Point Traverse Lighthouse Walk

Lighthouse from across the bay, snow and ice on water and ground.

Went on a road trip last weekend to the south-easternmost tip of Prince Edward County. It was just an hour from home, yet I had never before visited this chunk of The County. Don’t know why; I’ve read about the area before, many times. I knew, vaguely, that it was an important stop on spring and fall bird migration routes. And I knew it was right next to South Bay – a small part of The County that was recently the scene of a controversial industrial wind turbine project (quashed last year, leaving dormant, giant, alien invader looking windmills dotted here and there). This area, originally known as South Bay Point, is also known as Prince Edward Point or Point Traverse.

I thought there might be some interesting plant life in the area . There wasn’t (aside from scraggly lilac, cliff-side above the beach – lilac listed as ‘invasive’ on one site) – there was still too much snow on the ground.

There was; however, an interesting, old lighthouse, a few boats still locked by ice in the inner harbour, and a few Canada geese. When I got home after the trip I did a bit more research and discovered this bit of land forms the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, and plays host to more than 300 species of migratory birds every year. Those few geese I saw likely wintered in The County, but soon the migration will start, and volunteers of The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory will once again observe, band and count thousands of song birds, waterfowl, owls and hawks. The first count of the year will be on April 6.

Here are a few images from my visit.

Closeup of the lighthouse - old structure on the right, metal one on the left.
The original lighthouse began operating in 1881 and, aside from a brief period in 1912/13, was operated by a keeper until 1941, when the light was automated. The original lantern room was removed in 1959 when the taller, metal structure was built.

Directly north of the lighthouse is a bay where small boats can moor or dock. A few geese were splashing around; one pair appeared to be mated and seemed to think a small floating chunk of ice might make a good nest. Hmmm…

Snow and ice have been receding along the shoreline, creating more interesting formations.

chunks of ice floating in the water
parts of an industrial wind turbine lying in a field
Bits of an industrial wind turbine which will likely never be put together. This is just a few kilometres north of Pt Traverse. In 1998, in recognition of the huge number of migratory birds that fly through this area, more than 30 species of which are deemed ‘at risk,’ Prince Edward Point was designated part of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA) by Bird Life International. This is one of the reasons for the fierce opposition to the wind turbine installation.


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