists of the sections 62, 64, and 67 observations can be viewed by species name and by species groups. The 530 recorded observations from 1979 and 2018 added 22 new species to the Metchosin BioBlitz database. You can view the summary page of Metchosin species counts here.

awned haircap moss
Polytrichum piliferum, the awned haircap moss. Taken in Section 62 by Kem Luther. Click for larger version.

lipstick lichen
Cladonia bellidiflora, a lipstick lichen. Picture by James Holkko. Click for larger version.

A big thanks to the Metchosin Foundation, My-Chosen Pizza, Royal Bay Bakery, Nootka Rose Milling, Mairi MacKinnon, and Moralea Milne for financial and food support for the 2018 Metchosin BioBlitz. A quick reminder to everyone reading this to consider entering nature and species photographs into the photography exhibit and competition coming up in October. And don’t forget to mark Metchosin Biodiversity Day (July 14) on your calendars—a one-day nature immersion at Witty’s Beach, in partnership with the CRD.

Artwork by Gala Milne

              Artwork by Gala Milne