The Codroy Valley in southwestern Newfoundland is a mecca for bird watchers.
"This area has a variety of habitats and with its favourable climate and proximity to Nova Scotia you get birds here that you don't get in most parts of the province," bird expert Darroch Whitacher told us recently.
And the Wetlands Interpretation Centre has lots of information about what birds you can see in the local area. The centre has a viewing platform overlooking the Grand Codroy Estuary and is a good place to begin your visit to the Codroy Valley. It is centrally located in the community of Upper Ferry and typically is open from June 1 until well into October.
Geographically the Codroy Valley is unusual in Newfoundland and it is one of the few areas in the province suited to agriculture. The views of farmer's fields, the Grand Codroy Estuary and the Long Range Mountains in the background also make this area a good place for biking.
The rural roads typically don't get much traffic and there are few hills to deal with.
Also be sure to visit one of Newfoundland's best sunset locations at the nearby Cape Anguille Lighthouse. You can walk along the low cliffs in this area and watch the sun slide into the Cabot Strait.
Our favourite hike in this area is the Starlight Trail which is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway. The co-ordinates of the trail head are 47 46.933 N and 59 13.950 W if you have a GPS.
If you don't have a GPS and are coming from Corner Brook (ie. from the north) then the trail head is on your left about five kilometres past the Mountainside Esso on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The trail is named after the Starlight Lodge which is no longer there, however there is a large parking area and the trail starts next to a small gazebo.
Once on the trail it is very obvious and well marked for the first 2 km. The route climbs steadily and the hiker is rewarded with increasingly better views as elevation is gained.
Allow 45-60 minutes to hike up the trail (one way) and be sure to bring your camera!
The trail after the 2-km mark is faint but very inviting so for those interested you could make this hike much longer.
However anyone going beyond should be equipped with a map, compass and GPS for further exploring.
You can see a video of this hike on you tube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E47JZiXcq2U The Starlight Trail is part of the International Appalachian Trail in Newfoundland and you can get more information about longer versions of this trail from their website at http://www.iatnl.ca/.
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org