Tuesday 5 November 2013

Netitishi Days 1 and 2

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 24, 2013
Weather: between -3 and 3 Celsius, overcast with brief periods of sun, winds WNW 20-40 km/h.
37 species
Ebird checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15555364

We were finally able to get out of the coast after being stuck in Moosonee for two extra nights. There was just enough of a break in the weather for us to fly, and by mid morning we were on the coast for the first time in a year.

After setting up camp, we headed to the coast and watched a decent flight of waterbirds including 3500 Brant, Long-tailed Ducks, scoters, several puddle ducks, and one relatively rare bird in a Horned Grebe. Out of the several thousand Dunlin, we also saw several Black-bellied Plovers including an adult in mostly full breeding plumage!

Black-bellied Plover - Netitishi Point

It certainly continued to feel like the autumn of the Pectoral, as we saw several juveniles out near the creek west of the point ("the lagoon"). I had previously seen Pectorals on several of my stops on the drive to Cochrane, and we had seen some in Moosonee as well.

Pectoral Sandpiper - Netitishi Point

Our first Thayer's Gull was seen, and I also had an interesting gull flying west along the shore. It had the right mantle shade for a California Gull (slightly darker than the nearby Ring-billed Gulls) and appeared the right size. I thought I could see red on the bill but wasn't sure, and the bird was soon to the west and out of view. Hard to say for sure what it was!

We finished before dusk, made up camp and cooked a sphaghetti dinner on the one-burner. We were excited for our first full day of seawatching...

October 25, 2013
Weather: between 3 and -4 Celsius, mostly overcast with several snow flurries, winds WNW to SW 10-30 km/h.
Ebird checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15555539

The wind was still southwest, preventing ducks from migrating past, visible from Netitishi. Numbers of waterbirds were disappointing, but we did have several interesting birds including a juvenile Goshawk soaring overhead. We ended up seeing the goshawk almost daily throughout the course of the trip, sometimes at very close range. Most of the looks were brief, of a big brown and white bird flying past us into a stand of spruce trees chasing a bird.

Northern Goshawk - Netitishi Point

At one point we noticed a dark bird flapping along way out over the bay. It took us a few seconds to figure out what it was, but it was finally obvious that it was a Short-eared Owl, flying with a distinctive, erratic flight. This was the first one I had ever seen in Cochrane District.

I chased some Sanderlings, Black-bellied Plovers, and Dunlins around in the afternoon at the lagoon.

Sanderling - Netitishi Point

Another interesting sighting was watching a Northern Shrike and Red Squirrel interact. The squirrel was on the ground, and the Shrike was only a few feet above it, sitting in a tree. Every time that the squirrel moved, the shrike would follow. It almost seemed like it was playing a game with it, but there was probably a reason for the behavior.

That night, two Great Horned Owls were hooting in the woods near the cabins as we sat around the campfire while the temperature dropped. It had been a good two days, even without any rarities. There were still 9 days in the trip left!

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