Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Cape St.Mary's Ecological Reserve

Sunday morning i got out of bed at 3:00am and headed to Cape St.Mary's Ecological Reserve for the 4th time this year. The cape and its wildlife never get old. If i had the time I'd go 100 times a year. The cape offers such amazing up close looks at everything from nesting seabirds like Northern Gannets & Murres to dozens of newly born lambs on your walk to bird rock. It truly is a special place in the province of Newfoundland Labrador that i believe is a must see for locals and tourists alike.

The image above i captured to show how amazing bird rock is. This massive sea stack is just meters from the mainland and offers great views of the thousands of Gannets that nest all over it. This image shows about 1/4 of the amount of sea birds at the cape. The cliffs all around the general area of bird rock is covered in nesting Murres,Razor ills and Black Guillemot. Also thousands of Black-Legged Kittiwakes nest along the cliffs with the rest of the sea birds.

They nest VERY close to the edge. 
Black-Legged Kittiwakes are amazing at doing acrobat like moves while manoeuvring around the sheer cliffs where they nest. This makes photographing them in flight a challenge. I find that i have to choose one bird to photograph, watch its pattern (They usually do a circle shape) and then predict where it will be about 2 seconds from where it is while I'm looking at it. This doesn't always work because the birds sometimes dive, bank, or land at any given time. After repeating this method over and over again you will come away with a few keepers as i did in the images below.


Common & Thick-Billed Murres also nest in massive numbers around the cliffs at the reserve. There is no real technique in photographing these guys besides hopping that the day is overcast and not foggy or sunny. This allows you to properly compose the whites & blacks on the birds. These fat little birds are always fun to watch as they awkwardly hurl themselves at the cliffs. The Razor Bill is the closest know relative of the now extinct Great Auk.

Not much room!
       The image above just goes to show how many murres there are. They are clustered together in very large numbers. Its hard to believe they just lay their one single egg on nothing more then a cluster of their own droppings along the VERY edge of a cliff. But somehow they do this and it works. Just another thing about nature that i find so amazing.

Common Murre
Among the tens of thousands of murres there are a small number of Razorbills that come back each year to nest with the rest of Newfoundland's auks.


Below are more images i captured during the day i sent at the cape. I hope you enjoy them!

Horned Lark

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