This one-day guided birding tour explores rich habitat inside an Important Bird Area (IBA) on the western edge of the South Coast Barrens. We’ll explore an aging forest at a Provincial Park, rare salt marshes and an extensive beach system in search of spring arrivals and a variety of fall migrants.
Tour Starts / Ends
Pick-up & drop-off service
Transportation during the tour
A packed lunch
What you might see on this tour
Situated on the western edge of the South Coast Barrens is the Grand Bay West Important Bird Area. With ideal habitat well positioned along a migratory pathway for a number of species, the area supports one of the largest variety of fall shorebirds in the province.
Within the boundaries of the IBA is J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park, home to a number of songbirds like Boreal Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Northern Parula, and Palm Warbler. Wilson’s Snipe, Gray Catbird and Rose-breasted Grosbeak are other birds we look for.
Rare salt marshes managed for conservation under a Municipal Habitat Stewardship Agreement attract birds like Blue-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, American Bittern, Short-eared Owl, Red-winged Blackbird, and Savannah Sparrow.
Dune-swept beaches provide nesting habitat for the endangered Piping Plover and together with a sandy Barachois form most of a sensitive beach system spanning 8 km of coastline.
Later in the fall season, we’ll look for Harlequin Duck, Scoter, Dovekie, and scope a rocky coastline in search of Purple Sandpiper.
Moose, Woodland Caribou, Coyote, Red Fox, Seal, Snowshoe Hare, Pink Lady Slipper, Purple Pitcher Plan (NL provincial flower)
Boreal forest, sandy beaches, coastal wetlands, salt marshes, rocky peninsulas, Cape Ray Barrens
Climate / Weather
Spring (mid-May to June 20): 15°C (61°F)
Fall (September 21 to December 20) 11°C (59°F)
Visit our Getting Here page for more information about our climate.
Max bubble size
6 (plus your guide)
Tour pace & walking
Comfortable pace, walking is easy to moderate over mostly flat terrain.
Ease of birding
Mostly easy, with some rare sighting opportunities
Rare visitors to the area
Yellow-headed Blackbird (2010)
Prothonotary Warbler (2005)
Excellent for birds and scenery
Currently not included
Pick up and drop off service and transportation during the tour. This is a self drive guided tour. Contact us for assistance.
What to bring
Visit our Getting Here page for information on what to bring.
Yes, with patches of dead zones in some areas.
The Dorset Indigenous people were part of a pre-historic Palaeo-Eskimo culture that occupied Cape Ray between 1800 and 1200 years ago. Cape Ray is believed to be the most southern site occupied by Dorset people. Artifacts excavated at Cape Ray during the summer of 1996 revealed a tool technology that linked them to sea mammal hunting. See the artifacts at the Lightkeeper’s House from July 1 to September 1 and learn more about their way of life and time at Cape Ray.