2018 Events

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About Our Volunteer Interpretative Program and other activities
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The Friends of Taylor Head Provincial Park (FOTHP) organization offers a program of interpreted and guided outings and other events that we hope will enhance the experience of park users. This initiative originates from our strong attachment to Taylor Head Provincial Park and our passion for the natural world.

The guides and interpreters for all activities are volunteers. We have limited resources in terms of the scope and level of assistance that we are able to offer to participants who cannot safely participate without special attention or supervision. In particular, if you have mobility, endurance, or cognitive limitations we ask that you read the program details very carefully to ensure that the activity you choose is right for you. The program includes both easy and demanding events.

All activities are FREE. 

If you would like to support the organization and the work we do, purchase a Friends of Taylor Head membership. Annual membership fees are Family $20 and Individual $10.

You need sturdy footwear such as walking shoes, hiking sneakers, or hiking boots. Street shoes or sandal-type footwear with open toes and heels are not suitable for these rough hiking trails. If you have questions about the conditions of the trails, just give us a call.

We have graded our hiking trails as EASY or MODERATE for hikes under 3 kilometers, and DIFFICULT for hikes over 3 kilometers, such as the Headland Trail. Most outings exceed three hours, so do not forget to bring drinking water, something to eat, and appropriate outdoor clothing.

MIGRATION BIRD COUNT 

calendar-512Saturday, May 12. Time 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Meet at the kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty – Difficult

This is an annual event sponsored by the Nova Scotia Bird Society and is conducted annually on this date (second Saturday in May) throughout North America. All the trails in the park will be covered and all birds will be counted – not only migrants.

We can expect to see cormorants (Greater and Double-crested), Long-tailed Ducks, Willets, Greater Yellowlegs, Swainson’s and Hermit Thrush, Magnolia Warblers, Fox and Song Sparrows, etc. Weather is usually cold and raw this time of year, so dress warmly. Bring a lunch, hot drink, and any equipment you use for birding. All birders welcome. No rain date.

Leader: Jim Cameron 902-885-2970
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

7 ROAD CLEANUP

calendar-512Sunday, May 13 (Rain Date May 27).    Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon 
Meet at park gate on highway 7

Garbage along the roads detracts from the scenic beauty as visitors drive to Taylor Head Park. Within the park boundaries, the roadside and ditches are generally trash-free. However, Highway 7’s ditches sprout coffee cups, bottles, and cigarette packages at an alarming rate. In the spring and autumn of each year, the Friends of Taylor Head organize a trash pickup along Highway 7 between the Mushaboom Bridge (near Mushaboom Road) and Twin Bridges road. This keeps about 3 km. clean and tidy.  Often we finish earlier than noon.

Volunteers meet at the entrance to Taylor Head Park where there is ample vehicle parking space. Safety vests and garbage bags are provided, along with a brief safety talk for newcomers. We welcome both members and any other volunteers that would be willing to assist. The only restriction is that you must be at least 12 years of age. Watch for our fall clean-up event.

The fall road clean up will be announced this summer.

Contact: Steven Mildenberger  902-885-2394

BIRD SONGS

calendar-512Saturday, June 16. Time: 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Meet at the park info kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty – Easy

Listen to our park’s bird chorus. We are fortunate that the park has some of the most beautiful bird singers in the world. We will do some short walks but spend most of our time listening. We will identify as many birds as possible by voice as they announce their presence “on territory” to competitors and prospective mates.

Early mornings can be cool in June, so dress warmly and consider bringing a lunch or at least snacks. The only requirement for this walk is an interest in and a love of our natural world.

Leader: Jim Cameron 902-885-2970
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

WILDFLOWER WALK *** NEW for 2018***

calendar-512Saturday, June 23. Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Meet at 10 a.m. at the park kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty – Easy (surfaced trails and sand beach near the parking lot)

Early summer is a special time in Taylor Head Park. The wildflowers are in full bloom and the vegetation is fresh and lush. During this outing, we will stroll along the trails through the forest, old fields, and the sandy beach looking for the display of early summer wildflowers and other flora. This is a walk everyone can enjoy, even those using mobility aids. Bring a lunch and some water. No rain date.

Leader: Peter Oickle 902-499-4114
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

ABRAHAMS LAKE BIRD WALK

calendar-512Sunday, June 24. Time: 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Meet at 9 a.m. at the MacPhee House Visitors Information Centre in Sheet Harbour.
Level of difficulty – Difficult

Abrahams Lake Preserve is owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and is located 38 km. from Sheet Harbour in the Liscomb Game Sanctuary.

This preserve is one of the few old growth forests in the province but recently has been severely impacted by extensive windfalls and disease. Birds nesting by the trail include Ravens, Hairy Woodpeckers, Black-backed Woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Winter Wren, Swainson’s Thrush, Magnolia Warblers, Bay-breasted Warblers, Blackpoll Warblers, Black-and-white Warblers are common. Birds nesting in the sanctuary is Greater Yellowlegs, Red-tailed Hawks, and Common Mergansers.

We will carpool from Sheet Harbour to Abraham Lake. It will be a 6.5 km. walk and we will eat lunch at Abrahams Lake. Bring a lunch and water and proper hiking footwear. There is no rain date. Birders or nature enthusiasts are welcome at all our events.

Leader: Jim Cameron 902-885-2970
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

GETTING STARTED IN BIRD WATCHING

calendar-512Saturday, July 7. Time: 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Meet at 10 a.m. at the end of the Taylor Head Provincial Park access road at the info kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty – Easy

Interesting in bird watching or have started and want some help, practice, or encouragement? Join us and learn basic bird identification techniques. We will do a walk-a-bout to find and identify the birds that nest or visit the park during the summer season.

During the course of the morning, we will also cover optical equipment, guidebooks, and other aids useful to birders. Bring binoculars. Some loaners will be available if you have none. Bring a lunch and water. There is no rain date.

Leader: Peter Oickle  902-499-4114. 
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207.  

NATURAL HISTORY WALK: WILDFLOWERS, WILDLIFE & GEOLOGY

calendar-512Sunday, July 22 Time: 10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
Meet at 10 a.m. at the end of the Taylor Head Provincial Park access road at the info kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty: Difficult

During this mid-summer outing along the Headland and Spry Bay Trails you will have the opportunity to identify plants and wildlife of the seashore, barren headland, and wetlands of Taylor Head. We will also examine some of the Park’s fascinating geological features as we traverse the margin of one of Nova Scotia’s most prominent coastal headlands.

This hike will be about five hours long and the trail is challenging in places. Bring a lunch, water, binoculars, and wear sturdy footwear. No rain date.

Leader: Peter Oickle  902-499-4114.
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

Leader: Peter Oickle  902-499-4114. 
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207. 

NOVA SCOTIA BIRD SOCIETY, MID-SUMMER BIRDWATCHING WALK

calendar-512Saturday, August 4. Time: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Meet at 9 a.m. at the Park Info Kiosk at the last parking lot.
The level of difficulty – MODERATE for the morning walk.  If you continue to the Headland Trail, this level would be considered DIFFICULT.

This is a joint trip with the Friends of Taylor Head and the Nova Scotia Bird Society.

The walk will be done in two stages. First, we will hike Spry Bay Trail in the morning and observe nesting and brooding birds in the protected area across Powers Pond. In the afternoon there is the option of continuing to the headland. We will have lunch at the headland. In the protected area across Powers Pond, we will watch nesting and brooding Common Tern, Cormorants, Eiders, Willets, and Spotted Sandpipers. Migrating Whimbrels should be present along with other waders.

Bring a hearty lunch and water. The terrain is rugged so sturdy footwear is recommended. There is no rain date.

Leader: Jim Cameron 902-885-2970
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

NIGHT WALK: AFTER DARK SIGHTS and SOUNDS   ***NEW for 2018***

calendar-512Saturday, August 25 Time: 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Meet at 9:00 p.m. at the Park Info Kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty – EASY

The cloak of darkness reveals natural wonders at Taylor Head Park that are known to few. On this nocturnal quest, we will explore the shoreline, nearby woods, and old homestead fields to experience how our park sleeps. Whether shrouded in fog or under a starry dome, there is a lot to hear and see as our ears tune in to night sounds and our natural night vision mechanism adjusts. We will use flashlights sparingly as safety warrants, but our route is easily traveled safely using natural light only. Bring your own flashlights or headlamps. This is a perfect event for families. No rain date.

Leader: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207
Alternate contact: Maria McGowan 902-818-5734

BIRDWATCHING: EARLY FALL MIGRANTS

calendar-512Saturday, September 22. Time 10:00 a.m. – 3:00p.m.
Meet at the kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty – Difficult

This activity will be along the Spry Bay and Headland Trails which will take about four hours to complete. It should provide a good photo opportunity for migrating Waders,  Blackpoll Warblers, Black-backed Woodpeckers, and Common Yellowthroats. You will encounter rugged terrain so it is advised to wear hiking boots. Bring snacks or a lunch and water, and don’t forget your binoculars and camera.

There is no rain date, we’re pretty serious about birds and we absolutely love all levels of bird enthusiasts at all our events. Join us!

Leader: Jim Cameron 902-885-2970
Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

MAGICAL, MYSTERIOUS, MUSHROOMS

calendar-512Sometime in October (TBA). Time:  10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m
Meet at the kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty – Moderate

Forests would not grow without them. Orchids wouldn’t bloom without them, and some even glow in the dark. Throughout history, mushrooms have been regarded with fear and fascination. Learn the facts about what is edible and what is poisonous, and where (and when) to find them. Discover how mushrooms (fungi) are absolutely essential to our well being.

Leader Dr. Scott Cunningham has a doctorate in molecular biology with a specialty in the mushroom flora of the region.  He’s also the co-founder of the Halifax Field Naturalists.

Find out what is fact and what is fantasy, what is edible and what is poisonous and where (and when) to find them. Discover how fungi are absolutely essential to our well-being. You’ll learn more about this much-maligned group of organisms.

You will encounter rugged terrain so it is advised to wear appropriate hiking boots or sneakers. Bring water, snacks or a lunch, and don’t forget your camera.

There is no rain date because mushrooms love moisture, right?

Alternate contact: Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

PARK EXTENSION ACTIVITIES

October 09– December 04, 2017

Through a partnership agreement between The Friends of Taylor Head Provincial Park and NS Department of Natural Resources, the Park gate is open after the normal October 09 closing date until December 04. The Park typically opens in mid-May, and if the condition of the park road is favourable, an earlier spring opening may be possible. During the extended open period, in the absence of regular park staff, “The Friends” take on responsibility for garbage collection and toilet maintenance.

LATE SEASON GUIDED HIKE

calendar-512Saturday, November 3. Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Meet at the Bull Beach parking lot
Level of difficulty: Moderate with easy sections

Late autumn is a special time to experience the natural wonders of Taylor Head Park. The air is fresh, cool, and clear. There are no biting insects and lots of elbow room on the trails.

Join us for a walk on the Bull Beach Trail and the Bob Bluff Trail to Psyche Cove Beach (Taylor Head Beach). Our walk continues along the beach to Powers Pond and the Spry Bay Trail, then back to the main parking lot to finish off. Participants will have the option of a shuttle back to the Bull Beach parking lot, or you may choose to walk the Park Road back to your car.

Hiking on the exposed coastline in November can be challenging, so good boots and seasonally appropriate clothing are recommended. Bring snacks, lunch, and water.

Leaders: Peter Oickle 902-499-4114  Warren Parsons 902-772-2207. 

BIRD WATCHING – WINTER BIRDS

calendar-512Sunday, November 25 Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Level of difficulty: Difficult

This will be a leisurely walk to the Headland Trail. At this time of year, we expect to see lots of Eiders, Grebes, Scoters, Dovekies, Guillemots, Mergansers, Harlequin Ducks, Long-tailed Ducks, and Purple Sandpipers.

Hiking o the exposed coastline in late November can be challenging, so waterproof boots and seasonally appropriate clothing is recommended. Bring snacks, lunch, and a hot drink. This should be a good warm-up to the Christmas Bird Count. There is no rain date. All birders and nature lovers are welcome.

Leaders: Jim Cameron 902-885-2970 Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

LATE SEASON GUIDED HIKE

calendar-512Saturday, December 01. Time: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Meet at the kiosk at the last parking lot.
Level of difficulty – Moderate with easy sections

Late autumn is a special time to experience the natural wonders of Taylor Head Park. The air is fresh, cool, and clear. There are no biting insects and lots of elbow room on the trails.

Join us for a walk on the Bull Beach Trail and the Bob Bluff Trail to Psyche Cove Beach (Taylor Head Beach). Our walk continues along the beach to Powers Pond and the Spry Bay Trail, then back to the main parking lot to finish off. Participants will have the option of a shuttle back to the Bull Beach parking lot, or you may choose to walk the Park Road back to your car.

Hiking on the exposed coastline in December can be challenging, so good boots and seasonally appropriate clothing are recommended. Bring snacks, lunch, and water.

Leaders: Peter Oickle 902-499-4114  Warren Parsons 902-772-2207. 

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

calendar-512Friday, December 14. Time: 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 pm.
Meet at the Spry Bay Community Hall (opens at 7:30 a.m.)
Level of difficulty – Difficult

The Nova Scotia Sheet Harbour (NSSH) Christmas Bird Count is one of about 25 around the province. The count area extends in a circle around Taylor Head Park and from Tangier to Sober Island. All the trails in the park are covered in this survey. Birders are organized into groups from two to four and given designated areas to count.

If you have a bird feeder, you’re also encouraged to send in your count.

Birders will meet after the count, to sum up, the day’s count and have a delicious meal at the Spry Bay Community Hall.

These counts are sponsored by the National Audubon Society, Bird Studies of Canada, NS Bird Society and the Friends of Taylor Head Provincial Park Society.

*Please notify Jim or Warren if you plan to attend.

Contact:
Jim Cameron 902-885-2970
Warren Parsons 902-772-2207

Flickers at Taylor Head Provincial Park


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