NeilyWorld Birding Annapolis Valley - Cottage Cove - Port George
COTTAGE COVE - PORT GEORGE
Spring: ** Summer: * Fall: ** Winter: ****
Directions to this Site: If you are coming from the east (say Halifax), take exit 18A from Highway 101 and turn right or north on Victoria Road. Travel 1.0 km NNW to Spa Springs Road (Highway 362) and turn left or WSW on it. Follow Spa Springs Road 1.1 km to the T-junction at Gates Mountain Road (aka Commercial Street, Middleton) and turn right or NNW onto it. Follow Gates Mountain Road 3.3 km to Shore Road East and turn left or WSW on it. Proceed 2.1 km west, to the community of Port George. The shoreline can be viewed from the road from here to Cottage Cove, 1.8 km to the southwest.
If you are coming from the west (say Yarmouth), take exit 19 from Highway 101. Turn left or NNW onto Elliot Road and proceed 1.5 km to Clarence Road. Turn right or ENE on Clarence Road and go 2.4 km to the Mount Hanley Road. Turn left or NNW on it and drive 4.6 km to Shore Road East. Turn right or northwest onto it and drive 300 metres to Cottage Cove. The shoreline can be viewed from the road from here to Port George, 1.8 km to the northeast.
Location Map of the Cottage Cove area
Site Description and Birding Information: The Cottage Cove to Port George shoreline is one of the few sections of the Fundy shore where the road parallels the shoreline close enough to facilitate birding for any distance, in this case nearly 2 kilometres. On the left, as you approach the shore from the Cottage Cove end, is the old wharf. You can get off the road here and walk out along the wharf (assuming you are careful and it doesn't deteriorate much more) to get a closer look at the water. Just 200 metres beyond the road entrance is the western entry to the tiny Cottage Cove picnic park. The east end of this park is an ideal spot for viewing the entire shoreline toward Port George. Just off the park is the local seal haulup, a rocky outcrop exposed when the tide goes out. The tides are important to note here as there is as much as a ten metre difference between high and low tides. At low tide the water is much, much farther away than at high tide. Viewing opportunities are limited along the roadway toward Port George. There are few pulloffs and often traffic. But there are spots to get off the road which appear to be public areas.
The main attraction here birdwise is the presence of winter specialties such as Purple Sandpipers and Harlequin Ducks, both seen annually in small flocks. The Purple Sandpipers can be found anywhere along the shoreline, but are hard to find until they fly. If you walk along the shore, you often do not see them until they flush (sometimes only a few feet away). The Harlequin Ducks are almost always seen near the shore, diving in the breaking waves. They are usually found toward the Port George end of the shore strip discussed here. Many other water birds can be found offshore, sometimes quite close like the Harlequins, but often beyond binocular range into spotting scope territory. Common and Red-throated Loons, Horned and Red-necked Grebes, Long-tailed Duck, Common Eider, White-winged and Surf Scoters and Red-breasted Merganser are all regular in winter. Less common are Black Scoter and occasional alcids, most likely of which is the Razorbill, though any other East Coast alcid is possible. Gulls, which are often found loafing on the shore or water, run almost entirely to Herring and Great Black-backed, with Ring-bills beginning to appear occasionally in more recent years. Either Great or Double-crested Cormorants are seen from time to time. Watch for Common Ravens and Bald Eagles flying over.
Harlequin Ducks at Port George - Dec. 20, 2012 - Larry Neily
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Last update: December 7, 2013