Day 3 - October 23, 2012
Days 4 and 5 - October 24 - 25, 2012
Days 6 and 7 - October 26 - 27, 2012
Days 8 and 9 - October 28 - 29, 2012
Days 10 and 11 - October 30 - 31, 2012
Day 12 - November 1, 2012
We were supposed to be back from Netitishi on Thursday November 1, but the constant gale-force northwest winds combined with ice pellets and fog/mist delayed us a couple of days! Finally the chopper arrived this morning and I am now in a hotel in Moosonee.
The trip was absolutely incredible!! I almost don't know where to begin, so without further ado here are some brief details on the 8(!!!!!) year birds I saw on the trip. More details and photos to follow!
I spotted a single PUSA with a group of Sanderlings close along the shore less than an hour after we arrived! This was my last code-2 bird to get, and was year bird 335. The only PUSA we got all trip!
Alan noticed this bird waaaaay down the beach not long after I had the PUSA. Shitty looks, but we ended up getting 2 more gyrs throughout the trip, including a white morph juvenile which I got some record photos of. A lifer! Year bird 336.
I noticed the eider heading the wrong way (east to west) very close to shore on our first full day of seawatching. Female-type. Year bird 337! It was also a new "southern James Bay" bird for Alan. We saw a bunch of King Eiders later in the trip (usually in small groups or with scoters); this was the only Common we had.
Very exciting bird! I first saw the bird heading east way out in the distance...got Alan on the bird and we watched it until it was out of sight. An adult bird too!! This tied the record, being yearbird #338. It was my 3rd new bird I added to my Ontario list this trip, along with Gyrfalcon and Common Eider. This is only the second record for Northern Ontario.
The record breaking bird! I was scanning to the west and saw a gull like bird shearing over the waves like a jaeger (or like a fulmar). After a second I realized it actually was a fulmar! It was right along shore, and I actually managed a very poor record photo. This was also a new Ontario bird for me. Undoubtably the "Greenland Express", or the strong winds blowing straight into James Bay from the north Atlantic due to Hurricane Sandy, brought this bird to us. It was the only fulmar we got, even though the strong north/northwest winds continued for the next 3 days.
I found a juvenile low over the flats near where we were sitting in the shelter. 340! When Alan got on it, he noticed a second kittiwake flying with it, and they ended up following the shoreline to the west. This should have been the last year-bird for the trip, but the helicopter delay brought us a couple bonus birds!
MEGA! Maybe not Wilson's Storm-Petrel or Ross's Gull mega, but this is the first record for Northern Ontario. Actually, all previous 11 accepted records for Ontario pertain to birds on Lake Ontario. Year bird #341, and my 5th new Ontario bird on the trip. Alan originally spotted this large cormorant straight out from us and as we watched it, it didn't take long to realize this was no Double-crested! Very good views and I could have got a photo if my camera wasn't packed away.
Only the second record for the southern James Bay region, and I think this is the latest fall record for northern Ontario. It whipped by the shelter around 4:30 PM and we had very brief looks at the "yellow-breasted kingbird" until it vanished down the coastline. I refound it 30 minutes later and we spent the rest of the day getting incredibly close photos as it looked for insects in a sheltered spot along the tidal wrack. A code 3 bird, one that I thought I would miss for the year! Yearbird 342.
Obviously I missed some incredible birds while I was gone. Hurricane Sandy brought an incredible amount of rarities, including 2 kinds of storm-petrel, Ross's Gull, etc. In my very brief glances at ONTbirds I also saw reports of Glossy Ibis, Pacific Loon, Razorbill, lots of Cave Swallows, etc. So while I missed quite a few potential yearbirds, I picked up 8 and set the record. I now have my sights set on 350!
More details, photos, etc to follow.