Day 2 - After breakfast, we will head to Cape Race, where we will look for Willow Ptarmigan, amongst other species. A visit to the Schott's Lighthouse will give us the opportunity to scan for Common Eider, Black-legged Kittiwake, and other seabirds, as well as Horned Lark, Short-eared Owl and Caribou. If we don't have luck finding ptarmigan at Cape Race, we can visit Cape Pine for another try. If we do visit Cape Pine, there are feeders where we could see Ruby-throated Hummingbird as well as the local 'endemic' race of Red Crossbill at Renews. If we do find ptarmigan at Cape Race, we could return to St. John's and explore one of the local parks. Night in St. John's.
Day 3 - We will visit Bidgood Park in St. John's, this morning. The park is excellent for passerines, including Blackpoll, Black-and-white warbler and other warblers, as well as Boreal Chickadee, Swamp Sparrow, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Common Grackle.
The highlight today will be a boat trip to Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Our boat sails at 11:30 AM and the trip lasts two hours. On our boat trip, we will see massive nesting colonies of seabirds, including Atlantic Puffins, Common and Thick-billed murres, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Black-legged Kittiwakes and more. In addition to the birds, we will be on the lookout for whales, such as Humpback and Minke
After our boat trip we will have lunch and then head towards Clarenville, where we spend the night.
Day 4 - We'll make an early start this morning in order to visit the seabird colony at Elliston. Here, we will enjoy views of nesting Razorbills, Northern Gannets, Black Guillemots and more. We will then have breakfast in Bonavista before visiting an Atlantic Puffin colony nearby. We will be sure to scan the sea for seabirds, which could include Great Shearwater, Northern Fulmar, and more. A visit to Bonavista Woods should yield some interesting passerines, including Mourning Warbler and Northern Waterthrush.
Our 2023 group took a boat trip out of Trinity to see the long-staying Steller's Sea-Eagle this afternoon. If the bird returns for another year in 2024, we will consider doing this again. This boat trip is at an extra charge. If we don't do the boat trip, we will visit a local park, good for warblers and other passerines.
Night in Clarenville.
Day 5 - The day is devoted to exploring Terra Nova Provincial Park. Forests here host a variety of birds, and some of the species we will search for include Pine Grosbeak, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Fox Sparrow and Rusty Blackbird. Several warbler species are also possible in the park, such as Black-throated Green, Blackpoll, Palm, Mourning and Magnolia warblers, American Redstart and Northern Waterthrush. A few of the locations we plan on visiting today include Sandy Point, where we will walk around the pond. At Dunphy's Pond, birds like Blue-headed Vireo, Black-backed Woodpecker, Spruce Grouse, Pine Grosbeak and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers are possible. The Louis Hill Trail is good for warblers, including Black-throated Green and Magnolia warblers. At the Ochre Hill Trail, we will see what we can find for birds, and we'll take in the scenic views. Night Clarenville.
Day 6 - This morning we can spend a few more hours exploring Clarenville and, or Terra Nova Park, depending on what we have found on our previous days. On the drive to St. Bride's, where we spend the night, we'll make stops for birds. At Arnold's Cove, known as 'The Gateway to Placentia Bay', we will stop to take in the scenery and any birds that may be around. Hulking Great Black-backed Gulls are a common sight along the coast, throughout the tour, and there are often Common Terns about as well. Often seen in the bay are Common Loons, Red-breasted Mergansers and Double-crested Cormorants, while Bald Eagles can be seen sitting on prominent perches. At Branch, we can look for Caribou, if we haven't see them yet, as well as any unusual birds that may be in the area. Night in St. Bride's.
Day 7 - One of Newfoundland's best known birding sites, Cape St. Mary's is not too far from our accommodations. Here, on sheer cliffs, we get up close and personal with nesting colonies of seabirds, in particular Northern Gannets. In addition to the gannets, there are large numbers of breeding Black-legged Kittiwakes as well, and alcids including Thick-billed Murre, Razorbill and Black Guillemot. Amongst the Double-crested Cormorants, we'll watch out for Great Cormorant. The sub-arctic tundra habitat here, the southernmost bit of it in the world, is home to breeding Willow Ptarmigan, as well as American Pipits and Horned Larks. The drive back to St. John's takes a little over two hours, and our tour will conclude late this afternoon.
** We may change the itinerary on any given day, due to where recent bird sightings are**