title photo: Common woolly sunflowers at Helliwell Provincial Park.

A preview of Denman & Hornby NATURE

Publication date - October, 2011

*128 pages, hard cover, full colour

*ISBN 978-0-9738161-3-6

*Index included

*Suggested retail - $34.95

*Fundraising plans available

*Direct purchase discount available

*Content - landscapes, birds, butterflies, wildflowers, and undersea nature. All photography by Mike except for some butterflies by Jenny Balke and all undersea nature by Amanda Zielinsky.

Denman and Hornby are small Northern Gulf Islands just off the east coast of Vancouver Island between Qualicum Beach and Courtenay. Like all the Gulf Islands, Denman and Hornby are amply endowed with natural beauty and mystique from exquisite landscapes to a bounty of uncommon flora and fauna.

Denman is the larger of the two islands and features three small Provincial Parks as well as several nature reserves. The parks and nature reserves protect sensitive ecosystems including the largest wetland complex of any Gulf Island and the accompanying significant biodiversity. Denman is also the home of the only known population of the endangered Taylor's Checkerspot butterfly in Canada.

Hornby may be smaller than Denman, but it is blessed or perhaps cursed with several magnificent natural features. The two main features are Tribune Bay Beach and Helliwell Provincial Park. Both are major tourist attractions that contribute to the local economy, but also place a significant strain on the natural resources, especially the domestic water supply. During the summer the population explodes from about 1,100 to over 7,000.

It would take several years of study, research, and photography to really do justice to any book on Denman and Hornby nature, but that is not my intent. Denman & Hornby NATURE is simply an introduction to some of the beauty and and biodiversity of the islands. It is a reflection of what I have enjoyed and learned in less than a year of commuting, study, and photography. At most this book is a tourist-eye view of some of the more obvious features, and an invitation for you to visit, relax, and discover for yourself what the islands have to offer. There is much more than the few landscapes, birds, butterflies, wildflowers, and undersea nature that is presented in this book. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Helliwell Provincial Park on Hornby is a popular destination for naturalists. Its three sensitive ecosystems of Garry oak meadows, old growth forest, and coastal grassy plain are treasure chests of remarkable biodiversity.

Hoodoos and other remarkable sandstone formations are regular features on Hornby's shoreline.

Beadnell Creek on Denman is part of the largest wetland complex of all the Gulf Islands.

The blue-listed yellow sand-verbena is one of the unique features of Sandy Island Provincial park.

Early Saxifrage at Helliwell Park

Baldhip rose on Denman

Harvest Brodiaea at Helliwell Park

The Taylor's Checkerspot was thought to be extinct in Canada until it was rediscovered on Denman by Jenny Balke and Mikell Callahan in 2005.

One of the first spring migrants to arrive on the islands is the ubiquitous Chipping Sparrow.

Eagles, eagles, eagles - Denman and Hornby are popular nesting sites for the majestic Bald Eagles.