Cape St. Mary's
Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland (Map)
The Northern Gannet is a large seabird, the largest of the Sulidae (gannets & boobies) family.
There are 34 Northern Gannet colonies throughout Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, France & the Faroe Islands. These colonies are usually found on cliffs & rocky islands - presumably because these areas provide defense against nonflying animals which can't reach their nests.
One of the more humanly accessible Northern Gannet colonies is at Bird Rock, off the tip of Newfoundland's Cape St. Mary's.
While this place is a bit of a drive off the Trans-Canada Highway, once you're actually on Route 100, it is only a 13km drive along a rolling road to the Cape St. Mary's tourist centre. From there, it is a 15 minute hike to reach Bird Rock.
I've been here before, but my dumb ass came in November when there weren't any birds to see. I figured I wouldn't care about the birds & it would be just as neat...but really it was just dangerous cliffs on a very windy November day.
On this day it was very different. Even stepping out of the car, you look up & see the odd Northern Gannet, which you quickly realize isn't a small bird. As I hiked along the trail, there were only a few straggler gannets flying around until I got very close to Bird Rock.
Once at Bird Rock, well, you can see the amount of Northern Gannets.
I was very happy I returned to Cape St. Mary's & witnessed this natural phenomenon. I'm not much of a nature person, but 30 minutes passed in a heartbeat as I sat at the edge watching the birds on their rock.
This is the type of thing that pushes me towards being happy with my decision to move to this place.
There's also a lighthouse at Cape St. Mary's.
I don't think I put up a picture from my November visit, so here, count it.
Afterward we stopped at a Placentia pub for a celebratory dinner.
Their pub drives out of their way to St. John's to pick up draft Guinness...and I appreciated their hard work.
We also stopped at the Cataracts Provincial Park while in the Placentia area.
There are some things that Newfoundland is lacking because of its isolated location, and one of those things is impressive bridges. After strolling down the walkway to see the waterfalls at the Cataracts, I was very surprised to find a substantial arch bridge!
Another case of a little known, but really cool, location for this province.
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