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 west on NS-1 toward Bridgetown. Drive SW, then west on NS-1 for 900 m to get to the Chimney Swift roost.
If you are coming from the west (say Yarmouth), take exit 20 from Highway 101. Turn left or NNW onto Rice Road and go 650 metres to NS-201. Turn right or NE onto it and travel 850 metres to South Street. Turn left or NNW onto South and go 1 km to the bridge across the Annapolis River, where South Street becomes Quenn Street. Continue straight on Queen Street another 200 metres to where it becomes a oneway and you must turn. Turn right or east on Centennial Drive and go 70 metres to turn left or north on Post Office Street. Follow it for 150 m and you will be at NS-1 or Granville Street in town. Turn right or east and go 830 m to the Chimney Swift roost.
Location Map of the Bridgetown area
Site Description and Birding Information: There are several areas in or near Bridgetown worth birding. We will describe several: the Chimney Swift Roost on NS-1, the Bridgetown Sewage Lagoons, the Annapolis County Rail Trail west of town, vulture and eagle spot north of town, and Valley View Provincial Park (north of town along the North Mountain escarpment).
Bridgetown Birding Sites
Chimney Swift Roost: As you come off the NS-101 and cruise west through town on NS-1, look for them special-built chimney about 1 km along on the left. Chimney Swifts ued to roost in the old high school located here. This chimney, dedicated solely to the swifts, was built as a replacement when the school was torn down. Come at dusk to watch the amazing show put on by a hundred or more swifts as they circle and circle until the whole gangs is there, then rapidly descend into the chimney like water being poured into it. The final act takes only 30 seconds or so, so keep your eyes peeled.
Chimney Swift Roost, Bridgetown, NS on Jan. 1, 2023 - Larry Neily
Bridgetown Sewage Lagoons: Continuing along NS-1 (aka Granville Street), go 0.8 km to Washington Street on the left. Turn left and go south 1.3 km, keeping right at both Victoria Street and Riverview Drive, to where it comes to the rail trail with the old railway bridge on your right. The sewage lagoons are straight ahead 0.3 km throught a sometimes used cattle pasture. When it is in use there is a gate just beyond the rail trail. The pasture has various ditches, tangles and bush rows that are worth checking in fall and winter especially. Northern Mockingbirds are repeat visitors here and depending on the food supply, waxwing and robins may be found in winter. Less common was a House Finch seen there Oct. 23, 2022.
Northern Mockingbird at the Bridgetown Sewage Lagoons on Dec. 30, 2020 - Larry Neily
House Finch at the Bridgetown Sewage Lagoons on Oct. 23, 2022 - Larry Neily
The lagoons themselves are fenced, but some viewing of the water in the more westerly pond (the most productive) may be had from the gates or the western end of the pond, where one can see over the fence to pond surface. The eastern pond is more difficult to see. Clambering partway up the fence seem the only way. There is, however, another way. If you drive out the way you came in, back to NS-1, turn left or west and go two blocks to Queen Street. Turn left or south on Queen and go 1.3 km, noting it became South Street when you crossed the river, to reach NS-201. Turn left or east on NS-201 and from 0.4 to 0.8 km you will see the lagoons on your left. With a scope you should be able to identify most birds.
The lagoons have produced a number of less common to rare species: Snow Goose Oct. 2021 (in adjacent fields), Canvasback Apr. 2021, Barrow's Goldeneye several times in late fall to freezeup, Ruddy Duck Nov. 2020, American Coot Nov. 2021, Black-headed Gull Dec. 2020, and Little Blue Heron Aug. 2021. Rare in winter, a Palm Warbler was found there on Dec. 27, 2023.
Snow Geese at Bridgetown on Oct. 8, 2021 - Larry Neily
Annapolis County Rail Trail west of town: From the corner of NS-1 (aka Granville Street) and Queen Street (thought of by many as the centre of town, go south on Queen Street 0.3 km to the Annapolis River, and an additional 200 metres to the Annapolis County Rail Trail. There is parking around the old railway station, now the End of the Line Pub, from where you can walk west along the trail.
Map of the Annapolis County Rail Trail weat of Bridgetown, NS
You can make this hike as short or long as you please. Just remember you will be returning the same way unless you arrange for a pickup, the nearest road crossing is Marsh Road 4.5 km to the SW. Below is map map showing the rail trail as a dashed red line. After going through a small patch of woods, the trail comes to a small pond with the remains of many dead trees in it at the 1.3 km mark. This pond hosted a young Little Blue Heron in the late summer in 2022. Beyond that the river meanders close to and then farther away from the old track bed. You will see hay fields, scrubland and the river as you proceed. You will cross Bloody Creek that dumps into the Annapolis River. Its banks and those of the Annapolis are festooned by impenetrable thickets of multiflora rose bushes. In winter these can be alive with birds, especially sparrows. The last stretch before Marsh Road is another wooded section, this one with more conifers.
Little Blue Heron along the Annapolis County Rail Trail on Aug. 29, 2022 - Larry Neily
Northern Shrike along the Annapolis County Raoil Trail on Nov. 25, 2019 - Larry Neily
Valleyview Provincial Park: From the centre of Bridgetown, remember Queen Street and NS-1 (Granville Street), go west 360 metres on NS-1 to Bay Road (aka Inglewood Road). Turn right or NNW onto Bay (Inglewood) and go 740 metres to the communications tower on the right. This is a favorite summer and fall roost for the local flock of Turkey Vultures, often with around 20 present, sometimes twice that number. Continuing along Inglewood Road another 1.8 km you arrive at the corner of Inglewood and Clarence Roads. Continue straight north another 0.6 km to reach Hampton Mountain Road. Turn left or west on it and go another 1 km to the entrance to Valleyview Provincial Park on your right. This entrance gives access to the picnic and camping areas. An alternate entrance, much quieter, is 0.8 km farther north along Hampton Mountain Road. There is room here to pull off and park and walk SSE on the gated service road, which goes along the western edge of Croskill Lake with forest and bog on the other side. In about 300 metres you can take a side trail to the right which connects to the camp and picnic ground roads, and provides access to the mature or maturing deciduous forest there. Or you could continue on the service road to connect with part of the park's trail system.
Map of Valleyview Provincial Park north of Bridgetown, NS
This is a good spot to get the common deciduous forest birds such as Least Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Ovenbird, American Redstart, Northern Parula and Black-throated Green Warbler. The area adjacent Croskill Lake adds more variety, especially during migration. A Canada Warbler was seen here May 21, 2021.
Least Flycatcher at Valley View Provincial Park, NS on May 21, 2021 - Larry Neily
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