Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sackville Wetlands

Today began early with the happy and boisterous sounds of young children who were super excited to welcome a new day, and ready to jump straight in. Hearing their unreserved enthusiasm made me smile, and prompted me to wonder what happens to us as teenagers and adults. Where does our joy and curiosity go? Why do we lose the drive to explore, discover, and learn?

Once we were left to our own devices, we sat and worked for several hours in a vain attempt to get caught up on our huge backlog of work and prepare for tonight's presentation. However, a welcome distraction soon presented itself that was far more interesting.

 

We've been chatting online with two fellow adventurers for a while now, and we finally had a chance to catch up with them when we learned they were birding in the Sackville Waterfowl Park. We headed down there in the gentle rain, and soon had an opportunity to share stories and do some birding in this fantastic spot.



The 22 hectare Sackville Waterfowl Park was established in 1988 as a joint venture between the Town of Sackville and Ducks Unlimited. Mount Allison University, the Province of New Brunswick, the Canadian Wildlife Service and many others supported the venture as well.

 
 

Today there are 4 km of trails and boardwalks that wind through the park, taking visitors past open water, marsh, woodland, and meadows. More than 180 species of birds and close to 200 species of plants have been recorded in the park.

 
 

During our visit to this fantastic wetland we saw several Double-crested Cormorants, a Common Moorhen, quite a few Gadwalls and American Widgeons, Mallards, a Pied-billed Grebe, and a group of Blue-winged Teals. Songbirds we saw included Swamp Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees, three Great Blue Herons, and a Belted Kingfisher. Many locals walk through this marsh, and it is a great place to visit!

 
 
 

After our walk around the marsh Carol made us a wonderful lunch of grilled cheese and tea in their camper, and we had a very interesting conversation with Carol and Ian. After reading our blog they visited the Codroy Valley in Newfoundland to do some birding there, and Carol is now doing a workshop there that will connect kids to nature through art. She had some fantastic suggestions about how to connect kids to birds in the classroom, as well as very interesting insights on the pros and cons of self-publishing a book versus going to a publisher. We learned a lot from them, enjoyed hearing of their travels around the world, and really appreciated the opportunity to meet them. The encouragement was great, and it was heartwarming to learn that even though we haven't had a chance to visit any classrooms yet, our efforts may have contributed to others connecting kids to nature.


After our meeting we very briefly explored downtown Sackville on our way back to do more work. Sackville is a vibrant, creative, artistic, university town which manages to stay relatively small and friendly. Ducks and birds feature prominently here, showing up in the names of several businesses and on the crosswalks.

 

We had half an hour or so to catch up on some work, and then Eva and I headed over to a potluck that was being held by the Bird Studies Canada staff. It was great to catch up with former colleagues that I haven't seen in a few years, and to see how much their offspring have grown! Time flies. Unfortunately I couldn't stay too long, as I had to head back to prepare for our presentation.


Our talk was held at Mount Allison University, and it was organized, set up, and advertised by Nature New Brunswick. A huge thank you to Adam for all his hard work! There was a very engaged and enthusiastic group of 15 naturalists, students, and youth in attendance, who had lots of questions for us.




It was lovely to see some familiar faces, and to have yet another opportunity to share our adventure. As we headed home in the pouring rain we were very thankful for the hospitality and generosity of others.  

1 comment:

  1. It was wonderful to bird in Sackville with you both. We are inspired by your passion to conserve birds while taking an epic journey on the Great Trail. Best wishes, Carol and Ian

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