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Life in Newfoundland

Cobbler eagle

Bald eagles are big, powerful, and so plentiful along the East Coast Trail that you’ll likely see a few of them on every hike.

I remember one snowy morning at the Cobbler when I saw 5 of them circling overhead. The subadults among the group were more focused on playing than anything else, but one adult was looking for food and found it too:

Bald eagle with a dovekie – Cobbler Path

What you can see locked in this eagle’s talons is a dovekie, a friendly winter visitor that sort of looks like a little penguin. Birds like these are easy prey for adult eagles, as they can just swoop down and pluck them from the waves, in what seems like a gruesome fate for such an adorable little bird.

Eagles will usually devour these small snacks right on the cliffs, but they can do it in the top of a tree too. I’ve run into quite a few eagle leftovers on my hikes, just dropped on the trail when they’re picked clean…

East Coast Trail Guide, Version 1.6

The East Coast Trail Guide did very well on the iBooks charts this year, handily outperforming hiking guides to trails on the West Coast, in the Rockies, throughout Ontario, in Nova Scotia, and anywhere else in Canada.

I think it’s great to see so many people taking an active interest in the East Coast Trail and it makes me all the more pleased to announce the next big update of the East Coast Trail Guide:

East Coast Trail Guide, v1.6

This update brings improvements minor and major, and it makes v1.6 the most polished and most useful guide to date.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Throughout the book, new trail description symbols make it easier to quickly identify capelin spawning sites, private property, and poor access roads that may not be suitable for all vehicles.
  • Trail maps and trail descriptions around St. John’s have been updated to reflect the current state of residential development near the trail.
  • The section on capelin has been rewritten, and dates for the 2017 spawning season have been added to the capelin calendar.

Get it on iBooks

This update is a free download for readers who already have the book, it’s available through the update button in your iBooks app on iPad, iPhone or Mac.

If you don’t have the book yet you can get a free sample chapter on iBooks or learn more about the guide here.

Last minute gift idea

If you know someone who’d enjoy getting the East Coast Trail Guide as a gift on their iPhone or iPad, you can use the gift button in the share menu of the guide’s iBooks product page:

What’s happening in Middle Cove?

With so many benefits of having the East Coast Trail right on your doorstep, you’d think communities would take a more active role in preserving the trail and their residents’ enjoyment of it.

And yet this is happening:

Silver Head Way, a new residential development in Middle Cove

A brand new neighbourhood, built nearly on top of the trail?

This looks like a repeat of what happened on Red Cliff two years ago. Let’s hope once again the trail will not be impacted too much by this new residential development.

Live view of St. John’s

Over the years I’ve shared many great views from The Rooms, sometimes from the balcony itself but mostly from their well-positioned webcam. Recently, CBC replaced that trusted webcam with a live webcam:

While this live view is a great way to check up on the weather in St. John’s every day, the view will be especially useful during the iceberg season, when everyone will be able to see icebergs sail past Signal Hill even if they’re not lucky enough to be there. 🙂

Rocky North Head

One of my favourite places in St. John’s is North Head on North Head Trail. When you’re out and about on this little gem of a trail you can easily imagine you are far away exploring some remote rocky wilderness, even more so in November when the cold wind usually manages to keep everyone else inside:

November on North Head – North Head Trail, St. John’s

Colours on the forest floor

Crackerberries are some of my favourite plants on the East Coast Trail, they cover large parts of the forest floor and manage to do so in style.

In spring time, crackerberries cheer up the forest with lovely white blossoms lined up along all the the woodland lanes. In summer when it’s warm outside, crackerberry plants provide the local wildlife (and hikers) with lots of little red snacks. Right now in the fall season, crackerberries are perhaps at their most beautiful, just begging to be photographed with all of their bright colours:

Crackerberries in fall colours – Deadmans Bay Path

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