Posted in Atlantic Canada Birding

Day 2 birding on the Rock – Viking Trail June 21

Day 2 birding on the Rock – Viking Trail June 21 Posted on June 22, 2015

Day 2…no Puffins and no Gray Jays but I did get my moose.

It’s interesting because I had a little chat with Rick at the Hotel North and he said they are seeing birds they have never seen before in Saint Anthony.  Robins and Bluejays never used to go there apparently and interestingly enough there were Robins all over the West Coast in great numbers.  He also said it was the first time he saw the little Yellow canary type birds which I think must  be the Yellow Warblers as I haven’t seen any Goldfinch.  I find people tend to refer to both as canary type birds.  He said there are usually just lots of Gray Jays which is true, but I haven’t seen any.  Also, Sandra thought the Double Crested Cormorants were new to the area and making a menace of themselves by eating the eggs of other birds.  Climate change does make interesting changes in the birds we see for sure.  I’m new to birds, but am finding out quickly that the birds are behaving differently.

Anyway, you really have to go out on a boat to see the Puffins so I’ll likely leave the island without seeing any and that is okay because last year I visited a huge colony of them in Whitless Bay on a whale and bird tour in Bay of Bulls.  At the time I didn’t know anything about birds but now that I do I would say run don’t walk for that spot if you are a bird nerd.

Moose on the side of the road just outside Saint Anthony he was far enough off the road that I felt secure taking a quick shot and moving on.
Moose on the side of the road just outside Saint Anthony he was far enough off the road that I felt secure taking a quick shot and moving on.

There were a few spots I had scoped out for scenery the day before that I made quick stops at for memory shots.  First stop Eddie’s Cove where they have the toughest seagulls I’ve ever seen look at those ice caps!

Gulls in Eddie's Cove
Gulls in Eddie’s Cove

Next stop Flower’s Cove just the prettiest little town ever.  Was photographing the lighthouse and a Northern Pintail showed up in my lens.  Not something that happens every day, unless you’re on the Rock I guess.  He was super far away so not the greatest shot but still a neat birding experience.

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Lighthouse in Flowers Cove Northern Pintail in the pool in the foreground.
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Northern Pintail not very clear as very far away too bad they are handsome ducks.
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Northern Pintail click twice to enlarge I don’t crop for this blog to retain perspective

I didn’t have a lot time to spend today as I wanted to spend some time in Gros Morne before hitting the hay as well so I skipped L’Anse Aux Meadows and opted to visit Port Aux Choix instead.  And, since I was getting kind of woozy from all the fried food on the Rock I opted to visit a little cafe that serves healthy food instead of visiting the Parks Canada interpretive site.  Creative way to fit the town into my route I thought and I also stopped on the beach in Port Sanders to get some photos and salty air on the way.  Good choice it turned out as the first thing on the path was a pair of Terns resting on the beach.  Maybe these one are Caspian or Artic Terns as there is no black on the tip of their bills and they have black feet.  ID help appreciated please.

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Caspian Terns thank you for ID help Laurel Marie Amirault
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Caspian Terns
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Caspian Terns

Also heard a Sandpiper a little further down in Port Aux Choix proper.  It’s far away as I snapped it from the car on a stretch of inaccessible beach, but it looks like a Spotted?

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Sandpiper with a gull to show size difference
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a little far away to see spots but the consensus if likely a Spotted Sandpiper

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There were also some gulls and terns having a little beach party.

west-coast-newfoundland-gros-morne-june-21 582Eventually I landed at my final destination, Gros Morne – where you can pretend to be a National Geographic photographer in training.

At Western Brook there was a Savannah Sparrow sitting as pretty as a picture and singing his little heart out.  Of interest, the Western Brook Beach in Shallow Bay as well as Cow Head in Gros Morne have a long overdue return of nesting Piping Plovers.

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Savannah Sparrow singing his little heart out at Western Brook

Final stop was the trail to the Western Brook Pond (I didn’t take the boat tour but you should if you can for sure) which was singing with Warblers.  I knew if I didn’t see any birds the walk to the Fjords would still be spectacular, which is was indeed.

Not sure what kind of Warbler this is but my guess is a Tennessee Warbler they would be common to this location.

Tennessee Warbler?
Tennessee Warbler thank you for ID confirmation Jim Edsall (who makes gorgeous wood carvings btw!)

And I managed to snag a quick shot before this big bird flew away.  Not sure what is is my guess will be Pine Grosbeak?

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female Pine Grosbeak? would be common to this area – thank you Jim for this ID confirmation also

No walk in the woods is complete without the beautiful song of the Hermit Thrush and there were many of them on the path.  I found this little feller up high singing his heart out.

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Hermit Thush singing, whom I feel must be Joel Plaskett’s favorite bird?

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Tomorrow I start work on the island and will be visiting pet stores in Grand Falls/Windsor and Gander and then taking the evening near Terra Nova Park which will be amazing if I’m not rained out  🙂