Life on McNutt's Island, off Nova Scotia's southwest shore.
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.
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 (www.merseytobeatic.ca) 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).
peppered moon lichen on McNutt's Island (photograph courtesy of Brad Toms)