Our week in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland has come to an end. Today, we added some new birds for the province but no new year birds. It was cold and windy and two of our rental van doors were frozen shut. However, the sun was shining and, apart from our feet, we stayed warm as we waited in vain for the Blue Grosbeak to show. We were still hoping for the Slaty-backed Gull and checked out all of the local gull haunts, once again in vain.
Overall we had a very successful and enjoyable trip. Not only did we get most of our target birds, we also enjoyed seeing this part of the country and meeting some very nice people. In Nova Scotia, Rob Woods and James Hirtle each birded with us for a day; Blake Maybank helped us out and we spent a morning with the NS Bird Society field trip.
James put us in contact with Anne Hughes in St. John’s and she came out birding with us for 3 mornings despite some pretty bad weather (well, maybe not for Newfoundland!). We were also struck by the friendliness and inquisitiveness of the people on the street. While we were birding around town, many people stopped to talk with us and showed a genuine interest in what we were looking for. Anne also introduced us to the local delicacies of Cod Tongues and Scrunchion.
One of our goals was to see many of Canada’s interesting places … Nova Scotia’s coastline and the city of St. John’s certainly qualify. Most of the birding in Nova Scotia was along its magnificent coastline and, in January, there were few tourists to clog the roadways.
|Coast near Lunenburg|
St. John’s, apart from its historic sites, has a wonderful network of ponds and streams (they call them rivers) throughout the city.
|Rennie's River walk|
The ponds provide an attractive resting spot for the 12,000+ gulls. We didn’t pay too much attention to the immatures as the rarities found by the local experts were (fortunately!) all adults. The gulls are also attracted to a sewage outlet in St. John’s harbour – I’ve got a nice picture of a Mew Gull with a piece of you-know-what in its bill!
We will be staying in Alberta the next 8 weeks and hopefully will get a few owls and grouse as well as improving our rather sad mammal list.