Halifax Peninsula Rail Corridor,
The Rail Corridor as Bird Habitat"The railway corridor from Bedford Basin to the area of the grain elevators provides a habitat for birds flying onto or off the Halifax city peninsula. It is sheltered, quite vegetated along the embankments, and sufficiently scrubby to provide food along with shelter. Birders have known for years that the areas along the embankment, for example at the west end of Coburg Road and South Street, as well as toward the end of Beaufort Avenue, attract an unusual number of vagrant birds in spring, autumn and especially in early winter. It is also well known for more common migrants. I think that this may be explained by the general N-S axis of the corridor, its plant cover (and associated food), the shelter the corridor provides, its relatively warm microclimate, and its contribution to foliage height diversity in an area of the city that has increasingly less and less shrubby cover for birds."
- Eric Mills
Oak WoodlandsThe approximately 2 ha red oak woodland by "The Oaks" in south-end Halifax is contiguous with the rail corridor and provides an expanded bird habitat. It has elements of old growth forest including multiaged oaks, snags, decaying fallen trees, and supports native plant species such as witch hazel, indian pipe, mocassin orchid, bluebead lily, American fly-honeysucke, trailing arbutus, and uncommon mushrooms such as chicken-of-the-woods as well as colorful russulas.
On the south side of the rail track, the Marlborough Woods encompass another tract of large oaks going down to the arm and harbour coral root and moccassin orchids. On the slope of the embankment leading up to the rail cut, there are tall eastern hemlock, red spruce and white pine, and younger groves of these species on top of the embankment.
There are foot trails through most of the woodlands and the treed rail corridor. A portion of the popular Halifax Urban Greenway runs along just outside of a long stretch of the treed rail corridor.
The railcut is cited as a Tree Corridor in the Halifax Urban Forest Management Plan:Ribbon. The ribbon pattern is a linear element that features a continuous forested landscape. Ribbons in HRM are created naturally by tree-lined rivers such as the Sackville River, or treed corridors that were established vicariously due to projects such as the Halifax rail cut. They also include boulevards, greenways, railroads, and substantial rights of way on 100-series highways, all of which provide ample opportunity to accommodate urban trees.
Halifax Urban Greenway, rail corridor to left