|Comox Valley Nature Viewing Guide|
|Fanny Bay Conservation Area and Ships Point Peninsula|
Bill Heybroek drawing
|Little Bay: Kate Pierce photo||Sea Lions: Robert Bartsch photo|
|Approximately 23 kilometres south of Courtenay, the Fanny Bay Conservation Area and Ship’s Point Peninsula hosts a diverse habitat supporting a variety of flora and fauna. The 119-hectare peninsula juts out into Baynes Sound and is comprised of tidal mudflats, cobble and rocky beaches, salt and freshwater marshes, a meadow and an alder grove wetland. At the south end, the small Ship’s Point Regional Park offers limited access at low tide due to oyster farm leases. At the opposite end of the peninsula, the 160-hectare Fanny Bay Conservation Area features a two-kilometre flat trail along a marsh and through the woods. Great Blue Herons and Killdeer are present year-round and flocks of Mallards, American Wigeons and other water birds are common in the winter. In the spring, when the herring spawn, raucous California Sea Lions can be heard from the conservation area or viewed at the nearby Fanny Bay government wharf. Summer is the best time to explore tidal pools where crabs, moon snails, red sea cucumbers and large beds of sand dollars can be observed at low tide.|
|Geographical Description||119+/- ha. Peninsula (one mile long) protruding into Baynes Sound with estuary of Cowie (Cougar) Creek to the north, Wilfred (Coal) Creek to the south.|
|Area/ Trail Length||Ship’s Point Park: .37 ha; |
Fanny Bay Conservation Area: 160 ha. at Cowie Creek estuary.
3.3 km around peninsula on beach. At low tide the south point of the peninsula extends approx. 500 m from shore.
900 m trail from highway to conservation area. 1.2 km trail (one-way) through conservation area.
Flat trails, beach walking.
|Habitat||Little Bay: (south): salt marsh; |
Ship’s Point Regional Park: cobble/rocky beach;
Fanny Bay Conservation Area: sandy beach, cobble & mud flats, salt marsh, alder grove wetland.
|Highlights||Variety of habitats (especially intertidal) : sheltered bay, mudflat, cobble beach, saltwater marsh , freshwater marsh, grassland, second growth forest , woodland swamp. |
Viewing of sea lions.
|Best Season||Winter for waterbirds; Summer for low tide life.|
|Main Access||23 km south of Courtenay- From Highway 19A turn east onto Ships Point Rd. |
Fanny Bay Conservation Area: West end of Tozer Rd;
Ship’s Point Regional Park: end of Park Rd. (south end of Ship Pt. peninsula)
|Cautions||Beach walking can be slippery. Vehicles access beach at Ship’s Point Regional Park.|
|Jurisdiction||Ship’s Point Park: CVRD Area C park; |
Fanny Bay Conservation Area: jointly managed by the provincial Ministry of the Environment, Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Trust of B.C. through the Vancouver Island Wetlands Management Program.
Intertidal zone: Provincial MOE;
Fish & fish habitat: Federal DFO.
|Birds||Bald Eagle & nest, Mallard, Canada Goose, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Oystercatcher, Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Mew Gull, Great Blue Heron, Steller’s Jay, Spotted Towhee, Chestnut-back Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Pacific Wren, Northern Flicker, Red-winged Blackbird, Northwestern Crow , American Robin, Varied Thrush, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco.|
|Mammals||California Sea Lions at Fanny Bay wharf, Red Squirrel.|
|Intertidal Life||Oyster & scallop leases, Red rock crab, shore crab, Moon snails, red sea cucumbers, large bed of sand dollars at low tide, Limpet sp., varnish clam, Pacific littleneck clam, mussels, Japanese oysters.|
|Trees||Western redcedar, red alder, Douglas-fir, Sitka spruce ,Garry oak, Arbutus, Grand fir.|
|Shrubs||Snowberry, Ocean-spray, Nootka rose, Oregon grape, red huckleberry, trailing blackberry, salal.|
|Flowering Plants||Gumweed, Seashore saltgrass (Distichlis spicata var. spicata.), dune wildrye (Leymus mollis).|
|Ferns, Lichens, Mosses||Sword fern, bracken fern.|
Lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria), antlered perfume (Evernia prunastri)
Coastal leafy moss (Plagiomnium insigne).
|Invasive/Non-native species||Invasive: periwinkle, English ivy, Scotch broom.|
|You will be able to Click here for a Plant List.|
|Seaweeds||Rockweed (Fucus sp.)|
|Geology||Peninsula is shallow bedrock (Karmutsen Basalt) covered in Salish sediments. Peninsula was an island at high tide until dikes& roads built . Sandbar in Little Bay, about 400 m from point of Ships Point Park, is moving NW (closer to Ships Point Road) every year.|
|Regulations||Low-tide beach access on the east side of peninsula is limited to the public, due to crown leases for oyster farms. No fires. No motorized vehicles. Dogs on leash.|
|Facilities||Limited parking at roadsides & at trail heads. Interpretive sign, wildlife viewing platform in Conservation Area. Pit toilet, bench in Ship’s Point Park.|
|Other Features||Swallow boxes at marsh; Purple Martin boxes at Fanny Bay wharf.|
|Other Connections||To Fanny Bay wharf for sea lion viewing.|
|History||You will be able to Click here for the Conservation History.|
|FMI||Comox Valley Regional District Parks|
|Comox Valley Regional District Beach Accesses|
|K'omoks Important Bird Area|
|Nature Trust of BC|
|History of Fanny Bay|
|Comox Tide Tables|
|WSU Intertidal Life Identification|
|© 2014 Comox Valley Naturalists Society|