As an amateur birder, the number one item on my bucket list while visiting Nova Scotia was to see a puffin. To catch a glimpse of these adorable birds you must take a boat tour, as they nest on the nearby islands. After researching the different tour companies, I went with Bird Island Boat Tours [1672 Old Rte 5, Big Bras d’Or, NS B1X 1B1, Canada] and couldn’t have been happier with my choice.
This family business was professional and the father son relationship was endearing. The trip is 2 ¾ hours long and delivers more wildlife than imagined, plus the scenery is stunning. On the journey to the islands I was excited to see a seal pop its head out of the water, our guide assured me there was plenty more where that came from. We saw so many of these creatures, who are actually over populating the area since the decline of the orca whale presence.
Bald eagles were spotted in abundance, juveniles and pairs of adults alike.
More common birds such as cormorants and gulls were noted with exuberance. I learned interesting facts about these birds which made me appreciate them even more. I also spotted birds I had never seen before – such as the black guillemot which hunts in pairs to catch red eels,
and the northern gannet whose beauty eluded by camera. And of course we saw the bird of the hour – puffins, and loads of them at that! The presence of the bald eagle kept them from the cliffs, however we saw them out on the water fishing.
One tidbit I learned about the birds is that they are pelagic, meaning they only come on land to nest. I was so pleased to see this fantastic little bird, fish in beak, and leave the tour with a wealth of new knowledge.