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Brier Island Journal
Laura and I visited Brier Island Sept 5-7, with a stop at Annapolis Royal Marsh on route. The weather was moderately cooperative, too windy for a comfortable ocean tour, and foggy during the mornings and the evenings. Nevertheless the island offered some interesting experiences.
Firstly, a few photos from Annapolis Royal Marsh.
The Joe Pye Weed was finished for the Season
The shoreline of the Annapolis Royal Marsh is very attractive this time of year.
Some Asters are always late bloomers
We arrived at Brier Island late in the afternoon after making the ferries right on schedule. After checking in to our hotel our first tour was towards the south end of the island.
Peter's Island Light
Westport as Seen From the Peter's Light Lookoff
After viewing Peter's Island Light Laura paid homage to Joshua Slocum at his memorial. He was born on Mount Hanley very near to Laura's ancestorial home.
Nova Scotian childhood
Joshua Slocum was born on February 20, 1844 in Mount Hanley, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia (officially recorded as Wilmot Station), a community on the North Mountain within sight of the Bay of Fundy. The fifth of eleven children of John Slocombe and Sarah Jane Slocombe née Southern, Joshua descended, on his father's side, from a Quaker, known as "John the Exile" who left the United States shortly after 1780 because of his opposition to the American War for Independence. Part of the Loyalist migration to Nova Scotia, the Slocombes were granted 500 acres (2.0 km2) of farmland in Nova Scotia's Annapolis County.
Joshua Slocum was born in the family's farm house in Mount Hanley and learned to read and write at the nearby Mount Hanley School. His earliest ventures on the water were made on coastal schooners operating out of the small ports such as Port George and Cottage Cove near Mount Hanley along the Bay of Fundy. When Joshua was eight years old, the Slocombe family moved from Mount Hanley to Brier Island in Digby County, at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Slocum's maternal grandfather was the keeper of the lighthouse at Southwest Point there. His father, a stern man and strict disciplinarian, took up making leather boots for the local fishermen, and Joshua helped in the shop. However, the boy found the scent of salt air much more alluring than the smell of shoe leather. He yearned for a life of adventure at sea, away from his demanding father and his increasingly chaotic life at home among so many brothers and sisters.
He made several attempts to run away from home, finally succeeding, at age fourteen, by hiring on as a cabin boy and cook on a fishing schooner, but he soon returned home. In 1860, after the birth of the eleventh Slocombe (Joshua changed the spelling of his last name later in his life) child and the subsequent death of his kindly mother, Joshua, then sixteen, left home for good. He and a friend signed on at Halifax as ordinary seamen on a merchant ship bound for Dublin, Ireland.
After visiting Joshua Slocum's memorial we followed Gull Rock Road to Big Pond and Big Pond Cove. The roadside is covered in blackberries and the best display of Nodding Ladies Tresses's Orchid I've seen anywhere in Nova Scotia. There was a nice display of shoreline flowers and grasses along the walking route to Big Pond.
At Big Pond two shorebirds, a Least Sandpiper and a Pectoral Sandpiper, were pinned down together and fearfull of flying due to rampaging raptors even though three humans were approaching. Laura stayed wisely far back. We came far too close to these birds since their anxiety level must have been very high due both to their fear of flying and their inability to react to the humans approaching. I said to my companions that we were too close to these birds and I backed off. My companions didn't care! One of them even had the bravado to say that he could pick these birds up since they were so paralized with fear. We have to show more respect for birds.
Least Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper
I saw the Pectoral Sandpiper the following day when the raptors were not about and obtained some nice images.
Nodding Ladies Tresse's Orchid
I could not identify this wildflower even with half a dozen flower identification books and the internet at my disposal.
White Water Lily
The largest rose hips we have seen anywhere in Nova Scotia reside on Brier Island.
I had hoped for a sunset photo on our last night so we went to Brier Island's Western Light. Alas the fog rolled in but it was so thick I was able to capture sunspots on our sun without the use of a filter.
Brier Island's Western Light
Sunspots on the Sun at Sunset, Brier Island Western Light
On our last morning the fog lifted and the wind turned away from its relentless southerly blow so we went up to North Light about an hour before sunrise.
Brier Island North Light
Sunrise at Brier Island, North Light
We enjoyed our trip and were thankfull for the wonderfull display of wildflowers. Perhaps next time we'll have better luck with birds and the wind.
Keywords: Birds of Nova Scotia, Brier Island, Canada, Least Sandpiper, Lighhouse, Nodding Ladies Tresses, Orchid', Pectoral Sandpiper, Wildflowers, Wildflowers of Nova Scotia
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