84. Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
This lake near the Atlantic Ocean is an important bathing and resting area for hundreds of gulls that draw casual birdwatchers and experienced gull watchers alike, and it's a great spot for waterfowl, winter finches, chickadees, and Bohemian Waxwing.
Published: December 28, 2009
In the past few years, I’ve seen Yellow-legged, Slaty-backed, Glaucous-winged, Baltic, Ivory, Lesser Black-backed, Glaucous, Iceland, Black-headed, Bonaparte’s, Common, Ring-billed, Laughing, Great Black-backed, and Herring Gulls at Quidi Vidi (pronounced Kiddy Viddy) Lake. |
I love to visit because I never know what I will find. The lake freezes in winter (except for the outflows of Rennie’s and Virginia Rivers), and is an important bathing and resting area for hundreds of gulls that draw casual birdwatchers and experienced gull watchers alike. A host of hybrids can also keep any gull enthusiast challenged.
Ducks converge on the lake, too. Last winter I counted more than 70 diving ducks of seven different species, including Tufted Duck, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, and Hooded Merganser. A rare Garganey showed up last May, and a Common Shelduck, possibly a vagrant from Iceland, was photographed at the lake in November. Along the Virginia River, I look for winter finches, chickadees, and juncos. Bohemian Waxwings generally turn up each winter, and I always check for Fieldfare and Redwing and have seen both. -- Anne Hughes
Anne Hughes, a retired nurse, is an avid St. John’s birder and a Birdingpal who enjoys helping visiting birders find their target birds.
Quidi Vidi Lake is a birding destination situated in the heart of the capital city St. John’s. From the airport, follow Portugal Cove Rd. (Rt. 40) south for about 2 miles (3.2 km). Stay to the left as the street becomes New Cove Rd. and proceed 0.8 mile (1.3 km) through two sets of stoplights to The Boulevard. The lake is 0.2 mile (0.3 km) ahead on your right.
At a glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
Lake, rivers, gravel shoreline, grasses, shrubs, and deciduous and coniferous trees.
Mostly flat. Gravel walking trail, steps, and boardwalk. Snow-covered and icy in winter. Birds can be scanned from the car.
Great and Lesser Black-backed, Glaucous, Iceland, Herring, Black-headed, Bonaparte’s, Common, Yellow-legged, Slaty-backed, Glaucous-winged, Baltic, Ivory, Laughing, and Ring-billed Gulls. American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Mallard, Blue- and Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, American and Eurasian Wigeons, Gadwall, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Tufted and Ring-necked Ducks, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye. American Coot, Song and Swamp Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco, American Robin, Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Pine Grosbeak, Red and White-winged Crossbills, Common Redpoll, Evening Grosbeak, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, Boreal and Black-capped Chickadees, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Double-crested Cormorant, and Pied-billed Grebe.
When to go
December to February.
Large supermarket at west end of lake. Ample parking. Hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and gas stations nearby. Checklist at www.nhs.nf.ca.
City-owned lake. Open year-round.
Spotting scope advantageous, warm clothes essential.
For more info
Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
Local Birdingpal contacts