Nature in the Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands have what is often described as a "Mediterranean climate". Rainy, relatively warm winters with little or no snow are accompanied by sunny moderate summers. All of which makes for one of the finest climates in Canada. This translates into a diverse range of flora and fauna with species that are not often found this far north, such as the beautiful Garry Oak and Canada's only broad leaf evergreen tree, the coastal Arbutus. The area is a favorite of bird watchers and is a particular draw in the migration seasons. Expect to see Cormorants, Bald Eagles, Peregrines, Great Blue Herons, Wood Ducks, Oyster Catchers and the seemingly ubiquitous Turkey Vultures, usually seen taking advantage of the updrafts of the islands cliffs and mountains.


At low tide, the inter-tidal zones along the islands shores contain pools with a wealth of life. Star fish, sea anemones, sea cucumbers, crabs, urchins and a supporting cast of dozens more. These tidal pools make for some very entertaining and educational viewing. The areas waters are also home to seals, sea lions and even porpoises and dolphins. Of course one of the biggest draws for nature lovers is a chance to view the Orcas as they move through the area during migration. Several companies provide boat and kayak tours in the area so you can observe the bird colonies, seal haul outs and hopefully a pod of Killer Whales.

Nature, Whale Watching & Nature Viewing

Gulf Islands

Vancouver Island

Kayaking Tours and Rentals

Gulf Islands

Vancouver Island

Wild Life Viewing Areas

Flora and Fauna

Gulf Islands Flora & Fauna (Abridged)

There are an endless variety of animals and plant species in the islands. This humble list is a small beginning for those of you who wish to explore the great diversity of life in the islands terrestrial and marine environments.

For outdoor retailers, guides, outfitters and instructors in the Gulf Islands and the surrounding regions have a look at our Outdoor Resources section.


Nature Links

Gulf Islands

Vancouver Island


Parks, Lands, Rivers, Lakes & Marine Conservation Areas

Provincial Ecological Reserves

British Columbia Ecological Reserves

Click on the link above for information on any of the following reserves.

  • Anne Vallee - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Ballingall Straight - Gulf Islands
  • Bowser - Central Vancouver Island
  • Brackman Island - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Beresford Island - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Checleset Bay - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Clanninick Creek - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Claude Elliott Creek - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Cleland Island - Central Vancouver Island
  • Comox Lake Bluffs - Central Vancouver Island
  • Canoe Islet - Gulf Islands
  • Duke of Edinburgh - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Galiano Island - Gulf Islands
  • Haley Lake - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Harmony Bay - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Hudson Rock - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Klanawa River - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Ladysmith Bog - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Megan River - Central Vancouver Island
  • Misty Lake - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Mount Derby - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Mount Elliot - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Mount Maxwell - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Mount Tuam - Gulf Islands
  • Mount Tzuhalem - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Nimpkish River - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Oak Bay Islands - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Nitinat Lake - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Race Rocks - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Robson Bight - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Rose Islet - Gulf Islands
  • San Juan Ridge - Southern Vancouver Island
  • San Juan River Estuary - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Sartine Island - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Satellite Channel - Gulf Islands
  • Saturna Island - Gulf Islands
  • Solander Island - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Sutton Place - Central Vancouver Island
  • Tahsish River - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Ten Mile Point - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Trial Island - Southern Vancouver Island
  • Tsitika Mountain - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Tsitika River - Northern Vancouver Island
  • Woodley Range - Southern Vancouver Island

    Click on the link above for information on any of the reserves listed.



Gulf Islands Accommodations
Gulf Islands Restaurants
Gulf Islands Shopping
Gulf Islands Events, Festivals and Attractions

Vancouver Island

Vancouver Coast & Mountains


Related Links

National & International


Out-There's Destinations



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