In the late spring of 2017, the SLCA asked Dr. David Patriquin, Professor of Biology (retired), Dalhousie University, if he would undertake a “flora survey” of Sandy Lake and Environs to ascertain whether the original ecological value of the area had survived the decades. Was it worth trying to protect the ecological integrity of the area? Dr. Patriquin expressed reluctance at first due to other commitments, but in his words “a single visit convinced me that it had to be done. I conducted field trips on 22 days over the period June 14 to Nov 1, 2017; a few were mostly on water (paddling), most were on land. It was a volunteer activity, there was no payment and no contract.” Dr. Patriquin’s studies of the Sandy Lake area are ongoing.
Dr. Patriquin subsequently launched the website Sandy Lake and Environs to report his observations and interpretations, together with some integration of related documents produced by many others. The website is also intended to serve as a resource for others pursuing interests in the natural history of the area.
Dr. Patriquin notes: “I expect my explorations and the website to be ongoing, as my enthusiasm for Sandy Lake and Environs only increased during the course of the initial exercise. I view Sandy Lake and Environs as they were viewed in 1971: an asset to all of Halifax municipality, indeed to the whole province. I see it as a very special place, complementing not replicating other major natural assets of Halifax.”
Birds and Species at Risk
Visitors to Sandy Lake and Sackville River may have been treated to the sweet song of one of the many bird species that inhabit the area, or may have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a rare species still found in this special place. A recent report has documented the Avian and Species at Risk Surveys of the proposed Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park. The report documents 117 bird species using the area (!), and
13 species at risk protected under federal or provincial law. A summary of the species of conservation interest is available.
Canada Warbler image by Matt MacGillivray