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Monday, November 29, 2010

Day by day seawatching!

I promise I'll answer the 6 weeks of un-answered e-mails sometime soon! I swear!

Some quick and easy blog material for a while. Daily totals of all bird species observed, to give you an idea of what it was like (plus some notes on the weather).

The first 3 days:
!!!


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Location:     Netitishi Point
Observation date:     11/10/10
Notes:     Light NE winds, mostly sunny.
Number of species:     28

Brant     6
Lesser Scaup     12
White-winged Scoter     15
Black Scoter     5
Long-tailed Duck     65
Common Goldeneye     9
Red-breasted Merganser     75
Ruffed Grouse     1
Bald Eagle     1
Rough-legged Hawk     15
Sanderling     80
Dunlin     6
Ring-billed Gull     320
Herring Gull     50
Dovekie     1
Black Guillemot     2
Downy Woodpecker     1
Gray Jay     5
Common Raven     7
Horned Lark     1
Black-capped Chickadee     1
Boreal Chickadee     4
Lapland Longspur     1
Snow Bunting     20
Pine Grosbeak     8
White-winged Crossbill     6
Common Redpoll     1
Hoary Redpoll     20


Comments (written today):  wow!!! A Dovekie in the first hour of watching. What are the odds? And 2 Guillemots? 3 alcids of 2 species in the same day?

The weather didn't seem great for a large movement, but little did we know, there was actually a good number of birds moving - considering!

- overly pale Lapland Longspur, that was also acting odd (stayed in tall grass, gave very poor views). Had me excited for a while....


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Location:     Netitishi Point
Observation date:     11/11/10
Notes:     WARM!!! South winds. 10/12 degrees?! Built the waterbird shack out of driftwood.
Number of species:     24

Lesser Scaup     1
White-winged Scoter     1
Black Scoter     2
Long-tailed Duck     4
Red-breasted Merganser     15
Northern Harrier     1
Sanderling     80
Dunlin     4
Ring-billed Gull     100
Herring Gull     20
Glaucous Gull     1
Downy Woodpecker     1
Northern Shrike     1
Gray Jay     3
Common Raven     4
Horned Lark     5
Black-capped Chickadee     4
Boreal Chickadee     4
Lapland Longspur     2
Snow Bunting     15
Pine Grosbeak     6
White-winged Crossbill     6
Common Redpoll     4
Hoary Redpoll     12


Comments (written today): Nothing like super warm temps and a lack of birds to keep you entertained. I spent most of the day in a t-shirt building our "fort" out of driftwood. Pictures will follow!!!

Lots of shorebirds and ring-billed gulls for James Bay in mid Nov!


First Glaucous Gull on the trip, a nice adult. I think that the lack of Ice in Hudson Bay was the reason we never really had a good gull migration (plus wind direction problems.
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Location:     Netitishi Point
Observation date:     11/12/10
Notes:     Strong 40/50kmh SW wind. 5 degrees. Mostly cloudy
Number of species:     20

Lesser Scaup     8
White-winged Scoter     1
Black Scoter     2
Long-tailed Duck     8
Red-breasted Merganser     35
Sanderling     80
White-rumped Sandpiper     4
Dunlin     1
Ring-billed Gull     40
Herring Gull     20
Dovekie     1
Gray Jay     1
Common Raven     1
Horned Lark     5
Boreal Chickadee     1
Brown Creeper     1
Snow Bunting     15
Pine Grosbeak     1
Common Redpoll     10
Hoary Redpoll     10

Comments (written today):  really good looks at this days Dovekie. What an odd bird! It's funny how you can get a good bird like this on a fairly slow day.


Most observations of Hoary Redpolls (106 total!) were of small flocks flying in from far offshore!!! Do they migrate over water intentionally? Or did they get lost out there at night?
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More soon!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Seal ID Help!

Now that I hopefully still have some peoples attention, I'm very curious to nail down some ID's on these seals!

On Nov 15th, I managed to sneak out at low tide, and get some so-so shots of a younger Bearded Seal resting on a rock at low tide.


Note the square flipper and "beard"! The black T on the head fades as the seal matures. (At least, I think that's what Bruce Mactavish told me in Newfoundland, where Bearded Seals were hard to come by).


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Then, November 16th struck with a flurry of seal-goodness. It was pretty obvious by mid morning that there was considerably more seals around than previous days. At low tide, Alan and I wandered out onto the mud, and tried to photograph several that had "come ashore" on rocks, near the mouth of a small creek.

The strange part, none of this "wave" of seals were Bearded. It was a very calm and still day, but a storm the next day sent most of the seals packing. So, what were they?

All of these seal photos were quickly edited for ID! The quality shots will appear sometime in the future:



SEAL ID 1: One of the larger "mystery" seals. Several had this dark stripe down the back. 
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Seal ID 2... Two more of the "dark stripe" types. 


I think these are the same two seals, with a 3rd on the size. Different angle and light. 

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Seal ID 3:. A young pup that allowed me to get very close. 

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Seal ID 4. No idea what this fella is. 

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Seal ID 5:. Same species as the pup (seal 3)? Funny lookin creature. 

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An adult Ringed Seal??? I still have no idea, but ringed seal would be a life-mammal for me! 



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So there you have it! Seals in Ontario! At least 2, possibly 3 species here. (Harbor(?) Ringed(?) and Bearded!). 

Any ID help is very welcome. Comments can be emailed to me, or left below (you can even leave them anonymously if you want!). 

More Netitishi soon!



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sooty Time

Best photos of the bird. Not much else I could do! November 13th, 2010:


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A few "line" shots, both shots show about a second of travel. 



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And a look at the weather (bird is in there!). 


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And that's all she wrote on the SOSH front.  I've decided to make this blog posting the best collection of terrible record bird photos ever assembled from a single trip! Hayeah:

Black Guillemot!!! woo! Can't you tell? Nov 10

2 images of the same distant Black-legged Kittiwake. Nov 17

Gray juv. Gyr! Nov 17. "Buzzed" us

One of 106 Hoary Redpolls I have in my notes. Nov 21

Pacific Loon! Nov 14

Thayer's Gull (left) with ad. Herring Gull. Nov 16

Pomarine Jaeger (juv). Nov 17



A fine collection of terrible bird photos, if I do say so myself!


Over the next 7-10 days, I'll be adding detailed daily bird sightings from the trip, more bird photos, and more scenery style photos to show what the place looks like! 



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Copied Ontbirds posting - Alan spent some extra time on it!

Alan spent a little extra time on the details of Netitishi in our ontbirds posting, so I've copied it here - just in case some blog viewers don't follow ontbirds! 

Sooty Shearwater pictures soon!!!!!!!!

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Reporting from Moosonee.

Brandon R. Holden and myself have just returned from Netitishi Point on southern James Bay, where we were present on the dates of November 9 to 21 inclusive.

Highlights include the following;

RED-THROATED LOON:
November 17 -- 540 birds (record-high count for Ontario?) - I put down 555 for my count!

PACIFIC LOON:
November 14 - 1 winter adult

SOOTY SHEARWATER:
November 13 -- 1 bird
-- NEW to Ontario, if accepted by the OBRC; we watched the bird for fully 2-3 minutes in excellent conditions in sunny weather as it zipped up and down over the waves at relatively good distance, seen when the winds were WNW and fairly stiff.  Distant photos taken by Brandon.

KING EIDER:
November 13 -- 1 bird
November 14 -- 1 bird
November 17 -- 4 birds
November 20 -- 26 birds (14 + 12)

GYRFALCON:
November 15 -- 1 gray-morph juvenile female
November 17 -- 1 gray-morph juvenile

PURPLE SANDPIPER:
November 17 -- 7 birds (pure flock)
November 18 -- 1 bird
November 20 -- 1 bird

RED PHALAROPE:
November 14 -- 6 birds

POMARINE JAEGER:
November 13 -- 1 dark-morph juvenile
November 17 -- 1 bird
November 20 -- 2 brown-morph juveniles (singles)

BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE:
November 17 -- 3 birds (1 + 2)
November 20 -- 2 birds

BLACK GUILLEMOT:
November 10 -- 2 birds (singles)
November 13 -- 1 bird
November 18 -- 1 bird
November 20 -- 24 birds (pure flock riding out a storm) not included in my notes

DOVEKIE:
November 10 -- 1 bird
November 12 -- 1 bird
-- NEW to northern Ontario and Moosonee/Moose Factory Area if accepted by the OBRC.

VARIED THRUSH:
November 10-15 -- 1 male
-- NEW to the Hudson Bay Lowlands of Ontario.
-- An odd story surrounds this sighting.  On the first night (10th) we were sitting around our campfire well after sunset when in the fading light we saw the clear outline of a thrush fly through the camp clearly about 100 feet away.  We both said to each other "What the heck was that?"  Especially since at this time of year virtually no migrant land birds are present.  We both agreed that it looked slightly too small and slim for American Robin, and it didn't look right for something like a Hermit Thrush.  I repeatedly suggested to Brandon that it might have been a Varied Thrush, and in fact I went on several hikes trying to relocate it.  On the 14th Brandon flushed something beside the trail and heard what sounded like thrush calls.  The following morning (15th) I was just leaving camp when a bird flushed from my feet and landed only 20 feet away -- a beautiful male Varied Thrush!  We never saw it again.  The bird looked feeble, so presumably it perished.

LATE DATES:
Too numerous to detail here, but our perception re how late birds remain on James Bay continues to change with increased knowledge.  On our last full day of observing on November 20, the following was still present -- 1200 Long-tailed Duck, 23 Black Scoter, 12 White-winged Scoter, 55 Red-breasted Merganser, 18 Glaucous Gull, etc.  As late as November 17, 85 Sanderling and 10 Black-bellied Plover were still present!  So when do waterbirds truly clear out of southern James Bay.  At the moment, no one really knows!

NETITISHI POINT is located in extreme southern James Bay about mid-way between the mouths of the Moose River and Harricanaw Rivers.  The location has some unique features.  First, it is slightly elevated thus the spruce forest comes right up to the shore of the bay.  And due to the slight elevation, one is safe from any super high tides that may occur, which can be quite dangerous especially during fall storms.  Also, the low tide mark is quite close to shore, so even at low tide one can still easily see the shoreline.

NETITISHI POINT is a remarkable place, with majestic spruce (White I think) forest on ancient beach ridges, with the ground often covered with up to a foot of sphagnum moss.  It is truly one of the great birding locations in Ontario.  We were fortunate to be able to use a crude cabin that belongs to a Moose Factory Cree family, who use the site mostly for the spring good hunt.

On a daily basis we watched the incoming tide, sometimes watching for 7 hours straight or more.  It can be quite challenging with very cold temperatures and strong winds.  Brandon took it upon himself to build a very elaborate shelter our of driftwood during the first 2 days, which was excellent for providing relief from the elements.

WEATHER:  It was quite balmy during our stay, and we only experienced a day or so of winds with a north component, which is probably the reason why we did not see any expected Northern Fulmars.  Near the end of our stay the temperature plumaged to minus 19 celcius, which left a considerable amount of shore ice on the tidal flats, making observing anything of interest next to impossible.  It was time to bale out and head back to Moosonee!

MAMMALS:
Bearded Seal -- several
Harbour (?) Seal -- numeous (photos will confirm ID)
Snowshoe Hare -- 2+
Deer Mouse -- 15 (former) permanent residents of the cabin
Short-tailed Weasel -- 1
River Otter -- 1
Striped Skunk -- 1
Red Squirrel -- abundant
Moose -- recent droppings
Black Bear -- old droppings
Timber Wolf -- fresh tracks on the beach

A special thanks to Brandon for suggesting this trip.  I hadn't been to Netitishi Point since 1981 -- before Brandon was born!

DIRECTIONS (per OntBirds Co-ordinator requirements) -- From Toronto drive north 400 miles to Cochrane.  Get on train to Moosonee, for 186 miles.  At Moosonee take a taxi to the Airport.  Get on helicopter.  Take helicopter 21 due miles east to Netitishi Point.  Land helicopter.  You're there.


Monday, November 22, 2010

The return from Netitishi

Well Alan and I have emerged from the woods after 12ish days of seawatching. The short of it: we never really had the weather we were looking for, but we had some killer birds.

Highlights:

SOOTY SHEARWATER - new for Ontario!!!
DOVEKIE - 2 birds!!! (seen different days)
Varied Thrush - first record for the hudson bay lowlands? Looong story with this difficult bird.
Black Guillemot - I have 4 total birds, seen on 3 days in my notes! (Expected, but still very exciting)
Pacific Loon - pretty rare in the Moosonee area, dispite breeding on Hudson Bay
Black-legged Kittiwake - a review species in the north, 5 different birds on 2 days.
Pomarine Jaeger - another review species in the north, 3 will be doccumented + 2 other distant probables
King Eider - highest 1 day count was 26
Three-toed Woodpecker - stunning male around camp, but very hard to find
Gyrfalcon - only 2 birds seen!!! Much much lower than expected
Red Phalarope: single day sighting of 6 birds
Purple Sandpiper: seen 3 days I think.. Flock of 7 was the highest count.
Killdeer: probable reverse migrant seen flying E on south winds. VERY late for up here.


Those are my main highlights, but there were more. Finches were seen daily (daily flocks of Hoary Redpolls), shorebirds were VERY late (80+ sanderling in mid nov?!) plus a few high counts (550+ Red-throated Loons!).

More will follow over the next few weeks as I enter the sightings online, sort photos, and get some sleep! Train to cochrane in 1 hour, then a very long drive home in the dark. Lots more to come!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blog goes dormant for ~2 weeks

Last post in a while! Leaving in a few hours. We really have no contact with the outside world, so try to not let anything too exciting happen while we're gone. The only fun info I have is:



http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/marine/anotherArea_e.html?mapID=08&siteID=06700

- marine forecast (either James Bay, or Southern James Bay).. Keep an eye out for north winds! That is what will bring us the birds. At the time of writing, they're calling for south winds for days after we arrive.. BOO!!!!!



http://www.natice.noaa.gov/ims/

-- a place to keep an eye on the snow-cover and ice, as it heads towards James Bay. Hopefully near the end of our trip, a good chunk of Ice will have formed in James and Hudson Bay!


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Might as well do 1 more plug of my Vortex Spotting Scope.


Vortex was kind enough to lend me one of their Razor Spotting Scopes, and it`s a huge reason I was motivated to do this trip. I can absolutely say I can identify more birds with this scope than my previous scope! You can see close birds better, and see birds farther away. (Perfect for some James Bay seabirds). 



Have a look! Go to the dealers page to find a place where you can go check it out. And if you ever see me out in the field, please ask me about it and give it a try! 



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Okay! Time to get rolling. Blog will return sometime in 2ish weeks! 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

15 reason's I'm heading to Netitishi Point, James Bay, for the next 2 weeks

10. Gyrfalcon
9. King Eider
8. Common Eider
7. Black Guillemot
6. Northern Fulmar
5. Ivory Gull
4. Thick-billed Murre
3. Yellow-billed Loon
2. Ross's Gull
1. Dovekie

(10 rare's I think we actually have a shot at finding)



So where is this place!?  Here:


Click for a better view


Alan Wormington and myself are leaving from Moosonee via Helicopter on Nov 9th to the coast at Netitishi point for ~2 weeks of seawatching.  Alan and Doug McRae spent ~6 weeks out here in 1981 to some awesome results (rarities), and the time has come for an adventure. Heck, I spend days and days watching Lake Ontario at Fifty Point and Van Wagner's Beach - why not go to Ontario's "sea-coast" for some real fun?!


Closer look at where Netitishi is on the southern part of James Bay. 

Note the perfect location for wind with any northerly component! It's the gales of November that will bring us birds. Deep water also lies (reasonably) close to the north.. All and all, it's looking like a great place to be! I have high hopes of getting (at least) 5 new birds for my Ontario list. 

There's also a good (well, as good as it's going to get) chance of finding something new for Ontario, which is the tops - when you like finding birds like me!

Birds we could find, that would be new for the province: 

Glaucous-winged Gull (overdue anywhere in ON)
Sooty Shearwater
Great Skua (my biggest hope)
Short-tailed Shearwater
Steller's Eider (?) Tufted Puffin? Lysan Albatross?   (A bit of a stretch, I know.. but remember that melting sea ice)



I'm not exactly ready to go, but I can't wait!




10 more reasons we're going: Common Eider, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Great Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Leach's Storm Petrel, Northern Gannet, Ancient Murrelet, Spectacled Eider, Horned Puffin..........

Can you tell im excited? 


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The last Moosonee installment - for at least 4 days

Hey! It's October 29th. -- the last day of our (Jenn and I) super-fantastic adventure in the north.

--- We left Moose Factory early in the day, taking a water taxi back to Moosonee. We found a place to stash our packs (train station) and wandered off in search of the Sewage Lagoons and Landfill. At least the 3rd Landfill I've brought Jenn to... If you can't win a girl over at a landfill, there's no hope for you.


List of Birds in Moosonee for the day:


Canada Goose     25
Northern Pintail     6
Green-winged Teal     2
Greater/Lesser Scaup     100
Black-bellied Plover     4
Greater Yellowlegs     3
Dunlin     30
Ring-billed Gull     20
Herring Gull     100
Thayer's Gull     1
Great Black-backed Gull     1
Downy Woodpecker     1
Hairy Woodpecker     2
Northern Shrike     1
American Crow     8
Common Raven     X
Black-capped Chickadee     X
Boreal Chickadee     20
Red-breasted Nuthatch     X
European Starling     X
Snow Bunting     X
White-winged Crossbill     50
Common Redpoll     200




In general, the sewage lagoons were really slow. No shorebirds, limited ducks (scaup etc) plus a Rough-leg and a Red-tail. 


The landfill was quite fun. (I think Jenn would agree with that statement.. Right Jenn? Jenn?) Another Juv Thayer's Gull have pretty good views, along with a Juv. Great Black-backed Gull. Lots of bear tracks around the dump, but no luck with seeing one. The ravens also put on a pretty good show. 


While walking down the road to the dump, a garbage spill had attracted a large group of Gray Jays, which provided us with some entertainment. The birds up there don't know that people=food. I remember spending some time in Thunder Bay a few years ago in a similar situation (I was throwing trail mix at birds, to no avail). 


Still lots of finches on the move, with crossbills and redpolls flying past, but no surprises!

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We boarded the train, which was moving at 5pm. We had about 2 hours of daylight to watch the telephone poles, which was fruitful. Considering the fact that we were watching from a train. Noteworthy was 4 Northern Hawk Owls and a single Great Gray Owl. The Great Gray was flushed by the train, somewhere close to the tracks, so we really only got to see it flying away. Not the best, but what can one do!?

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And that's all she (I?) wrote! A really fun adventure with my good-looking girl :) .. now all we have to do is go back sometime when everything is open in town! (And when there are 10000 more shorebirds to look at). At least we know more about what we're doing, for the future!



(Best I can do for photos) Not exactly taken from the train. One major goal this winter: better raptor photos needed! Maybe i'll have some time to get my real website back online too!

Bird of the day - Bohemian Waxwing

taken today

A little unexpected, and another new bird for my work list. Looks like another species to be watching for in southern Ontario. Maybe not as rare (overall) as something like a Cattle Egret, but it wasn't a bird I was expecting to see at all! Pretty fun.

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Another Cackling Goose. This one a pretty typical adult Richardson's. Not much more to add!

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It's November. Lots of cool photos of various rarities around North America are popping up:

(tons at surfbirds)

Rather large-looking Pacific Loon in Ohio

Golden-crowned Sparrow in Michigan - not too far from ON. 

(Anna's Hummingbird recently in MI)

Common Ground Dove in NY

--- just a sample.. Lots of rare birds lurking out there to be found! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Moosonee Day 5 - Boreal wonderland

You would think I could answer some of the dozens of un-answered emails, but this blogging really requires no effort or brain function at all... Honestly, I might be asleep right now.

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We booked a room at the eco-lodge in Moose Factory, which was a perfect chance to un-pack our things and spread them around the room to dry (what else are hotel rooms for?). We then headed out for a day on the town.

It was clear we were late in the season, and the constant rains prevented any southern birds from being blown in. Not surprisingly. the bird life had a very boreal feel. Even less surprisingly, the best birds were on our way into the landfill. Landfills are awesome birding. We need more

Here's an example from the road/landfill alone:

Red-tailed Hawk     1
Greater Yellowlegs     1
Dunlin     4
Ring-billed Gull     15
Herring Gull     50
Thayer's Gull     1
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Black-backed Woodpecker     1
American Crow     5
Common Raven     X
Horned Lark     X
Black-capped Chickadee     40
Boreal Chickadee     25
Red-breasted Nuthatch     20
European Starling     25
Snow Bunting     X
Pine Grosbeak     25
White-winged Crossbill     75
Common Redpoll     250
Hoary Redpoll     1


Some notes:


--- Red-tailed Hawk was an adult, at the landfill itself. 


--- Dunlin flew over the landfill road. Greater Yellowlegs was heard only


--- Thayer's Gull was a close-range juvenile bird that gave awesome views. Almost makes me wish my camera wasn't broken!!!


--- Boreal Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches were in large numbers around the island!!!! Black-backed Woodpecker flew over - rather poor views. 

--- Snow Buntings everywhere! Much lower numbers of larks than Ship Sands, and no Longspurs in town.

--- Pine Grosbeaks were seen in Spruce around the dump. One of my favourite birds (first of the trip). More Crossbills here too

--- Large flocks of Redpolls seen around the island, but we had our best looks (by far) at flocks on the road to the dump as they fed on Birch. A gorgeous female Hoary Redpoll have us really good views. I wonder how many flew over us?!

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Come to think of it, the landfill and nearby road was pretty much the whole story! We had a Merlin fly over us in town - late? We bought some food at a nearby grocery store for dinner, and headed back to our hotel at mid afternoon. The cold front aspect of the storm started to move through, and strong (cool) west winds were blowing. Staying in the hotel room seemed like the thing to do, to end out day!

Final Moosonee post tomorrow - back to the town itself!

Everywhere in Moose Factory. Old photo though, stupid broken camera. 


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Moose Factory side-story:

Walking the cold streets of town, narry a Snow Bunting to entertain us. Hunger set in. Food. We needed food. A light in the distance: A pizza hut/gas station combo!!!!!!!!

We ordered a full-sized dippin-strips pizza, which took 20 agonizing minutes to arrive. But man was it huge! We ordered it as a cheese pizza - with extra cheese - which was great for the first 15 minutes of eating. Near the end, it was getting to be a bit much. We probably ate at least a pound of cheese each (that's what it felt like). No more pizza hut for a while...........

http://www.pizzawars.net/reviews/pizzareview26.htm

Something new on the Cackling front:

Cackling Goose news today!!! What the heck is going on here?!:

Left Bird: Todd's Canada Goose
Left Middle: Richardson's Cackling Goose
Right Middle: ? Cackling Goose
Far Right: Todd's Canada Goose

Far left: "Giant" Canada
Far Right: Todd's(?) Canada
Middle birds are the same two Cackling. Midget on the right.

3 of 4 birds from the first photo, better look at the tiny goose (2 CACG, 1 CAGO on R)

Better look at the 2 Cackling Geese


So what the heck is going on here? My best guess is the left bird (bottom photo - the small one) is a poorly-nourished Richardson's Cackler. Apparently large goose colonies in the far north can seriously over-graze their breeding grounds, resulting in abnormally small birds growing up. This bird is an adult, but i'm guessing the smaller developmental is permanent?


Either way - crazy bird... Can't be much (any?) bigger than the average duck. Quack

Moosonee to follow

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Moosonee Days 4... lighter on birds, same great taste

We last left our adventurous characters as they survived the gale and were heading to an upstream boreal island to wait out the storm..... actually I've never been much of a writer.....


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We were dropped off at Tidewater on Tuesday evening after ship sands. With Jenn's superb camping skills, we got camp set up and ready with at least 45 minutes to spare before total blackness and heavy rains began. I was quite pleased with the fire I eventually got going as well - a good chance to warm up a bit after we frolicked in the waves an hour earlier.

- With the inland cyclone causing havoc south of us, we had the first passing front throughout the night. Heavy rains and very strong winds rocked around us, but we were quite happy inside the tent, even getting some good sleep. The front hit at a very poor time for vagrants, just after dark. Too late for diurnal birds, and too early for nocturnals... What can one do?

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Wednesday brought an end to some rain in the morning. We enjoyed some oatmeal, and set out to explore the island during the day. We had a ton of fun, but i'm guessing you really only care about the birds!

Jenn enjoying the morning oatmeal :)

 There were no real surprises, but some more great looks at boreal species. The White-winged Crossbills but on a great show, giving great looks as they came down to a pond for water/baths (just as we were getting water of our own).

Boreal Chickadees right in camp during the day were also a real treat! But wait, birds.. Right.. birds:

Common Goldeneye     3
Common Loon     1
Greater Yellowlegs     1
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Gray Jay     X
Common Raven     X
Black-capped Chickadee     X
Boreal Chickadee     X
American Pipit     2
American Tree Sparrow     1
Snow Bunting     X
White-winged Crossbill     90
(X means lots, or several, or I didn't count)


The 2 Pipits were the only ones we had for the whole trip! 


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As we headed to bed on Wednesday night, the rain once again fell (at a poor time for birds), and we slept (quite dry) through most of it.

Early in the morning, we quickly tore down camp, and headed to the beach to flag down a water taxi. We were picked up by our friend from the previous day, and made our first venture to Moose Factory! I know today was a bit slim, but Moose Factory provided the birds! (Tomorrow's post........)


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Another parting photo and story. I had planned to write about Moose Factory today as well, but I'm getting overly tired. Tomorrow!


--- Yes those are Bear tracks! Big ones too. We camped on a pretty small island, 2 nights sleeping in the tent, but never actually saw our Island friend. Lots of fresh tracks in the sand though! And some fresh droppings on our way to get water on Wednesday.

C - c - c - cacklers!

While I have the material, I'm going to keep the postings happening! The next Moosonee installment will be in a few more hours. I'm also going away again in less than a week - which means another dormant blog phase. But for now...............

Cackling Geese! 3 birds, taken yesterday

Bird A (Left) with a bit of a white neck ring (pretty regular feature)

Middle bird - paler body than the Todd's Canada's (on average, visible here) 


Very pale bodied ADULT Richardon's CACG. I haven't seen a juv CACG yet this fall (reasons unknown)


Michael Butler took some great photos of two Juvenile Richardson's (with two adult Maxima Canada's) a few days ago at his local Canadian Tire. See the great shots here:


Recent CACG comment to the blog:



Blake A. Mann said... Good birds!




Cackling Goose again? We don't get many of them in CK it seems!


--- I think I might have a Cackling Goose magnet somewhere in my birding gear! Unfortunately it seems to drive other rare species of Geese away. I have a considerably harder time getting Snow Goose!

--- Many thanks Blake for the comments! If anyone hasn't already seen his blog, take a look here:


One I really enjoy following! Some awesome Cave Swallow photos on there recently.


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Which leads me to my next bird-thought of the day. My lack of Cave Swallows today!

This photo was taken today! In Ontario!

I found at least 250 Tree Swallows today, but not a single unusual species with them. I know i'm not on Lake Erie, but one would think I could have been a bit luckier! Not even a late Barn Swallow!?

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Parting photo: a barely better image of the Cattle Egret I found yesterday. Heat haze was killing me - I wasn't actually that far away! But a bit better look than the one image I posted yesterday


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More Moosonee goodness to follow!