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Part 2 of visiting eastern Newfoundland in 2017 – Witless Bay and the Cape Bonavista area. Newfoundland is a truly stunning destination that is very accessible for us jackals in New England.
We took one of the boat tours out of Bay Bulls to the famed seabird nesting colonies of Witless Bay. Here is a section where both Atlantic puffins and Common Murres – the predominant nesting seabirds – could be seen. Puffins nest in the burrows and Murres on the rocks. There are also gulls that nest nearby and predate on the seabirds.
This one cliff-side shows some of the scale for the number of birds nesting here – pretty much entirely murres here.
A gull or other predator caused this massive flight off of the cliff. Truly awe-inspiring. Interestingly, we saw no cetaceans on the boat ride.
Another side trip we took was to Cape Bonavista, our only venture off of the Avalon peninsula. We took a zodiac to go whale and iceberg watching. The zodiac took us through some sea caves.
We saw only one feeding minke whale, but got relatively close to this iceberg. The tour operators fished out some smaller ice chunks out of the water. The chunks hissed and popped as the trapped air bubbles inside were freed.
Later in the day, we took an eco-tour to some sea stacks near Dungeon state park where you could get close to nesting puffins and guillemots. We missed getting super-close, but did see this puffin pair across on one of the sea stacks. Our guide said that the puffins here had no success raising their young because a pair of ravens patrolled the area. Sadly, we saw one of the ravens carrying off a young puffling.
The sea stacks themselves were amazing!
We also took a side trip to the bottom of Conception Bay for a short hike on the Manuels River. There were some good-looking swimming holes frequented by the locals along the river. We didn’t brave them, nor any of the lakes nor the ocean during our trip. But this duck family enjoyed a ride on one of the rapids.