The Fifth Element
The curious harbour seals of Murray Harbour on eastern Prince Edward Island were treated to a busy day of people-watching when 31 kayakers showed up to participate in a shoreline cleanup.
While the seals looked on, the volunteers collected one tonne of garbage off the archipelago of islands that sit within the harbour.
The five islands in Murray Harbour have long been a conservation priority in the area. Earlier in the year NCC acquired Thomas Island, the fifth and only remaining unprotected island in Murray Harbour. This is NCC’s second project in Murray Harbour. NCC also conserved Reynolds Island in 2012, later transferring it to the provincial government.
Thomas Island provides habitat for many species, notably supporting Prince Edward Island’s breeding population of great blue herons. These birds will only nest in undisturbed, mature spruce trees. The island’s mature white spruce forest also includes red maple, yellow birch, balsam fir and black spruce.
A sand bar links Thomas Island to Herring Island, making it possible to cross between the two at low tide. Waterfowl feed in the shallow waters of the salt marsh. Herring gulls and great black-backed gulls nest in the harbour.
With the five islands of Murray Harbour now protected – Thomas, Herring, Cherry, Gordons and Reynolds – a decades-long conservation vision dating back to the early 1970s is now complete.