After flying from Toronto to Thunder Bay, I picked up one of the rental cars with my co-workers Izabela and Said, and we were on HWY 11 heading west by about 6:00 PM. The drive was largely uneventful for the first hour, though I was happy to see several new birds for my Thunder Bay list since I have only birded in the district in January and April.
Things got interesting as we crossed the county line into the Rainy River District. Just east of kilometre marker 1714, I was very excited to see a Northern Hawk Owl perching on the hydro wire, right near a hydro cut! Not long after there was a nice looking Black-backed Woodpecker working a dead snag. I was really stoked to see the Northern Hawk-owl, as it was the last regular occurring species of owl I need for the year, and total species #314. Unfortunately no time for photos since the lighting was really low, my camera was way in the bottom of the suitcase somewhere in the trunk, and we were in a hurry.
We arrived in Fort Frances just as the sun was setting and checked into the hotel. The first thing I did when I checked into my room was to open the back door (with access right on Rainy Lake, I might add) and scan for birds. I was very happy to see a group of 4 American White Pelicans soar over and land way out on the lake. I know that these birds are common in Rainy River, but nonetheless it will be hard to get used to seeing these massive white birds with orange bills soaring over everywhere!
Tomorrow we start our fieldwork which we will be doing for the next 5 days. I'll try to check in every couple of days and if I have time I'll take a few pictures of interesting species we see.
Hawk-owl is awesome!
The Hawk Owl is obviously a bonus bird for you! I worked at Quetico for two summers and never saw one in Rainy River District or Thunder Bay District during those 2 summers! The only one I have ever seen in Rainy River District was in November.
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