7-Day Newfoundland Birding Tour
7 Days of fantastic birding in Newfoundland! We will be exploring the spectacular seabird colonies and find some of the most sought-after birds in North America.
Next Group Departure Date: June 2022
This tour can also be booked as a private guided birding tour
Full Itinerary – Newfoundland Birding Tour
Arrival at St John’s, Newfoundland
Welcome to Newfoundland! Our guide will meet you at St John’s Airport from where you will be transferred to our hotel to settle in and freshen up. Although today is scheduled as an arrival day, we can do a bit of birding in the city if time allows. Birds such as Canada Jay, Fox Sparrow, Blackpoll Warbler, Pine Grosbeak and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher can be found in some of the city parks. An alternative option would be to visit the historical Signal Hill with great views over the city.
The city of St John’s, known as both the oldest and most eastern city in North America, is the administrative capital of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is located on the Northeastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula.
From a birding point of view, Newfoundland offers birders an excellent chance to get see sought-after species such as Atlantic Puffins, Northern Gannets, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Razorbill, Black Guillemot and other wildlife such as Caribou and Moose.
We will enjoy our first dinner together in the historical downtown section of the city overlooking the harbour and sheltered bay where you get to know your guide and learn more about St John’s, the Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Day 2 & 3:
Witless Bay and Northeastern Avalon Peninsula
Our tour will start with two days of exploring the Northeastern Avalon Peninsula. Our main target species and definite highlight of the trip include visiting the famous Atlantic Puffin colony in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. We will do a boat cruise which will take us close to the colony offering spectacular views of the Puffins and the second largest Common Murre colony. Other key targets we will enjoy sightings of in the reserve include Razorbill, Black-legged Kittiwake and if we are lucky Northern Fulmar. Overall, the reserve is home to more than 35 million seabirds so we are in for a fantastic time.
There is a colony of more than 600 000 pairs of Leach’s Storm Petrel. The second largest colony in the world!! They can however be tricky to see as they spend most of the day out at sea. Other species found here are Black Guillemot, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and Thick-billed Murre.
On one of the days, we will visit the Cape Spear National Historic Site which is the most easterly point in North America and a fantastic spot from where to scan for Seabirds, Whales and even icebergs. We might be lucky and see Great and Sooty Shearwater while American Pipit and Savannah Sparrow should be seen.
Although only a few of the specials are mentioned above we will continue to add more common terrestrial and water birds and keep an eye open for European migrants such as Tufted Duck and Black-headed Gull.
Day 4 & 5:
Southeast Avalon Peninsula
After two wonderful days of birding, it is time to make our way to the South-eastern part of the Avalon Peninsula. We have two full days to slowly making our way down birding long the way. This part of the province is often called “the Irish Loop” referring to the strong Irish cultural connection. We will visit different birding habitats varying from Boreal Forest to dramatic coastlines with incredible ocean views.
We will continue to scan for new seabirds such as Common Eider and especially Manx Shearwater which do next in small numbers on the southern coastline. Sheltered bays will give us a chance to hopefully see Arctic Tern and a visit to the worlds southernmost subarctic tundra is home to Willow Ptarmigan, Savannah Sparrow and Horned Lark. Who knows we might be lucky and see the herd of Woodland Caribou that frequent this part of the province.
In the boreal forest, open areas, and scrubby woodland, we will look for Boreal Chickadee, Fox Sparrow, Blackpoll Warbler, Rough-legged Hawk, Grey-cheeked Thrush, Red Crossbill, Short-eared Owl and Northern Harrier. The Short-tailed Swallowtail is a near-endemic butterfly with a very limited range outside the peninsula.
This part of the world does have an incredible cultural history and we will visit several iconic lighthouses as we move south as well as the village of Ferryland, one of the oldest settlements in North America. Cape Race is famously known as the place where the distress calls of the Titanic were heard.
Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve
Today is all about Northern Gannets!! We will visit the massive colony at the Cape St. Mary’s Reserve. We will get very close views offering incredible photographic opportunities of the Gannets as well as Common Murre, Great Cormorant and Black-legged Kittiwake. Cape St. Mary’s is home to the southernmost breeding Thick-billed Murre colony in the world. If the timing is right, we could see interesting shorebirds such as American Golden Plover, Whimbrel and White-rumped Sandpiper.
After lunch will stop at the Castle Hill National Historical Site overlooking the town of Placentia. Castle Hill was once the largest French settlement and fortification on the island. From here we will leave the peninsula behind and make our way to Terra Nova National Park which we will visit tomorrow.
Terra Nova National Park
We will spend the whole day exploring Terra Nova National Park. This Park protects a variety of woodland and coastal habitats such as boreal forest, sheltered bays and steep cliffs but our focus will be on the boreal forests and the boreal birds associated with this habitat.
Some of the target species today include Eastern Palm Warbler, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Red Crossbill, Spruce Grouse, Rusty Blackbird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Common Loon, American Black Duck, Northern Goshawk, Merlin, Ruffed Grouse, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Lincoln’s Sparrow. From a mammal point of view, we will look for Snowshoe Hare and Moose.
By late afternoon we will make our way back to St John’s looking for Mourning Warbler on the way. We will enjoy our final dinner together, updating our checklists and planning our next adventure.
*Please note that a tailor-made extension to the western part of Newfoundland can be arranged.
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