CPAWS-NS Explores the Eastern Shore Islands

Originally published by CPAWS NS here
Stoney Island of the Eastern Shore Islands. Photo: Peter Green

Located in the Mi’kmaw traditional territory of Eskikewa’kik, the Eastern Shore Islands include hundreds of islands stretching along the coast from Clam Harbour to Liscomb Point. This is the largest archipelago in eastern North America, and it’s only a short drive from Halifax.

The Eastern Shore Islands are a hidden jewel along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coastline, featuring rich and diverse coastal and marine ecosystems. Next week, CPAWS-Nova Scotia is delighted to be heading out there on a five-day expedition. We will be posting live updates throughout the week, to share the wonders of this unique place. Expect lots of camping and adventures as we explore in kayak, by boat, and on foot!

The islands host an impressive diversity of coastal features and habitats – these vary from sheltered coves of turquoise water with beautiful white sand beaches, to windswept headlands, to saltmarshes and estuarine flats, and boreal rainforests. These ecosystems provide important habitat for migrating seabirds, songbirds and shorebirds, such as the purple sandpiper.

The waters surrounding the islands are home to a rich diversity of marine life, a result of the complex mosaic of bottom habitats found here. Eelgrass and kelp beds provide an important nursery ground for many species, as well as a spawning area for Atlantic herring.

Piping plover (Charadrius melodus) along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. Photo: Nick Hawkins

Endangered migratory species, including Bluefin Tuna,  Leatherback Sea Turtle, Piping Plovers and Great White Sharks all grace these waters. Above the surface, Harlequin ducks and Roseate terns, can be found foraging in the nearshore waters. Estuaries associated with several rivers that drain into this site are important habitat for the endangered Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon population. Given the importance of this archipelago, it is not surprising that these islands have been identified as a high priority for conservation.

The Eastern Shore Islands are equally important to the people who live here and who have a deep connection to the islands and the waters that surround them. There is a strong sense of community throughout this region, linked to the ocean and the rich marine life found here.

So, follow us next week as we journey through the islands and keep an eye out on our social media for live updates from our trip!

Reanne

Kayaking on the Eastern Shore. Photo: Reanne Harvey

Related Posts by CPAWS NS:

CPAWS Video Tour of the Eastern Shore Islands

Photos of Eastern Shore Islands by CPAWS NS

Back at Owls Head” by CPAWS NS offers a fascinating glimpse into the site’s biodiversity, including 75 species of birds.

Caitlin Grady’s Timeline: The Delisting of Owls Head Park Reserve

Community Scientists Descend on Owls Head

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