It’s becoming more and more common to catch sight of city dwellers (Homo Urbanus) on the Upper Sunshine Coast as travel restrictions are lifted and the summer progresses. I haven’t done much research, but I would guess that the summer heat is probably pushing them away from their preferred nesting sites in concrete canyons, to higher elevations in the mountains or up the coast to the cooling effects of forests and beaches. Although in their natural habitat, Homo Urbanus is quite territorial and prone to aggressive displays when confronted with others of the species, they have a much more friendly and docile temperament when found in the calm environs of shady forests or pristine beaches.
Last week I came across a prime example of Homo Urbanus. Slightly confused by the long migration, I think he temporarily imprinted and I was able to observe his behaviours much more closely than I had with others of his kind. For three days he happily participated in a number of activities, joined us for evening meals and generally exhibited behaviours commonly associated with Homo Rusticanus.
It was a lot of fun. We took a trip over to Texada Island to explore Heisholt Lake. This is an old abandoned lime quarry that has filled with water. What we didn’t know at the time is that new owners have taken over and no one is allowed to use the lake any longer. We didn’t find this out until after we’d taken a paddle around the quarry and an employee drove in and informed us that swimming was no longer allowed. It will probably remain, the most polite expulsion that I’ve ever experienced in my life and the gentleman also let us know that the Coliform Count in the lake was high enough that you wouldn’t catch him in that water. In retrospect, the last time I was here, the water was crystal clear and you could see the bottom no matter how deep. It had turned a much murkier shade of Tetanus Green. That was enough to get us to move on to Shelter Point Park in Gillies Bay for a slightly cooler, and healthier, swim in in the Salish Sea.
The next day we did a long hike around Inland Lake, a fresh water lake shaped somewhat like the invasive giant tadpoles that you observe as you walk along board walks built into the lake edge. This 13 kilometre hike circumnavigates the lake, staying within a stone’s throw of the shore. The majority of this hike is through beautiful forests and so we were spared the effects of hiking in the mid-day sun. The trail is well maintained (it’s advertised as “wheel-chair” friendly) and makes for a very comfortable hike. About three quarters of the way around the lake we stopped to soak on a little beach for half an hour. The water was the perfect temperature to cool down and relax and no tadpole attacks were reported.
After three days, I could see that the migration instincts of our Homo Urbanus (who I’d become quite fond of and nick-named “John”) was kicking into gear. It was fun while it lasted, but our time together was always going to be limited. It’s true that you can’t own nature, you only borrow it for a brief moment. Now that I know that this area falls within the migration route of Homo Urbanus, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled and my binoculars handy in hopes of more sightings.