Due South!

By Lancy Cheng These tales from the South have been shared by naturalist Lancy Cheng who leads events with Nature NL including our Gull workshop. Or you may have seen him when birding around town, especially at Quidi Vidi Lake where he would be identifying gulls during all seasons, especially winter! We hope you will enjoy his reflections on these recent adventures. “I am an Arctic tern. In winter, I migrate the longest distance of all birds to Antarctica.” (photo: M. Boucher) This was the dream I had before landing in Punta Arenas, Chile. I was not a lone bird but with a team of Hurtigruten expedition staff. We continued our journey onboard MS Roald Amundsen on December 14th, 2019, the same day that Roald Amundsen reached south pole for the first time in human history, 108 years ago. Coincidence? Fate? Just a view outside my "office" Birds of Antarctica…


Discover Birding Hotspots

Newfoundland and Labrador has some wonderful year-round birding opportunities because of its convenient location in the North Atlantic. The lengthy shoreline and abundant wetland habitats make the Province a perfect stopover for migratory birds and a summertime safe haven for breeding seabirds. Whether you’re a professional birder or an amateur testing out your first pair of binoculars there are good resources to ensure you have an eventful trip. First, there are a number of Provincial / National Parks, Hiking Trail Systems, Wilderness and Ecological Reserves (limited access), and Important Bird Areas, which are great for exploring unique habitats, seeing a variety of wildlife, or viewing large congregations of seasonal bird species. (View more in our Resources section). If you’re looking for a general digest of rare sightings and recent activity by established birders, the nf.birds forum is great. Let eBird help you find more birds If you’re interested in finding…


Due North

These tales from the North have been shared by Lancy Cheng who leads events with Nature NL including the Gull workshop. Or you may have seen him when birding around town especially at Quidi Vidi Lake where he would be identifying gulls during all seasons, especially winter! Hope you enjoy his adventures. Bjørnøya, or Bear Island, is an Important Bird Area (IBA) identified by BirdLife International, which hosts both breeding and migratory sea birds. By Lancy Cheng To escape the unbearable heat of summer, I jumped on a flight and fled to the north. I joined the expedition team of Hurtigruten for MS Roald Amundsen’s first Arctic voyage. It was a great opportunity to appreciate the breathtaking scenery, even for someone like me whose sense of beauty is normally below zero. Plus, there were birds. They are the chicken soup for my soul. Icy Waters Maybe I shouldn’t mention chicken…

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Science Literacy Week 2019

We love being able to celebrate the joys of reading and learning about science and nature during Science Literacy Week!  Last year we published a list of our favourite science reads, and we've updated it this year with even more recommendations for great reads from our board and volunteers. And that's not all!  We also added a few new books to our recommended list of field guides for Newfoundland and Labrador.  Check out that list for your go-to sources of information on NL birds, mammals, marine creatures, insects, plants, flowers, ..... the list goes on and on.  We are fortunate to be part of community of like-minded folks who contribute to field guides like these! Happy Reading everyone!

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European Leopard Marsh Orchid

The European Leopard Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa var. junialis (Verm.) Senghas) This unusual species of orchid can be found in Pippy Park in July and early August. It was initially discovered during environmental monitoring of construction of Outer Ring Road in 1994. The area received special protection within the Park and several specimens were transplanted to MUN Botanical Garden. It's unclear how they came over from Europe but it was likely introduced from South England, an area of high migration to Newfoundland. The area in the Park was previously known as Halliday’s farm, which held livestock from England, so seeds may have ingested by livestock and deposited in their waste (Pippy Park Management Plan, 2003). Intensive conversion to pasture likely helped the plant propagate, but a change into parkland has meant more competition as trees and shrubs fill in.  The densely-flowered purple racemes are easy to find but the main distinguishing feature of this…

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Birdathon Update

The 2019 Bird Studies Canada Birdathon was completed on May 4th, 2019 by Team Twillicks. Even though it was a month earlier than previous years and before many of the spring migrants arrived, we managed to see 83 species! Beginning on the 3rd of May at 7pm we had 24 hours to find as many birds as possible. We were off to a great start with the rare Black Tailed Godwit found the previous week. We also were able to listen to a couple of Northern Saw Whet owls calling in the late evening. The next day we started on the road at 4:30 am in search of many more species. At Ferryland Lighthouse Alvan scoped Red-Necked Phalaropes which was a great bird to see! Along the Cape Race Road, we stopped at a few locations and scoped out some seabirds including finding 2 male King Eiders! As the day continued,…

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The Call Of The Wild

With Forager And Chef Lori McCarthy   Posted March 5, 2019 You Can Eat The Woods For Dinner Lori McCarthy gets excited about food. Wild food, traditional food, the food that nourished our ancestors and our culture, the food that makes us who we are. “It's my belief that our foodways are stories to be shared” she says. “Embracing the past, holding strong in the present, and growing with the future, they shape who we are as a people.” Rooted in the land and sea from which our traditional foodstuffs spring, Lori's relationship with cultural foods and the land borders on the spiritual, her respect for the natural world reminiscent of an earlier time when understanding of nature's cycles meant life or death. A chef by trade, the birth of her children sparked a decision to follow her heart into the forest and down to the shore where the heart…

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An Easier Way To Learn The Language Of Birds

Posted January 7, 2019 I wouldn't stop talking about one of my favourite apps, so the editor of The Osprey asked me to write about it. I use it myself, but also bring it to Nature NL events and other workshops so that other people can play too. This isn't sponsored or encouraged by the company or anything like that, I just really enjoy it (arguably, it's marginally more useful than all the time I spend scrolling through bird pictures on Instagram) - and thought other naturalists might too - Laura King, Nature NL VP Larkwire is just an app. But like any good app, it has the potential to make life better - in this case, for the bird nerds. You might be familiar with the repetitive “chicka-dee-dee-dee” of the forest - that's the Black-capped Chickadee. But what about the hundreds of other bird species you might hear and…

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Membership Package

Support Nature NL with this limited edition membership package! This package features: a 2019 Nature NL membershipan enamel pina handy reusable tote bagand an optional t-shirt Both the t-shirt and the tote bag feature the design 'Ode to Newfoundland', kindly donated for use by artist Alicia Simms. This offer has ended. Thank you to everyone who supported NatureNL by purchasing this package. Check back soon for future offers!

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5 Neat Things about Microplants

Posted November 27, 2018 Gene Herzberg recently gave a beautiful Nature NL talk about plants of the Limestone Barrens of Newfoundland and Labrador. The adaptations that these plants have developed to cope with this windy, cold, nutrient-poor environment are fascinating. For example, irregular surfaces on leaves help retain moisture, while fuzzy coats break up winter winds. And the growth form of rounded mounds that many of these plants show is a tight compact structure that keeps the flowers warm and protected from the wind. Another surprising example was the Creeping Juniper, where a burst of green vegetation appears at the end of a long dead stick lying on the ground. However, underneath what is seemingly a dead branch, a small, concealed strip of live bark and tissues carries nutrients way out to the end of the plant, which can be found further away on the ground. Another neat story was…

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