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Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Vacation in Atlantic Canada - Part One

      I have been an inveterate traveller pretty much all of my life, and Miriam has joined me in that passion since I have known her, relishing the experience of new wildlife, cultures, language and food. Travel has an inherent richness to it, enabling people from different parts of the world to understand each other and benefit from shared experience. Barriers are broken down, relationships are formed, friendships cemented, stereotypes dismissed, and the world becomes a better place. 
     COVID caused our adventures to come to a screeching halt, sometimes even precluding local walks, so we were very happy when restrictions were eased sufficiently that we were able to travel in Eastern Canada. Neither of us had visited the region for many  years so we welcomed the opportunity with great enthusiasm. 

06 September 2021
Waterloo, ON - Montmagny, QC

     Our journey began in atrocious weather, with rain forming a sheet of water. We left home before dawn and the combination of darkness and heavy rain made driving unpleasant for a while. As we travelled farther east, however, conditions ameliorated somewhat, and even though there were a couple of repetitions of the deluge of early morning we at least had the benefit of daylight.
     We had made a reservation at Motel Centre-Ville in Montmagny, QC, a place where we had stayed en route to Gaspé in 2018. We did not realize that the establishment had two components one across the road from the other. On our first visit we were lodged at the main facility and found it quite pleasant. On this occasion we were assigned a room in a typical old strip motel across the street. It was mediocre, a little dingy, but serviceable for a one-night stay. The washroom was the smallest we have ever seen. Miriam, who is not a big person, could not soap up in the shower without her elbows bumping against the side. There was nowhere to put anything.

Accommodation: Motel Centre-Ville, 14, Boulevard Taché est, Montmagny, QC G5V 1B7 Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

07 September 2021
Montmagny, QC - Summerside, PEI

     We were on the road by about 05h:30, happy that the roads were dry, and we made good progress through Québec into New Brunswick, where our route took us to the Confederation Bridge, often referred to as the Fixed Link, our pathway to Prince Edward Island.


     It had been necessary to obtain a PEI Pass on line before leaving Ontario, providing proof of both COVID vaccinations, and we thought we were armed with all that we needed.
     However, I had printed a copy of the application for the pass and not the pass itself! Furthermore, we had proof of both vaccinations, but they wanted the documentation covering the batch for the first and second shots. We had not kept the first vaccination certificate once the second one confirmed that we had received two doses.

     Shortly before leaving home we had acquired a new phone and Miriam gallantly navigated her way to the Ontario Ministry of Health site and was able to bring up our documentation. Kudos to her. 
     We had been shunted off to one side so as not to delay cars behind us, and to the great credit of the young man who interviewed us he had been able to retrieve the information too, and let us know that we were cleared to go pending the obligatory rapid test.
     He was pleasant throughout and never hectored us in any way for not having the full documentation. He was a credit to Prince Edward Island.
     The rapid test was administered and we were advised to keep our phone open for at least two hours when we would be contacted in the event of it being positive. 
     We sailed on through with a great sense of relief.
     We had made reservations for three nights at Baker Shore Bed and Breakfast and did not have far to travel. Even turning into the driveway we could see that it was a lovely house. 


     We were greeted by Darrell Lowe who requested that we continue to wear a mask until the two-hour cautionary period had expired, and we appreciated this level of diligence.
     Shortly, we were joined by Lynne, Darrel's wife and shown our spacious and well appointed room.


     The room was equipped with everything we could possibly need during our stay and a card welcomed us to PEI and to their B&B.  We had barely settled in when Lynne arrived at our door with a plate of freshly baked cookies, still hot from the oven - and they were delicious.

Darrell and Lynne

     I should confess immediately that Baker Shores is my favourite B&B ever, and Darrell and Lynne the most congenial hosts. I make no apologies for my unbridled enthusiasm!
     Darrell has installed hummingbird feeders around the property, including one right at our window, and there was a constant parade of birds keen to fatten up on the rich sugar water in preparation for their impending migration.
     A walk around the yard at the back of the house yielded American Robins (Turdus migratorius), a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) and several very entertaining American Crows (Corvus brachyrynchos).


     We inquired of Lynne as to a good place to eat dinner. She gave us a list of recommendations and we chose a restaurant called Gentleman Jim's. We both had fish and chips, well prepared and very tasty, but it never ceases to amaze me that these establishments give you enough chips to feed a village. More than half of ours went back on the plate, a dreadful waste of food.
     One the way to the B&B from the COVID checkpoint, we had passed by some marshy areas and had noticed many subadult American Herring Gulls (Larus smithsonianus) loafing on the mud, and at the side of the road, so we stopped to get a better look.


     There were also several Greater (Tringa melanoleuca) and Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) and they merited our attention too.


     When we arrived back at the B&B we poured ourselves a glass of wine, in real glasses that were in the room (no plastic crap) and went to sit on the veranda out front, where three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilocus colubris) were the finest of companions. We lingered until it was almost dark, happy to be on Prince Edward Island, and congratulating ourselves on having found so agreeable a place to stay. It was a wonderful way to end the evening.

08 September 2021
Baker Shore - Chelton Beach Provincial Park - The Boardwalk, Summerside - Malpeque - Baker Shore

     It is often patently obvious that the host of a B&B exchanges a few words with its patrons, almost as a point of obligation, lacking in sincerity and devoid of substance.
     Lynne was the exact antithesis of this. She was always genuinely interested in what we had done, what was on tap next, how she might help, and in the process engaged in a lively flow of intelligent conversation. It was always a pleasure to see her and have a chat.
     Darrell really came into his own at breakfast. The meals he created were as well prepared, varied and as tasty as is possible.
     Here is breakfast the first morning.


     That muffin was hot, homemade and delicious.
      And here is what Darrell followed up with.


     I should point out that Darrell worked for forty years in the oil fields of northern Alberta as a pipe fitter, and we can only say that we are glad that he turned in his wrench for a spatula! How many times has a baked pear drizzled with nuts graced your breakfast plate?
     The preserves on the table were all homemade by Lynne.
     Our coffee cup was barely empty before it was filled again.
     Marie Smith is a transplanted Newfoundlander to PEI and a fellow blogger. We had been in touch during the run up to our trip and had arranged to spend a morning together. Marie suggested Chelton Beach Provincial Park as a place to meet, quite close to where we were staying and a productive spot for birds.
     From the park one has an excellent view of Confederation Bridge as it snakes its way across the Northumberland Strait.


     Marie and her husband, Rick, were caught up in heavy traffic and we arrived a little before them. When they arrived we took a very enjoyable walk along the beach together.
     It was a pleasure to see a few Bonaparte's Gulls (Chroicocephalus philadelphia) out on the water.


     Sanderlings (Calidris alba), a species I seldom see in Ontario, provided great amusement as they scurried around feeding rapidly, as though not a minute could be spared.



     A Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) on the other hand was a familiar sight.



     Hoary Mugwort (Artemisia stelleriana), often known as Dusty Miller by gardeners, is originally from Asia but has become established in salty dunes in North America.


     One of the stereotypical images of Atlantic Canada is of lonely lighthouses, former beacons of navigation critical to mariners, but now mainly serving as backdrop for photographers.


     Cluster Flies (Genus Pollenia) are completely dependent on earthworms at every stage of their life, but may be found in attics and such places during the winter. 


     They are completely harmless to humans.
     The tide was coming in and the area available for walking on the beach was becoming narrower, so Marie suggested that we go into Summerside to walk along the Boardwalk, an area she and Rick frequent regularly, and a veritable oasis for them during COVID.


      This seemed like a perfect spot for a photograph of our kind and genial new friends.


     There was not a huge concentration of birds along the downtown section of The Boardwalk but a Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) swam elegantly by.


     Farther along The Boardwalk, in an area with picnic shelters, and nicely wooded, Marie and Rick provided us with a very tasty lunch, comprising quinoa salad, chicken on a bun and Rice Crispy squares (made for their grandchildren). We were offered a choice of tea, coffee or water. It was all delicious, made even more delightful by being eaten outdoors with friends.
     A couple of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius) flitted from tree to tree, very adept at moving to the back side as soon as Miriam raised her camera. Several Blue Jays (Cyuanocitta cristata) found the area to their liking too.
     A Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) posed for us .....


     ..... and a short walk yielded a Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria).


     Rick and Marie had grandparent duties to attend to and we said goodbye with a deep sense of gratitude that such a splendid friendship had been forged. Blogging can have amazing consequences at times.
     Miriam had been checking for interesting corners of the Island to visit and we headed for Malpeque on the north shore.
     Our drive took us past this grand old church.



     This white exterior was utterly typical of most of the churches we saw; many of the small rural ones having been converted into residences.
     We stopped at any interesting stretch of shoreline we saw, and Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) was the default shorebird, seen in numbers I seldom witness in Ontario.



     A Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) looked like a distinguished country gentleman out for a stroll.


     Semipalmated Sandpipers (Caladris pusilla) are at the end of their migration through Prince Edward Island, but small numbers were present and you can see one below at the left of the picture.


     We decided to make another stop at The Boardwalk to see whether the difference in the tide greatly affected the birds there. Great Black-backed Gulls (Larus marinus), American Herring Gulls and Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) were loafing together.


     When we had visited in the morning a fellow had told us of an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nest which still contained young.
     We were happy to discover a noisy parent, probably the female, doing babysitting chores no doubt.

      

     The male was in the air and perhaps the female on the nest was calling for a food delivery.
     I am quite sure this Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) had heard of the excellence of Baker Shore Bed and Breakfast and wanted to hitch a ride back with us!


     Still full from Darrell's five star breakfast, and Marie's wonderful lunch, we decided to skip dinner and nibble on a few snacks we had in our room.
     It was a warm evening, the hummingbirds were buzzing, the breeze was zephyr-like, and the veranda beckoned. We filled our wine glasses and went to watch the closing of the day. 
     Prince Edward Island had welcomed us in style.

Accommodation: Baker Shore Bed and Breakfast, 21 Baker Shore Road, Summerside, PE, C1N 4J9, bakershorebandb@hotmail.com, www.bakershorebandb.com, 1 782 355-1089
Rating: 5 out of 5, plus an extra 5 for sheer excellence that is hard to beat. Thank you Lynne. Thank you Darrell. 

77 comments:

  1. Querido David muchas gracias por compartir vuestro viaje. Disfrute con las hermosas fotos y la manera tan maravillosa de como lo marras. Un enorme abrazo para ti y para Míriam.

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  2. I've been to the island a couple of times. It is a magical place.

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  3. Hi David, it sounds like your trip was very agreeable, perhaps except for the first B&B and the tiny shower! Your hosts at Baker Shore B&B sound wonderful, so nice to be able to feel at home and have hosts who are genuinely interested in their guests. And that breakfast.....yessssssss! And of course you found lots of birds, I would have been surprised if it had been otherwise! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Darrell and Lynne were the BEST, Valerie. The first place was just a motel, but wait till you read the next account, where you will really see that all B&Bs are not created equal!

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  4. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip, David. I'm looking forward to read your next blogpost. Artemisia stelleriana have I tried in my garden, but I guess the winter is too cold here.
    Hugs from Marit

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    1. It was a great trip, Marit. It was just good to be able to travel again. Many hugs. David

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  5. It's great to travel again despite the difficulties that COVID brought with it, Super story and photos.

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  6. Hello David.
    It's great to be able to travel again. Hopefully soon we will be able to fly again to other continents!
    What a breakfast, wow!
    Many of the species are familiar to me.
    I am happy for you.
    Kisses

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  7. Un excelente viaje amigo David, muchas veces no se requiere de grandes kilómetros de distancia para pasar unos días muy agradables como fue vuestro caso.
    Muchas gracias por compartir tan bello recorrido y excelentes fotos.
    Un gran abrazo de tu amigo y compadre Juan esperando el próximo capitulo.

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  8. This covid bound armchair traveller thanks you. And how wonderful to meet up with Marie, a blogger I also follow with a great deal of pleasure and anticipation.

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  9. Great report, David. It sounds like you had a grand time. It's nice that you got to meet Marie and her husband on your trip. Great food and lodgings, wonderful weather and a great meetup with fellow bloggers. Looking forward to your next report.

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  10. Hari OM
    An outstanding start! All those lovely waterbirds... I am particularly delighted to see the Bonaparte's gull... they do populate these parts, but I only spotted the more prevelant Black-headed gull on my own recent sojourn to the other coast. YAM xx

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  11. Hello,
    Sounds like a wonderful trip, it is great you were able to meet Marie and her hubby. The B&B sounds perfect, great review. The birds and photos are fantastic, I love seeing the lighthouses too. Have a great day!

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  12. Glad you enjoyed the island. It is a wonderful place to live.

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    1. And part of our enjoyment was thanks to you, Marie.

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  13. Your images of the Confederation Bridge and your B&B, set my pulse racing. Wonderful that you have finally arrived, met Marie [lovely to see her face] and found the perfect hosts. I can imagine the joy the hummimgbirds would bring you. The presence of the ladybird must surely mean the rest of your holiday was exceptional too!

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    1. You popped into my mind a couple of times during our stay, Helen.

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  14. It might have been a stressful and less than ideal start to your vacation, David, but it soon picked up. The birding seems to have got off to a good start too.

    You may remember that I never have a cooked breakfast, but Darrell's offering could change my mind. I think that I'm going to have to try baked pear drizzled with nuts - not necessarily for breakfast. Pear is one of my favourite fruits.

    The church reminds me of some that I have seen in various parts of eastern Europe.

    As this post only covers the first three days, I suspect that we are in for several more instalments - I look forward to them.

    Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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    1. You are right, Richard. There are more instalments to follow. I hope this one doesn't give Diane too much trouble with her Stone Age WIFI.

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  15. How nice that you got to feed your travel addiction in such a beautiful place. I long to visit PEI. That B&B would be choice if I could go.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. It's a destination I highly recommend. And you could do no better than stay with Darrell and Lynne.

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  16. It looks like a fantastic trip. I haven't been to PEI, but I've always heard such good things about visiting there. It looks wonderful, and glad you had a great trip away. I'm looking forward to reading more about your trip.

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  17. So happy you made the acquaintance of Rick and Marie.

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  18. Baker Shore Bed & Breakfast sounds and looks amazing. Unfortunate that you had to drive through such heavy rain, but the weather appears to have cleared up and grace you with beautiful blue skies. Looking forward to reading and seeing more about your vacation.

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  19. Wow! That sounds like the best bed ad breakfast ever! Love all the photos, of course. :)

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  20. What a great trip. Isn't it great to be able to be out and about again? Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  21. Sounds great! Thanks for sharing your trip and the excellent photos.

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  22. You certainly did enjoy yourselves and that is pleasing.
    B&B sounds the best and to have such wonderful hosts is even better.
    It would have felt so good to be out and about again 'birding' and the photos are pleasing to see.

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  23. What a start!
    Cute with the warm cookies!
    And even the cucumber has a special shape.
    Ohhh, the beach. And the birds. The Osprey looks "funny".
    Sounds like a great trip!

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    1. We didn't take pictures every day, but there was always an "artistic" touch.

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  24. It sounds like a great vacation and how nice that you also got some friends.
    The pictures are great.
    Greetings Irma

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  25. Great vacation and good review. Stay safe and healthy

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  26. Baker Shore B&B is a lovely place. That is a pretty looking church. Glad that you and your friends enjoyed your vacation.

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  27. Hi David.

    It's great that you were able to travel again.
    Good on Miriam that she prepared well with the new mobile so you could find evidence of the vaccinations.
    That is a beautiful house where you were for a while, with a nice breakfast.Mooi de Meeuwen.
    The church is beautiful and lots of beautiful birds.
    The Osprey is beautiful.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  28. C'est un séjour qui avait l'air bien sympathique.
    Toujours des oiseaux au rendez vous!
    Bonne journée

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  29. Great photos and the B&B owners sounded very nice. And it's wonderful that you met up with a blogger friend in the area, to meet in person. That area looked beautiful. I especially liked the church. And of course, all the bird photos!

    As an FYI, I've noticed American Robins hopping around my yard recently, the way they behave in the Spring, before they've paired up. I'm assuming they do this every Fall, and I simply wasn't very observant in the past, or didn't connect their current behavior being the same as it is in the Spring. There were quite a few of them, not too close to each other, but walking / hopping around looking for food in the grass. (I think there could be a "group" that remains year round, but "hangs out" by the shore during the colder months.)

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  30. What a trip so far :-) First heavy rain and Corona obstacles which forever will tell a very special story of a sad pandemic and after that two stories of great hospitality. (I wish the B&B was not so far from here.)
    The birds that was the purpose of the holiday also seem to live up to everything you could want.
    I am looking forward to part 2.

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  31. Hi David, beautiful photos of your holiday. Beautiful photos of shorebirds. I like travel too, by car ship of train.

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  32. AFter the bumpy start (and I have to say that I so wish the US was as diligent as PEI with covid protocols) it sounds like the dream vacation, all the better because of the long delay in being able to travel. I've always heard lovely things about PEI (and of course, it's "Green Gables" territory. Your B&B sounds fabulous and it's lovely to enjoy your birding with friends. I can't wait to hear more!

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  33. Hi David,
    Although your holiday trip started in bad weather, from your photos the days that followed were fantastic.
    It was certainly a good stay at Baker Shore B&B, as in addition to being the lovely house the hosts were nice people.
    Excellent catches of beautiful birds.
    I loved the ladybug, from the last photo.
    All the best for you and Miriam

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  34. What a wonderful trip!
    I have no desire to travel, truthfully.
    We have been to PEI. My son was an actor at the Summerside Festival. We visited him, then.
    Wonderful birds. I enjoyed it.

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    1. I have to confess that, having travelled all my life, I hope never to stop. I have experienced so much and I cherish all of it. Life without travel for me would be akin to having the same thing for dinner every night!

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  35. Hello Both,
    You had certainly booked a Five Star B&B just looking at the goodies put before you made me feel hunmgry, good to see in Canada Covid is still being taken seriously, as it should be , where as in the UK it is being totally ignored and we have new daily cases in the tens of thousands, some excellent shore bird images. The Osprey is very late, ours are already in Africa and with all the calling[food begging] definitely a female. So good you were able to meet up with a fellow blogger.
    Look forward to the next chapter.
    Best wishes .
    John

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  36. Hi David,
    so glad to read that Miriam and you have had a lovely short vacation. It's so nice to see another part of the world sometimes and I understand Canada has very different places to go to. Meeting nice people is a very big bonus!
    We will travel to one of the Dutch isles (Texel) next week. Hope we will enjoy as much as you did.

    Best regards, Corrie

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  37. Sounds like the start of your vacation was perfect, once you got past the rain and the vaccine paperwork.I have never been to PEI, and would love to get there someday. My first introduction to hummingbirds was at a B&B in the Adirondack Mountains, where the Hudson River is just a stream. I was fascinated by those tiny birds who were constantly at the feeders. It inspired me to get my own feeder, and the rewards have been ongoing. Looking forward to part 2 of your vacation.

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  38. So pleased you were able to get-away.
    I did enjoy seeing your photographs.

    Take care

    All the best Jan

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  39. It seems like an awesome B&B experience. One of ours, up on the Bruce, we classified as Bed and bread. Oh well.

    How nice to meet Marie. I think this is the first time that I have seen her despite reading her blog for years.

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    1. Knowing Marie now, I can be quite sure that posting her own image would be the furthest thing from her mind.

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  40. David - this post was worth waiting for! Glad you finally got to stretch your travel legs!

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  41. I had wondered why you weren't posting. I'm glad to see you back and it sounds like you had a great time.

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  42. Hi David,
    It looks like this was a trip you had looked forward to for a long time. The accomodation and the food were obviously generally spoken excellent. When you were able to take a walk along the store and see a number of birds you probably felt great. A bit of variety in your life always feels good.
    Greetings, Kees

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  43. Hi David,
    My too I'd already come back home after spend some weeks visiting some different places in Spain. Toghether with our brothers in low. We have visited some places in the pirineus montains area and also in the province of Cantabria in the town of Laredo, where we the family of my wife Lydia have a little house in the coast.
    Of course I'd spend some of my time trying to take pictures to the birds, and I have already start to post some of them in my blog.
    I wish you a perfect come back home and of course we will be in contact trough our blogs. Greetings David

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  44. So glad that torrential rain disappeared and let you have a great start to your holiday (once you got all that dratted paperwork sorted!). I, too, follow Marie's blog (and, yes, great to see what she looks like!) and it was great to hear the two of you had managed to meet up together.

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  45. Hi David - this is wonderful to read ... and so great to read after the slightly dodgy start life took a wonderful turn of delight - I so agree - people make the place and Darryl and Lynne seem quite delightful - so pleased you selected their B+B to stay at. I'd love to visit Prince Edward Island and the east coast ... thanks so much for the cheery post. So pleased to know there's more to follow - cheers Hilary

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  46. My home is turning into such bird and wildlife joy. My children are busy with bird feeders everywhere and deer feeders. Hope our outdoor life will last a little longer.

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  47. David, you and Miriam obviously had a great adventure from the B&B stay, gracious host, meeting blogger friends and enjoying so much of the local sights on PEI. This location is on a future bucket list of a place to visit, so your post and future ones are much appreciated.

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    1. I have no doubt that you would enjoy PEI, Beatrice.

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  48. Wonderful to read..sure u had a great time

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  49. What an interesting trip to Canada you did, it turns out that you can have a good time in nature in Covid. The Confederate Bridge is impressive, David. I love your photos of the hotel, breakfast, and a lot of birds. Larus delawarensis is often found on our coast.

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  50. Thanks to the fact that the restrictions are already removed, you have been able to make that trip. As you say, traveling offers us unique experiences and a more global vision of the world and humanity.
    Interesting the variety of birds seen and also having found such good accommodation.
    A big hug.

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  51. Wonderful trip ... thank you very much for your report. I enjoyed it.
    We were in Sweden / Europe - on the small island of Öland. You'd like that too :-)) ...
    large bird sanctuaries can be found there, especially in the south.
    I wish you a good Sunday. Viola

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  52. hello David
    a travel article that you won't find in the catalog, with great pictures and a perfect description ... I could almost taste the warm muffin for breakfast, ... that's how vacation should be, relaxation from the first minute ...
    Greetings Frank

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  53. What an interesting and rich description of your first days traveling, David. My mother had the chance to visit PEI with friends after my father died, and she never stopped talking about it. She didn't give a flip for birding or nature, but she was so impressed by the beauty of the land and the friendliness of the people. I'm looking forward to your next posts.

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  54. David!
    It was a wonderful journey. You will have great memories.
    Hugs and greetings.

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  55. What a lovely time. We HOPE to visit the Canadian Maritimes next spring … providing travel is back to normal by then. It was interesting that you saw all the same birds as we are seeing now on the coast in South Carolina.

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  56. How good you can go out to other places again, since although the area where one resides is full of wonders to discover, it's very good to change the air and travel a bit.
    It's true that I am behind with the publications, also in the middle I have made several trips where it has been possible, there is a lot of things to show. Greetings

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  57. Hello David, what a wonderful place! And great to read you were able to go out again to enjoy the outdoors with kind people and nature.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  58. Having just thoroughly enjoyed your trip vicariously the thought occurred to me that it's a good job I don't pore over every post on every blog with the same interest and thoroughness or I'd never manage to get anything else done.

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    1. I am pleased that you took the time with this one, Graham.

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  59. So glad that you managed to sort out the problems in the early part of you holiday. Not sure it would have been so simple here. No QR code to prove the vaccines and you are quite simple turned away! We have not fathomed out how holiday visitors cope!!

    Lovely set of photos and nice to meet up with Island Musings and for me to see the photo.

    Keep well, cheers Diane

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  60. Me ha encantado veros disfrutar con nuevos amigos, también de esos paseos tan preciosos. Abrazos para Miriam y para ti.

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  61. Baker Shore looks like a marvelous place to stay. I lived in Summerside that year I lived there and I found it so nice and friendly. I miss living there, but I also missed the mountains - it was a struggle, but I'm glad to be back in the mountains now! Beautiful photos!!

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  62. I enjoyed your Mahone Bay/Peggy's Cove so much that I decided to go back and read your other Atlantic Trip posts. I enjoyed your pictures of PEI. The Island is my second home after Nova Scotia, because it's where my father's people come from. I've never been across Confederation Bridge. My family always took the Wood Island Ferry out of Pictou. It's lovely that you met great b&b hosts and connected with blogging friends, David.

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