A recent visit to the New London Lighthouse gave my husband and me the opportunity to visit Cape Tryon as well. We knew of the Cape, at the edge of a farmer’s property, accessed via a red dirt road through his fields. The area is open to the public however.
At the end of a rough road, the sandstone cliffs are up to 35 meters above sea level.
Such high cliffs are unusual on Prince Edward Island. The Gulf of St. Lawrence lies below. In the distance, the traditional beaches of the island are visible.
There isn’t beach here. The sandstone rises out of the water though it has eroded into caves in several areas at sea level.
Over the rocks below and any ledges in the cliffs, cormorants are in residence.
I have been fascinated with cormorants since we moved to the island. They fly over our house spring to fall as they travel back and forth to the lighthouse in the Summerside Harbour. Their goose-like V formations are a regular sight.
We observed the birds, noting the white feces over the rocks. Here, it is subjected to the elements, thus does not become the famous guano, which is a much sought fertilizer.
The nests are made of stick and twigs, coated white as well.
This is the oldest cormorant colony on the island dating back to at least 1941. Two species of cormorants, Double crested and Great, live here. We saw Great cormorants at a distance.
They have white around their beaks. Both species have a prehistoric look, with the long hooked beak and the S-shaped neck.
Cormorants aren’t songbirds. Sometimes they sound like pigs. You can hear the voices and calls here. Their grunt-like sounds were common on this visit.
A close-up look at one of the Double crested birds shows their uniqueness.
The deep blue eye and the orange around the beak adds colour to the matte black. The feather pattern shows a combination of small and larger feathers and long ones of the tail.
These birds are made to swim fast and far underwater in pursuit of food. They always surface a distance from the diving spot. Cormorants can cover a large area in a matter of seconds.
The lighthouse at Cape Tryon is not the original one which housed the keepers and their families in the early days. This one lights the way for vessels but watches over the colony as well.
A close-up of the Great cormorants is my next goal. We will be back!