Chance Harbour, Saint John County. For more information about this Nature Trust site, go to: Beldings Reef Nature Preserve.
Photos and Text by E. Mills and B. Schneider
Our group of botanists met in the parking lot of the Seaside Baptist Church in Chance Harbour around 10:00 am, got organized and ventured off down the trail to the Lighthouse. Carli Leroux works with the Nature Trust and was our guide for the outing, which was intended as an inventory of the plant species contained in the Preserve. The plants collected have been properly catalogued and are housed in the Connell Memorial Herbarium at the University of New Brunswick. They are referred to as the Belding’s Reef Nature Preserve collection.
We decided to move as a group with each person collecting a different group of plants: shrubs, grasses, sedges, trees, flowering vascular plants, and ferns. The trail meanders through 4 different habitats : mixed forest, shrubby forest edge, coastal edge, and rocky seeps. Our path was a circuitous route following the designated trail going to the lighthouse and then returning on a power line trail back to the starting point.
We found there was not a lot of diversity in any of the designated plant collecting groups in these habitats. However, one of the highlights was finding Sagina nodosa var. borealis. This plant is not a plant common in New Brunswick and has been reported only from coastal habitats.
Another remarkable find was the large patch of Myrica pensylvanica ( photo below) commonly known as bayberry. This not rare in New Brunswick but is found more often on the shores of Northumberland Strait. The patch we found was 1.5 meters in height and covered a large area on the top of the rocky ledges.
The vistas from the trail were eye candy and could be called “sights for sore eyes”. We did enjoy the outing and got a good sample of what is common on the Fundy coast of New Brunswick.