Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 12 & 13, 2010 Churchill Birding

The birding continues to be interesting in the Churchill area. We are experiencing beautiful clear and mild conditions with highs of +22c. Unfortunately the mosquitoes are now out in numbers! Yesterday, June 12, highlights included 1 Purple Sandpiper along the tidal flats, 9 Sabine's Gull (7 off Launch Road, 1 at CR 30 and 1 at Cape Merry) and 1 Short-eared Owl at Cape Merry. The number of shorebirds has dropped considerably, and both Snow Bunting and Lapland Longspur numbers are down, the spring rush is almost over! At the Granary Ponds 1 mourning dove was observed feeding on the spilt grain and the California Gull was seen. At Cape Merry 3 Red Phalaropes put in a brief appearance. Along Goose Creek Road 1 Nelson's Sparrow was observed near the Weir road turn off. Today, June 13, there was 1 Cackling Goose in a small flock of Canada's along Launch Road. At Cape Merry in the afternoon we observed 2 flocks of 6 adult Sabine's Gull ( heading east, Hudson Bay) , 1 Long-tailed Jaeger, and numerous Beluga Whales. Also 1 Purple Sandpiper was sighted. Surprisingly 15 minutes later, a flock of 12 Sabine's Gull was feeding off the gravel point near the Grain Elevator along the Churchill River. Land bird migration north is still underway with more Lincoln's Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Alder Flycatcher, Tennessee Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, and Hermit Thrush numbers increasing. Finally caught up to Willow Ptarmigan along the east end of Launch Road, but still no Smith's Longspurs (maybe tomorrow). Good Birding, Bruce Di Labio

The Willow Ptarmigan is easiest found along Launch Road or the Twin Lakes area.

The female Willow Ptarmigan blends into its surrounding well.

A Beluga Whale surfacing along the Churchill River at Cape Merry.

A breeding plumage Black-bellied Plover at the Weir.

The American Golden-Plover prefers to nest on tundra or fairly dry meadows.

The Bonaparte's Gull builds its nest in live spruce placing it usually 2-8 metres high .

The Common Eider is a regular sight off Cape Merry.

A Whimbrel sits on top of a spruce tree watching the open tundra.

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