Travelling north on the Nanaimo Parkway at 90+ kilometres an hour a quick glance to the right reveals a swampy area in the midst of residential buildings. This swampy area is Buttertubs Marsh, an area of wetlands created by partially damming drainage to the Millstone River. Since the dam was created in the 1970s some trees have been sacrificed to rising waters, but the trade-off has been worth it.
The wetlands are home to many birds, some of which make this their year round home, others fly in for the summer. Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, the marsh usually enjoys mild, short winters. This past one has been particularly mild. Already the redwing blackbirds are marking out their territories. They were too quick and shy for me to capture with my camera.
Less shy was a flock of cedar waxwings who were feasting on the berries provided by the hawthorns. They were joined in the banquet by variegated thrushes and robins.
This little park, about 100 acres(40 ha) is a great place to take a stroll or a jog for the energetic. The pathways are level and well maintained. There are easy connections to the Trans Canada Trail.
As with many parks and wildlife refuges adjacent to human habitation, this little park is feeling the pinch of houses and people. Lots for sale adjacent to the wetlands have “Sold” signs on them and the park is now surrounded by housing developments. Still and in spite of these things, Buttertubs marsh is a little and unexpected gem. Visit it with your camera.