We stayed for a few days at a wonderful park on the Gaspe Peninsula – the long peninsula that sticks out into the ocean along the south side of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.

The park is called Parc National du Bic.

It has lots of hiking trails, beautiful rocky beaches, and seals that lounge on rocks near the shore.

Some of the bays had grass and sedges growing on the beach and in the shallow water.

Here are a few of the seals. There are two species found in the park, the Atlantic Gray Seal (Halichoerus grypus), and the Harbor Seal (Halichoerus grypus). I don’t know enough to be able to tell which is which.

Rock with lichens

There are some plants that grow on the rocks very close to the water, or sometimes actually in the intertidal zone. All of them are very salt tolerant.

Glasswort (Salicornia europaea)

Sea Rocket (Cakile edentula)

Goose Tongue (Plantago maritima)

more Goose Tongue

There were at least a dozen different kinds of seaweed. “Seaweed” means a species of Red, Green or Brown algae.

This one is filled with air, and the strands float.

I’m not sure this would be considered “seaweed” but it is algae.

Snails on the rocks – these are called Periwinkles. They live in the intertidal zone – the area that’s covered at high tide, but uncovered when the tide goes out.

This was an island that we could get to only at low tide.

As I walked around on the beach, I followed these footprints. Eventually they disappeared – it looked like the animal jumped onto a steep rock and then headed into the woods. The prints look big enough, and the right shape, to be from a wolf.

These steps came down to the beach on the far side of the island. They were very steep – almost like a ladder.

The St. Lawrence River has high tides – not as high as the Bay of Fundy, but still impressive for midwesterners who don’t see tides.

Here are some views of a bay at low tide.

The same bay at high tide

Some other bays at low tide – low tide was a lot more interesting to look at – with rocks, seaweed and birds.

Inland from the beaches were woods with spruce and pine trees.

Mike loves taking pictures of me taking pictures – especially when I get into goofy positions like this.

This is the picture I was taking – Quill Lichen (Cladonia amaurocraea)

Moss in the woods

Moss with puffballs

As I was wandering around in the woods I found four different species of orchids! None were blooming, but they had enough old flowers or seeds that I could (kind of) identify them.

The most numerous was a non-native invasive orchid that I’d never seen before. (It’s been found in eastern Wisconsin, but not as far west as the farm.) I saw numerous plants along roadsides and in the woods at Bic, and later in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It’s called a Helleborine Orchid (Epipactis helleborine)

This one is a saprophytic orchid. It gets its nutrients from dead organic matter in the soil and has no green coloring at all. It’s a Coral-root, either Corallorhiza maculata, or C. striata. It didn’t have any flowers left so I couldn’t be sure.

This is a Lady’s Slipper – I think a Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus var. pubescens)

And this one is called Hooker’s Orchid (Platanthera hookeri).

These roses grow at the edge of the beach, right along the woods. They have beautiful big flowers, and large bright red hips. They’re called Beach Roses (Rosa rugosa) – not native.

This is another plant that grows in the sun at the edge of the woods – but along roads and paths. It’s a Mallow (Malva sp.).

And this is a native aster that grows along the wooded paths, and was still blooming in late September. It’s a Whorled Aster (Aster acuminatus).

It was getting late in the year for insects, but I did find a few bees and butterflies.

A Mourning Cloak on the beach

Clouded Sulphur

Daisies with bees