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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Newfoundland: Winter Birds

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Newfoundland. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they took this tour. Although we do our best to make sure what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING CANADA: Non-U.S. citizens will need a valid passport and may need tourist visas. US citizens should bring proof of citizenship in the form of a valid passport.

MAP AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view a map of Canada in the University of Texas series here. Click on the lower right corner of the map to adjust size. You can review the U.S. State Department background notes on Canada here.

PACE OF THE TOUR: The pace of this tour is relaxed. At this time of year at this northern latitude the sun rises relatively late (approximately 7:30). Most of our birding is done in close proximity to St. Johns, but on at least one occasion we may have to drive as much as an hour and a half to reach our first birding stop of the day, however, so we’ll rise early enough to factor in driving time. The sun sets relatively early in the evening (a little before 5:00 p.m) so our days in the field will not seem especially long. Every morning there will be a continental breakfasts in the hotel. Lunches will most often be taken in fast food restaurants or small cafés. Barring unforeseen circumstances, suppers will be relaxed sit-down affairs in nice restaurants in St. Johns.

Much of our birding will be done from or very near the vehicle(s) and more time is spent in the vehicles than on most tours. We will try to get out and walk when the opportunity presents itself. We will rotate seats in the vehicle(s) on a daily basis so everyone will have the opportunity to bird from every seat. When not in the vehicle, with few exceptions, birding will be done from plowed roads and walkable trails, almost always near the vehicle itself. Walking will be gentle along plowed roads and trails. Any walks through snow will be short and will always be optional.
The main controlling element on this tour is the weather which often changes drastically from day to day. Obviously, we won’t be doing much birding if there is a blizzard. It is essential that you bring gear which will keep you warm and dry.

HEALTH: Winter trips have no important health requirements. Sun off snow can be dazzling and we suggest sun glasses. Adequate cold weather clothing is essential for comfort although it is unlikely that temperatures will be so low that frostbite is a major concern.

CLIMATE: Overnight lows could reach the single digits (F.) but temperatures in the teens and 20s are more normal. Daily highs are likely to be in the 20s or 30s, but wind chill can make it feel considerably colder. Snow and/or rain are likely during the course of the tour. At this time of the year the jet stream passes over Newfoundland and Atlantic storms are frequent. travel delays are frequent at this time of the year both getting into and/or out of St. John’s.

ACCOMMODATION: While in St. John’s, we’ll stay at the Hometel, a most comfortable downtown establishment at the base of Signal Hill.

DRESS: Informal throughout.

SMOKING: We request that you do not smoke in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, we ask that you do so well away and downwind from the group.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WINGS TOURS: Please take a moment to read the About WINGS Tours. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.

FINAL INFORMATION: Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Updated: February 2014