Birder's Guide

MAR 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 26 of 75

25 March 2016 | Birder's Guide to Travel ground, and northern boreal species. There is something for everyone at this time of year, whether novice or experi- enced birder, and even non-birding fam- ily and friends. Eastern Newfoundland (Avalon Peninsula) The Avalon Peninsula is the eastern- most point of Canada (and North Amer- ica, excluding Greenland). It has a stark beauty unique to this far-fung part of the continent. The provincial capital, St. John's, is also located here and pro- vides a convenient base for plenty of birding. One of North America's oldest cities, it is steeped in history, culture, and plenty of charm. With a popula- tion of less than 150,000, St. John's is large enough to provide all the ameni- ties and conveniences of a modern city but small enough to remain quaint and easy to navigate. Visitors to eastern Newfoundland will revel in the opportunity to visit two spectacular seabird colonies. Wit- less Bay Ecological Reserve is home to millions of birds, including North America's largest colony of Atlantic Puf- fns with more than 250,000 breeding pairs. Several hundred thousand Com- mon Murres also nest here and can vir- tually cloud the sky at times. Not to be overlooked, Razorbills, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and the occasional North- ern Fulmar dot the cliffs and water. Commercial boat tours offer birders the opportunity to enjoy these birds up close, often with a good chance of spotting whales and maybe even an iceberg along the way. The reserve also hosts the world's second-largest Leach's Storm-Petrel colony, with an estimated 620,000 pairs. Since these birds only come and go from their burrows under cover of darkness, they are rarely seen during tours. The best chances of spot- ting these enigmatic little birds are dur- ing windstorms, when strong onshore winds bring them closer to land. Equally amazing is Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve. Located at the south - western corner of the Avalon Peninsula, it is touted as the North America's most accessible seabird colony. Few places in the world can claim to combine such breathtakingly beautiful landscapes with an awe-inspiring show of nature. During the breeding season, more than 30,000 Northern Gannets nest atop a towering sea stack (aptly named "Bird Rock") and neighbouring clifftops, mak- ing it the third largest colony in North America. Visitors can view these majes- tic birds from as close as twenty meters as they go about their business of mak- ing nests, raising young, and performing Clockwise from top: n Common and King eiders. Photo © Bruce Mactavish n Bohemian Waxwing. Photo © Jared Clarke n Common Redpoll. Photo © Jared Clarke

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