Thursday, March 22, 2012

Exploring on the South Shore

Wednesday dawned bright and clear with promise of record-high temperatures -- alarming from an environmental point of view but subversively attractive in the lean, cold, hungry month of March. It was definitely time for a road trip. I set out for Kejimkujik National Park's Seaside Adjunct at Port Joli. The area was set aside in 1988 to preserve a large section of Nova Scotia's coastal barrens; it consists of spruce and fir forests and bogs where orchids like Dragon's Mouth(Arethusa bulbosa) and Grass Pink (Calapogon tuberosus) and carnivorous Pitcher
plants (Sarracenia purpurea) can be found alongside the trail. A beautiful crescent-shaped beach of sparkling white sand lies approximately 2.2 km from the parking lot, accessible by a well-maintained walking trail. It was a beautiful day for the walk, with the temperature near 31° and sunny skies. The park is not yet officially open for the season, but the main trail to the beach was open; the longer, more scenic route, however, remains closed.

After my visit to the Seaside Adjunct I headed back toward the southwest, then turned down the
road along the east side of the Sable River to Jones Harbour, where two lobster boats were tied up at the wharf while another unloaded its newly caught lobsters into a car or storage unit floating just offshore. A bit of movement over the water caught my eye as I turned to the left, and I was delighted to see an adult bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) take flight from a low ledge. It flew low over the water toward the shore, then angled sharply upward to land in the top branches of a bare tree -- next to another adult, which I hadn't noticed before. The two were almost certainly a mated pair, since these birds tend to be very territorial during breeding season. After a quick word of thanks to the eagles for making my day, it was time to hit the road for Shag Harbour. What a great way to spend a beautiful day in sou'west Nova Scotia!

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