By Rudey Downey
Codroy Valley’s summer months see tourists flocking in to view the beautiful scenery, but John Williams and Dave Hawkins come for the birds.
“The birds here ... are not found in the rest of Newfoundland,” said Williams. “They come here and they stop.”
The Codroy Valley is home to the Grand Codroy Estuary, an area that was declared a Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
There are more than 250 bird species in the area. This diversity attracts bird watchers from around the province, country and world.
The two men love bird watching throughout the Codroy Valley and visit all the major hot spots to enjoy their favourite pastime. Both birders said they noticed something else very special about the community.
“The people are wonderful here, extremely friendly ... I almost feel like a local now,” said Williams, who first took an interest in birds on a trip to the Galapagos Islands in the 1970s.
Hawkins said that a lot of people come to the area in the summer with bird watching on their minds.
The two met as members of the Camera 35 photography club, which is based out of St. John’s. Hawkins first ventured to the Codroy Valley four years ago and was soon joined by Williams.
Hawkins, a retired geologist, said birding is an addictive pastime.
“Seeing that new bird; there’s nothing like it,” he said.
Although Williams’ library features over 35 bird books, he is modest about his expertise in the field.
“Looking back on it I’ve always been a birder, but I never considered myself a birder,” he said.
Hawkins and Williams said that they will continue bird watching in the valley for a longtime to come. The diversity of birds and natural beauty of Codroy Valley will keep drawing them back again and again.
With contributions from: Dylan Larson-Konar, Scott Pynn
and Sophie Nitoslawski