14. Foshay Intervale
Jemseg Ferry Road at Scovil Point
This might very well be one of the most beautiful places on the lower river. The force of nature has been at work here for a long time. But it hasn’t pushed up any geological formations of prominence or cracked the earth’s crust anywhere, because it has been a gentle force, a flowing and enveloping pressure emanating from the great river that flows slowly, but rises quickly to encumber the lives of all who take up residence alongside it. Ask the ferry operator and he might yell back that “She’s come up overnight”. ‘She’ is the personification of snowmelt, a goodwill offering from a neighbouring province and a state hundreds of kilometers upstream. This giant has gained momentum and amplitude on her way down to this place. But here, at a constriction flanked by seemingly undisturbed riverbanks, she will need to take a deep breath and slide herself through the narrow passage the ferry is traversing. No wonder there seems to be some sort of living force pushing the little tin can of a vessel you are on sideways! At the “Jemseg side” landing you step off onto Scovil Point. No need to go any further. You are at your destination. What seems like just another grazed hayfield lying downstream of the ferry landing couldn’t be more misinterpreted. Begin your walk along this most placid place and nature just seems to absorb you. Your first greeting will come from the Osprey. They are in their glory here among an abundance of large perches and nesting sites in the form of large Silver Maples, the perches that overlook the wetlands that serve as nurseries for the Gaspereau, their meal of preference. These fish swim up the ‘Wolastoq’, ‘the good and bountiful river’, in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to access the seasonally flooded wetlands to deposit their eggs on the submerged blades of aquatic vegetation. The king of the raptors can also be found here flying over these wetland nurseries peering intently into the water column. With brilliant white head and tail glistening in the sun, he and his partner guard a nest of two young Bald Eagles, enviously looking out at their parents soaring around in large circles.
The first kilometer of your walk will take you through a hayfield that is littered with Bobolink and Eastern Kingbirds. Forge ahead through a scant fence line of large Silver Maples and step into a wild grassland lightly clipped by small herds of Herefords belonging to the Allen Farm. In the rough shrub cover that lays between the intervale and the emergent vegetation of Foshay Lake one might very well see several Great Crested Flycatchers flipping along picking up bugs where they can, and Baltimore Orioles, with their piercing whistle blasts, high up on the trees searching for caterpillars. You’ll have to look hard for Warbling Vireos in the tree tops of the Red Maples that inhabit the soft ridges of alluvial soils that form the berms of the long sliver-like ponds, that are hidden from sight and contain the wading birds and the waterfowl. In these secluded water bodies you will flush out the more abled fliers like the Blue-winged Teal, the Shoveler, the Wood Duck, and the Black Duck. But the others will persist on the water and if you are lucky enough you might observe the secretive Green Heron or Yellow Rail. You may be catching your breath by the time you get to the water’s edge though, as chances are you will have been startled by the clumsy flipped-up flush of an American Bittern out of the tall grass!
Skirt around to the other side of the pond and loose yourself in the lush and soft-footed groves of Silver Maples and Red Maples. Here you might put up an American Woodcock or stop to confirm the pecking sound of a Hairy Woodpecker. Head back to the intervale trail or continue downstream to view the broad wetland shoulders of Foshay Lake. Undoubtedly, a Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow will greet your arrival with its characteristic ‘peteshhh’, gently piercing the warm summer air. On your return back up the intervale trail you might notice the Bald Eagle still patrolling overhead or perched in the large maple clump that hugs the river shoreline and looks out across the upper end of Upper Musquash Island.