Two of the things that I most love about driving down through the southern-most tip of the Avalon Peninsula, are the vast and seemingly endless stretches of untrammelled openness and the abundance of wildlife that inhabits these tundras.

A lot of what you see between Cape Race and Cape Pine looks like this:

Southern Shore Barrens
Vast expanse of what appears to be nothing.

I never cease to be astounded by just how big treeless land can be. It makes you suddenly feel vulnerable and naked. Added to this sudden feeling of conspicuousness is the realization that everything that lives there is much better adapted to travelling the terrain, blending in and surviving than the humanoid visitor. Looking at that photo, you see land and more land and sky and a small pond. In reality, the land is teaming with birds, the pond is probably full of fish (surprising how many fish-laden ponds there are in these spots) and there are more plant varieties that a quick glance would indicate.

There are also these:

Sneaking up on a caribou
Sneaking up on a caribou

I spotted this one munching on the side of the road. As we pulled over, he moved inland a bit and I was able to crawl up behind some rocks and get a better view. He noticed me after the first shutter click. I say “he”, but since females also grow antlers and I’m no caribou expert, it could just as easily be a she. My guess is male mainly because of the relative size of this beast; others I’ve noticed in the past have been considerably smaller. Then again, it could just as easily be a gravid female. Anyone out there care to posit a guess?


He watched me for a while, but didn’t seem too worried.

Caribou watching you
Caribou watching you

Then after I shifted too close for comfort, he headed for the high ground.

Leaving now

I really like the picture below, as you can clearly see how well they can blend in at will. If he lay down behind a rock, he’d be pretty hard to spot.


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