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Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada

Forest islands and ponds

Forest islands

Single trees growing in low bog Islands of trees
© Parks Canada

As you look over flat bogs and barrens, islands of trees poke up in the distance. Stunted and twisted, these Balsam fir and White spruce grow close to the ocean’s edge, withstanding even the salt spray. Zones of deeper, more well-drained soil are found here, which is more conducive to tree growth than the sterile, water-logged peat of bogs. Also, where the land slopes down steeply towards sheltered bays, in the lee of the predominant winds, trees grow higher.


Seaside pond Seaside pond
© Parks Canada/P. Hope

The Seaside has several small ponds. Many of them are found along the shore or at the ends of headlands. Little more than a pile of gravel and cobbles separates them from the Atlantic Ocean. Fresh water comes only from rain seepage from the boggy basins surrounding each pond. The salinity of the pond water can vary quite a bit from pond to pond and from season to season. Some even dry up during the summer. The water in these shallow ponds is very dark and contains high amounts of dissolved organic compounds such as tannic acids. While no real brooks flow in or out of them, you can often see their dark-stained water seeping through the beach gravel on the seaward side of the cobble berms. The water is very acidic, ranging from 3.9 to 4.9 on the pH scale. These can be difficult places for aquatic life to live.

Green maidenhair algae and Burweed may cover the bottoms of the brackish ponds. Fish like Sticklebacks and Mummichogs are well adapted to living in water where the salinity fluctuates. The mud around the edges may show traces of great blue herons who have come fishing. Black ducks use these ponds for raising their broods. Gulls also flock here to rest and look for food or shelter from ocean storms.

There are a few inaccessible freshwater ponds inland. Far from the direct influence of the sea, common Nova Scotia amphibians can be found. Green frogs, Northern leopard frogs, and Spring peepers migrate from inland and sometimes live in these dark and acidic waters. Generally, because of these conditions, and the cool nature of the climate, frogs and other amphibians are not abundant in Kejimkujik Seaside.

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