Miner’s Marsh: What To Spot This Spring
By Emily Leeson
After a long winter, it’s not just the humans of the Annapolis Valley who are starting to perk up with the first signs of spring. In Kentville’s Miner’s Marsh the wildlife is already planning for the fresh season. There is no better time to get outside, take a stroll, and enjoy one of the best public spaces that this Valley has to offer.
While Miner’s Marsh, located at 77 Barclay Street, consists of 1.7km of maintained trails, it is much more than just a hiking route. The wildlife habitat was constructed by Ducks Unlimited Canada as a protected site, and the trails in the area were established by the Town of Kentville, in partnership with Health Promotion and Protection, the Rotary Club of Kentville, and Michelin. This community partnership is all about humans and nature benefiting from each other.
Miner’s Marsh is an example of a wetland ecosystem. Wetlands usually consist of low-lying land, a relatively shallow water source, water-loving plants, and lots of different species of birds and animals. Wetlands offer protection to wildlife – hundreds of species call them home. It’s where they find their food, make their homes, and raise their young. Throughout the park, there are viewing stands, picnic tables and benches, and interpretive signs along the way so that everyone can access a good view of the area’s bustling natural world.
There isn’t a better time to watch the season change, so take a stroll and see what catches your eye. Here are a few suggestions of wildlife to watch out for. Let us know if you manage to see them all!
WILDLIFE TO SPOT:
The distinctive dark brown bodies and white heads of these enormous birds take four or five years for the all-gray eaglets to develop. Bald Eagles are Canada’s largest bird of prey.
Cedar Wax Wing
The bright yellow tip of the Cedar Wax Wing is his calling card. These little birds love to eat berries.
The male cardinal is the bright red one, the female is slightly greyish-brown. If you see one, another one is likely close by; they mate for life.
“Chick-a-dee-dee-dee” You’ll likely hear these little friends even before you spot them. They are sweet and smart. Did you know that they can remember where they’ve hidden food for at least 28 days after hiding it?
Mr. Mallard is unmistakable with his shiny green head and white collar. You’ll likely have plenty of opportunity to see these ducks paddling around the marsh, occasionally flipping upside down, legs waving up in the air as they investigate something tasty deep below.
This is the largest woodpecker in North America. Their red caps and large size are instant identifiers.
Raccoons are actually quite adaptable – while their original habitats were forests, they’ve branched out into mountainous areas, coastal marshes, and urban areas as well.
With a brownish or orange coat, a little white belly, and a bushy tale, the red squirrel is at his busiest at dawn or late afternoon.
The red-breasted robin is one of the first signs of spring, however some of the robins that are spotted early in the season may have in fact been overwintering in the province all along.
The smallest hawk in North America, these little guys have long tails and short wings. On the hunt for mice or songbirds, they are speedy acrobatic fliers.
Miner’s Marsh can be accessed from the abandoned rail line trail at the intersection of the trail with Leverett Avenue, and from the parking area behind the County of Kings Municipal building on Cornwallis Street.