Newfoundland & Nova Scotia: Jul 05—15, 2006

Register for WaitlistTour Details

Price: $2,895
Departs: Halifax (ends in St. John's)
Tour Limit: 14
Download Itinerary: PDF (148.7 KB)

Tour Leaders


Brennan Mulrooney

Brennan Mulrooney was born and raised in San Diego, California. Growing up, his heart and mi...


Kim Eckert

Kim Eckert, with over 40 years of birding experience throughout the U.S. and Canada, has now...

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Register for the Waiting List

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Northern Gannets, Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland.

Northern Gannets, Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland.— Photo: Steve Hilty

Vast coastal and island nesting colonies with tens of thousands of seabirds, one of the best and most comfortable pelagic birding experiences in North America, and breeding warblers of the boreal forest, all amid spectacular scenery and perhaps the friendliest people anywhere.

These Canadian provinces have much to attract both birders and non-birders alike with their ruggedly scenic coastlines, the greatest array of seabirds in the North Atlantic, mammals such as whales, caribou, and moose—all this plus the rich history of St. John's, North Atlantic seafood cuisine, and cool mid-summer temperatures.

In Newfoundland, thousands of Northern Gannets crowd together at famed Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve, while countless pairs of Atlantic Puffins, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common Murres, and more finite numbers of Black Guillemots, Thick-billed Murres, and Razorbills crowd favored nesting cliffs. Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia, a wide variety of passerines such as Bicknell's Thrush, some 20 species of warblers, and many other boreal specialties breed within its extensive Acadian and coniferous forests.

In Nova Scotia, we will especially search for Spruce (always elusive) and Ruffed grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker (equally elusive), Yellow-bellied and Alder flycatchers, Boreal Chickadee, warblers (including Mourning, Canada, and Blackburnian), and Evening Grosbeak. In addition, we should find Great Cormorant, Common Eider, and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, plus the shy and local Bicknell's Thrush which breeds on Cape Breton Island and has been found annually on this tour.

Our ferry crossing from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland has some of the best pelagic birding opportunities anywhere: Manx, Greater, and Sooty shearwaters; Leach's and Wilson's storm-petrels; and Northern Fulmar are regularly seen given fog-free conditions; a skua or two and Red Phalaropes are even possible.

Newfoundland is characterized by stunted Hudsonian forests and treeless "barrens" where Gray-cheeked Thrush, Northern Waterthrush, Blackpoll and Wilson's warblers, Fox Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, Pine Grosbeak, and crossbills breed, while moose and caribou roam the barrens. Arctic Terns and sometimes a stray Black-headed Gull are also seen along the coastline. Cape St. Mary's is perhaps Newfoundland's most famous avian landmark, but this tour also includes a boat trip to Witless Bay Ecological Reserve and its great concentrations of hundreds of thousands of puffins, murres, and kittiwakes. Humpback whales and other marine mammals also accompany us on this spectacular excursion which punctuates the tour.

Popular tour for non-birding spouses with excellent seafood, beautiful scenery, interesting mammals, many historic sites, and escape from hot summer weather; smooth and comfortable day-long ferry crossing; both roadside birding and leisurely short walks; weather often rainy and foggy; some biting insects likely.