We drove to The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s protected lands along the Bay Of Fundy at the Johnson’s Mills Grande Anse Mud Flats. We had stopped at the site on another trip along that coast but the site had been closed and so after seeing on the CTV News a report about the hundreds of thousands of Semi-palmated Sandpipers that gather at the site prior to their 4500 km migration to South America we decided to get and check it out.
The actual interpretive center has a few rooms of displays and information as well as guide books and souvenirs for sale and there was a guide on the boardwalk lookout answering questions. A crowd of bird watchers was on the boardwalk poking their long lenses left and right hoping to see the flocks of pipers either hopping along the mud looking for food or flying in the awesome packed formations the birds create when so many thousands are flying together.
All the pipers had decided to move their picnic spot to a little bay a few hundred meters from the info center so we drove over to the beach area where the pipers were gathered. As soon as we got out of the car we could hear the high pitched squeaking and chirping of the thousands of birds and it created a whispering siren of crystal bells, a chorus of secret communication that we could only imagine what was being said.
Through the binoculars it was amazing, the telephoto perspective flattened the slope of the mudflats and all you can see is a wall of tiny grey and black and white birds moving this way and that. We always like to see a piper on the beach wherever we are but this was something else! It was the sort of sensation you get when you look closely at an ant hill that is swarming and thriving and heaving with thousands of ant bodies; this was similar with the feather bodies seeming to create a moving carpet or a curtain of singing bodies that flitted and danced along the mudflats.
What a lovely visit to this intertidal piece of heaven with all these tiny singing angels who gathered together for one last goodbye before they took to the skies on their way to the warm South. See you in the Spring!
One of the greatest things about living in the Moncton, New Brunswick area is that we can go for a weekend trip in PEI, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. With family on vacation in PEI we decided that it was time to return to the island we barely visited and meet up with G and C who were camping at The Borden-Carleton KOA.
PEI is one Maritime province we still have to discover and we had an awesome trip with lots of discoveries and laughter. As if we didn’t have enough books on our to read list, now we just added Anne of Green Gables.. whew another 8 books!
On our tour of the Central Coastal drive we could have stopped many times as we passed lots of photography opportunities and this one looking out over French River was not to be missed.
During our 2 hour of visit at The Ann of Green Gables historical site, we were able to watch the short introductory movie, visit the house and walk the 3 main trails, Balsam Hollow, Lover’s lane and Hunted Woods. At 5 O’clock we almost got kicked out and it was the perfect time to snap those perfect pictures of the house and gardens.
We stayed overnight at the Cavendish Resort motel that was nothing to write home about but it was clean and we were able to get a good night sleep. They have free family passes to the Ann of Gables Site and we took advantage of this perk.
On the next day, we headed towards Charlottetown, still on the scenic drive route, passing through PEI National Park and Cavendish Beach. The sand dunes were like gigantic snowbanks and and few were adventurous enough to swim, even though the sea was calm, it was a little on the chilly side.
Then it was off to the Acadian site of Farmer’s Bank and the Doucet House, after a quick stop in North Rustico at the bay where the hiking trail reminded me of our Riverfront park in Riverview.
The museum at the Farmer’s bank was where the first Caisse Populaire / Credit Union started. Our guide at the Jean Doucet’s house let us pick some fresh herbs and in return I pulled a few weeds. There was a lot of people gathered as it was the annual Acadian Festival in Rustico. Dami had some hot dogs courtesy of the Lions Club.
We stopped in Charlottetown where we had a late picnic lunch in Victoria Park next to a family event with a concert, big inflatable toys for kids, a petting zoo and Police cars. We were lucky enough to find a parking space close to a picnic table and brought our kitchen stuff to make a nice salad from scratch and receive G&C in style!
We ended the day with the 3.4 km Heritage walk that we did counterclockwise starting at the information center. I wish there would have been a descriptive guide available as we had lots of questions with few answers. We were surprised to see a Harbor Hippo! It’s an amphibious bus, and Mama D and I rode one in Halifax, NS and Victoria, BC. Charlottetown, PEI is beautiful and we hope to visit again soon.
We had an awesome walk with G&C chatting with many laughs as usual. Hopefully we’re able to visit the West and East portions of the island this summer. It’s too bad the Province House was closed.
It had been a long time since I had wanted to go visit Amherst, a small Nova Scotia town rich in history. The Cumberland County museum & Archive is worth a visit for anyone interested in the past.
There was a display, about the extinct Mi’kmaw, with this lovely map.
In the 19th century, Amherst was an important regional center.
There are a few short walking trails to stretch your legs and a very nice one where we rode our bikes for a 5-10 minutes of cardio.
The town also has a Via Rail train station where we stopped for our lunch, watching people wait for their late train to Halifax, while we dreamed about our next trip with VIA.