Visit Mary’s Point & Johnson’s Mills and see millions of shorebirds return to the mudflats on the Bay of Fundy. Watch the birds prepare for their 4,500km non-stop flight to South America, and travel out onto the mudflats to meet the tiny mudshrimp they’re feeding on. Look through an electron microscope and discover the mud shrimp are eating tiny organisms called diatoms.
Mary’s Point is part of the Shepody National Wildlife Area and it is equipped with an interpretation centre containing extensive information about local wildlife. From the parking lot at the interpretation center, a short 0.39 km trail will take you to the beach at the cusp of the New Horton mudflats and the Shepody salt marsh.
During migratory bird season (July and August) a rope barrier is erected at the beach. This barrier is not to be crossed as it stands to protect the shorebirds from potential disturbances caused by frequent visitors. Outside of the migratory shorebird season, exploring the rest of the National Wildlife Area is permitted but there are no trails and you must be careful to not damage this sensitive habitat. The peninsula has extensive sand/gravel beaches, sand dunes, salt marshes, inter-tidal ledges, eroded rock cliffs, sea stacks and forested areas that are surrounded by mudflat at low tide and become islands at high tide.
Johnson’s Mills is a far drive from Mary’s Point, but from the shorebird’s perspective, it is only a quick flight across Shepody Bay. Johnson’s Mills is a Nature Conservancy of Canada Shorebird Reserve and it too has an interpretation centre. From their parking lot, a very short trail will bring you to the interpretation centre and its observation deck. Once here you can look out over the Grand Anse mudflat. The tide can recede 3 km from shore here uncovering approximately 15 km² of mudflat. The hiking opportunities are slim here but this is a bird watcher’s paradise, especially in mid-summer.
Please take note of the following trail particulars: