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Puffins And Gannets And Mures, Oh My!

CANADA | Thursday, 20 August 2009 | Views [738]

Watch out, Bonavista

Watch out, Bonavista

Believe it or not we came to Newfoundland mainly to see Atlantic puffins.  They can be found in Nova Scotia and even in Maine but we took a cruise from Bay Bulls to the main breeding area at Witless Bay near St. John’s.  Gull Island is home to 1.5 million birds including black-legged kittiwakes and both common and thick-billed mures.  The razorbills, cousins to puffins, had departed the previous week; their chicks fledged and ready to fly. 

Before we even left the harbor we ran into the area’s other attraction, three humpback whales.   Like the birds and the codfish, humpbacks are attracted by the huge schools of capelin, the anchovy-like fish that keep the economy rolling.  Codfishing, currently suspended due to over-fishing, is what drew the people to the area in the first place.  Speaking of the people, Bay Bulls and Witless Bay are on the “Irish Loop.”  The accent is very Celtic and I had to smile when women called me “darhlin’.

The seabird sanctuary at Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve is a must see.  Twelve thousand northern gannets nest on the seamount only a few meters away.  Not only are the gannets a fantastic sight, the area is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.


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