Four intrepid field observers, backed up by 10 home feeder counters braved the cold weather to record 686 individual birds from 29 species. The high lights of the count included 8 bald eagles, 3 from the Wallace River population and 4 on the Pugwash River with one at the bridge in Pugwash. Six Common Goldeneyes were observed at Estuary House but larger numbers of both Common and Burrows Goldeneyes were seen in the open water by the bridge in Pugwash along with Red-breasted and Common Mergansers.
While not officially within our count area, a flock of 148 Canada geese were observed flying west over the ice of the Northumberland Strait, presumably looking for an area of open water or somewhere to feed. All the birds, from the bald eagles roosting above Docherty Creek to the herring gulls huddled on the ice of the Pugwash Basin, appeared hunched up and minding the cold.
A sincere thank you to everyone who contributed to the count. I am very impressed with our numbers, considering the weather, and I'm sure NS Bird Society and Bird Studies Canada will appreciate our numbers too.
Thank you to the Legislature of Nova Scotia for recognizing the work that FOPE does to conserve the ecosystem of the Pugwash Estuary. We were very pleased to receive this after the visit of Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, MLA.
John and Bonnie opened up their beautiful hall for a wonderful Christmas party this year and many members of FOPE came to celebrate with us. We had way more food than we could eat and people also generously donated to the food bank.
Thank you so much, John and Bonnie. Good party!
So from all of us at FOPE, we wish you a very Merry Christmas. See you at the Bird Count on Dec. 28th!!!
Once again we partnered with Communities in Bloom to sell at the Christmas Market. Fun to see everyone.
FOPE participated in the annual Christmas Tree Fest at the High School Beat out by Mike Cunningham's tree, we were still second place winners. Thanks to Mary, Sarah, Bonnie, Betty, Sandy and Dianne who all worked on the tree.
Look out Mike Cunningham.
Dec. 5th, 2017 - Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin and assistants accepted FOPE's invitation to see the work we have done towards building an interpretive and education centre and encouraging the public to experience nature. She explored our new trail system as we discussed the potential impacts on the environment of proposed mining activity. The Estuary Trail was in its usual splendour that day - despite the drizzle.
Nov. 12, 2017 - Renovations to the house are pretty well complete, so it is on to the barn we go. The shed at the side was falling down, so it had to go. With Joe and his backhoe and Ralph and his overseeing, the job was done.
Canada’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program is a science-based initiative to identify, conserve, and monitor a network of sites that provide essential habitat for Canada’s bird populations.
On September 30th, 8 observers left Estuary House for a day of birding to monitor waterfowl activity at 12 different sites. 967 birds were sighted, and that represented 38 different species. Highlights were sighting a bald eagle with a duck kill and 70 + red-breasted mergansers on the Estuary Trail as well as a male wood duck with several females in Conn's Mills.
This information is used to create conservation plans with wildlife in mind and provide valuable data for the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program. Recently the work done by FOPE and this group of bird watchers was cited by NCC in their newsletter.
September 23, 2017
Two significant things have happened this fall. First, Bob Nogler won a Communities in Bloom award as one of four volunteers of the year for Pugwash. He received the award for his work towards the building of the second FOPE hiking trail.
Building a trail is a gift to the community which will give enjoyment to generations of Pugwash hikers. The Pugwash Peace Trail at about 3.5 km was built to recognize the work of the Thinkers and of all others who strive for peace.
The second event was the official opening of this new trail - FOPE’s Canada 150 celebration. After a few words by Al Gillis, the celebration started with a solstice ceremony to honour the changing of the seasons and a smudging ceremony led by Louise Goodwin and Emile Gautreau.
John Carraberis, vice chair of FOPE and Doug VanHemessen of NCC cut the ribbon, and declared the trails open. The signs acknowledging the important partnerships with NCC, the Seagull foundation property, the Pagweak foundation and Windsor salt were displayed as were the interpretive signs that will be placed along the trails.
A group of about 15 hiked, and another group in 17 canoes and kayaks hit the water for the annual fall flotilla.
It was a gorgeous day, and after the outings, the Estuary house was at its best with some jamming by visiting musicians and a BBQ to greet people as they returned. And it was warm enough for some to swim.
The new trail is part of the Pugwash Peace Trail System with two loops accessible from it - the Masicho and the Kitpoo Loops make another 1.75 km available. Come and try them out