Natural Features

Natural Features of the Sheringham Point Site

 

The rocky coastline surrounding Sheringham Point is typical of the southern  and western coasts of Vancouver Island.  Pocked with numerous small coves, craggy cliffs, cobble beaches and a near-impenetrable forest cover, this foreshore is renowned both for its beauty and its ruggedness.

 

Vegetation, Trees and Shrubs

Sheringham Point is in the transition zone between the wetter Cedar-Hemlock forests of the west coast of Vancouver Island, and the dryer Coastal Douglas-fir forests of the Island’s south-east coast.  As such, features and species typical of both can be found in the area.  Both of these forest ecosystems are being increasingly threatened as the climate changes and as growth pressures continue.

The dominant tree species in this area are Douglas-fir, Western hemlock, Western red cedar, Sitka spruce, Shore pine, Red alder, Broadleaf maple and Bitter cherry.

Many kinds of shrubs have been identified on the property, including over a dozen bearing berries that are attractive to wildlife.  There are also many species of wildflowers that can be found blooming in season, many unique to this part of the world.

While the site continues to re-naturalize, it still also has many remnants of the domestic plantings done by the lightkeepers and their families during the past hundred years.  In early spring the site lights up with the blooming of thousands of daffodils.

 

Wildlife Visitors

Black Bears and Cougars have been found on site from time to time.  Watch for the bears, especially, in the Fall when the fruit is ripe.  Also visiting the site are Columbian (Coastal) Black-tailed Deer, as well as numerous smaller species such as Mink, Raccoons, Red Squirrels and several species of mice and voles.  You might also see Garter snakes or one of several species of Salamander that can be found in the area.

PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF ALL WILDLIFE, AND KEEP YOUR DISTANCE – FOR YOUR SAKE, AND THEIRS.

 

On the Water…

Coastal areas around southern Vancouver Island are among the most diverse anywhere.  Scan the waters and you may see Killer Whales (Orcas), which are resident in this area.  They can be seen year round, but most often during May – October.  You may also be fortunate to see Grey Whales or Humpback Whales swimming by (during their migrations – starting in March for Grey Whales, a bit later from Humpbacks, and then through the summer until October).

Both Steller Sea Lions and California Sea Lions also frequent the area.  That small grey head popping out of the water is likely a Harbour Seal, and you may also spot a family of River Otters playing on the beach, or in the surf.

Bull kelp can be seen floating just off the point, and there are also eel grass beds that provide home for many smaller fish and shellfish.

 

And in the Air…

Over 300  species of birds have been identified in this area, and many of them can be found on the site or on the adjacent waters.

Keep an eye open for Bald Eagles, which can often be seen flying overhead or resting on one of the tree snags.  There are also often marine birds, such as Scoters, Cormorants, and Buffleheads on the water.  Several species of gulls can be found and, occasionally, offshore (pelagic) species can be spotted, especially after storms.

 

 

Conservation and Whale Monitoring

The Society is committed not only to the care and protection of the Lighthouse, but also of the surrounding lands and waters, as well as the plants and animals that live here.  As part of our conservation efforts, we have joined with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to conduct Whale Monitoring from the Lighthouse.  Using hydrophones placed in the water, DFO scientists can listen to and record the sounds of the Orcas (and other whales) as they go by, to help with ongoing whale research and conservation.  For more details, please click here.

 

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