Friday 8 November 2013

Netitishi Day 5

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 28, 2013
Weather: between -2 and -10, mostly overcast with no precipitation, winds NW to WSW, 30-60 km/h
38 species
Ebird checklist:

We finally received the winds we were hoping for! The wind began in the morning out of the NW at a moderate strength and continued to increase in velocity throughout the day, shifting more to the WSW. Northwest winds have a history of producing good birds at Netitishi, and the only bird of the trip that was rare enough to require documentation to the Ontario Bird Record Committee was seen on this day!

First off, here is a photo of Alan seawatching by the coast. This photo was actually taken on the 26th, during a nice calm warm day.

Alan looking for shorebirds

With the winds a-howlin' though today, sitting out in the open like that simply wasn't possible and so we nestled back further in the spruces, partially sheltered by the wind. Alan took it upon himself to begin construction of a new wind shelter.

With the northwest winds, the waterfowl were flying and a good variety was seen. We had 4 new waterfowl species for the trip list - American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, and the highlight - a Harlequin Duck!

Alan first spotted the bird as it cruised by heading the wrong way (east to west) right at the tide line. It was a sub-adult male, and I decided to forgo attempting shitty record shots of the bird in favour of zooming in to 60x with my scope and having a nice, satisfying look. 15 seconds later, the bird was gone, out of view to the west. Things happen quickly at Netitishi.

There are three previous records of Harlequin Duck for Cochrane District, though two of those were birds that Alan and I saw on last year's trip. Interestingly enough, both of those birds were also flying by at very close range. One bird nearly flew right into the shelter! We could have had Harlequin Duck for dinner.

Other waterbird highlights for today included 700 Mallards, 1100 Northern Pintails, 400 American Black Ducks, 1500 Brants, a Purple Sandpiper, and 2 Hudsonian Godwits.

Last year around the same time, we had similar conditions which instigated a gigantic waterbird flight. It was the most exciting day I have spent sea or lake-watching ever, and this is what we saw.We hardly left the coast for even a coffee break, instead staring through our scopes from dawn til dusk (For those of you not inclined to click the link, we had 24,100 Brant, 6,600 Northern Pintail, and huge numbers of other ducks. Oh yeah, and a fulmar).

So while the waterbird flight was the best we had seen all trip, it was a far cry from the goodies of yesteryear. Maybe most of the waterfowl had already left? Maybe the conditions were such that waterbirds were leaving the bay gradually this year, and not in one big push like last year?

The big story of the day was one little Red Fox that appeared while we were sitting there, scanning the coast.

Red Fox - Netitishi Point

On the 2011 autumn Netitishi trip, the crew befriended and over the coarse of a few days tamed a Red Fox. Foxy was nowhere to be seen during our trip last year, but this year Foxy (or Foxy II) was around! Many more photos to come, but here is a teaser...

Red Fox - Netitishi Point

No comments: