In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Friday, March 25, 2011

lichen report

There had been rumours swirling around the island about some lichen experts who had visited here a week or so ago to hunt for a rare lichen -- so rare, one person said, that the whole island would be closed down if one was discovered. But nobody knew anything specific. Who were these mysterious lichen hunters? And what had they found? I put it down to one more unsolved McNutt's island mystery.

Then I received an email from Brad Toms, who is a Wildlife Biologist at the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute. Brad told me I could quote him. So, Dear Reader, you are about to hear the lichen report in its entirety. Nova Scotia Island Journal does not monger in rumours! (Except maybe now and then).

Here is Brad's report, which includes the link to his site:

I just saw your blog when I was searching for something else on the internet about McNutts Island. I work for a research cooperative ( and Skipper brought us onto the island last Wednesday to do a little work. We were doing surveys for rare species of lichens on the property owned by the Federal Government near the lighthouse. One of our principals is to share the results from our research so when I saw your blog I thought 'who better to share it with than the people who live nearly full time on the island!'

We didn't find anything of great interest at Cape Roseway but while walking back to Skipper's wharf we found a few interesting species close to the road in the middle of the island. The ones we found were called Peppered Moon Lichen, Powdered Moon Lichen and Foliose Shingle Lichen. None of these are particularly imperiled in the province but they only occur in specific habitats close to the ocean and are rare enough that we noted them (the powdered moon lichen is the rarest of the three). In the places where we found those (wet maple and fir forests) there was a good diversity of what are called "Cyanolichens" (lichens that have cyanobacteria as the partner with fungi instead of algae).
Sticta Fuliginosa.JPG
peppered moon lichen on McNutt's Island (photograph courtesy of Brad Toms)


Janet said...

Anything that can enhance our knowledge of what is to be found in the less explored parts of this province is to be admired. Fascinating to read and I will drop over to their website and take a peek around.
Will it ever warm up? - I know I'm too impatient, but oh my, I'd like to see some buds bursting forth - friends in Washington and on Vancouver Island are commenting on their cherry blossoms - a dandelion would be greeted with joy right about now!

Sybil said...

Wow. What a coincidence. Amy-Lynn (Flandrum Hill) and I were out hunting just yesterday for Boreal Felt Lichen. Listed as endangered.

I'm busily working on a general post about lichen.

Very timely.

Eastern Passage, NS

Brenda Tate said...

I followed this link through Facebook, where you had commented on my fox sparrow photo. And what a wonderful discovery I've made! We in this part of Nova Scotia live in a naturalist's paradise. I can't imagine being anywhere else.

Oddly enough, I was just out walking along our local rail-trail this afternoon, admiring the mosses and fungi all along the route.

A delightful blog! I'll be subscribing.