Flora & Fauna

Types of Plants

There are five distinct plant communities in the Sargeant Bay watershed:
        – The beach berm
        – The rock 
        – The wetland with the island in Colvin Lake, behind the berm 
        – The upland forested area 
        – Triangle Lake 
The rock is private property and not part of the park. It is however, a desirable addition to the park as a natural extension of Sargeant Bay beach while it has a distinctive rocky shore vegetation.

Below are some examples of the types of plants found in the park:

  1. Gumweed is a salt-loving plant that is named after the sticky glue that covers the base of the flowers (top left)
  2. Oregon Grape in flower (top right)
  3. Chicory is an introduced plant that is used in Europe as a coffee substitute (middle right)
  4. Harvest Brodiaea (bottom left)
  5. Tiger Lily (bottom right)

There are more than 300 plant species in the park. Click below for the list:

The beach berm has been heavily affected by human activities over the last hundred years. Approximately 40% of the 160 plant species there were introduced. Because of their proximity, the number of introduced species is still fairly high on the rock and on the island in Colvin Lake, 27% and 29% respectively. In the upland forest the number is much lower and in and around Triangle Lake it is zero.

In November, 2003, the Society planted 12 Western Dogwood Trees (Cornus nutallii) at the two accesses to the park on Redrooffs Road. The picturesque dogwood flower is British Columbia’s provincial flower and the trees are common on the Sunshine Coast. However, there were none in Sargeant Bay park. The trees were planted as a fitting memorial to Eric Hoare, who passed away in March, 2003. Eric made a major contribution to the Society as Membership Director for many years. 

In 1996 the Sargeant Bay Society initiated its Invasive Plant Control (IPC) project, to protect the native vegetation from being overrun by Himalayan Blackberries and Scotch Broom. The project started with volunteers, then was reinforced with summer students and reached its peak during 2000 and 2001, when it was supported by a grant from Environment Canada. At present, all we have to do is to keep up pulling out missed tubers and new seedlings, supported by a contribution from BC Parks. The project has been remarkably successful. If you want to know more about it, click:

Below is a list of the current invasive plant species on the Sunshine Coast (thanks to the Pender Harbour Wildlife Society)

Birds

The Birds of Sargeant Bay Provincial Park  
by Tony Greenfield

Birding Event

The park can be divided into three distinct bird viewing areas:

a)    the saltwater of Sargeant Bay.
b)    the berm & the Colvin Lake wetland.
c)    The upland forest above Redrooffs Road.

Each of these areas has a diversity of birds that varies by season.

a)    Sargeant Bay:
The best viewing seasons on the bay are winter & spring. For reasons unknown, the number of species and birds using this habitat declined drastically in the 1990’s. Typically, you can find loons, grebes, cormorants, seaducks (Barrows Goldeneye, Surf Scoter, Common Merganser), alcids (Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, and especially Marbled Murrelet), and gulls.

b)    Berm and Colvin Lake:
Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, and other raptors such as Red-tailed Hawk and Merlin may be seen at any season.

In winter the berm is generally quiet, but on the lake look for Pied-billed Grebe, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead and Hooded Merganser. The snags in the wetlands are used by Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker and Steller’s Jay. Red-winged Blackbirds may be present as early as January.

Virginia Rails are resident, except if the wetland freezes in a cold snap.
In spring, the berm is a transit and foraging area for Rufous Hummingbirds, migrant warblers in the alder trees, and for sparrows on the berm itself. A pair of Killdeer have nested on the berm for the last few years. Red-winged Blackbirds dominate the wetland with their creaky song, and there are many Common Yellowthroats in the cattails, while swallows may forage overhead.    
In summer the rail and the yellowthroat continue in the wetland, and watch for Turkey Vultures soaring overhead with their wobbly flight. The grassy and shrubby areas of the berm host many sparrows in the fall including Savannah, Fox, Song, Lincoln’s, Golden-crowned & White-crowned. 

c)    Upland:
In fall and winter the mixed coniferous/deciduous forest above Redrooffs Road is good for woodpeckers and forest species such as Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Winter Wren, and Varied Thrush. Also resident are Western Screech, Great Horned, Barred, and Northern Saw-whet Owls.
In spring and summer the forest is home to Band-tailed Pigeon, woodpeckers, flycatchers, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Swainson’s Thrush, vireos, warblers, Western Tanager and Black-headed Grosbeak. 

For detailed information on the 157 species of birds that can be seen in Sargeant bay Provincial Park, consult the Checklist of Birds for Sargeant Bay Provincial Park by clicking link below:

Marine Life

Eelgrass Beds at Sargeant Bay

Marine Life at Sargeant Bay by Joop Burgerjon

The intertidal marine life at Sargeant Bay Provincial Park is consistent with similar protected sites in the Pacific Northwest. The sheltered bay has a sandy bottom that is evident at low tides. The shoreline is covered with rocks of varying sizes at both the mid- and high intertidal zones. Above the high intertidal zone, a variety of logs can be found stranded on the beach, left over from past logging activities elsewhere. Burrowing holes made by Feathery Shipworms are often found in these logs. Common species found along the rocky shoreline include the Purple Shore Crab, Acorn Barnacle and Little Brown barnacle. At the lowest of tides, Bay Ghost Shrimp and Nuttall’s Cockle can be found burried in the sand.                     

Calcareous Tube Worm, underwater, with feeding plume visible

When a rock is turned over, a Calcareous Tube Worm may be found attached to the underside of the rock. The worms are seldom seen, but their calcareous tubes are easily spotted. They withdraw within their tubes as soon as they are touched or when the tide leaves them dry. Be sure to return all rocks to their original position as that the marine life found on and under the rocks will not dry out or be crushed.

Hooded Nudibranch on Eelgrass

In the shallow sub-tidal waters, Hooded Nudibranchs are often found attached to eelgrass in great numbers. They catch small crustaceans that live on the eelgrass, some as large as Skeleton Shrimps.

Bay Pipefish

A wide variety of fish find the eelgrass beds an excellent area to call “home”. A common species in the eelgrass is the Bay Pipefish. The males of this remarkable species “appear” to be pregnant, as they incubate the eggs in a pouch under their body.

Bering Hermit Crab

The Bering Hermit is choosy about its dress. At Sargeant Bay it always uses a Moonsnail shell to cover its abdomen. Since 1987, when we began keeping records at Sargeant Bay, they have only been observed during the years 1994-97.

For a list of Marine Life at Sargeant Bay click here:

Geology at Sargeant Bay

Geology of Sargeant Bay Provincial Park by John Newell


The present landscape of Sargeant Bay has been much modified by glaciation during the Ice Age that ended only 10,000 years ago. There are two topographically distinct regions in the park. Northeast of Colvin Creek there are extensive outcroppings of diorite, with only a thin, discontinuous veneer of overburden. In the area of more subdued topography to the southwest, the granitic rocks are covered by unconsolidated sediments of Pleistocene age (1.6 million – 10,000 years before present). The most extensive younger sediments are Capilano marine and glacial outwash deposits derived from reworking of earlier glacial tills. They have been eroded from the lower part of the Colvin Creek valley, exposing the underlying pre-Vashon sediments, the product of an earlier Pleistocene glaciation. Examples of these glacial sediments can be seen on the north side of Redrooffs Road, opposite the park gate. Here they consist of poorly sorted, gravelly glacial till containing a diversity of pebbles, overlying a bed of fluvial sand.
As everywhere, the scenery we enjoy at Sargeant Bay is closely tied to its geology. In the age of dinosaurs, some 150 million years ago, the west coast of North America was well to the east of its present position. The oldest rocks on the Sechelt Peninsula formed in an offshore volcanic island arc, much like Japan and the islands of the eastern Caribbean. Subsequently, the endless movements of the Earth’s tectonic plates carried these rocks downward, deep beneath the edge of continental North America. Under intense heat and pressure they melted and recystallized to create the granitic rocks that now form the Coast Mountains. Remnants of the original island arc are widely preserved. Locally, the Caren Range  provides many examples .

Pebbles on the Beach

 

A stroll along the beach at Sargeant Bay illustrates the many variations in these rocks. There are dark pebbles and light pebbles, some coarsely crystalline, others fine grained.

Most Rocks are Diorite

However, the bedrock exposed within the park, from the prominent bluff at the east end of the berm, northwards to Triangle Lake, shows relatively little variation. It is classified as diorite, one of a number of igneous rock types loosely referred to as “granite”. It is comprised of medium-grained, interlocking crystals of the black mineral hornblende and greyish white plagioclase feldspar .

Hornfels
south of Triangle Lake

Small slivers of the original volcanic and sedimentary rocks can be found within the diorites on the ridge south of Triangle Lake. They are dense, fine-grained, dark grey rocks, called  hornfels.

Sediments Near Triangle Lake

Some show relict sedimentary banding, reflecting their origin as mud and silt deposited on an ancient seabed.

Glacial sediments at Redrooffs Road

The wetland, arguably the most important feature of the park, is itself a product of continuing geological processes. Capilano sediments, forming the bluff west of the bay, are easily eroded. Wave action carried the coarser material towards the head of the bay, where it accumulated to form a barrier bar protecting a tidal lagoon. The buildup of gravel eventually choked off the entrance and silt flushed down Colvin Creek was trapped behind the berm. Silting up of the lagoon allowed freshwater marsh vegetation to become established, creating an ecological system that is unique on the Sunshine Coast.