Local Wildlife

Marine Life

By popular request, here’s a Website to view the tide tables. “Little River” is the closest point to The Alders. Scroll down the page to select the range of dates for your stay with us.

Interested in fishing, or harvesting clams, oysters, or crabs? You can find information regarding license fees from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Harbor Seals
There are many harbor seals in the area and they are usually visible at high tide (a head in the water) swimming and fishing or at low tide resting on some of the many large rocks on the beach. A slow, quiet approach is best or they easily startle. A cautious kayaker or canoeist has often been known to get within twenty feet or less of these marine mammals. Sea Lions are also present in the area at times and these larger relatives should be approached with a little more caution.

While the Sea Otter has suffered problems in recent years some otters have been sighted at The Alders. It is thought that these might have actually been River Otters that ventured into the ocean for a while. The Oyster River is just a few kilometers north of The Alders.

Several species of whales are found offshore. The two most commonly sighted ones are Orcas and Gray Whales. A pair of binoculars or a boat can greatly aid one’s ability to view these large marine mammals, although sightings are by no means a daily occurrence.

All five Pacific Salmon species are present in local waters. Campbell River, a twenty-five minute drive from The Alders, is world famous for its sport fishing. In late August and September a Pink Salmon run gathers off The Alders before entering the Oyster River just to the north. Coho and Chinook have been caught off The Alders using mooching, trolling, and spinning techniques. Owing to the large spiny dogfish population mooching using frozen strip or whole bait should be done with care to tidal conditions.

The Alders does not have a full boat launch to back a car down, but there is a wooden ramp to carry boats with a sandy launch site. The nearest trailer launch site is just south at Bate’s Beach. Get a license from any local tackle or corner store and consult the DFO regulation booklet before fishing. You can find information regarding license fees from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Lingcod and numerous species of rock fish abound in local waters. Mooching or jigging is usually the best way to catch them. Despite their appearance, many species make excellent eating (fish and chips).

Sole are also present in large numbers owing to the mix of an extensive sandy bottom with intermittent rocky reefs. The same is true of sculpins, herring, needle fish and other shore or tidal pool dwellers.

The large expanse of shallow water and the combination of rock, sand, and tidal pools also make The Alders a great place to catch or view shellfish. Clams and oysters are particularly abundant, although one should check for posted “Red Tide” warnings before eating any shellfish.

Tidal Pools
The beach and tidal pools offer great opportunities for beach exploration and are rich in marine life. Moon Snails, crabs, barnacles, varieties of seaweed, sand dollars, various species of little fish and numerous other creatures call William’s Beach home. Low tide is the best time to view most of them. The shoreline has a gradual drop and the tide sometimes goes out a very long way. High, waterproof boots and / or thongs and sandals are recommended.

Beach Birds

Bald Eagle
There are Bald Eagles present in the immediate area year round. The sea cliffs and trees provide excellent nesting habitat and the ocean and local fields provide an abundance of food. The prominent white head on mature birds and their huge size make them easily distinguishable from the hawks, gulls, and other relatively large birds in the area. A lucky few Alders visitors have witnessed an eagle dive down and pluck a fish from the water. Other birds of prey such as hawks and owls are also present in the area, particularly over local fields.

The Great Blue Heron is common to the Alder’s beach. These large birds are often found standing in shallow water stalking crabs and fish which they stab at with blinding speed when they are in range. If you disturb one of these great birds their croaking squawk has often been known to remind one of how the movies depict the sounds of ancient pterodactyls. The Heron has large wings and a relatively slender body. It bends its neck in flight and makes surprisingly graceful landings on rocks or spits of exposed shoreline, requiring no runway whatsoever.

Herring Gulls and their larger cousins, the Glaucous – winged Gulls are abundant at William’s Beach in front of The Alders. Their shrill cries are ever present as they scavenge or prey on the numerous fish, crabs, shellfish and other tasty morsels in local tidal pools and reefs.

The Western Sandpiper is present most seasons at The Alders. These small birds travel together up and down the beach changing direction and speed almost as one. Their high little peeps usually greet anyone who startles them.

Wildlife in the Surrounding Forest and Fields

Throughout the year, many deer visit The Alders to feed and drink from one of several local streams or make their way to the beach. Some of the local deer are relatively tame and it is not uncommon to drink a cup of tea on the front porch within twenty meters of a grazing doe and fawn. Deer are most frequently seen at dawn and dusk and caution should be taken when driving local roads at these times.

Several species of squirrel are active on and around The Alders property.

There are definitely raccoons in the immediate area and these sometimes cute animals are pleasant sight. However, don’t forget that these are wild animals and should be treated with respect. These little burglars with their nimble paws and mouths are also adept at getting into garbage so always make sure the lid of your cottage’s garbage can is on tight!

Forest and Field Birds
The Alders is a good place to watch birds. The bird species visiting The Alders varies seasonally, but the combination of forest and several surrounding fields seems to attract a wide variety. A bird book is highly recommended! The early morning is the best time to view most species.