While the Cape Anguille area is world famous for birds, Quirpon Island is a treasure in its own way. The food supply that draws the whales also can tempt northern birds down further south then they would normally venture. Another perennial favourite is the Puffin and the "Lone Pine Guide to Atlantic Birds lists this area around L'Anse aux Meadows first in it choice of spots to search. While we do see them regularly, they often come in on the face of strong easterly gales so you may not want to wish for too many!
The area surrounding our Cape Anguille Lighthouse Inn offers Newfoundland’s best bird watching. Don’t just take our word for it, read Bill Montevecchi’s description:
Bird-Watching In The Codroy Valley And Field Checklist (1998) Of The Birds Of Codroy Valley By Bill Montevecchi
(Prepared For The Codroy Valley Development Association)
Of all the wonderful places to go bird-watching in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Codroy Valley tops the list for the number of different species and for rarities and unusual birds. The diverse lush and fertile habitats of the Codroy River Valley provide shelter, feeding, staging and nesting grounds for a wealth of waterfowl, waders and warblers as well as many other species. Breeding, migrant, vagrant and wintering surprises await your discovery during every day and season of the year.
The Codroy Valley is the only place in Newfoundland and Labrador where one can see flocks of Great Blue Herons, and if they are found to nest it will be the northeastern most nesting site for the species in North America. The Codroy River systems are home to the Province's greatest diversity and abundance of ducks and geese, and the Grand Codroy River has been designated as an International Wetlands under the Ramsar Convention. About a dozen waterfowl species nest here, including Pintails, Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeons, and Greater Scaup. The Codroy is the only site where Shoveler Ducks breed in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Province's largest concentrations (up to many 1000s) of Canada Geese frequent the Grand Codroy Estuary in late summer, autumn and winter. Eagles, Harriers and Ospreys are common avian predators in the valley, and ptarmigan are abundant on the barren lands on the mountains above the valley.
The only nesting records of Virginia Rail and American Woodcock in Newfoundland and Labrador were obtained in the Codroy Valley. Endangered Piping Plovers nest on the sandy beaches of the Codroy Valley and in nearby Cheeseman Provincial Park and Grand Bay West. Great Horned, Boreal, Short-eared and Northern Hawk Owls all nest in the valley. The Codroy is home to flycatchers, Pewees, Phoebes and Kingbirds. Robins, Grackles and Bobolinks enliven the fields and meadows, and Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, Hermit Thrushes and Veeries are commonly heard and sighted. American Pipits and Solitary, Philadelphia and Red-eyed Vireos also nest here, and Northern Parulas, Nashville, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted and Palm Warblers can be heard singing during the summer. Chipping, Tree, Fox, Lincoln's and Song Sparrows breed in the Codroy Valley, as do Red-winged and Rusty Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds. American Goldfinches are common. Besides these species and many others that are listed on the Field Checklist, there are many exciting discoveries to be made. (In addition to those listed in the Field Checklist, three Harlequin ducks were sighted near the lighthouse in the Fall of 2004. In 2005 Tundra Swans were reported.)
If you travel to or from the Codroy Valley on the Gulf ferry, you are in for a unique birding experience. Many of the marine and more unusual species that are listed here have been observed in Newfoundland waters on Gulf ferry crossings, e.g. gannets, Cory's, Manx and other shearwaters, Wilson's and Leach's Storm-Petrels. If you travel to the Codroy Valley by ferry be sure to spend a lot of time on deck scanning for seabirds, dolphins, porpoises and whales.
Some interesting birding and hiking sites include the Grand Codroy River and estuary, the Grand Codroy beach, Cape Anguille, the Cormack Trail, Broom's Brook Trail, the John's Falls Trail in South Brook, the Starlight Trail to the top of the Long Range Mountains overlooking the valley, Cheeseman Provincial Park, Cape Ray, the estuary of the Little Codroy River in St. Andrews and Loch Lomond. These locations are indicated on the map, and all have their own special surprises. For example, Bay-breasted Warblers can be found on the Broom's Brook Trail, pelagic seabirds can be scanned from the lighthouse at Cape Anguille.
Enjoy your stay in the Codroy Valley, enjoy the birds and other wildlife, hiking, canoeing and cross-country-skiing adventures. Relax, and while trying to take it all in, let the valley take you in.