As a continuation to my earlier post on areas of Newfoundland that have turned into my favourite places to visit, todays blog is a continuation of that post.
Lets start off discussing the Provincial Bird, the Puffin.
Going to photograph the Puffins in Newfoundland is a must see for anyone that likes to photograph birds, er even wildlife for that matter.
There are a few ways you can photograph these birds. One is by boat, the other by land. My personal preference is to photograph them by land. That can be done in the town of Ellison
Elliston was once known as Bird Island Cove and with good reason. It is home to numerous seabirds and also the Atlantic Puffin. In fact, we have one of the closest land views of puffins in North America. The puffin is also the official bird of Newfoundland and Labrador since 1992.
The Atlantic Puffin is one of four puffin species and the only one that lives on the North Atlantic Ocean. The Latin term is Fratercula arctica, with fratercula meaning "little brother" and arctica meaning "north." This scientific name can be translated as "little brother of the north." The puffin is also known as the "sea parrot" due in part to its interesting colouring. Elliston has hundreds nesting pairs at the site and more on North Bird Island.
Puffins establish burrows on grassy cliffs. They will also nest amongst rocks. Male puffins perform most of the work of clearing out the nest area, which is sometimes lined with grass, feathers or seaweed. The only time spent on land is to nest which is about five months per year. Mates are found prior to arriving at the colonies, and mating takes place at sea. The Atlantic Puffin is sexually mature at the age of 4–5 years. The species is monogamous and has biparental care. A single-egg clutch is produced each year, and incubation responsibilities are shared between both parents. Total incubation time is around 39–45 days, and the chick takes about 49 days to fledge. At fledging, the chick leaves the burrow alone, and flies/swims out to sea, usually during the evening. Contrary to popular belief, young puffins are not abandoned by their parents. The average bird lives about 20 years.
My favourite puffin viewing site is just a short five minute walk from the main road on a sharp turn. It is also roughly halfway between Sandy Cove Beach and Puffin Ventures Craft shop in Maberly. Puffins return to the area in May and usually stay until the end of September.
On the theme of bird life in Newfoundland, one can not leave out Cape St. Marys. Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve is a wonderland for birdwatchers and explorers alike. Thousands of gulls, razorbills, common murres, black-legged kittiwakes, northern gannets, and double-crested and great cormorants nest here. Where 20,000 scoters, oldsquaw, harlequin, dovekies, thick-billed murres, and kittiwakes winter. This captivating area is one of seven seabird ecological reserves protected by provincial legislation. Its natural beauty makes it perfect for nature walks and family adventures.
Cape St. Mary's is the most accessible seabird rookery in North America. Bird Rock is the third largest nesting site and southernmost colony of northern gannets in North America. Cape St. Mary's is also the southernmost breeding area for thick-billed murres in the world and the southernmost major breeding site for common murres in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. This site is overflowing with perching, diving, and scrambling birds from edge to edge – melding together into an awesome moving, breathing spectacle of colour and sound.
OK, lets switch gears... lets discuss the Cape Spear lighthouse and St. Johns itself. There is plenty to see and photograph here for any photographer.
At Cape Spear you can stand with your back to the sea and the entire population of North America is to the west of you. Face the sea and the next stop east is Ireland.
Perched on a rugged cliff at our continent's most easterly point lies Cape Spear Lighthouse – the oldest surviving lighthouse in the province and an iconic symbol of Newfoundland and Labrador's mariner history.
Constructed in 1836, the Cape Spear Lighthouse represents the unique architecture of lighthouse construction during this era. The structure consists of a stone light tower surrounded by the lightkeeper's residence. In 1955 a new lighthouse tower was built on the site using the active light from the original lighthouse.
The human side of Cape Spear tells the story of the Cantwell family. Generations of this famous family of lightkeepers resided at Cape Spear for over 150 years and worked tirelessly to maintain a light so vital to mariners. Step inside the restored lighthouse and discover the true life of a 19th-century lighthouse keeper.
Journey back in time and explore the remnants of the sites World War II coastal defence battery – Fort Cape Spear. Walk in the footsteps of Canadian and American soldiers as they guarded St. John's from attack from lurking German U-boats.
For the naturalist, Cape Spear will overload your senses with ocean vistas of crashing waves, feeding whales and majestic icebergs. The site also provides an entry point to the breathtaking East Coast Trail.
Jelly Bean Row... It has been said, the human eye can see over ten million colours. Around here, we felt as though there were a few missing. So residents have taken the liberty to think up some of their own. You’ll find that the path through Jellybean Row is paved with all sorts of tones - from the playful absurdity of Mollyfodge, to the subtle silvern mists of Foggy Dew, and everything in between.
There is lots more to see and do in and around Newfoundland, for the tourist folks, Signal Hill is a must visit, the warf, the battery... but Im going to skip up north now and focus on a few other highlights...
Lets look at Cavendish, Trinity and Hearts Content on Trinity Bay. This whole area has something for everyone! Steeped in wonderfully preserved history, surrounded by pristine waters and forests, Heart's Content, Cavendish and Trinity are a few places you will never forget...Let me just say vibrant colour, incredible architecture to photograph and fantastic people.
A little farther up the eastern coastline are two more of my favourites... not too far from each other lie Newtown and Twillengate.
Newtown, said to be called the Venice of Newfoundland. Imagine the past meeting the present! Meet characters from the past in our homes, school, fish stage, gardens, and Sealers Interpretation Centre. This town is somewhere that my groups say they could spend a whole day at...
Awhhh, then there is Twillengate. Known for its icebergs and dotted islands that lie just off the coast, Twillengate is a favourite every year for the icebergs.
A small island in the North Atlantic, Twillingate is one of the most picturesque outports in all of Newfoundland and Labrador and one of the province's most popular rural outport destinations.
Located on the edge of what is known as Iceberg Alley, Twillingate is affectionately known as the Iceberg Capital of the world. Many of these 10,000 year old iceberg giants float by quietly each year and people travel great distances just to chance a glance.
Have I teased you enough yet? ;-) How about one more photo from a whale tour in Trinity Bay...
Why dont you check out my Newfoundland tours page. It has all the trips I am running in this very photogenic province. All those trips can be seen here. http://www.kevinpepperphotography.com/newfoundland-photography-workshops
Oh, and dont forget to check out part one of my highlights of Newfoundland. Check that out here, www.kevinpepperphotography/blog/2017/5/19/highlights-of-my-annual-trips-to-newfoundland-part-one