Allison's Book Bag

Snapshot #82: Newfoundland Birding Sites, Part 1

Posted on: August 5, 2016

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. Avalon Peninsula, here we come! This year, for our annual vacation to my home province of Newfoundland, Andy and I started on the Eastern side. This is the best region for seeing puffins and other native birds.

Normally, Andy and I take the ferry from Nova Scotia to Channel Port-aux-Basques on Newfoundland’s western coast, and then drive the few hours to my family’s home in Central. This past July, we instead took the ferry to Argentia. After that, we drove to St. Johns, from where we visited various birding sites. This post is the first of several about those adventures!

Cape St. Mary’s is one of seven seabird ecological reserves protected by provincial legislation. After driving several miles of isolated road to St. Mary’s, Andy and I donned our windbreakers to protect ourselves from bird poop and gusty winds. We walked this dirt path surrounded by flattened grass out to rugged cliffs.

The closer we got to our destination, the louder the squawks of birds grew. We spied broken eggs and minute feathers. and we met other tourists loaded down with camera equipment. Reaching the edge of the cliff, we were amazed at the mass of birds that blanketed bird island.

Thousands of gulls, cormorants, gannets, kittiwakes, murres, and razorbills reside at Bird Island. Picking what to focus on proved a challenge. There were solitary birds. And individual groups of birds. Finally, there were mixed groups of birds.

None of the birds stayed still for long and it was fun to watch them fly. So high up, winds tended to buffet them. We snapped photos and shoot video, until we could barely move our hands from the chill in the air.

Back at the Information Center, we checked out the gift shop and I buy some animal books. Then we explored the rest of the area. Sheep greeted us as we head towards the light house. When they wandered off, we soaked in the atmosphere. And then it was off to our hotel and to our further adventures on the Avalon Peninsula!

10 Responses to "Snapshot #82: Newfoundland Birding Sites, Part 1"

I absolutely love the colour of that broken egg shell. It’s one of my favourites!
Thanks for sharing.

A fun part of sorting through photos after our trip for my husband and I was comparing what shots we took. He missed the one of this egg. 🙂

What an absolutely amazing spot, I am a very bad, occasional bird watcher, I’d love to go there. I’m mildly obsessed by puffins but circumstance has always stopped me seeing any when I’m in the northern hemisphere- did you see any this day? Your gannets are almost identical to our Australian ones. The murres are interesting looking birds, I’ve never seen them before, it’s so crowded there some of them seem to be spattered in bird poo. Thanks for this great post.

Our trip to the Avalon Peninsula made my husband and I mildly obsessed with puffins too. There weren’t any at St. Mary’s, but there were other stops. Stay tuned!

The murres might very well be splattered with poo. I read before this trip that one should wear protective covering to avoid, um, bird poo. 🙂

What a beautiful and interesting place to visit.

Come back in future weeks in August. I’ll be posting many more photos from the Avalon Peninsula.

Wow! That’s a lot of birds! This reserve looks like a wonderful place to visit, especially on a sunny day. What a lovely location. I’ve never been to Newfoundland but would love to visit.

St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve is apparently home to Newfoundland’s largest seabird colonies. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador estimates that the site is home to 24,000 northern gannets, 20,000 black-legged kittiwakes, 20,000 common murres, and 2,000 thick-billed murres, as well as dozens or hundreds of razorbill, and black guillemot breeding pairs.

We were fortunate to have a sunny day for our visit. Others have gone during the fog and/or rain the experience hasn’t been quite as pleasant.

What a fun and relaxing vacation. I would love to visit there.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Many acquaintances and friends of mine have a visit to Newfoundland on their bucket list. 🙂

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