Sunday, 30 September 2012

Mega rarity in Moosonee, version 2

Apparently it was decided that since Harlan's Hawk isn't currently considered a valid species, it won't count towards the "50 days of rare" competition! I figured I might as well find something rarer today, so we turned up a Carolina Wren in Moosonee for our daily rarity. Take that ;)

We figured that because of the warm weather and light south winds overnight it was possible that some southern birds might make their way into the Moosonee area, and we were not disappointed! The day started out innocently enough as we scanned the river first thing in the morning. Just about nothing was moving so we eventually started wandering through town. At one point Mark was up ahead and Alan and I were walking parallel to shore creek, when we stopped dead in our tracks as we heard an interesting bird sing. It sang again and we both kind of realized it was a Carolina Wren! Mark had heard it too and so the three of us cornered it. It popped up in front of Alan and he confirmed it was indeed a Carolina Wren. We spent the better part of the next hour getting photos of it and listening to it making a variety of vocalizations.

Normally I wouldn't really care about seeing a Carolina Wren in Ontario, but it just so happens that it is an exceedingly rare bird north of the southern Great Lakes. There are 3 accepted records for northern Ontario. Michael Butler had one in Marathon earlier this year, so this would make the 5th for northern Ontario. Of greater interest is that it is the most northerly record of a Carolina Wren ever! Of course, Carolina Wren had never been recorded in the Hudson Bay lowlands before.

We were pretty stoked about this bird and continued checking around town. Later in the afternoon we saw the only other "southern vagrant" for the day - a female-type Indigo Bunting at the Moosonee sewage lagoons. There are about a half dozen previous records for the southern James Bay area.

I went for a nice walk this evening along one of the railway tracks. It was nice to enjoy the peacefulness of the perfectly calm air. Despite the warm temperatures, the presence of some bird species that I associate with winter gave the air a certain feel to it. A family of Gray Jays followed me along, a Northern Shrike hunted the American Tree Sparrows in the bushes, and an Evening Grosbeak flew over.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Moosonee before we head back down south. Hopefully that pesky wheatear will show up, though I am not too optimistic. We need some cold weather! I would really like to have a third installment in the "Mega rarity in Moosonee" series of blog posts I have been making. On one hand it is great that we have found a bunch of fantastic rarities for Moosonee, but on the other hand it is kind of frustrating that they are all birds that aren't new for my big year!

Of course, lots of photos will be added to this post once I get back.


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