Tuesday 13 October 2020

A Weekend Drive to Timmins and Back

This past week I had a few days free to do a road trip. Originally, my plan had been to turn my car southwest and visit Point Pelee National Park and adjacent areas in search of birds and rare butterflies with perhaps some late-season mothing thrown in. However, in the days preceding my departure, I was also keeping an eye on a Rare Bird Situation that was happening in South Porcupine, near Timmins, Ontario. Back on September 18, local birder extraordinaire Roxane Filion discovered a Northern Wheatear in a park next to picturesque Porcupine Lake. Most Ontario records of Northern Wheatears consist of "one-day-wonders", though some individuals have stuck around for as long as a week. Regardless, I was not expecting this particular wheatear to remain in South Porcupine long enough until the time commenced for my road trip. But, I was wrong. Each day Roxane confirmed that the wheatear was still present and slowly becoming a local celebrity in South Porcupine. On Thursday morning, the day I was to leave on my road trip, Roxane messaged me that the wheatear was still present. And so my decision was made. 

I motored through the GTA with hardly any traffic slowing me down and began heading north. The trees were vibrant with their reds, yellows and oranges contrasting beautifully with the blue sky. I refrained from making any birding stops along the way, since I wanted to arrive at South Porcupine with plenty of daylight left to search for the rare Arctic songbird. Once I passed North Bay the highway was largely devoid of traffic. I love Northern Ontario in the autumn!

Autumn colour near North Bay

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