Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Cape St.Mary's Ecological Reserve

Monday April 21st Brad & I made our annual trip to Cape St.Mary's Ecological Reserve to photograph the nesting Seabirds and also to try our hand at a few landscape photos while we were there. As usual we were amazed at the number of seabirds that nest on Bird rock and the surrounding cliffs. During the breeding season the cape is home to literally ten's of thousands of nesting Northern Gannets, Murres, Kittiwakes and the list goes on. Its Amazing. 

We had a very early morning, we left Brad's house 4:30am to embark and arrived at the cape just after sunrise. We had hoped for little or no wind so we could focus on the Horned Larks that nest on the barrens at the cape but of course mother nature had other plans. The wind was gusting somewhere around 80km/hr if i had to guess. It was very cold and it didn't feel much like spring. That doesn't stop the birds instinct to claim nesting territory and find a mate!

               Cape St.Mary's lighthouse in the distance. This is the view just to the right of Bird rock.

Bird Rock. 

A 100-metre-tall stack of sandstone that is separated from the viewing area by a gap only a few metres wide.This shot doesn't do it justice for size and sheer number of nesting Gannets. Next trip we will have some more presentable photos of the area when the grass is lush green and the birds are all back from their wintering grounds.

When we first arrived and began our walk out to bird rock we stopped to photograph Horned larks of which have recently arrived to nest for another season. They are usually just out of reach but every now and again you find one that is somewhat more approachable.

Once at Bird Rock we photographed the many hundreds if not thousands of Gannets that have already returned. It is so amazing to watch these large seabirds glide around the large cliffs and headlands with ease. The updrafts allow them to glide and help us get in-flight shots. Also the cliffs and rocks that the birds build their nests on provide interesting backdrops for photography.


In June we will return to photograph the Murres and Kittiwakes which also nest at the cape. When we were there on monday not all the Murres and Kittiwakes were on the cliffs but MANY thousands were on the water below as you can see from the photo below!

Things are now changing on the Island of Newfoundland. Birds like Osprey and Greater Yellowlegs are showing up and bird song once again is filling the woods. I myself have been busy building Tree Swallow boxes with my father and placing them around. Only a few more weeks and the flood gates of bird migration will be opened! 

Black-Legged Kittiwakes

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