Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 4-5, 2012 Our final days birding Churchill, Manitoba.

Our final full day of birding on August 4th included a boat trip over to Prince of Wales Fort and close-up views and sounds of Beluga's through stereo hydrophones. It was amazing to heard the vocalizations of the Belugas! Before docking for the fort tour we went out around Eskimo Point and were rewarded with a close-up view of Polar Bear, our first for the trip! The bear wasn't very interested in us and carried on with it's activities, including going for a swim. While watching the bear Ben spotted a flock of phalaropes feeding on the water. As we apparoached the birds another flock flew in- all Red-necked Phalaropes. A total of 40+ were counted. Moments later a mixed flock of scoters flew by including 6 White-winged and 32 Black Scoter. During the week we had only a few small groups of Surf Scoters. Along Goose Creek Road/Hydro Road there were more shorebirds feeding including 116 juv. Short-billed Dowitcher and 74 juv. Stilt Sandpiper. The sunny weather came to an end on Sunday morning. Despite the rain, shorebird watching was great at the Granary ponds. Our final check yield 190 Stilt Sandpiper, 120 Pectoral Sandpiper, 72 Short-billed Dowitcher, and 2 blue-winged Teal. It was a great week of birding the Churchill region!

Family group of American Wigeon at the Granary Ponds.

A pair of Arctic Tern resting at the Granary ponds. A few juvenile birds are now flying.

Beluga Whale

The Granary Ponds attract 100's of puddle ducks that roost for the night.

The most common scaup during the summer/early fall is the Greater Scaup. We only observed  3 female Lesser Scaup during the week.

Lots of juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs were found during the week.

The Pectoral Sandpiper is a regular fall migrant through the Churchill region.

A number of Polar Bears were reported during the week but it took 'til Saturday for Ben and I to finally see one. This individual was working the coastline at Eskimo Point.

This was only my second Polar Bear for Churchill. My last sighting was in June, 2004.

The bear appeared unconcerned about us in the boat.

The Polar Bear is an excellent swimmer and will travel great distances in the water.

After a brief swim the Polar Bear returns to the rocky coastline.

A mixed flock of Stilt Sandpipers and Short-billed Dowitchers rest at the Granary Ponds on August 5th.  

A small flock of adult Hudsonian Godwit fly in to feed at the ponds as our first rain of the week starts.

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