Great Canadian Parks / Prince Edward Island

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The Parks / Prince Edward Island / Greenwich


 


The wetlands, dune and woodland habitats are significant for their bio-diversity and the extent of their natural environment. The pileated woodpecker, believed to be extinct on P.E.I. by 1986, has recently been seen in the Greenwich woods. The peninsula is also home to 29 breeding pair of piping plover, an internationally endangered sand-coloured shorebird that nests and feeds along the coastal sand and gravel beaches of Atlantic Canada. They forage actively on the ground or in shallow water for small insects and both parents care for the chicks that hatch from the four eggs usually laid in a clutch on a flat rock. Their nests and eggs are so well camouflaged, its plaintive bell-like whistle is often heard before the bird or the nest is seen. Swift in flight, it migrates south in late summer to winter in Cuba, the Bahamas or Mexico; some hardy adults undertake a spectacular, non-stop, transatlantic, 3900 kilometre flight to the northern regions of South America. Residential development has reduced coastal habitat and attracted predators such as skunks, raccoons and foxes. Human disturbance curtails breeding, threatens the eggs and young and can cause the parents to abandon their nests.

 

 


The grasslands in the dune system slack is the only known dune habitat for the leathery grape fern. In the salt-free acidic wetlands, a rare association of salt tolerant and alkali tolerant plants co-exist with bog plants. In the Gegenwalle marram grass seedling communities are abundant. On the St. Peters Bay side, the very rare establishment of bulrush foredunes is remarkable considering the very high salinity and sand depths. The wetland bogs and ponds, habitat of fish, waterfowl, muskrat and beaver, along with the dominant wooded areas of hardwood and softwood with red maple and birch, support a variety of plant life and an incredibly high species representation - one sector surveyed produced 300 species on site. Included in the list of rare species are the water wart and mud wart as well as many unusual grasses.

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