Monday, August 20, 2012

Seaside nature- Nova Scotia

Nature in Nova Scotia can be very different from that which I am accustomed to in Ohio, but there are some things I found readily recognizable.  All of the following photographs are taken within a 1/4 mile of the ocean in Nova Scotia, basically most of the visit involved trips to port towns or walks on beaches.  It is an altogether pleasant way to pass a week, I assure you.

Seaside Goldenrod,  Solidago sempervirens
 The Seaside Goldenrod has robust look to it.  Often the stems are reddish and seem quiet succulent.  It has an altogether different appearance than our field-types of goldenrods.

Fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium

Fireweed is a disturbance species, found growing in a weedy manner along the ditches.  It is worth stopping to get a better look.  On close inspection the inflorescence is quite lovely.

Fireweed along the road.
Fireweed growing along the road in large swathes.  It is often found of ditches, disturbed areas (such as roadsides) and does especially well where a burn has occurred; hence, the name Fireweed.

The most common butterfly was the Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui.  Once called the Cosmopolitan,  indeed, it is found on more continents than any other butterfly species. It cannot winter over in these northern regions, but is it is famous for its mass migrations. Butterflies East of the Great Plains, (Opler and Krizek) says it can even use the thistle as a host plant.  Perhaps that is what this "lady" is up to.  

American Copper, the smallest of all copper butterflies.

Sheep Sorrel, Rumex acetosella
American Copper butterflies were found in several locations.  This was not too surprising as their host plant, sheep-sorrel is found in many locations.  It is a low to the ground, weedy plant which thrives in damp places- especially damp places with sheep.  That pretty much describes Nova Scotia.

 Nova Scotia is well-known for sheep.  Since much of the rocky shores are impossible to till, many of the islands  have sheep free-ranging during the summer months.  This ewe and lamb were photographed at the base of the Cape Sable Lighthouse.  The sheep keep paths open on the island as they feed on many of the native grasses, but the thistles must not have been to their taste.  

In some cases is it believed sheep contribute to the erosion of sand dunes, shores and can be disruptive to shorebird colonies- such as Roseate Tern and Piping Plovers.  Those beaches and islands receive more protection under current management practices.   

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the lovely pictures. I have sheep down here in VT. Some of my ancestors are from Nova Scotia, so I enjoy looking at the beauty of the place!