|Millions of Seabirds on Bird Islands
in Newfoundland, Canada
Newfoundland in northeast Canada is known as the "seabird capital" of North America. Millions of sea birds
come to nest on the five bird islands in Witless Bay Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland during the summer
breeding season to lay eggs and to raise their chicks. Witless Bay is about 50 Km south of St. Johns off Route
10 in eastern Newfoundland. We got on a tour boat from Bay Bulls to tour the Witless Bay in July 2005 to see
millions of busy seabirds as shown in the following pictures.
Map: Click here to see an interactive Google Map showing five bird islands in Witless Bay in Newfoundland
Distance view of one of the five bird islands in Witless Bay
Many seabirds are nesting on the cliff of the bird island. They include puffins, common murres,
razorbills, black-legged Kittiwakes and northern fulmars.
Many puffins are nesting on the bird island.
Many seabirds are busily flying out to Witless Bay to catch fish to feed their chicks in their nests
Million of seabirds are busily flying in-and-out of the bird island to catch fish in the Witless Bay to go back to
feed their chicks in their nests on the bird islands in Newfoundland.
When our tour boat got close to this bird island, there were so many seabirds flying very fast like arrows
shooting in many directions above us, near us and below us. These seabirds, such as puffins, fly at speed up
to 55 miles per hour and flap their wings up to 400 times per minute. Puffins use their wings to fly not only in
the air, but also under water. The puffins can swim to depth of 200 feet under water. Their small wings are a
compromise between flying in the air and flying under water. Because of their small wings they have to fly very
fast in the air to get enough lift.
Some birds are landing on the water, some are swimming on the water, some are diving into the water to catch
fish and some are running on the water to take off. There were so many fast actions going on simultaneously in
various directions such that it was hard for me to decide which direction to point my camera.
Head-on view of a whale in Witless Bay when we were touring the Witless Bay for bird watching. Many
whales also come to Newfoundland for the annual feast of huge number of small fish (capelins) and
A side view of the whale when we were touring the Witless Bay.
There are several fish ladders on the rivers in Newfoundland to help Atlantic salmons to overcome high
waterfalls and dams to get up to shallow streams to spawn. We also visited two fish ladders on rivers to see
jumping Atlantic salmons in Newfoundland. This fish ladder is under a bridge on Route 91 about 2 Km west of
Colinet in Newfoundland.
An Atlantic salmon just jumped up one step in the fish ladder at 100 Taylor Road, Grand Falls Fishway , Grand
Falls-Windsor to get up to the spawning streams in central Newfoundland
Another salmon jumped up the fish ladder and made a splash – Photo by May Lee
This salmon made an even bigger splash - Photo by May Lee
Tail of a whale and some seabirds in Witless Bay.
We also drove to Cape Bonavista to see another colony of puffins on the bird rock near the Bonavista
Lighthouse at the northern tip of Cape Bonavista as shown in these three pictures. These puffins spend most of
the daytime on the sea to catch and to eat fish. They come back at about 8 PM to feed their chicks in the nests
inside the burrows.
Beautiful shoreline near Cape Bonavista - Photo by May Lee
Many seagulls at another bird rock - Photo by May Lee
In addition to seeing bald eagles in action, we also saw many jelly fish in Newman Sound in Terra Nova
National Park in Newfoundland - Photo by May Lee.
Horses near Cape Bonavista
The wind was very strong causing high waves when we were touring Witless Bay. Our tour boat was rocking
severely in such waves. Such rocking boat impacted the quality, especially the sharpness, of the pictures taken
from the tour boat.
Many seabirds are busily flying in-and-out of the bird island to catch fish in the Witless Bay to go back to feed
their chicks in their nests on the bird island.
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Large Colony of Gannets at Cape St. Mary's in Newfoundland
In the summer season, there is a large colony of gannets nesting on the 300-foot shear cliff and sea stack at
Cape St. Mary in Newfoundland in northeastern maritime Canada to lay eggs and to raise their baby gannets.
In July 2005, we toured Newfoundland to see several points of great interest to us. One of such points of
great interest was this large colony of gannets at Cape St. Mary and Bird Rock.
However, Cape St. Mary is known to be very foggy for about 200 days per year. It was indeed very foggy
when we visited Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve in July 2005 and took the pictures of the nesting
gannets as shown in the following foggy pictures: