NeilyWorld Birding Annapolis Valley - Annapolis Royal Marsh - French Basin Trail
ANNAPOLIS ROYAL MARSH - FRENCH BASIN TRAIL
Spring: *** Summer: *** Fall: **** Winter: *
Directions to this Site: Coming from either the east or west, take exit 22 from Highway 101. When you reach Highway 8, turn left (coming from the west) or right (coming from the east) both to the NNW toward Annapolis Royal. Proceed 6.9 km north, then northwest, to the juction of Highway 1 and Highway 8 (St. George Street in town) in Annapolis Royal. Turn right or ENE on Highway 1 or Prince Albert Road and go 0.3 km to the entrance to the Annapolis Royal Marsh or French Basin Trail. Turn right into the parking area. The trail begins at the northeastern end of the parking lot.
Location Map of the Annapolis Royal Marsh area
Site Description and Birding Information: The Annapolis Royal Marsh offers wonderful birding opportunities, especially for waterfowl. That makes sense since the large pond is a Ducks Unlimited inspired project. Prior to its construction there were few such places in the province and none in this area. Even better is the access to this marsh. The French Basin Trail circles the entire pond, giving excellent views of the waterfowl at any time of day. The parking area allows access to the Annapolis County Rail Trail which constitutes the southern leg of the French Basin Trail. A mere 100 metres on this trail brings you to the pond. From that point, the trail circles the pond, staying close to the edge except for the southeastern area between the sewage lagoons and the Annapolis County Rail Trail. It is 1.6 km or 1 mile around the pond.
There are two blinds for viewing the pond. One is a raised viewing platform about 350 metres along the southern leg of the main trail from the parking area or 250 metres from where the trail splits where you first reach the pond at its SW corner. The other one is on the opposite side of the pond a ground level. At the easternmost side of the trail you can climb the brem of the sewage lagoons using an informal path and view the ponds through the fence. There are also several benches along the way to provide stationary viewing posts or rest for the weary.
Map of French Basin Trail at Annapolis Royal Marsh
There are several small islands and peninsulae to provide safe havens for the resting or nesting birds. This is an excellent spot to study waterfowl, especially during migrations. Even a few shorebirds may be found here. Some species, like the gorgeous Wood Ducks breed there. Other marsh denizens are also found in summer, such as Sora and Virginia Rail. In fall through to freeze up waterfowl gather here. American Coot is found here at this time. Rarer birds sometimes stop here, including Eurasian Wigeon, Redhead, Great Egret, Glossy Ibis, Marsh Wren, etc.
Green-winged Teal (male) at Annapolis Royal Marsh - Oct. 29, 2013 - Larry Neily
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Last update: April 20, 2017