Cruise with Gatherall’s and learn about the Atlantic Puffins
Atlantic Puffins in Newfoundland live at sea and spend most of their lives in open ocean. Early in May each year, they return by the hundreds of thousands to the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve – the largest breeding colony of Atlantic Puffins in North America!
This is their home for the next four months or so. Nesting in the shelter burrows dug into the side of the islands, they are extremely devoted parents spend their days caring for their single chick. A tour with Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch (only minutes from St. John’s) offers a great opportunity to observe and learn about these incredible creatures. Our cruise passes by their nesting sites and the upper decks of the catamaran provide a “bird’s eye view” of their activities.
Our neighbourhood really has colourful characters!
Please note that 2022 has been an early season for wildlife so sightings may vary from the typical seasonal guidance noted for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Puffins are excellent swimmers, using their wings to ‘fly’ underwater while using their feet to control direction. They hunt a variety of small fish including capelin and sand lance. Puffins spend unto 8 months at sea and do not come to land outside of the breeding season. Theirs days and nights are spent flying, preening, swimming or riding the ocean surface throughout the year regardless of weather.
During the cruise, our guides provide loads of information and insight into the lives and habits of these incredible creatures. If you are travelling with us throughout mid-August and early September, you may also have an opportunity to participate in Puffin Patrol (the release of wayward pufflings) .
The Puffins’ Neighbourhood.
Other seabirds in addition to puffins are typically encountered during the cruise. Nesting seabird include Common Murres, Black Guillemots, Razorbilled Auks, Black Legged Kittiwakes, Leache’s Storm Petrels, Northern Fulmars, and several species of gulls. Northern Gannets are routinely sighted and on foggy days, both Greater and Sooty Shearwaters may be observed playing among the swells.
Our guides will do their best to point out the different seabirds encountered throughout the cruise as well as their nesting sites for your reference. It helps of course, if you take a moment before the cruise to consult your guide book so that you have an image of the different birds.