Monday, 16 September 2013

Back from Nova Scotia and an upcoming rarity-hunting trip!

On Saturday night I returned from a 6 day trip to Nova Scotia with Laura. She has family out there, and it has become a tradition of mine to go out there for a week or so every year around this time! We didn't get out for any birding this trip, though I did see some Northern Fulmars from shore on my first day there, when we visited a little harbour on the Bay of Fundy. Here is the only other fulmar I've seen in Nova Scotia - from early September, 2011.

It has also been a tradition over the last couple of years that whenever I go on my late summer trip to Nova Scotia, a first for Canada shows up! Last autumn it was the Kelp Gull found by Alan Wormington, and this autumn it was the Brown-chested Martin found by Brandon Holden. What will it be next year???


Now that I am back in the province, I'm really starting to look forward to a trip that is in the works. Next week, I leave with Alan Wormington and Jeremy Bensette on a week long rarity blitz of northern Ontario. Our general plan is to spend 4 days/3 nights in Moosonee, with a day or two on either side to check out some rarity hotspots (such as hydroelectric dams and small towns) on the way to and from Moosonee. We will be following essentially the same route that Alan, Mark Jennings, and I went on last year, and it will be nearly the same dates as well. Last year it was a phenomenal trip and here were a few highlights:

Nelson's Sparrows at the Powassan lagoons
-one of few records for Parry Sound District

Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the North Bay landfill
-ditto, except Nipissing District

Lesser Black-backed Gull - North Bay landfill

Northern Hawk Owl from the train to Moosonee (Mark only)

Other northern birds such as Le Conte's Sparrows, finches, Gray Jays, Spruce Grouse, etc

Spruce Grouse - road to Abitibi dam

Canvasback in Moosonee (twitched)
-only about the 3rd record for southern James Bay I believe

Canvasback (lower right) - Moosonee, ON

Harlan's Hawk in Moosonee
-first record for northern Ontario, and 2nd accepted record for Ontario
-there have been a couple of other records, but they haven't been reviewed by the OBRC

Harlan's Hawk - Moosonee, ON

Carolina Wren in Moosonee
-first record for the Hudson Bay lowlands, and possibly the most northerly record of this species ever
-identified by song, and later photographed

Carolina Wren - Moosonee, ON

Indigo Bunting at the Moosonee sewage lagoons
-another local rarity: perhaps a half dozen previous records for southern James Bay

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Kapuskasing
-second record for Cochrane District
-expertly spotted by Alan while we were traveling 110 km/h along the highway

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Fauquier, ON

Mew Gull in Sault Ste. Marie
-twitched on the way home!

As you can see this part of Ontario is a magnet for rarities, especially during the "magic window" of mid September to mid October. I've created a list of target species for me this trip that I think have the potential to show up in the Moosonee area in late September/early October! Obviously, we probably won't see any of these but maybe we will get lucky and one of these species will be found!

-Northern Wheatear
-Sage Thrasher
-Say's Phoebe
-rare empid (Dusky Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher, Western Wood-pewee etc)
-Mountain Bluebird
-Prairie Falcon (just maybe the one seen this summer along the coast decides to spend time in town)
-Black-throated Gray Warbler
-Ross's Gull
-Lark Bunting
-southern warbler (Prothonotary, Hooded, Worm-eating etc)

1 comment:

  1. Northern Wheatear -- better than 50/50 chance on this trip.

    Scissor-tailed Flycatcher -- probably the most overdue species for the Moosonee-Moose Factory (Southern James Bay) Checklist Area.

    Cassin's Sparrow -- for some reason I can't get this species out of my head.