Monday 23 November 2015

October 6 - Thunder Bay to Rossport

October 1-2, 2015 - Niagara-on-the-Lake to Marathon
October 3, 2015 - Marathon to Rossport
October 4, 2015 - Rossport to Hurkett Cove
October 5, 2015 - Sibley Peninsula to Thunder Bay
October 6, 2015 - Thunder Bay to Rossport
October 7, 2015 - Rossport to Wawa
October 8, 2015 - Wawa to Manitoulin Island
October 9, 2015 - Nelson's Sparrow in Oliphant
October 9-10, 2015 - Manitoulin Island to Tobermory, Tobermory to Niagara-on-the-Lake

This is a trip report from my 10-day drive along the north shore of Lake Superior from October 1 to 10, 2015. I began in Sault Ste Marie and worked my way north and west to Thunder Bay, before retracing my steps back south towards Sault Ste. Marie. From I there I headed then south through Manitoulin Island, across to Tobermory, and south through southern Ontario to get back home to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The links above will bring you to that particular day of the trip. Any links in the text below brings you to the eBird checklist corresponding with that location.


Mission Island was my goal for October 6, potentially my last shot at Harris's Sparrow. I had never visited this place before and though there were no recent birding reports, visiting an area for the first time is always fun.

It was a perfect autumn day - cool in the morning, but sunny and calm with the temperatures picking up as the morning went on. Driving some of the roads, I encountered some of the usual suspects including Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers, a half dozen sparrow species, the odd kinglet, Pine Siskins, and a range of other relatively common species. This buck was quite tame, feasting on some rotten apples that presumably someone had left out for it.

White-tailed Deer - Mission Island, Thunder Bay

White-tailed Deer - Mission Island, Thunder Bay

White-tailed Deer - Mission Island, Thunder Bay

Near the northeast corner of the island I got out of my car to stretch my legs and search for landbirds, and immediately came across several White-crowned Sparrows. Travelling with them was a single Harris's Sparrow! I was pretty surprised to actually find one here on my last day in Thunder Bay. This was my 13th sparrow species of the trip. As I had never photographed Harris's Sparrows before, I took the opportunity to grab a few shots as it perched in a nearby shrub.

Harris's Sparrow - Mission Island, Thunder Bay

Harris's Sparrow - Mission Island, Thunder Bay
Later in the morning I birded some areas to the west of Thunder Bay, coming across an Eastern Phoebe in the Slate River Valley but not much else of interest. I continued on to the east to begin the long drive back home. Since Silver Islet had been so productive a few days earlier I stopped in once again to check out the situation. This time the birding was considerably less active, with no sign of any of the late warblers or really anything else of interest. Sparrow numbers were much reduced as well.

View near Silver Islet

That evening I drove as far as Rossport before calling it a day. I camped out in the same spot that I had found a few evenings earlier in the trip, setting up my tent right along the beach.


Allen Woodliffe said...

Congratulations on finding such a cooperative Harris's Sparrow in such good light!

Josh Vandermeulen said...

Thanks, Allen!