I have a painting commission to do of shorebirds. This is the right time of year for photographic reasearch as the birds are in the early stages of their fall migration. I know there is a shorebird conservatory a few hours from here (Johnson's Mills Shorebird Conservatory and Interpretive Centre), but I though I would take my chances with a beach nearer to home. Also, I would never pass up the chance to head out to Micpec Beach located at the edge of Saint John. The day was overcast, slight rain, no wind and 24 degrees. Perfect beach day for an artist with a camera. When I arrived at the beach, I was taken aback. I know a storm surge wiped out the trails and stairs a few years ago, but holy hannah I was not really prepared for what I saw. An area of parking lot was chained off - to keep visitors for f the edge that was compromised by the storm. I felt like I was on a lost and lonely overgrown movie set. The canteen was boarded in, there are paddlelocks on the washroom and the place is suffering from lack of repair and neglect.
The photo above is taken from the look out area above the beach... only a few cars there and a few people walking on the beach. Strange sense of loneliness. And so I walked the on the beach towards the fast approaching tide, happy just to be there, and wondering where the birds are. Sure there were a few species of gulls - but no shorebirds, no phalaropes, no plovers and no sign of any sandpipers. But worst of all , there were no sounds of children playing! While making my way back to my car, ever looking for a piece of beach glass I noticed the litter. Empty plastic cups, cigarette buts. Well makes me sad... mad... frustrated. Even if the place is not longer a public place, I cannot imagine why anyone would think it is ok to leave their trash behind! People!.
So, back to the parking lot for a few last photos. I wanted to soak in the sounds and the scents of the beach. The din was shattered! Jeepers, I heard a shotgun blast from the woods across the street - very close across the street. Made me nervous enough to think it was time to bid farewell to the ever beautiful Micpec Beach and head for home. On the way to my car, the second holy crap kerpow sounded. Well I left rather quickly. The shots added to the all too intense sense of isolation. (So my friend Susan just let me know this is actually a police shooting range - phew)
So, at home I decided to Google the fate of the beach. This is a link to a story in the Telegraph Journal and this is a link to the save Mispec Beach Facebook page. I just asked to join this page - I hope you will also!