**2021 dates now released!**
Day 1 - June 6, 2021
Arrival into St. John's Newfoundland
This afternoon we arrive into Newfoundland’s capital of St. John’s, an eccentric, colourful city which dates back to 1519 and is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. The evening is spent at leisure exploring the local neighbourhood on foot.
Accommodation: Hotel Newfoundland, St. Johns
Day 2 - June 7, 2021
St John's drive tour and Witless Bay Eco Reserve
We set out after breakfast for some local touring as we explore North America’s oldest city. We visit Canada’s second largest National Historic Park as well as Signal Hill and then Cape Spear, home of the oldest lighthouse and the most easterly point in North America. This is also a great place to scan for icebergs, seabirds and migrating whales.
We continue onwards to Witless Bay for an afternoon bay cruise with opportunities to see whales and puffins at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. America’s largest Puffin colony and the second largest Common Murres colony’s, are the main attractions. The chatter of thousands of birds blended with the sounds of the ocean makes for an unforgettable experience.
Accommodation: Hotel Newfoundland, St. John's
Day 3 - June 8, 2021
Southeast Avalon Peninsula
Our destination today is the “Irish Loop”, named for the area’s strong cultural roots with Ireland, and includes coastal headlands, seascapes and historic villages. Taking in the lower half of the Avalon Peninsula, the Irish Loop and Cape Shore route is rich in history. The scenic coastline makes for a drive full of photo opportunities as well as possibilities to see whales, a wide variety of birds, as well as experience the Irish culture.
At the Edge of Avalon Interpretive Centre in Portugal Cove South, we will learn about Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the oldest fossils on earth, dating back 579 million years.T he scenery is stark and beautiful. We will make several stops to bird in the the scrubby woodlands typical of the peninsula, looking out for boreal songbirds such as Blackpoll Warbler, Boreal Chickadee and Fox Sparrow. The many sheltered bays and inlets dotting the coast offer chances to look for Arctic Terns and other seabirds.
Our stay tonight is in Trepassey, a name that means ‘the dead’ or ‘the dead souls’ or a corruption of an old Basque word. Basque fishermen were prominent all along the Newfoundland coast in the 16th century. Trepassey was the seat of an unsuccessful Welsh colony. More recently it was the starting point for several Transatlantic flights including the one, in 1928, when Amelia Earhart, as a passenger with William S. Stultz and Lou Gordon, became the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air.
Time permitting, we will visit Cape Race, where the Marconi station picked up and retransmitted the distress signal from the Titanic in 1912. See how the station, 350 miles from the tragedy, played an important role in the rescue of survivors and discover the story of 14-year-old Jimmy Myrick, the first person to hear Titanic's distress signal.
Accommodation: Edge of the Avalon Inn, Trepassey
Day 4 - June 9, 2021
St. Brides and Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve
During the morning we will visit breathtaking Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve -the most accessible seabird colony in North America. A wonderland for birdwatchers, hikers and visitors, you will see thousands of northern gannets nesting on top of a 200-foothigh sea stack, while smaller numbers of Razorbills, Common Murres, and Black-legged Kittiwakes nest on shallow cliff ledges. This is where 20,000 Scoters, Long-Tailed ducks, Harlequin, Dovekites, Thick-billed Murres, and Kittiwakes winter. The area is one of seven protected seabird ecological reserves and its natural beauty makes it perfect for photography walks.
Accommodation: Bird Island Resort, St. Brides
Day 5 - June 10, 2021
The Western Avalon Region
This morning we follow the coast north to the Castle Hill National Historic Site. Step back to a time when the fate of North America hung in the balance. Imagine cannons and muskets blazing as British and French forces battled on the shores of Newfoundland, vying for control of the lucrative fishery. As you enter the Castle Hill National Historic Site, a stone fort standing sentinel over the picturesque seaside town of Placentia, you will see and explore a chapter of history that determined the fate of a continent.
Castle Hill is so named for the French and English fortifications dating back to the mid 1600s, and the top of the hill overlooks scenic Placentia Bay. We end our day by leaving the Avalon Peninsula behind and driving north west across the narrow isthmus to Clarenville, a thriving community located on Newfoundland and Labrador’s east coast. Nestled in the beautiful Shoal Harbour River Valley, the town is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty.
We will look for a variety of birds as we make our way north to Clarenville for our overnight stay.
Accommodation: Clarenville Inn
Day 6 - June 11, 2021
The Bonavista Peninsula and Terra Nova National Park
From Clarenville, we first drive to the Bonavista Peninsula and famous Bonavista Lighthouse hoping to see some of the icebergs that drift down from the Greenland
icepack. Variations from year to year make it impossible to accurately forecast this natural wonder. We then continue on to the Terra Nova National Park where we will spend the day exploring a variety of coastal and upland habitats including sheltered bays, steep cliffs and rich boreal forests. Terra Nova National Park is Canada’s most easterly National Park with 400 sq. kms of natural beauty. We will be looking primarily for boreal bird species and also hope to see the orchids in the boggy terrain as well as the local wildlife. A visit to the Terra Nova Marine Interpretation Centre will add to our understanding of this corner of Newfoundland.
Accommodation: Clode Sound Motel, Charlottetown
Day 7 - June 12, 2021
Drive to Grand Falls - Windsor
On our drive today, we travel west to Grand Falls-Windsor, the largest city in central Newfoundland and part of the famous the Viking Trail Route. The habitats change quite dramatically as we drive west across the width of Newfoundland. The forests of central Newfoundland include far more hardwoods and deciduous trees than elsewhere and you may start to see new varieties of songbirds like Swainson’s Thrush, Alder Flycatcher, Lincoln’s Sparrow and diverse warblers.
On the way, we will stop at Gander, a town full of history that plays a vital role in international aviation industry. Gander is the setting of the hit musical ’Come From
Away’ that has toured worldwide to huge acclaim. The characters in the musical are all based on real Gander residents. We visit the North Atlantic Aviation Museum and learn about the important historical events that has made this town an inspiration to all Canadians.
Accommodation: Mount Peyton Hotel, Grand Falls - Windsor
Day 8 - June 13, 2021
Central Newfoundland and introduction to Gros Morne National Park
The day will be dedicated to travel as we traverse further west to famous Gros Morne National Park, an incredible National Park, with its towering inland fjords. We will learn about the geology of the area at the Gros Morne Visitor Centre and experience it first hand with a scenic walk through the Tablelands area discovering the unique flora and fauna native to the region. Sightings of moose, caribou, waterfalls and many unforgettable photo opportunities add to this UNESCO World Heritage experience. We spend this afternoon exploring Gros Morne. Weather permitting, we will take a boat tour in beautiful Western Brook Pond, one of Newfoundland’s most iconic experiences and an unbelievable photo opportunity.
Accommodation: Ocean View Hotel, Rocky Harbour
Day 9 - June 14, 2021
Gros Morne National Park
We spend the next 2 full days here in Gros Morne National Park.
Gros Morne National Park has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique and globally important geological features. It also offers excellent opportunities for birding and wildlife viewing. Our meanderings through the park will include strolls along sandy beaches, rugged coastlines, rich bogs and lush forests. New birds may include Vireos, Mourning Warbler and Harlequin Duck. On the second day we will aim to visit the surreal Tablelands which consists of a large piece of the earth’s mantle driven up from deep below the ocean floor and only seen at a few places on earth. We hope to see Woodland Caribou, Moose and Harbour Seals during this day, have time to enjoy a variety of beautiful orchids that can be found in the park and photograph the incredible views of this rugged landscape.
On one of these days, we will visit The Arches Provincial Park near Portland Creek along the western coastline of Newfoundland, and take some time to see the bird life and to photograph the natural rock formations that have been shaped by the power of the ocean tides.
Accommodation: Ocean View Hotel, Rocky Harbour
Day 10 - June 15, 2021
Continue your exploration and photographing of the Gros Morne National Park.
B | L | D
Accommodation: Ocean View Hotel, Rocky Harbour
Day 11 - June 16, 2021
We transfer to Deer Lake airport this morning for our flight home and end our exciting photography and birding experience of Newfoundland.
Note: lunches mentioned above are boxed picnic lunches while you are on tour and exploring.