Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter in Nova Scotia

It’s been such a long time since my last entry, spring has arrived, migrants are returning, a favorite time of year. Flowers and buds are emerging from a long winter’s sleep and the spring peepers are in full song. How I love to smell the sweet earthy scent and feel the warm sun on my face. I lay in the slowly greening grass the other day and just took it all in, the big sky, the awakening earth, the revival.
I’ve been busy planning a big road trip out west for June and in the interim, we decided on an Easter visit with my daughter and her partner living in Halifax. We left on Wednesday before Easter, in warm rainy weather in Ontario only to drive through the worst winter storm a few hours later. It started with freezing rain east of Montreal, then sleet, then blowing snow. Treacherous driving conditions and of course we had just removed the snow tires off the car. Spring in Canada!

We overnighted in Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec. No chance to see Beluga’s at the harbor this time as the storm raged on. It snowed all night and into the next day as we traversed New Brunswick. By Nova Scotia the weather cleared, virtually no snow there and by the time we reached Halifax, it felt like spring again. We had wonderfully sunny days over Easter weekend, a bit cool on the coast but fantastic for hiking.

As I write this, the fog is rolling in from the sea, a light drizzle falling, fog horns sounding, it’s been like this for 3 days. A typical Nova Scotia day on the coast. We are fortunate to be staying in a delightfully small coastal community called Duncan’s Cove.

Duncan's Cove

From our bed we can see and hear the ocean.

"Rusty" the Pheasant and his mate

We are house sitting in a light-filled home a stone’s throw from the ocean, in a tiny harbor. The house is surrounded by forest so we have been seeing plenty of wildlife: rabbits, White-tailed deer, Porcupine, Squirrels, several bird species including White-throated sparrows and Song sparrows singing all day long, robins, crows, gulls, chickadees, juncos, mourning doves, Goldfinches and our favorite, a pair of Pheasants. The male with his striking plumage always comes first making sure the coast is clear for his mate, a very well camouflaged hen. She blends right into the landscape. We have named the male “Rusty” because of his plumage and raucous calls, which we hear several times a day with some drumming.
We’ve hiked the surrounding coastal trails with family and ate some great foods.
Remnants of the war

There are several abandoned remnants of WWII bunkers on the coast which we explored during our hikes. One has a house built right on top.

house built on top of WWII bunker

We’ve also had several sightings of Eider Ducks, Bald Eagles and Black Guillemots and one of harbor seals lazing on nearby rocks.

Harbour seals

I love hearing the waves crashing and pounding on shore and especially the sound of boulders rolling around with the waves. The result is stones and boulders of all sizes worn smooth by the wave action.
This is our last day here, so even though it is damp, foggy and windy we will hike one last time and enjoy a seafood dinner tonight. I will post more on beautiful Nova Scotia later.

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