Yet it is really called Gull Island. Go figure. Yes, it is home to thousands of Herring Gull, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common and Thick-billed Murres and some token Razorbills, but the true stars of the show are the adorably cute, Atlantic Puffins. Hundreds of thousands of them. The largest colony of puffins on the east coast, yet only 3% survive annually because their neighbors on the small island of the coast of Witless Bay, the Herring Gulls and Kittiwakes find their babies to be a nice, light snack. If that weren't bad enough, they also steal fish right from the beaks of the adult Puffins, who are just trying to survive and live peacefully in the company of these not so neighborly seabirds.
We went out on O'Brien's aptly named Atlantic Puffin, and thanks to the knowledgeable guides, who could not only belt out a good Irish Folk tune to rival anything by the Irish Rovers, but also knew their birds, we were able to see Greater and Sooty Shearwater, Common Murres, Herring Gulls and Black-legged Kittiwakes, but most notably, Thick-billed Murres and Razorbills, in addition to the most lovely Atlantic Puffins.
The rest of the day has been spent driving to the Cape St. Mary's Echological Preserve, with a stop at Chance Cove Provincial Park where we found a Ruffed Grouse with a baby, and later at St. Vincent's, thanks to some other birders, a small colony of Arctic Terns with their own baby.
And we are still on the road, even as I type this, racing the sunset to our accommodations for the evening and hopefully a good dinner before retiring for the night.
Witless Bay -
O'Brien's Atlantic Puffin
443. Thick-billed Mure
Chance Cove PP
445. Ruffed Grouse