When first stepping onto the beaches of the Pacific Rim National Park one is taken aback by the enormity and beauty of the area, the beach continues for over a mile ahead of you, on one side thick rainforest stretches as far as the eye can see. In the distance large cone shaped mountains peek over the horizon, and on the other side the giant waves of the roaring Pacific Ocean sweep in and out across the sand.

The area is home to some of the largest and most impressive species in the World, but on this day I spent my time admiring one of the smaller species, the sanderling. A small wader that is common up and down the west coast (as well as in Europe). It is so wonderful to watch the small flocks of these tiny birds expertly comb the wild beaches for food. The flock I watched was playing a risky game, running in and out of the waves, narrowly avoiding being swallowed by the sea. They might not be the rarest or flashiest bird on the coast, but they are certainly one of the most charismatic, brightening up a gloomy winter day on Vancouver Island.