14 September 2021
Mahone Bay - Graves Island - Mahone Bay, NS
Sunrise over the bay was always spectacular (at least it was on the mornings we were there) and Miriam made sure that we recorded it for posterity.
The journey along the coast was marked by picturesque views and ocean vistas, and we stopped frequently.
As might be expected American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus) was much more common.
It is a beautiful spot, with many first rate camping sites for those enjoying that kind of vacation.
We set out to walk the perimeter of the island, a distance of 3.2km - an easy walk on level ground.
Many of the ferns looked different from those we have in Ontario. This attractive species is called Eastern Hay-scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) and was quite common on Graves Island.
Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) was prolific, and well patronized by insects, but I am unable to narrow this plant down to the species level.
Similarly, the following flower seems to be some kind of aster (Asteraceae) but I am unsure of the species.
Blue-headed Vireos (Vireo solitarius) were having great success foraging for insects as they fattened up for their long migration south.
American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) is late to arrive in spring and departs early in the fall. It seemed to be beyond its normal departure date for the species but we were happy to see this individual still foraging for insects.
It was Miriam who had discovered Graves Island while checking an app on line, and we continued to dwell on our good fortune on being able to enjoy this beautiful spot.
I don't think it's possible to walk through an eastern woodland without being scolded by American Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus).
The local American Crows were not at all happy about a subadult Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) straying into "their" airspace, and they wasted no time in harassing it mercilessly.
Mallards (Anas platyrynchos) are not reluctant to interbreed with Black Ducks, and from time to time the array of intergrades is quite staggering.
Myrtle Warblers (Setophaga cononata) are among the latest warblers to leave their summer haunts, and they migrate shorter distances than most wood warblers.
The undertail markings of warblers are diagnostic of the species and this individual is showing its distinctive pattern well. At times, when the birds are foraging among the leaves, you don't get much more than a glimpse at the underside of the tail, so time invested in learning the patterns contributes greatly to identifying the species.
Halloween is fast approaching. This tree looks like it was designed for hobgoblins and spooks!
We arrived back in Mahone Bay for a late lunch at a restaurant with the humorous name of For Cod's Sake. We had to line up for about twenty minutes to gain entry, but it was well worth it. They cooked fish and chips the way fish and chips should be cooked. We left well satisfied and full to the brim!
In late afternoon at our B&B a huge flock of Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) paid us a visit, and we were treated to the closest we have come to a murmuration.
There were many hatch-year birds in the aggregation, bearing testimonial to the success of these aggressive invaders.
We were content not to concern ourselves with the question of alien versus native species and simply enjoyed the spectacle.
Mahone Bay - Swissair Flight 111 Memorial - Peggy's Cove - Auld's Cove, NS
We were always first in for breakfast and this morning was no exception. Once we had eaten we settled our bill, packed the car and headed for the open road.
I don't think many would question that Peggy's Cove is the location most tourists wish to visit above all others when visiting Nova Scotia. So what to do, but set a course for Peggy's Cove?
A short distance outside town we saw a sign to the memorial marking the crash of Swissair Flight 111 on 2 September 1998, eight kilometres offshore from Peggy's Cove.
The Government of Canada carried out a full investigation of the crash lasting more than four years at a cost of $57 million dollars.
One cannot help but feel a sense of poignancy and the sharing of vicarious grief as one gazes out to sea.
We saw more cormorants along this stretch of coast than we had seen during most of our trip. They connect to a maritime coastline in such a perfect manner.
Peggy's Cove lives up to its reputation as one of the most picturesque (some would say THE most picturesque) village on the entire Atlantic coast.
There were many people there in mid September and the parking areas were full. I can barely imagine what it must be like in mid summer at the peak of the tourist season.
It cannot be denied, however, that the entire area is beautiful, the coastline rugged, the views unmatched.
Miriam and I, however, were impressed and delighted in the entire experience, from clambering over rocks to wandering around the harbour.
There is often a nagging question in the back of my mind when I am in Atlantic Canada whether the lobster traps one sees everywhere are working traps, or strategically located for the tourists.
It is hard not to be impressed by a Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus). It dominates the shore like no other bird, and brooks no interference.
A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), ever patient, ever opportunistic, probed the water in characteristic fashion.
The myriad organisms of the shore provide a fine bounty for intelligent American Crows, anxious to exploit every opportunity for a meal.
We left Peggy's Cove, well satisfied with our visit, and drove directly to Auld's Cove where we had reserved a motel for three nights. The Cove Motel would serve our needs, but it has clearly seen better days and is in serious need of renovation and maintenance inside and out.
We opted to have dinner in the restaurant at the motel. Miriam chose a seafood casserole and I had fish cakes and beans. Neither dish was memorable.
The bed, however, was comfortable and we had a good night's sleep. We were about to embark on the last phase of our maritime odyssey with a trip around the legendary Cabot Trail.
That will all be the subject of the next and final installment of the account of our vacation in Atlantic Canada.
Accommodation: The Cove Motel, 227 D-31 Road, Auld's Cove, NS B0H 1K0, 902 747-2700 Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5.