Posted in Atlantic Canada Birding

a drive up to the most Northern tip of Newfoundland June 20th 2015

a drive up to the most Northern tip of Newfoundland June 20th 2015 Posted on June 21, 2015

This week I have to work in Newfoundland visiting pet shops all over the rock so the diversions are extra awesome.  Not all birding of course since when you bird here the wild and rugged beauty of the landscape often takes over.

The ferry docked early Saturday morning and my task for the day was to drive almost 700km all the way up to the Northern tip to Saint Anthony.

A short drive from the ferry was J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park which has a protected area for Piping Plovers so I made my first stop.

A quick look didn’t turn up any Plovers, but I did get my first lifer (maybe 2) of the trip, a Common Tern.  I have seen Terns before at Keji but I count my lifers as the ones I’m able to snap photos of.

Common Tern - click twice for full resolution I usually leave unaltered so non birders can have perspective
Common Tern – click twice for full resolution I usually leave unaltered so non birders can have perspective

The entire park was filled with the songs of Yellow and also Black and White Warblers.  On the way out I tried to see if I might find some other warblers and instead I found a pair of Crossbills .  At first I thought they were Red Crossbills, but now I think White- Winged and would like some ID help please.  Again photos un-cropped, please click twice for full resolution as my blogs are more of a diary than a race for the best photos.

Update : oops not Crossbills at all they are female Pine Grosbeaks thank you Maxine Quinton – I had crossbills on the brain as I expect later I will see them at Terra Nova Park 

Is this a female White-Winged Crossbill?
female Pine Grosbeak thanks Maxine Quinton  🙂
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female Pine Grosbeak
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female Pine Grosbeak
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female Pine Grosbeaks
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female Pine Grosbeaks

Continuing up the coast, the beautiful fjords of Western Pond in Gros Morne caught my eye and I stopped on the side of the road to have a look where Canada Geese just happened to have some goslings.  Goslings are always cute but in front of the fjords they are a thing from heaven.

Canada Geese in front of the Western Brook Pond fjords
Canada Geese in front of the Western Brook Pond fjords

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There was a Yellow Warbler on every stop I made.  There is not an inch of road on the West Coast that is not singing with Warblers including Black Throated Green Warblers, who I did not snap but heard in abundance.  The Yellows are always nosey and easy to snap like this one at Hawke’s Bay.  There were also large amounts of Barn Swallows (potentially Bank Swallows which Heather Quinn calls Sand Martins LOL) in pockets in the stretch from Gros Morne to Saint Anthony.

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pair of Ring-Necked Ducks splashing about
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Yellow Warbler

There were a few non-birding stops of course.  One to the Arches, and one to Bellburns Brook.

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ummm doesn’t this look like a man with bushy eyebrows to you?at Bellburns Brook lookoff the unofficial one
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The Arches provincial park in Portland Creek NL
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The Arches provincial park in Portland Creek NL

Realizing my drive to Saint Anthony was now going to be a full 12 hour excursion I stopped noodling around and kept straight on.

The warning signs for Moose crossings increased with frequency as the town approached so I was watching the side of the road more closely than ever, which landed me another lifer, a Wilson’s Snipe.  I did see a Moose as well but thought it foolish to stop and photograph it as it ran along the side of the highway eyeing my car  😉

Wilson's Snipe just inside Saint Anthony town limits
Wilson’s Snipe just inside Saint Anthony town limits

Not too long after this sighting I checked into my motel and had an hour left for birding in Saint Anthony so made the short drive up to Fishing Point.

This was worth the entire drive up to this wondrous, Labrador like Northern tip of Newfoundland as it’s not every day that you are photographing sparrows and a whale appears in the background which is exactly what happened to me.  Probably a Minke or Pilot Whale definitely not a Humpback but the most serendipitous moment I could have possibly hoped for.  Mother Nature continues to humble me time and again.

NL-west-coast-st-anthony-june-20 361 NL-west-coast-st-anthony-june-20 381The locals call the White-Crowned Sparrows, Tom Tits the lady at the motel tells me.  Ebird said they were uncommon here at this time but she said they are always abundant and I sure saw lots of them as well as our little Yellow Warbler friends, and a Savannah Sparrow.

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Savannah Sparrow having a bite to eat on top of the Great Viking Feast dinner theater sod-covered building
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White-Crowned Sparrows aplenty at Fishing Point the locals call them “tom tits”
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and so many Yellow Warblers

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And no trip of mine is complete without some other type of wildlife, there is a little 3 legged fox who was caught in a trap who visits the locals for a little TLC.

the 3 legged fox poor feller people are so mean sometimes leghold trapping sucks!
the 3 legged fox poor feller people are so mean sometimes leghold trapping sucks!

The day wouldn’t be complete without some iceberg sightings, it is Saint Anthony after all.

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beautiful Saint Anthony Harbour
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on the Fishing Point walk

A day like this is life changing in the best of ways indeed, although no grey jays or Puffins maybe today…

PS Thank you Sandra and Rick at the Hotel North for your hospitality and knowledge.

PPS Rick you can find my things online at or in Atlantic Canada and in person at Plaza Pets in Cornerbrook.