Thursday, 12 July 2012

Oh, and One More Thing...

The Gannets!  The Northern Gannets.  How many?   Thousands and thousands of them.  And the Black-legged Kittiwakes and the Common Murres and a handful of Thick-billed Murres.  On my last full day in Newfoundland we made the pilgrimage every birder should make at least once in their lifetime, if not twice.

It was Sue's second visit, and my first to Bird Rock at the Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve, one of the largest Gannet communities in North America.   It's located at the southwest tip of Newfoundland, over an hour from St John's, and even further if you take the scenic route, as we did.  When you get to the reserve road, it's another 15 minute drive to the park and then a mile hike,(keep an eye out for American Pipits and Horned Larks in the grass), to the precarious tip overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of feet below.  It's an awe inspiring sight when you arrive.  I was in Alaska and saw thousands of Kittiwakes and other seabirds, but nothing prepared me for the sheer majesty of this bird roost.

Birds were everywhere, in the air, in the ocean, hanging off the cliff faces, and in the case of the Gannets, hundreds of them, many nesting, on Bird Rock.  We stayed for a couple of hours, drinking it all in, taking photographs and then came back later in the afternoon for a second look.  Though I didn't add any new birds to my year here, it didn't matter.  It was worth the trip to Newfoundland.  If you are a birder, even a casual birder, take time to see this.  You won't regret it.

And my apologies to Catherine Barrett.  I wrote yesterday's blog on my iPhone on a plane and was tired and originally, for reason's known only to the furthest reaches of my brain, called her Barbara.  I have corrected the mistake and hope to never misidentify such a nice person ever again,(but, please, don't hold me to that).

And now, some photos from the trip, including, of course Gannets, but also the Purple Finch and lots of seabirds, including those adorable and loveable Atlantic Puffins!

After 6 months and 11 days, I finally "found" a Purple Finch!  Woo Hoo!

 The conditions when we arrived in Newfoundland:

(Probably why our flight was delayed)

The Northern Gannet and child

 Bird Rock - don't get too close to the edge, it's a long way down if you can't fly!

American Pipit

 Ruffed Grouse

 Arctic Tern with baby

 Greater Shearwater


Two of the Atlantic Puffins

 Just a small fraction of all the Atlantic Puffins

1 comment: