Newfoundland's Southwest

July 2013

With our visit to Newfoundland starting to wind down, we headed to the Southwest area of the province making our next destination Cape St George on the tip of the Port Aux Port Peninsula.

After arriving the night before, we spent the next day touring the peninsula starting with the tip of Cape St George. The cape has a scenic park with trails and some very high cliffs. Here is where we met Clarence, a friendly local chap who stopped from his morning motorbike ride to have a chat with us. We hung out with him for over an hour and we talked about everything from fishing to music to families and life on the Rock. He was a charming fellow and a shining example of the wonderful people we met on our journey.

I admit I am a little nervous around cliff edges without barriers, but Clarence was quite comfortable with them. He invited us to look over the edge as he pointed out some of the many highlights of the cape. I could only stretch my neck and peek about from my much safer position. He showed us the Kittiwake Colony that was on the edge of a distant cliff. It was far away and inaccessible, but it was very nice to see such a rare place. Although we knew the colony was in the area, we would probably have never found it ourselves.

As we toured the Port Aux Port Peninsula, we stopped at a few interesting areas such as Piccadilly Slant and Piccadilly Head. Winterhouse was a very intriguing place with its dark reddish rocks on Black Duck Brook Beach.

The road between the village of Mainland and Cape St George winds through some very high mountains. When we drove through, the fog had blown in, making it look even more dramatic.

The next morning was our last full day in Newfoundland. We slowly made our way back to Port Aux Basque, stopping at Stephenville Crossing, Codroy Valley and JT Cheeseman Provincial Park.

One of the highlights of the trip was sighting a Piping Plover family at Codroy Valley. We were keeping our distance (using 500mm lens & 1.5x sensor), trying to get some pictures of the adult plovers. Suddenly a young chick walked across Kathy`s viewfinder. What an amazing sight. I am not sure if we would have noticed them with the naked eye as they were at a distance and so camouflaged with the surroundings. The chicks were so young, so cute and obviously very fragile. The smaller of the two chicks could hardly walk yet. They looked so vulnerable on this public beach with Black-backed Gulls and Great Blue Herons flying above and people with kids and dogs walking and playing in the same area. Godspeed, little ones.

At JT Cheeseman Provincial Park, we saw three more adult Piping Plovers. It was so nice to see these rare and endangered shorebirds in the wild. Protecting these plovers and their habitat is so important.

We eventually arrived at Port Aux Basque where we would be meeting up with our friends who we hadn`t seen since we parted ways 10 days ago. A good night’s sleep would be needed since we had to be lined up for the Ferry back to Nova Scotia at 6:30am in the morning.

We boarded the ferry under calm blue skies. When we left the docks, all we could do was watch as Newfoundland slowly vanished from the horizon. This was truly an amazing trip. However, two weeks on the island wasn`t nearly enough. It merely gave us a taste of what this wonderful place has to offer



Piping Plover and Chick  Photo by Tony deGroot

Piping Plover with Egg  Photo by Kathy deGroot

Arctic Tern  Photo by Kathy deGroot

Juvenile Spotted Sandpiper  Photo by Tony deGroot

Lesser Yellowlegs  Photo by Tony deGroot

Cape St George  Photo by Tony deGroot