Saturday, June 21, 2008

Newfoundland Wildlife

My family has decided that Newfoundland is the most beautiful place on the planet that we have visited so far. And the wildlife we saw each day was just amazing. Everywhere we drove on the island we saw moose on the sides of the road. They are huge and would do some damage to your car if you drove into one! The moose that we saw were much more interested in eating than walking on the road, so there were no close calls.
We went on a boat ride to the island called the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve and saw the most beautiful birds. We enjoyed learning about 3 birds in particular. We saw the Turr (photo on the right) which are also called "auks" and in Nova Scotia are called Murres, and we watched hundreds of them nesting on the cliff face. They looked like little penguins. It was so interesting that they laid one egg a year and the parents take turns sitting on the nest. The egg is shaped in such a way that when it rolls, it moves in a circular motion so that it won't accidentally fall off the cliff!
We also saw lots of birds called Kittiwake - shown in the photo on the left. They also build their nests on narrow rock cliff ledges. The sound of these hundreds of birds singing was incredible to hear!
Of course the most famous and interesting birds in this area are the puffins. Puffins are the official bird of Newfoundland. They are so cute with their little orange beaks and feet. And they seem to work so hard to fly. They make a little hole in the side of a hill and build their nests inside the holes, about 9 feet into the ground, which makes all the trees die above the nests. Another interesting fact about Puffins is that they mate for life, separating in the winter, meeting up again in the spring, and return to the same place to mate.
We also had lots of fun with fish. Here is a big lobster just waiting for tourists to come along and take his picture! We ate fish for almost every meal - scallops, cod and scrunchions, cod au gratin, salmon, and of course we had to try lobster.
And here is the poor fellow we tried to eat! We had a fabulous waitress who taught us how to eat a lobster. It was very labour intensive to extract the fish pieces, and not all that delicious. It is expensive to buy, and I'm not sure what all the lobster hype is about? Perhaps it is an acquired taste?!?!?
The most exciting creatures we saw were the Minke whales. My daughter and sister went sea kayaking and had a fantastic time, although it was scarey at the end of the trip when the wind picked up and they couldn't seem to get back to shore. This is a photo that shows how close the whales were to their kayak. Unfortunately for me, my daughter fell in love with Newfoundland and wants to go to Memorial University now. Oh's a little far to commute!


Candace said...

What a wonderful place to visit. I want to see whales, and I would get very excited about the moose (mooses), everything the birds, and the foods is so awesome. My husband can't take cold, so I will probably never make it, so thank you for sharing.

Amanda said...

Looks like a perfect place to visit, wild, beautiful, terrific wildlife and not too hot.

Roslyn Atwood said...

What's the progress on your OC? Sounds as if you have been very distracted by Quilt Canada & the Newfoundland tour.I would LOVE to eat fresh seafood every day!

Libby said...

What a gorgeous place to visit . . . and seafood to boot. A girl can never get too much seafood *s*

sewnut said...

I agree, Newfoundland steals your heart. It is so amazingly beautiful and magical....