Chasing the Wild...Osprey

Friday, June 13, 2014 Road Junkies 0 Comments

THE BIG CHILL, CHAPTER 3:  IN WHICH WE FAIL TO FIND OUR (BIRD OF) PREY

Day 4:  St. John's, NL to Trinity, NL.  Leaving St. John's this morning, we headed west on Trans-Canada Highway #1, which traverses the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, traveling through all ten provinces along the way.  Spanning almost 5,000 miles, the TCH is one of the world's longest national highways.  As we drove through the Avalon Peninsula, the roadside was dotted with dark blue ponds of all sizes, formed many millennia before our arrival when glaciers came through this way and gouged holes into the earth as they advanced and retreated across the island.  Large gray-brown boulders deposited by the same ice masses often lined the shores of the ponds, and hard scrabble fir trees which have gained a foothold in the rocky soil completed the scene.


Following the TCH onto the isthmus that connects the Avalon Peninsula with the rest of Newfoundland, we abandoned the main highway near Chapel Arm in pursuit of some osprey watching.  Highway 201, skirting the southern shore of Trinity Bay, is promoted as Osprey Trail, a name that evoked images of a plentiful population of the large raptors.  Though we had our binoculars at the ready and asked numerous locals for tips, we sighted no osprey today.  Perhaps we're a little early in the season for them.

That's not to say the Osprey Trail wasn't a pleasant scenic diversion.  With no hope of finding an eating establishment in these tiny communities, we stopped at the Clover Farm country store in the fishing village of Norman's Cove and purchased picnic supplies.  The friendly proprietor didn't need to see our license plate to know we weren't locals.  He knew all the other customers by name and even seemed to anticipate what they might be shopping for.

Trinity Bay view in Norman's Cove
Nearby we found a spot with a beautiful view in the parking area for the ocean view trail.  As happens so often, the insects that buzzed about confined us to the car for our picnic lunch.  Sometimes we just don't like to share.  Sustained by our impromptu meal, we continued our shoreline excursion on 201, pausing at a beautiful cove near the hamlet of Bellevue at what appeared to be an idyllic osprey habitat.

Cove near Bellevue
Again, no osprey were to be found, so we just enjoyed the view and checked out the driftwood and a very precisely constructed cairn along the beach covered with rocks worn smooth and round by the water of the bay.

Not to beat a dead—or absent—bird, but Bellevue Beach Provincial Park had the makings of yet another location that would be appealing to osprey.  Indeed, the caretaker at the gate even told us that he had seen some fish hawks, as they are known locally, and bald eagles that very morning.  Sadly the only flying creatures we saw, after paying our C$5 entry fee, were some rather large mosquitoes who kept a bit of our blood as a souvenir of our visit to the park.

Chance Cove harbor
Continuing our drive up the shore of Trinity Bay, we were reminded of the landscape of Maine—the rocky shore anchored by evergreen trees, dark blue waters and fishing villages.  Since Newfoundland also experiences similar freeze-thaw cycles, even the pockmarked roads conjured images of the Pine Tree State.

Back on the TCH, we realized we could not continue our shoreline jaunt through all the charming little hamlets that line the coast, not if we wanted to make it to Trinity tonight.  So we stuck with the primary road (not a freeway in this section) until we reached Highway 230 just north of Clarenville.  From there we drove northeast across the Bonavista Peninsula to our destination for the day, Trinity, a picture postcard kind of village if ever one existed.

Trinity
Even if we hadn't spotted the Artisan Inn (red building at bottom right of photo) from an overlook as we approached the town, in this minuscule village with a population of 350, it wouldn't have taken long to locate our accommodations for the next two days.  Tineke Gow (TEE-nah-kuh), a transplanted native of Holland, and her daughter run the inn.  Tineke visited and promptly fell in love with Trinity a quarter century ago.  She says she saw the beauty of the area through European eyes.  "This was a little bit of the Old World tucked into the New World," she explained.  Since adopting the community as her home, Gow has been active in historic preservation efforts, even winning a national award for her efforts.  In addition to the inn, she manages a few privately owned cottages as vacation rentals.  It was our pleasure to have booked one of these for two days.  Though oversized for our needs, the three-bedroom Cove Cottage (the multi-story blue house behind the inn) offered a perfect retreat.  Meticulously clean and maintained, the cottage was attractively furnished and well stocked with a nice view of Fisher's Cove from the living room and deck.  

Declining what sounded like a lengthy three-course dinner offered by the inn's Twine Loft dining room, we ventured off to a nearby grocery-ette and took advantage of having a full kitchen at our disposal.  We are looking forward to exploring more of this historic town and the Bonavista Peninsula tomorrow.

More Photos from Today

Well-constructed cairn on Bellevue cove beach
Old fishing hut in Bellevue village