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Monday 29 June 2020

An island beach experience

It was overcast and breezy but the humidity of earlier in the week had disappeared and taken the heat warning with it. It was time for a beach day with our family and the golden grand-dog, Georgie. We packed our picnic lunch and joined them at Cabot Beach. 

We arrived in time for lunch in the picnic area where we were the only people present. After some time in the playground, we went to the beach where we added to the less then twenty people there for the day. As soon as we set up, the sun came out and the breeze made the heat bearable.

Our grandchildren love the beach and spend their time digging in the sand and swimming. They entertain themselves leaving the adults to keep a watchful eye and time to relax. My husband and I always bring umbrellas to the beach to provide the shade which we prefer.

While we walked the beach, Georgie walked in the water with our daughter and the kids. She was satisfied for five minutes then whined for us, firmly planted in one spot watching us so we took her with us.

There were bank swallows flying around one part of the beach but their nests weren’t in this area. The shoreline takes a huge hit from erosion every year now 

which causes sand to build up in the boat passage to the wharf in Malpeque. Dredging the channel is on-going again this year.

Marram grass has filled the upper part of the beach but the dunes have taken a hit over the past year.

 Driftwood far up the beach has weathered resting in the sand.

One of the things I love about this beach is the sight of the fishing vessels mere meters from the beach goers. The boats take care entering the dredged channel and many signal greetings to the beach goers as they pass. 

Meanwhile, near the entrance of the boat channel, a school of fish churn up the water, attracting the attention of the gulls. 

The fish are probably gaspereau, an Acadian name for alewife, a type of herring which move back and forth between salt and fresh water. They are moving upstream from the waters around Prince Edward Island to reproduce.

The interaction of nature, industry and people is interesting to observe in this place.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Early morning in the fog

It’s been hot and humid so my husband, the golden grand-dog and I hit the boardwalk by seven a.m. because it’s too hot later in the day. Fog in the harbour changes the appearance of the trail through the familiar location. The fog and the early hour make for an interesting walk.

From the bridge over the stream, the gazebo is shrouded in fog.

The harbour is invisible in the distance and a Song Sparrow stands on a barren twig beside the barely visible sea. 

However, the animals are active and on the move.

In the stream, several moulting male Mallards are swimming around in the early morning mist.

A Sora which is visiting the area,

isn’t among the bulrushes this morning but its location in the fog doesn’t result in a great photo either.

The Red Squirrels are active this morning, playful really as they chase each other around the trees.

Three woodpeckers punctuate the misty air with their drilling around a broken tree trunk.

Everyone has the same idea when it’s hot and humid.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

The hole in the boardwalk gang

Along the boardwalk this time of year, young animals are in abundance. It is a pleasure to walk with them and enjoy the sights and sounds. Chipmunks are among the young and my husband and I spent time recently enchanted with two we called the Hole in the Boardwalk Gang.

These two are tiny, probably this year’s kits, just making their way in the world of the boardwalk.

They discovered or chewed a hole in the wood along the trail and spend their time poking their heads out of the hole to the delight of walkers of all ages 

who give them peanuts and seeds. It is impossible to see the duo and not smile. 

We’ve taken numerous photos and watched others do the same. 

The two are a delight to young and old alike who stop and chat with fellow chipmunk admirers, 2 meters apart of course. 

Our latest conversation revealed there are three little rodents appearing through the same hole. I’d love to have that photo.

Sunday 21 June 2020

Along the way 3

There is much to see during our walks especially along the boardwalk. With so many people and animals, there is always something new added by the humans or different animals drop in for a visit.

This picnic table is new along the boardwalk. An islander makes these and sells them as feeders. People leave peanuts which disappear though I’ve never seen any picnickers.

One day, my husband, the golden grand-dog and I watched as another dog fetched a huge piece of tree trunk from the water. The dog wasn’t tired after numerous fetches. His owners tired of the effort long before the dog did. Georgie, golden retriever that she is, somehow missed out on the retriever part of the description. She might retrieve something once but she certainly wouldn’t persist like this eager dog.

On a hot day this past week, this little dog called Lucy decided she’d had enough and refused to walk any further. Her owner gave her a rest and then she continued along the way.

The Black Scoter ducks with their whistling calls left the Summerside Harbour some time ago. When they were present, for a few days they had the company of Surf Scoters. These Scoters don’t make the whistling sound of the black ones and have white patches on the front and back of their heads. These birds were fewer in number than the Black Scoters, were farther off shore and didn’t stay around as long. The picture, as poor as it is, shows their white foreheads however.

One of the unusual things we’ve seen lately is this snail partway up the trunk of a tree. It was inside the shell but attached to the trunk. 

As we walked beside a field on our way back to the car from the beach at New London, a fox dashed in front of us and across the field.

Finally, this cargo ship, Thunder Bay, came into Summerside Harbour recently with a load of gravel from Canso, Nova Scotia. There isn’t any gravel on Prince Edward Island and road repair every spring requires a shipment from our neighbour across the Northumberland Strait.

Thursday 18 June 2020

Canoe Cove

We discovered Canoe Cove this week. We hadn’t been there before but the beach quickly became one of our favourites on the island. 

It was a hot day at low tide when we arrived at the Lloyd Inman Memorial Park. The park has all the facilities for day use and is in a beautiful location. We had a picnic at one of the covered picnic tables and walked to the beach at Canoe Cove just below the picnic/play area.

The beach at low tide is long and wide, 

with numerous tidal pools spread over its expanse. The tidal pools have sea life in abundance and we were thrilled to see starfish, a first for us on the island. 

They and hermit crabs will be very popular with our grandchildren.

No sand dunes here. The sandstone cliffs which line the cove have a layer of rich red soil above them where Bank Swallows have their nests. We watch the birds flitting around but they stayed away from the nesting holes while people walked nearby. 

There is concern for these swallows in Prince Edward Island due to the speed and amount of erosion of the cliffs. Earlier this spring, residents were asked to report sightings of the birds. You can see how much soil is lost when the bank collapses.

People swam and others walked a long way off-shore without getting their knees wet.

We observed the sandstone cliffs as we always do and found a sea arch in the making. 

The layers of sandstone show how high the tide rises.

My favourite photo of the day shows the cove, children on the beach and the coniferous trees lining the shore.

We will visit again soon.


Wednesday 17 June 2020

A gaggle, a paparazza and a visitor

During our recent visit to Cavendish Grove, my husband and I were delighted to see the geese swimming with their goslings. We hadn’t been able to visit prior to June 1 because the national park was closed due to Covid 19 precautions. By the time we visited this year, the colour of the goslings had changed from the soft yellow and they were big. It was great to see them nonetheless.

They first appeared while we ate lunch and we were far enough away so as not to affect the birds. 

We wanted to keep it that way so I decided to hide behind the huge tree trunks in the Grove to take photos, like a paparazza, while my husband walked away with the golden grand-dog.

The young birds pulled on the grasses just as the adults did. 

They ate happily for ten minutes or so as I hid behind the trees with hardly more than the camera lens visible. 

I lost my balance and I stepped out briefly from behind the tree and back again, but it was too late. I was spotted.

I didn’t hear that goose make a sound but when it quietly turned to swim away, the other adults turned as well and the goslings followed. 

I had a short career as a paparazza. 

P. S.

In keeping with the theme of creatures of flight, we recently discovered a bat clung to our daughter’s vehicle as it was parked in our garage. The animal flew to the floor and exposed its fangs to us. I managed a photo before we removed it. The tiny creature had leather-like wings and a furry body.

My husband carefully scooped it onto a shovel and placed it under the patio at the back of the house. It walked away from us, using its legs and wings. Its walk is peculiar and I wish I had recorded it. The animal made a barely audible noise as well.

Here on Prince Edward Island, the bat population was devastated by White-nose Syndrome over the last several years. The province is tracking bat sightings on the island now and has set up a hotline for people to call with info on sightings. I reported our sighting. The hope is the population is recovering.

We believe it landed on our daughter’s vehicle while she worked the night shift. It was down in the windshield area where the wipers were attached and had a safe drive to our house where she dropped off the kids and the bat attached to the vehicle. The next day, there was no sign of it near the patio where we had placed it. We are hopeful it is living its best bat life.

Monday 15 June 2020

The wind in the trees

One day last week we planned a hike and a picnic but the wind was too high for picnicking. Instead we decided to walk the Rotary Friendship Trail again and keep our picnic for another day.

Usually when the wind is high, you can’t feel its effect when you’re among the trees. 

However on this day, the wind gusted to 50 km/h and there were times when the trees danced all around us. As we slowly walked in the green glow of the tunnel-like trails, we paused periodically to look and listen. There is a fifteen second video here.

We noticed the trunk of one tree, broken from a main trunk and hanging by its leafy branches caught high among other trees. 

It must have broken recently since the leaves above looked as healthy as those on any of the trees. It was an unusual sight.

Walking these trials is always good for the spirit. On a windy day, we feel an extra layer of amazement for the beauty and power of nature.

Friday 12 June 2020

To the beach

During our recent visit to Cavendish Grove, after a picnic, my husband and I walked to the beach. A trail from the Grove to the beach runs through the trees and takes you near the Lake of Shining Waters. From there it’s a short walk to the shore.

The trail passes through an area where the trees provide a canopy and shadows dance on the path. 

In an open area of trail, 

trees are in bloom as apple and chokecherry 

display their spring beauty. Along this path, forget-me-nots appear through the woods, 

providing a gentle hint of blue through the undergrowth. Where they line the path, their tiny blue and white flowers are easy to remember.

Bees are plentiful on the apple blossoms and on the last of the dandelions before they go to seed.

Before long the sand dunes and the floating walkway on the Lake of Shining Waters lie ahead. 

From there it’s a short walk to the beach. Since we had the golden grand dog with us, we didn’t go on the beach because dogs aren’t permitted this time of year. We had a look though.

In this stage of the Covid opening, public bathrooms in the park are not open. I hope the next stage of opening rectifies this problem, otherwise park personnel will have a different concern.

We walked back to the car at the Grove and watched a Mallard and her ducklings for a few minutes before we left for home. 

It was another great visit to one of our favourite places.