Birdwatching North America with Birdingpaltours

  • If you are you an independent birdwatcher, who does not care for large group tours, then Birdingpaltours is for you
  • Our tours are flexible, safe and the use of a local guide lets you participate in the planning
  • A local guide knows all the hotspots and you get the most out of your trip
  • You select the date and length for a trip to suit youself
  • If your time is limited, we’ll design a tour to fit your needs
  • A professional Birdingpal guide can customize your tour, and you will see the birds you want.
  • Your guide is also your travel companion, who will make sure you experience the native people, scenery, culture, history and food, first hand.
  • You will enjoy the advantage of all the attention you get in a small group, for the same price or perhaps even less, than you will pay if you travel with the large tour groups from other countries
  • Remember, the next time you travel, you do not have to miss going birdwatching if your partner or travel companions are non birders; a local guide is flexible, and will easily accommodate other needs too
  • Hiring a Birdingpal guide will boost the local economy and help protect birds other wildlife and their habitat

Birdwatching in Newfoundland

Newfoundland is famous as a summer tourist destination but in winter it is a must visit for the serious North American bird watcher and who better than Jared Clark to show off his native province and find those elusive winter rarities. Read on for his description of his various trips.

"Arctic Tern   © Jared Clark"

Electronic map of Newfoundland

Trip 1: St. John’s & vicinity (winter) with Jared Clark
NOTE: This tour is designed for winter, but can be modified for spring/summer when other species are more expected.

Many birders visit Newfoundland in winter, when most other tourists steer clear. That’s because our island is known for its winter bird specialties – most of which can be found in and around St. John’s. Seabirds such as Dovekie and Thick-billed Murre can often be found at coastal locations and European waterfowl such Tufted Duck, Eurasian Wigeon and Eurasian Green-winged (“Common”) Teal routinely winter in the city and provide point-blank looks. Some years, northern finches (including Crossbills, Redpolls, and Pine Grosbeaks) are present in large numbers. Sometimes a European rarity such as Redwing can show up!

"Boreal Chickadee   © Jared Clark"

But the gulls are the real show-stopper. At least one Yellow-legged Gull has overwintered in St. John’s for the past decade, making this the only place in North America where this species can be seen on regular basis. Slaty-backed Gull has also been annual for the past few winters. Thousands of Iceland Gulls, more than a hundred Black-headed Gulls, and usually a handful of European Common Gulls are found amongst the other usual suspects. All in all, up to a dozen species of gulls can sometimes be seen in the run of a day.

"Thick-billed Murre   © Jared Clark"

A day tour would typically begin at Cape Spear (the easternmost point in North America), followed by visits to some smaller fishing villages, and then most of the day would be spent looking for special target species in one of the oldest cities in Canada. Accommodations and meal options to suit all tastes are readily available.

Trip 2: "The Irish Loop" – A tour of the southeast Avalon Peninsula
NOTE: Depending on season and options selected, this tour could take anywhere between 8-12 hours and might require an early morning start.

Newfoundland is one of the most dynamic birding locations in North America, with each season bringing an exciting new array of species and spectacles. The “Irish Loop” (named for its strong cultural roots) is located in the southeast corner of the island, and offers some of the most spectacular scenery and coastal landscapes in the world. In fact, the Avalon Peninsula was rated the “best coastal destination in the world” by National Geographic magazine in 2010!

"Yellow-legged Gull   © Jared Clark"

Spring and summer on the Avalon Peninsula combines incredible scenery, mind-boggling numbers of seabirds at some of the largest and most majestic breeding colonies on the continent, and a rich variety of tundra, barren and northern boreal species. This tour covers the easternmost reaches of North America – with an opportunity to see thousands of Atlantic Puffins up close and personal at one of their most fabled nesting sites – the Witless Bay Islands Ecological Reserve. The most southerly breeding Razorbills and Thick-billed Murres, along with thousands of Common Murres, will take your breath away as they cloud the skies. Black-legged Kittiwakes and the occasional Northern Fulmar will dot the cliffs and water. Many northern songbirds can be seen & heard during our visit – including Boreal Chickadee, Grey-cheeked Thrush, Black-backed Woodpecker and Horned Lark. Other stops will provide us opportunities to look for Shearwaters, Arctic Tern, and Willow Ptarmigan. Other wildlife might include whales, moose and woodland caribou.

"Northern Lapwing   © Jared Clark"

Fall and winter brings a major shift to the bird life of the Avalon Peninsula, with the breeding seabirds and songbirds having left for another year. However, they are replaced by more than a dozen species of migrating shorebirds including Whimbrel, American Golden Plover on the barrens and an array of plovers and sandpipers along the beaches. Waterfowl such Long-tailed Duck, Common Eider and Scoters dot the water, while Great Cormorants cling to the rocks amidst rough ocean waters. Flocks of beautiful Snow Buntings arrive in late fall, contrasting with the often more drab birds of the barrens this time of year. Some years, Snowy Owls arrive in numbers and hunt along the coast. Sea birds such as Dovekie and Thick-billed Murre can often be found feeding close to shore in winter.
This tour would begin and end in St. John’s but will require quite a bit of travel throughout the day –all of it scenic and potentially “birdy”, of course. The tour might include visits to several isolated areas (coastal lighthouses, etc.) and historic communities. In spring and summer the option to include a boat trip to the sea bird colonies will be available (costs not included in regular fee). ** In winter, some areas/roads covered might not be accessible due to snow. Fog may at times interfere with visibility in some areas. **

Price: $150 (8 hours) + $50 per extra person.
The price for longer or short tours will be pro-rated. Reimbursement for gas will be added if use of vehicle is required. Groups of more than three may require arrangement of a rental vehicle. Meals and any additional costs (e.g. entry fees, inclusion of a boat tour) not included.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

For more details please send a message to Jared.   

Birding guide Jared Clarke, your local Birdingpal guide
Jared Clarke is a native Newfoundland who grew up on the northeast coast of the province and was introduced to the outdoors at a very young age – often by his grandfathers. Always a nature enthusiast, he became interested in birds while working for a local conservation group and never looked back. While his “day job” is that of a health researcher at Memorial University of Newfoundland, his passion is birding. He has led tours big and small across his province in his “spare time”, from historic St. John’s to the ancient Viking settlement of L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of the island and many points in between. Combining his keen knowledge of local birds with a broad base of natural and cultural history, his tours can be well-rounded and informative for both birders and their sometimes less-fanatic spouses/family. ** Other customized tours are available on request. **

Electronic map of Newfoundland

Guide books and CD’s recommended:

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America 6th Edition
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America, 2003
Find lowest prices here

Bird Recordings from British Columbia

Birds of North America CD-Rom Cornell. EDU

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Last update 20/02/2014