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Nature Birdwatching Guides

The Last Island

A Naturalist's Sojourn on Triangle Island

by (author) Alison Watt

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Sep 2002
Birdwatching Guides, Ecology, Wildlife
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2002
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


At twenty-three, Alison Watt left the comfort of a relationship and urban life to spend four months studying tufted puffins on Triangle Island, a remote bird sanctuary far off the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

She spent her summer in the company of Anne Vallée, a serious young biologist whose dedication to her field made her a formidable and inspiring mentor. Now, in the sixteen years since Watt last visited the island, Anne has died, and from the moment Watt arrives to do more research, she is flooded with memories of the summer they spent together.

Told in a gripping diary form, The Last Island blends native legends, evolutionary theory, scientific knowledge and an appreciation for the delicate balance required for creatures as small as krill and as large as fin whales to survive. Watt brings the island to life, recreating through sensual detail the sounds, smells, sights, tastes and textures of this desolate bird haven. Perhaps even more importantly, she recreates the jagged inner landscape of a young woman worn and warmed by months of seclusion.

About the author

Alison Watt's poetry has appeared in many journals, including Prairie Fire, Event, Sub-terrain, and Arc. She is also a painter who works and teaches out of her studio on Protection Island, near Nanaimo. Her first book, The Last Island: A Naturalist's Sojourn on Triangle Island, won the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction. Her book of poetry, Circadia, came out with Pedlar Press in 2005. Dazzle Patterns is her first novel. Both her painting and her writing reflect her background as a biologist and her ongoing preoccupation with the natural world, both as a backdrop to our unfolding lives and in its own aesthetics and intimacies.

Alison Watt's profile page

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