This exciting tour combines two amazing natural events that occur in eastern Canada – the Great Whales that have arrived to the St. Lawrence River to feed, and the passage of millions of shorebirds on the Bay of Fundy, home of the largest tides in the world.
We start in beautiful, historic Quebec City and make our way east towards Tadoussac, where the Saguenay River empties into the St. Lawrence. Here, we will keep an eye out for the most famous residents of the St. Lawrence – Beluga Whales. While the small population that lives here is declining, they are easy to observe from shore, and often with their tiny gray calves accompanying them.
We will search for bigger quarry by zodiac, which we will take into the deep centre of the St. Lawrence where we have great chances at observing Minke, Fin and Humpback Whales, along with the largest animal to ever live – the magnificent Blue Whale. A handful of these titans visit the St. Lawrence each year. Birding around Tadoussac is excellent, and we will be at the bluff each morning to view what can sometimes be enormous morning flights of warblers, many of them sticking around for close-up studies of their sometimes confusing fall plumages. We will take our time and sift through them to find any goodies. Along the river, we will watch for seabirds such as Black-legged Kittiwake, Northern Gannet, Black Guillemot and any migrant shorebirds.
We will then make the drive to New Brunswick, taking in the scenery along the St. Lawrence and searching for lingering Nelson’s Sparrows before turning inland. Our first birding will be at Kouchibougnac Park, where many migrant warblers will be augmented by boreal specialties such as Boreal Chickadee, Spruce Grouse, Grey Jay and Black-backed Woodpecker as well as a variety of finches including Pine and Evening Grosbeaks. We will also be keeping an eye out for Moose, which can be very common in some areas of New Brunswick.
Then we will head to the Bay of Fundy, which is world-famous for two reasons – having the largest tides in the world, and two to three million shorebirds (mostly Semipalmated Sandpipers) that pass through at this time of year. We will be able to observe massive flocks being harried by birds of prey as they swirl through the air in their hundreds of thousands. It is a spectacle unlike any other! We will also make sure to watch the famous “tidal bore”.
Our final stop will be Grand Manan Island, where we will take a pelagic to view a variety of seabirds, including Sooty, Great and Manx Shearwaters, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Leach’s and Wilson’s Storm Petrels, all three jaeger species and possibly even Great Skua! We will also take advantage of the world-class whale-watching, getting great views of Humpbacks and, if we’re lucky, North Atlantic Right Whales.
Semipalmated Sandpiper; Red & Red-necked Phalaropes; Parasitic, Long-tailed & Pomarine Jaegers; Common Murre; Razorbill; Black- Guillemot; Northern Gannet; Manx Shearwater; Great Cormorant; Black-backed & Pileated Woodpeckers; Yellow-bellied Flycatcher; Boreal Chickadee; Evening Grosbeak; Pine Grosbeak; Red Crossbill; Nelson’s Sparrow; Cape May, Canada, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue & Wilson’s Warblers.
Beluga, Blue, Fin, Humpback, Minke & North Atlantic Right Whales; Harbour Porpoise; Grey Seal; Red Fox; Moose
gardens, sand dunes, scrub, pelagic, coastal, boreal forest, mudflats, estuaries,
pleasant. days are warm and evenings cool. chance of a little rain. pelagic can be cool
Max Group Size
10 with 2 Rockjumper leaders / 5 with 1 Rockjumper leader
Tour Pace & Walking
Ease of Birding
mostly very easy
mass bird migration, incredible whales, >20 species of warbler
good to excellent