Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Netitishi day 8

Introductory Post
Day 1 and 2 - October 24 and 25, 2013
Day 3 and 4 - October 26 and 27, 2013
Day 5 - October 28, 2013
Day 6 - October 29, 2013
Day 7 - October 30, 2013
Day 8 - October 31, 2013
Day 9 - November 1, 2013
Day 10 and 11 - November 2 and 3, 2013

October 31, 2013
Weather: between 2 and 8 degrees, overcast with some periods of sun, very light west wind and calm at dusk. 
31 species
Ebird checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15560036

I had considered the Netitishi trip a definite success after the Gyrfalcon excitement of yesterday. This morning started calm and cool, though as the day wore on the temperature increased. We hadn't seen much and were back at the cabins having a coffee break around mid-morning. We were sitting in the chairs on the porch of the cabin, when out of the corner of my eye I caught a familiar looking bird coming in for a landing in the marsh. It was a Great Blue Heron! The marsh had been frozen only a few days prior, though it had partly thawed at this point. The heron landed out of sight in the back of the marsh. Here is an aerial of the cabins and the marsh,that Alan took when we were flown in at the start of the trip.

cabins at Netitishi Point - photo by Alan Wormington

I walked behind the cabins around the east end of the marsh looking for the heron. For some reason it was no longer present and must have flown off when I ran to get my camera.

After circling the marsh, I walked back to the cabin and we were sitting there again when I noticed a medium sized bird coming in for a landing. The only medium sized birds that we were seeing regularly were Pine Grosbeaks and the odd American Robin. This bird was a little different, and I realized it was likely a Townsend's Solitaire. I yelled it out to Alan, snapped a few quick photos, and confirmed that it was a solitaire. We both shot a series of photos of it backlit at the far end out of the marsh before it flew down out of site.

Townsend's Solitaire - Netitishi Point

We attempted to relocate the bird by walking around in the spruces near that end of the marsh. After about 15 minutes, I was standing at the far edge of the marsh when I observed a medium-sized bird landing in the top of a spruce near the camp. It was the solitaire again!

Townsend's Solitaire - Netitishi Point

After calling Alan over, we walked towards where the bird had landed. While walking through an area of dense forest, we stopped suddenly when a bird moved really close to the path. It was the bird again!

Townsend's Solitaire - Netitishi Point

This rarity was the first record for all of Cochrane District and the Hudson's Bay lowlands. Just another testament to the potential that exists here at Netitishi.

Townsend's Solitaire - Netitishi Point

After about 15 minutes, the solitaire flew towards the marsh and we lost it.

Townsend's Solitaire - Netitishi Point

The rest of the day was fairly non-eventful bird wise. Both a Black-bellied Plover and American Golden-plover were seen, and some Spruce Grouse were near the camp. The solitaire was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip so far!

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