Troop Island Journal
Yesterday Laura and I were delighted to enjoy an outing to Troop Island, off Seabright, in St. Margaret's Bay with Beth McGee, our guide and captain. Troop Island was the object of a major and hurried fund raising campaign to save it from the developer's maul.
Beth and many others who live around St. Margaret's Bay were dismayed to hear of the development plans for their beloved island, the focus and object of many childhood and adult memories for many people. The island is now protected and held by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust.
We landed on the beach at 8:30AM on the north end of the island. There are only two beaches, the one we landed on and the beach on the east side of the pond. The tide was rising and this would cost us dearly later in the morning. We proceeded on a counter clockwise circumnavigation of the island.
This is copied from the St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Association story on the rescue of this island:
As those who have visited the island well know, Troop is a truly incredible and ecologically unique place. Wandering inland from the charming sand beach, you enter a new and unexpected world. Lush mossy ground gives way to a cathedral of towering centuries old American Beech, Sugar Maple and White and Red Spruce trees. The island is one of only a few remaining in the entire province providing refuge for Acadian hardwood forest. Further along the shore, you discover an ecologically rich saltmarsh and pond, rocky intertidal habitats rich in marine life, and coastal forests where you’ll likely hear a lively chorus of songbirds or catch a glimpse of the resident osprey family. Unlike so many of our coastal islands, nature has been left unimpeded on Troop Island, offering a unique outdoor classroom and opportunity to understand and to study coastal dynamics and climate change. It is a place well-known and treasured by the local community.
Here are my companions preparing for the three hour hike.
As a physicist I make a lousy botanist so many of the photographs from our adventure are unidentified and will require the help of others to sort out.
The birds we saw or heard were; Double-crested Cormorant, European Starling, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, 7 Great Blue Herons feeding on the shoreline, Common Loon, Hermit Thrush, Northern Flicker, Black-throated Green Warbler, Northern Parula, 3 active Osprey nests, American Robin, American Goldfinch, American Crow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Song Sparrow, Purple Finch, Downy Woodpecker, Black Duck with 9 chicks following in line, Willet.
We identified the following plants; Seapea, Apple tree in blossom, Starflower, Cow Parsnip, Pearly Everlasting, Blue Flag Iris, various thistles and Coltsfoot. I was carefull not to touch the Cow Parsnip just in case we misidentified it and it was the dreaded Giant Hogweed.
We finished the hike at 11:30AM and I was exhausted. Beth was willing to head to the island interior but that will have to wait for another trip.
Old man's beard, Usnea
Apple tree in blossum, suggesting someone may have tried to settle here or perhaps the work of a Johnnie Appleseed
Bracket Fungus, at least 16 inches across.
The forest floor is rich with ferns.
Blue Flag Iris
Blue Flag Iris
The island pond
The island pond
Unidentifed crab, possibly a Snow Crab?
Red Fescue Grass
Hair Cap Moss
Rush and Sedge
Wood Fern or Holly Fern
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