Sunday, June 23, 2013

Nova Scotia Final Thoughts

Our route began on June 3rd along the South Shore and progressed in a clockwise direction taking in the regions of: Bay Of Fundy and Annapolis Valley, Northumberland Shore, Cape Breton Island and finally the Eastern Shore on route back to Halifax. Unfortunately, we made a decision based on time factors to go cross country through Kejimkujik National Park and thus bypassing Yarmouth and The Acadian Shores. View-Map

Our  Touring RV - Home during our Canadian tours!
As you would imagine the province offers wonderful birding opportunities with delightful coves and inlets, plus many lakes and mixed forests. I couldn't even hazard a guess at the amount of times we parked up to go hiking. The campgrounds too are always a perfect place for an early morning or late evening walk, but with the tree's in full bloom and most North American Warblers preferring mid to high canopy, the birding was hard work. A little advice if visiting, take time to learn your bird song, this was our main armory in our searches and helped us identify many species. We spent a little time each evening using the excellent E-Bird App or the Sibley's Guide for Ipad listening to our target birds for each day before heading off.

Red-eyed Vireo - Typical bird of high canopy and easily located by it's constant song!  
Through other commitments we were unable to visit in the peak migration months of April and September and this was the main reason for the disappointing numbers of shore and sea birds during our visit. June is the only month were inland birding becomes more rewarding than coastal. We can actually vouch for this fact first hand with the amount of inland species encountered on this trip far outnumbering those of shore and sea. However, despite the negatives we managed an astonishing 24 new bird species to our Canadian list: View-here

Cape Breton Highlands
Cape Breton Highlands National Park is worth a special mention. Its spectacular highlands and ocean scenery, steep cliffs and deep river canyons which carve into a forested plateau bordering the Atlantic Ocean makes it a special place of beauty. One third of the Cabot Trail, a world-famous scenic highway, runs through the national park along the coasts and over the highlands. I can tell you that Cape Breton certainly lived up to it's reputation! Cedar Waxwings are commonplace and during our four days stay in the park we encountered stunning sunsets, pollution free amazingly clear skies, plus beautifully coloured Warblers, Finches and marvelous Raptors.

Another little yellow job - Gorgeous American Goldfinch
Many Butterflies were on the wing throughout our tour, the most popular being the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail and we also encountered other wonderful species such as: Garter Snakes, Green and Spring Peeper Frogs, Minke Whale, Dolphin, Harbour and Grey Seal, Red Squirrel, Chipmunk and achieved something our four previous visits to Canada failed to yield, our first Moose!

Bull Moose - A stunning find thanks to Dee!

The weather during our stay also lived up to expectations with beautiful hot sunny days, foggy, misty, damp ones and even the remnants of a tropical storm, which hammered us for over 36 hours. The black flies, ticks and mosquitoes are also worth a mention and something that needs consideration if you plan to visit.

One of several amazing sunsets
In conclusion Nova Scotia is a beautiful province with stunning scenery, outstanding coastline and amazing diversity, a wonderful experience. I would certainly plan any future visit to coincide with the spring or autumn migration as the lack of waterfowl, shore and sea birds was to be honest a disappointment. Would I visit again? Yes, but my heart will always be on the west coast of this amazing country.

View Nova Scotia 2013 photo-album <HERE>

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