Atlantic Puffins, Grey Seals, and More at Bird Islands, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Bird Island Boat ToursI woke to the perfect day to go and see puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes, grey seals,  great blue herons (and as it happened, a real live lobster fisherman or two). It was cool, calm, not sunny, just the kind of day that sea birds like. I just had to cross my fingers that the other 2 people who booked to go on the tour would show up. And that maybe another person would randomly decide the same thing at the beginning of the tourist season. There is a minimum 4 people required for the Bird Island Boat Tours trip but I had decided that I would pay for the extra ticket as long as those 2 other people turned up…and they did!

You can check them out on Trip Advisor or click on the photo or link above to go to their website. In my excitement about seeing the birds, I did not snap any photos of the lovely Captain Vince, his son Ian, or Sheila, but I did write a review on Trip Advisor to make up for it!

Bird Islands off Cape Breton

There are 2 islands, Hertford Island and Ciboux Island, located approximately at GPS coordinates 46.374353,-60.38528. The following are screenshots from Google Maps (the copyrighted owners). I also found a research paper from 2000 by the Important Bird Areas (IBA) and the Nova Scotia Bird Society that speaks about the importance of these islands.

Location of bird islands off the coast of Cape Breton. The green arrow.

Location of bird islands off the coast of Cape Breton. The green arrow.

Google Maps: Close up of Bird Islands satellite view

Google Maps: Close up of Bird Islands satellite view

The Beauty of Bird Islands

Hertford Island

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Get on with it! I want to see the puffins…

After about a 40 minute trip to the islands, we approached Hertford Island. I knew it was going to be a challenge to take photos. Between the fast movements of the birds, the rocking of the boat, the overcast day, and my limited zoom lens, I was hopeful that I would get some good shots. I am so thankful for digital because I took over 500 shots and some of them did turn out, although we were quite a distance from shore and when I zoomed into the pictures of the puffins they are a little out of focus…but whatever! I saw them clear as day.

Click the images for more information on other websites as indicated. But remember to come back to my blog…

Atlantic Puffin

The Atlantic puffin. Click the image to go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website

The Atlantic puffin. Click the image to go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website

The Atlantic puffin nesting high on the cliffs. Click the image to go to the story about how these birds are in danger

The Atlantic puffin nesting high on the cliffs. Click the image to go to the story about how these birds are in danger

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Great Blue Heron and Double-Crested Cormorant

A great blue heron stretching his or her wings. Click on the photo to go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology information page.

A great blue heron stretching his or her wings. Click on the photo to go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology information page.

Great Blue Heron. Click the photo to go to information on WikipediaGreat Blue Heron. Click the photo to go to information on Wikipedia

A few double-crested cormorants, and a herring gull. Click the photo to go to more information on the web

A few double-crested cormorants, and a herring gull. Click the photo to go to more information on the web

What's that? I smell like fish? A double crested cormorant

What’s that? I smell like fish? A double crested cormorant

Grey Seals

Hello beautiful. Click the photo to go to information on Wikipedia

Hello beautiful. Click the photo to go to information on Wikipedia

A family of grey seals. Click the image to go to the Grey Seal Conservation Society website

A family of grey seals. Click the image to go to the Grey Seal Conservation Society website

Grey seals in the water and on the rocks

Grey seals in the water and on the rocks

Razorbill

I am a cute razorbill. Click the image to go to Cornell Lab of Ornithology website

I am a cute razorbill. Click the image to go to Cornell Lab of Ornithology website

Lobster Fishermen, For Real!

Even though I adopted a lobster, and I prefer clams, mussels, and scallops, lobster fishing is at the heart of Nova Scotia’s identity.

Lobster fishermen in action off the coast of bird islands, Cape Breton

Lobster fishermen in action off the coast of bird islands, Cape Breton

Lobster fishermen

That is it for today. I left out some of the other amazing birds I saw, but will probably do another post. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my trip!

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