NeilyWorld Birding Annapolis Valley - Belleisle Marsh
Spring: *** Summer: **** Fall: *** Winter: *
Directions to this Site: If you are coming from the east (say Halifax), take exit 20 from Highway 101 and turn right or WSW onto Highway 1. Proceed 14.2 km through Bridgetown to Belleisle and the road on the left into the Belleisle Marsh. You will see the sign a few hundred metres along this dirt road.
If you are coming from the west (say Yarmouth), take exit 22 from Highway 101. When you reach Highway 8, turn left or to the NNW toward Annapolis Royal. Proceed 6.9 km north, then northwest, to the junction 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 13.2 km to the road on the right into the Belleisle Marsh. You will see the sign a few hundred metres along this dirt road.
Location Map of the Belleisle Marsh area
Site Description and Birding Information: This lovely bit of Acadian dykeland was entirely hay fields in years past and was an important refuge for grassland birds, such as Grey Partridge, Eastern Meadowlark and even Loggerhead Shrike, which have now disappeared. It still harbours some grassland birds such as Bobolink, Eastern Kingbird and Savannah Sparrow. There is a parking area about 500 metres from Highway 1. It is well marked and is shown on the map below by a green P. You can park here for a quiet walk or you can drive the roads, which may or may not be passable, depending on your tolerance of roughness and mud. Best to wallk.
Belleisle Marsh Entrance Sign - Larry Neily
It is now the home of several Ducks Unlimited empoundments, and so attracts waterfowl and marsh birds in season. There are four ponds, circled in green and numbered on the map below (roads are in red). Ponds 1, 2 and 3 were overgrown with cattails in 2013, but that may change. Pond 4 was mostly water with a few small islets. Neither situation was ideal, but a good variety of birds may be seen with presistance. Pond 1 was more open in 2012 and had good numbers of waterfowl. Sora are breeders here. It is also home to one of Nova Scotia's few pairs of Willow Flycatchers (down by Pond 4, I'm told). Beware the nearly identical Alder Flycatchers that are present on the brushy parts of the marsh. Listen careful to the calls to separate them (Alder - "fee-be-ou"and Willow - "fitz-beu"). Even the calls may be confused.
Belleisle Marsh Map - for another view move your cursor over the map
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Last update: December 11, 2013