Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 23:55:24 -0600
Reply-To: Conchologists List <CONCH-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Sender: Conchologists List <CONCH-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Andrew Grebneff <goose1047@GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Vancouver Island Collecting 1b
Moving across the island and up a bit, I was dropped off at Shelter Point,
on the south side of Campbell River, with the southern tip of Quadra Island
not too many hundred meters offshore. I hoped to collect fossil ammonoids
here, as the book "West Coast Fossils" stated that this was a locality.
Well, the rocks did contain the odd leached bivalve fragment, but the
concretions were too large and hard to break with an 8lb sledgehammer; I did
see evidence that rockhounds, those nemeses of paleontologists, had been
there, but they had obviously not met with success either. So… to the Recent
fauna instead. The shore is almost flat, so the tide chased me in, but was
basically a sandflat covered with cobbles and small boulders. Turning
boulders resulted in one Thais emarginata, a great collection of T.
lamellosa displaying good variation in sculpture (though no truly frilly
ones) and a wide color range (pure white, beige, gray, tan, dark-brown,
bright orange; white with mauve, tan or brown bands, tan with brown bands)
and Lirabuccinum dirum. Crassostrea gigas were nice and frilly, and as most
were attached to barnacles or small pebbles, or lying loose, they were
easily collectable; therefore I took the opportunity to make up for the
previous lack in my collection. I also found one live Nuttallia obscurata
lying on the sand between cobbles. Dead shells included Clinocardium
nuttallii, tresus nuttallii, Macomona nasuta, Venerupis philippinarum,
Protothaca staminea (one live), Crepipatella dorsata (the first I've seen)
and one 4cm Euspira lewisii. So, though I was a bit… er… PEEVed at the lack
of fossils, the Recent shells were fine for such an uninspiring locality.
Then I had to sit for an hour and a half in a "polarfleece" jacket which the
cool breeze blew through, waiting to be picked-up.
... this 250-line (whose screen is this more than 250 lines? Certainly not
mine!! On mine dividing this posting into TWO parts brought both parts to
well under 250 lines each, yet I had to cut the original part 1 up TWICE!!)
is a bad joke...
Next was another fossil locality detailed in that fossil book. Again the
book proved to be, well, let me be kind and say "less than precise".
Starting at the bridge by Stotan Falls, Puntledge River, just outside
Courtenay, as advised by the book, the rock was too frittery to bear
collectable fossils, and the concretionary layers were unfossiliferous
sandstone. I was looking for hard unweathered gray siltstone, but only found
a few loose concretions of such matrix, none of which were fossiliferous.
There were lots of signs of rockhounds… freshly-broken rock everywhere.
Moving downstream, I met with more disappointment… that book was proving to
be not much better than useless. I found scraps of 3 small decalcified
flattened ammonoids. Eventually, having been scouring the flaking
disintegrating sandy silts under an overcast sky, the sun came out. Looking
the same outcrop over again, I soon saw by its own shadow a small
heteromorph ammonoid. About 1.5 meters away I found another. Both were a
straight shaft with the beginning of a terminal hook at the anterior end;
one had an open flat coil at the other end, with an odd small oblique shaft
between the coil and the main shaft. Both were almost flattened and
decalcified; the latter specimen showed a ventral margin bounded by
tubercles. I haven't been able to identify them. Certainly the book, which
states that another small heteromorph is abundant in the "shales" along this
river, isn't correct. Anyway, it took me quite a while to collect these
crumbling specimens, and a long time to reassemble them with superglue when
back in Calgary (and of course some chips disappeared while collecting, so
both are missing some bits… just as well I photographed both before starting
So, rather bitter, I headed back for the road in response to an impatient
cellphone call… The bright side of today's efforts were that on the walk in
I had passed through forest, and ended up with 6 live and one dead Monadenia
fidelis in my containers or wrapped in newspaper.
Heading north, we got into country which really seemed to be in the middle
of nowhere. We stopped in the Nimpkish Valley to let the dog out for
ablutions, and of course I nosed into the regenerating forest, among the
bits of thrown-out carpet (beware in BC; ANYWHERE you stop, watch for human
turd and toiletpaper, not necessarily associated wuth one another; every
place I looked near a roadside, there they were). Eventually I found a dead
juvenile Hplotrema and under a rock a dead hairy Vespericola columbianus.
We went as far north as Telegraph Cove, where we went on a boat to watch
killer whales (I've videoed a large pack from a research vessel's masthead
in NZ, so these were nothing new), which was a pleasant way to spend a day.
Near the cove I found my first live Haplotrema and first live Vespericola
columbianus, both under logs; unfortunately neither was a full adult.