Friday, 27 September 2013

Days 1 and 2 of the Moosonee trip

Two days have passed and now Alan Wormington, Jeremy Bensette, and I are sitting in a hotel room in Moosonee with 5 more days of birding ahead of us. A quick synapsis of the past two days:

Yesterday, Alan and Jeremy picked me up around 3 AM and we were on our way. We made a few stops, and didn't see a whole lot!

Jeremy trespassed a fair bit...

We saw 31 American Golden-plovers at the Powassan lagoons, a group flying over. Near the Callandar lagoons were 2 Green Herons, a relatively north location for that species. Other than that, it was pretty much the usual species at all the spots we checked! We did see a Black-backed Woodpecker in an area of dead spruce trees near Marten River, Jeremy's first. The weather was hot and sunny and birds were essentially absent from most places we checked though, unfortunately. We ended up in Cochrane to spend the night.

This morning we drove some roads north of Smooth Rock Falls before catching the Polar Bear Express in Fraserdale. We were hoping to get Jeremy some lifers, and it wasn't long before we had less than satisfying looks at Gray Jays flying over the highway - the first lifer of the day for Jeremy! Finally, as the temperature crept above 4 degrees Celcius we came across a familiar black lump on the edge of the road - a Spruce Grouse (lifer #3 for Jeremy). With the cooler autumn temperatures, male Spruce Grouses get the urge to reproduce and will display frequently for the females who are often much less interested. Its quite an elaborate plumage and display this little chicken has!

Spruce Grouses ended up being abundant on the roads with a total of 13 seen! Mixed in were 4 Ruffed Grouses.

Female Spruce Grouses, while not having the gaudy red eye-combs or orange and black tail of the male, are subtlely beautiful with intricate patterns. I'll have more photos of these in a future post.

While driving backroads looking for grouses, we came across this mural painted on the wall of a local shack. Apparently the owner has a bone to pick with someone...

I'll end the post on that note...

More to come!

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