Today we visited Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, which is a place to see lots of seabirds from right up close.

Initially, we started out the day with plans to visit Bell Island, but in good fashion we missed the ferry (I always seem to miss the ferry) and ended up in a small restaurant close to the ferry. There we relaxed and enjoyed a greasy meal with a lovely view of Bell Island over the bay.

Fish & Chips & Grilled Cheese – St. Philip’s

Filled with fish and chips and good spirit, we set out to do something else. Bell Island would have to wait for us, as we headed west on the Trans Canada Highway. Not having any fixed plans on our destination, we ended up nearly 200 km away from our home in Torbay, at Cape St. Mary’s.

At the Cape, there’s a short 1.5 km trail that starts from the parking area and ends at a lookout point near Bird Rock, a huge cliff filled with northern gannets. The surrounding cliffs offer suitable habitat for even more gannets, lots of kittiwakes, foolish guillemots (common murres), razorbills and some other birds.

You can get quite close to the birds, and as you can imagine the noise level is pretty high with tens of thousands of birds calling out. The smell wasn’t half bad because we had favourable winds today and that helped a lot.

Here are some pictures taken near Bird Rock:

Bird Rock – Cape St. Mary’s

Northern gannet – Cape St. Mary’s

Gannet love – Cape St. Mary’s

Seen through binoculars, these birds freely give away some up close and personal BBC-quality documentary material.

Marije at Bird Rock, pretty chilly! – Cape St. Mary’s

Because we left home intending to visit sunny Bell Island, I didn’t bring my jacket and my long lens has not yet returned from service, so you can imagine how silly I looked with short sleeves and a blanket wrapped around my neck, pointing a small manual focus lens at fast flying birds.

Anyway, we had a great time and we are sure to return soon, because today was awesome!