It has been a busy start to the 32nd season here at O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Tours! Two days before opening day a Humpback whale showed up in the Bay Bulls harbour and stuck around for over a week. This made for an exciting first tour! A few days later a second Humpback and two Minke whales joined in on the feeding frenzy, a very unusual sight to see in May. The large schools of Herring may have something to do with the early arrival of the whales.
(Photos courtesy of guest Betty Tenmantay Leopez, check out her blog here)
Our crew and guests were equally as excited to see these majestic mammals, feeding in their natural environment. They were breaching, lunging and lobtailing, creating great picture opportunities for all on board.
We can’t dismiss the return of 4 million seabirds to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Each year this continues to be the highlight to the beginning of our season. 500,000 Atlantic puffins return to their burrows to breed and raise their young (they return to the same burrow year after year). These colorful seabirds, also known as the clown of the ocean with their colorful beaks are a sight to see. Other bird species include; Common Murre, Razorbill Auk and Black-legged Kittiwakes. The islands are a true birders paradise!
On May 22nd, 2016 the first iceberg of the season arrived. This 10,000-year-old glacial giant became grounded on the ocean floor, not far from the Bay Bulls harbour. There is something special about feeling the chill as you sail past a towering iceberg, the memory will stay with you for a lifetime.
Icebergs come in all shapes and sizes, no two are ever alike. It takes approximately two years for an iceberg to travel to the waters off Newfoundland and Labrador, from the time it breaks off of a glacier in Greendland. The best time for iceberg viewing is typically during the month of May and into early June, however we don’t see them in our area every year. For up-to-date sightings checkout icebergfinder.com.
We’re still in the first month of our season and we’ve already had excellent sightings of whales, birds and bergs (all in one tour in some cases) and we’re excited to see what’s in store for the next 4 months. Stay tuned!
To book a tour with us on our Award Winning Boat Tour, click here. Daily tours running now until the end of September.
We hope to see you on board!
The O’Brien’s Crew