We tripped across another not-so-hidden gem recently when we were looking for a quiet spot to enjoy a picnic lunch on the way to ‘somewhere else’. The Somenos Marsh Conservation Area is located just a little north of the city of Duncan.
The 500-acre (202 hectares) conservation area has resisted the invasion of development thanks to the efforts of the members of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, which was incorporated as a charitable society in 1989. Located on the Pacific Flyway, the marshlands serve as resting and feeding spots for about 200 species of winged creatures. It is such a popular spot among the feathered set that the area is now designated as an international globally significant important bird area (IBA).
What you will see when visiting varies depending on the time of year you stop by. Species include everything from Trumpeter Swans to rare Red Throated Loons and Tundra Swans to Blue Herons. There is also other wildlife at the marsh, including beaver, river otter, muskrat and raccoons.
We saw very few people during our visit, but enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the gravel pathways and the wooden boardwalks. Secure viewing platforms offered great views in several directions, and we managed to find a bench on one where we enjoyed our lunch before moving on.
One of the best things about this beautiful spot is that it is wheelchair accessible, thus making an outing well within reach of visitors with varying degrees of mobility.
There is also an outdoor classroom at the marsh, and a variety of nesting boxes and nesting platforms constructed by society members. A series of very well-executed interpretive signs adds to the experience and the learning curve of visitors. The place is a bird watcher’s nirvana.
Although we perched on a bench to enjoy our lunch there are also picnic tables available, so it’s possible to make a day of it to enjoy this little bit of wildlife heaven. And the really great thing about it is that it is very easily found and accessed, just off of Highway 1.
Further information on Somenos Marsh Conservation Area can be found at the website:
Somenos Marsh is located just east of Highway 1, north of Duncan and south of the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre.
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 48.789589 Long. -123.710403
N 48 47.375 W 123 42.624