With the advent of autumn and the return of the sun after hurricane Teddy’s recent visit which fortunately did not bring the forecasted winds but did leave us a substantial amount of much needed rain, I was eager to take my car out for a run to do some exploring. With only a few hours to spare, I opted for a quick trip to the North Shore on the Bay of Fundy side of Nova Scotia.
My first stop was the small fishing village of Hampton where you will always find lobster boats tied up at the wharf ready to head out to sea. This scenic village is a favourite location for cottagers from all parts of our province, some from other provinces in Canada, and a handful of Americans who have brought the village to life every summer except for this year, thanks to COVID. Every Canada Day in early July, the Hampton Lighthouse and Historical Society has been hosting a successful lobster dinner as a fundraiser for their lighthouse maintenance. However, not wanting to accept defeat by the pandemic, they decided to offer the same dinner as a ‘take out’ instead.
Things were quiet when I arrived except for a few curious people walking the rocky beach most probably searching for stones and driftwood treasures offered in abundance by the Fundy. I didn’t want to take the time to walk the beach so headed in the other direction to see if there was any action on the cliff where the cottages are located. Unfortunately, they looked quite deserted. The only sign of any life was a car stopped in the middle of the road with a man and a woman appearing to be looking at what I thought was a map. I stopped and asked if they were lost and whether I could help them? Not at all: they were observing a bird…a huge black one with a brilliant red crest on his head. We quickly agreed that he was some kind of woodpecker but never had we seen one so large. After lots conversation about birds and other things that curious travellers discuss when out for drive, along came another youngish woman with a huge camera. We flagged her down to find out if she could tell us more about this handsome bird. Without hesitation, she confirmed for us that it was indeed a woodpecker and that he was a Piliated Woodpecker commonly found in the southernmost regions of Canada and throughout the eastern part of the US. Since that day, I have heard from others that more than usual have been sighted here in Nova Scotia this year. No doubt he is another gift left to us by climate change and COVID.