Metchosin Biodiversity

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.

We started our work in 2011 with BioBlitzes and (a bit later) MycoBlitzes. Our most up-to-date inventories of Metchosin species are available in the Metchosin Biodiversity project of iNaturalist. By the end of 2022 we had catalogued over 3412 species, from almost 20,000 observations made 480 people. See the posts below for the latest totals. We encourage everyone interested in helping us to log their photographed Metchosin observations in iNaturalist. All of these observations will be automatically logged by our 2023 collection project. Curators will review these and move most of them into our iNaturalist database (Metchosin Biodiversity Project). (The Metchosin bioblitz data includes some offshore waters and islands and the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.)

The Metchosin Talk and Walk series has started up again, post-COVID. You can read about our previous events on the Talk and Walk pages.

The Metchosin Biodiversity Project acknowledges the regular support of the Metchosin Foundation.

Lyn Baldwin — Nature Journalling — Talk/Walk Sept 2023

On September 1 and 2, 2023 Lyn Baldwin joined Metchosin residents for a Talk and Walk based on her new book, Drawing Botany Home, and on nature journaling. 




Lyn, a professor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, read from her book. She also brought along several of her illustrated nature journals.  After the talk, she signed books.


Explaining how to use the art kits.
Some "found" art in a maple stump.
One of the exercise journals produced by a student



On Saturday morning, a group of 15 artists and would-be artists met with Lyn at Matheson CRD Park to do four exercises in nature journaling. Lyn brought along small painting and drawing kits and art paper for each of the students. They wandered along the path to the lake, pausing to do the exercises.

Amanda Lewis on Big Trees

Amanda Lewis is a big-tree tracker and an award-winning book editor. Born in Ireland, she now divides her time between the internet and Gabriola Island, Snuneymuxw territory. Tracking Giants: Big Trees, Tiny Triumphs, and Misadventures in the Forest is her first book.  Photo by Sydney Woodward at Niamh Studio.

Topic: The Pointed Forest: Big Trees and Small Joys

Coming up the weekend of July 7-8 is a first-time event in the Metchosin Talk and Walk series — a look at big trees. The presentation will be by Amanda Lewis, author of the new book, Tracking Giants

Talk: Friday, July 7, 7:00 pm, District of Metchosin Council Chambers. Besides giving the talk, Amanda will be signing copies of her new book, Tracking Giants. Bring your copy to be signed. The book can be purchased at all bookstores. Description of the book from the Greystone Books site at

When she first moved back west after nearly a decade away, Amanda Lewis was an overachieving, burned-out book editor most familiar with trees as dead blocks of paper. A dedicated “indoorswoman” she could barely tell a birch from a beech. But that didn’t stop her from pledging to visit all of the biggest trees in British Columbia, a Canadian province known for its expensive yoga studios, Patagonia-wearing baristas, and… extremely gigantic trees.

The “Champion” trees on Lewis’s ambitious list ranged from mighty Western red-cedars to Douglas firs. They lived on remote islands and at the center of dense forests. The only problem? Well, there were many… Climate change and a pandemic aside, Lewis’s lack of wilderness experience, the upsetting reality of old-growth logging, the ever-changing nature of trees, and the pressures of her one-year timeframe complicated her quest.

Burned out again—and realizing that her “checklist” approach to life might be the problem—Lewis reframed her search for trees to something humbler and more meaningful: getting to know forests in an interconnected way.

Weaving in insights from writers and artists, Lewis uncovers what we’re really after when we pursue big things—and reveals that sometimes it’s the smaller joys, the mindsets we have, and the companions we’re with, that make us feel more connected to the natural world.

Walk: Saturday, July 8, 2023, 10:00 am  Mr. Big Tree himself, Hans Roemer, will join Amanda and the rest of us for the walk. The walk will be at Royal Roads. We will meet at the corner of Lagoon Road and Heatherbell Road in Colwood and proceed via the back gate into the grounds of Royal Roads University.  A map:,-123.4804517/48.4209303,-123.4804053/@48.4203182,-123.4834129,16z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e2

There is usually parking along Heatherbell Road. 

                                  —  The Metchosin Biodiversity Project

A look ahead…

In September, Lyn Baldwin will be joining us to talk about her new book, Drawing Botany Home. Her talk will be Sept 1, 7:00, Metchosin Council Chambers.

A special event is coming up in October. The Talk and Walk that month is, by tradition, about mushrooms. This year the Royal BC Museum is launching a spectacular new IMAX film, Fungi: The Web of Life (45 minutes, site and trailer) on October 20. Prior to the opening, the museum will be hosting exclusive screenings for select audiences. We have arranged for members of this mailing list to be invited to the first screening, on the evening of Wed, October 18. It will be a museum-theatre-ticketed event at regular IMAX prices. More information later on how to register. This will be followed on the morning of Sat, October 21, by a Metchosin mushroom foray. We will be collecting specimens on the foray to display at the annual SVIMS mushroom show, which will be on Sun, October 22, at the Royal BC Museum (free, admission by donation).

Talk & Walk March 24-25, Birds and Tech

Ann Nightingale is an avid birder who is a self-described late bloomer and bird evangelist. By volunteering with the Victoria Natural History Society and Rocky Point Bird Observatory, she feels she has largely caught up with what she missed by not starting until her forties. She enjoys sharing what she has learned with beginners and experts of all ages.

Coming up the weekend of March 24/25, an outstanding event in our Talk and Walk series — a presentation by Victoria’s (not to mention Metchosin’s) most famous birder, Ann Nightingale!

How Technology is Changing
the Way We See Birds

Talk: Friday, March 24, 7:00 pm, District of Metchosin Council Chambers. Spring migration is underway! The movement of birds has been studied throughout the ages, but miniaturization of circuitry, crowdsourced data, and advances in radar and other technologies are providing insights that were not previously observable. Join Ann Nightingale of Rocky Point Bird Observatory to learn about ways the study of birds has changed and how you can become involved.


Walk: Saturday, March 25, 8:00 am (the early birder gets the bird). Meet at the Galloping Goose parking lot on Rocky Point Road for a walk along the trail towards Pedder Bay and beyond. We will be looking at all the birds, with a particular emphasis on returning spring migrants. Bring binoculars if you have them.



Talk & Walk Feb 3-4 Resilient Coasts for Salmon

Metchosin’s first Talk & Walk for 2023 takes place February 3-4. Join the Resilient Coasts for Salmon (RC4S) team to learn about coastal processes, climate change impacts, and how we can promote healthy shorelines that protect our homes and important habitat by using nature-based solutions to better adapt to sea level rise. RC4S is a collaborative initiative and five-year project led by the Pacific Salmon Foundation with partners such as the Stewardship Centre for BC, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Peninsula Streams and Shorelines, and others.

On Friday, February 3rd, 7:00 p.m. at the Metchosin Municipal Hall, the RC4S team will lead a presentation and interactive Q&A session about how the project is helping to raise awareness about local impacts of sea level rise on East Coast Vancouver Island, and how we can use nature-based solutions, including the Green Shores® framework to adapt to sea level rise.

On Saturday February 4th, 9:30 a.m., we’ll gather again at Municipal Hall to carpool for an excursion to a nearby beach for a shoreline walk. We will assess the current conditions and processes occurring on this beach, discuss its habitat value and potential vulnerabilities, and then participate in a hands-on workshop.

Presentation by Kyla Sheehan and Maria Catanzaro of the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Kelly Loch of the Stewardship Centre for BC. After the talk, a new 12-minute video on native plants, featuring Metchosin’s own Kristen Miskelly, will be shown.

Metchosin Biodiversity Project 2022 iNaturalist Results

American Mink by Liam Ragan
Western Pondhawk by Terry Carr
Little Quaking-grass by James Miskelly
Crystal Jellyfish by Garry Fletcher

Another year of species inventory comes to an end. What happened in 2022?

To date, we’ve found and recorded 3412 species that share Metchosin with Homo sapiens. In the course of the year 2022, some 350 people made over 5000 iNaturalist observations within the bounds of Metchosin and Race Rocks. Almost half of these observations were of sufficient quality and accuracy to add to the permanent record. Some 600 experts from around the world chipped in to help identify the posted observations. These 2000+ observations represented about 1000 different species, and of the 1000 species, 130 of them were totally new to the Metchosin database.

What did we identify in Metchosin for the first time in 2022? A quick review.

Mammals. Adding new mammals to the database is unusual. We increased the count by one, though. One of our observers, Maurice Robinson, added the infamous brown rat (aka Norwegian or sewer rat), the scourge of many farms and towns. The American mink was already in our records but both David Bell and Liam Ragan took excellent 2022 photos of this charismatic weasel relative.

Slime Moulds. Robin Banks posted an observation of a slime mould, chocolate tube slime, Stemonitis splendens, that we didn’t have yet.

Insects. Several beetles appeared in our records for the first time. We added new species of click beetles, lady beetles, longhorn beetles, bark-gnawing beetles, sun beetles, ground beetles, checkered beetles, and jewel beetles. For the moths, we found a twirler moth, a curved-horn moth, a satyr moth, a snout moth, and a house moth that were new. There were two new flies, a horse fly and a robber fly, as well as two new wasps, a crown borer wasp and a cross potter wasp. A lygus bug and a seed bug made the list. A damselfly we had not seen before, the western forktail, and a new dragonfly, a pondhawk, turned up. We also found new species of tunnel spider, aphid, leaf miner, leafhopper, springtail, gall midge, and woodlouse. Several observers spotted European praying mantises this summer—these insects must have been unusually abundant.

Plants. On the plant side, James Miskelly found several new species for our Metchosin records. One was Lamarck’s bedstraw (either Galium divaricatum or G. pariseinse). He also found our first quaking-grass, Briza minor, our first American eelgrass, Vallisneria americana, our first humped bladderwort, Utricularia gibba, and our first round-leaved sundew, Drosera rotundifolia. Sundews are usually found in boggy areas, which are rare in Metchosin. We also found a cancerwort, two new sedges, water horehound, bur-reed, and a mint.

Marine life. Garry Fletcher managed to snap a picture of a crystal jellyfish, Aequorea victoria, at Parry Bay. Karen Cram gave us a first look at a new nudibranch, the BC doto, Doto columbiana. Connor (cwardrop) noted a new red seaweed, Grateloupia californica. Terry Carr found an eelgrass isopod, Pentidotea resecata. Tom Hlavac, a diver and retired fishery officer, was able to snap a picture of a giant pacific octopus, Enteroctopus dofleini. Two people submitted records of our first great sculpin, Myoxocephalus polyacanthocephalus. In addition, we had a new anemone, a wolf eel, and a red velvet sponge.

Birds. Val George contributed our first records for the black-throated sparrow, Amphispiza bilineata, and the tropical kingbird, Tyrannus melancholicus.

In all, then, a great year. The Metchosin Biodiversity Project hopes that many more Metchosinites will take up their cameras and smartphones and help us count in 2023.

Metchosin MycoBlitz 2022

The Metchosin Talk and Walk series rebooted on Friday, November 4. The Walk part of this Talk and Walk event was the annual Metchosin MycoBlitz.

The Talk part of the Talk and Walk on the Friday evening was, by long tradition, a presentation about fungi. Andy MacKinnon delighted the audience gathered in the Council Chambers tales of faery. Elves, fairies, and witches lend their names and stories to many of our fungal fructifications. 

Because of a scheduling conflict with the annual SVIMS mushroom show, the mushroom inventory part of the MycoBlitz was truncated to Saturday morning, November 5. The collected mushrooms, instead of being identified and exhibited in Metchosin, were ferried to the SVIMS show for the Sunday event.

At the MycoBlitz, teams were sent to Metchosin Wilderness Park, Eleanor Mann Park, and Blinkhorn Lake. The teams were headed by a clutch of experts–Luke Mikler, Allen Szafer, Sinclair Philip, Kevin Trim, Bill Weir, Kem Luther, and Andy MacKinnon.

Because of the weak mushroom season–lack of rain led to the poorest mushroom production in living memory–the teams struggled to find mushrooms. Almost no mycorrhizal mushrooms were collected–almost all of the fruiting bodies belonged to decomposers. Nevertheless, searchers ferreted out at least 27 different species. The species were recorded on the Metchosin Biodiversity Project’s iNaturalist site. One of these–the Western Alder Tongue, a parasite on the female cones of Red Alders–was a new species for the District, bringing the current total for the Metchosin species count to 3402.

SVIMS members work on identifying and sorting mushrooms (including Metchosin MycoBlitz specimens) for the annual SVIMS mushroom show. Photo by Steve Strybosch.

Talk and Walks resume with mini-MycoBlitz

With COVID somewhat tamed, we are re-launching the Metchosin Talk & Walk series. We’ll begin it with a mini-MycoBlitz! We have found more than 600 species of fungi in Metchosin, but there are still species out there that have eluded our grasp. The event will begin on Friday, November 4, 7:00 p.m., at the Metchosin Council Chambers. (For the safety of all attendees, including those with compromised immune systems, we encourage attendees to wear masks when not eating or drinking.)

At the Friday evening meeting, Andy will present a slide talk on “Magical Mushrooms.” He’ll tell us how mushrooms are associated with the enchanted realm of fairy rings, elfin saddles, witch’s hat (see photo), witch’s butter, and all manner of supernatural creatures.

Then we’ll gather on Saturday morning, November 5 at 9:00 a.m. in front of the Municipal Hall. Our teams of intrepid citizen scientists will head off to all corners of Metchosin, led by our mushroom experts. We’ll return around noon to Municipal Hall, where the experts review the teams’ finds, wrapping up by 12:30.

This year, instead of displaying our finds in the Council Chambers, the Metchosin mushrooms will be taken to the South Vancouver Island Mushroom Show, which begins at 10:00 am, Sunday, November 6, at St Luke’s Church, 3821 Cedar Hill Cross Road. Metchosinites are invited to attend the show (more info at and see our local mushrooms labeled and displayed.

Friday night and Saturday morning are both free, family fun events, suitable for all ages. 

Mushroom art cards available

On May 15, the new 2022 Mushroom Art Card set is available for purchase. A project by Metchosin Foundation and Metchosin ArtPod, the boxed set of 36 heavy-cardstock 4″ X 6″ cards features the work of three dozen (mostly local) artists on the card faces.

The cards depict locally common mushrooms. On the back of each card is a description of the mushroom by the authors of the new Mushrooms of British Columbia. More information about the cards is on the Metchosin Biodiversity site.          


2022 Metchosin species count happening

The 2022 Metchosin species count has started. You can track the ongoing count on its iNaturalist page. In the first four months of the year, about 130 observers made 2000 observations of 750 different species.  

These four months of observations added 45 new species to the Metchosin species count, bringing the total to 3325. 

Hundreds of identifiers from all over the world chipped in to help observers decide what they had found. For an example of the sort of dialogue that goes on, see the discussion triggered by Finn McGhee’s discovery of dead bird along the Tower Point waterfront. After much back-and-forth, experts decided that it was a Turkey Vulture (well, ex-vulture).  For an example of the simple beauty that can be found in these observations, see the snaps of the Mountain Lady Beetle. Not all the observations in these four months were visual–some animals (the Pacific Tree Frog, for example) can be identified by sound alone. Nor are all of the observations made in wilderness areas–James Miskelly found a bit of the wild, a Pine Trogossitid Beetle, had invaded his house. On April 23, the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society hosted a foray in Metchosin that found 27 species of mushrooms–one species for each person on the foray.

The count will be going on all year, with lots happening almost every day. Just yesterday (May 3), eight people added 30 observations to the 2022 Metchosin iNaturalist project. To be part of it, all you have to do is grab your camera or smartphone and head outdoors.  This is citizen science, as described in a recent edition of The Narwhal.

Mountain Lady Beetle, photo by Finn McGhee