Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Netitishi day one - Moosonee edition

So day one at Netitshi has come...the trouble is, the weather is great for finding rarities at the coast, but poor for flying helicopters. As a result, we are stuck in Moosonee for another day waiting for the weather to sort its shit out.

This is an exact repeat of last year. The only difference: last year we were delayed because of a fog bank. This year we are delayed because of freezing rain, strong winds, a low cloud ceiling, and of course, the fog bank over the bay. The chances of us getting out tomorrow aren't looking great either.

Birds are few and far between here in Moosonee this time of year. The only migrant songbirds in town that we found included American Tree Sparrows and the odd American Robin. Dark-eyed Juncos, a familiar winter species to many people in southern Ontario, are nowhere to be found up here having already completed their autumn migration through the area.

Oh and the other migrant species around is Barn Swallow.

Barn Swallow - Moosonee (Oct 22, 2013)

Around lunchtime as we were waiting around in the lounge at the Polar Bear Lodge a small bird zipped on by. It was a Barn Swallow! We ran outside and watched it scouring the edges of the buildings along the waterfront, hoping to find something to eat.

This was a strange record to say the least! Later on in the afternoon I was standing at the waterfront scanning the ducks and shorebirds when I noticed the swallow coming on by again. It was looking cold and grumpy, trying to gain warmth from the side of a building.

Barn Swallow - Moosonee (Oct 22, 2013)

Barn Swallow - Moosonee (Oct 22, 2013)

This was a very bizarre record. Barn Swallows have already finished their migration out of Ontario with the bulk of the birds having left by mid to late September. The latest record for the southern James Bay region is October 2, where both a Barn Swallow and a Cliff Swallow were seen. For this far north those are pretty notable records. So to get one on October 22 is just insane! It is surprising that this swallow has survived this long, as they have high metabolisms and require a lot of insects to eat. Last night was around 0 degrees Celsius with strong (cold!) winds and freezing rain.

Barn Swallow - Moosonee (Oct 22, 2013)

We have seen the swallow at least 4 times this afternoon making the rounds. It seems to know what it's doing with its foraging methods but that will only work for so long until the temperatures get too cold.

Other interesting birds in town include quite a few Pectoral Sandpipers. Last year we did not see any on the Netitishi trip, yet this year I've seen them at nearly every single stop on the way up. We came across at least five Pectoral Sandpipers including this individual on someone's lawn. Anyways, hopefully the weather clears up soon and we can get out of here.

Pectoral Sandpiper - Moosonee (Oct 22, 2013)

1 comment:

  1. That Barn Swallow is probably hanging on by a thread and is likely going to die if it doesn't migrate very soon. Perhaps it was injured in some way.