Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Back from the north (long post)

Well, I've been back from the Hudson Bay coast for a few weeks now (I was there June 6-22).  Unfortunately I have been moving to our new place since I have been back so haven't had a lot of time for the blog (or editing photos so I could do a blog post).  Anyways, I am still without internet so I haven't even submitted everything to eBird yet but when I do I will be sure put some links to the more interesting checklists.

The trip was awesome, there was a crew of 8 of us staying at the really sweet Burnt Point research camp.  The camp is about 3km from the coast and about 50 km east of the Winisk River. It is real tundra there so lots of completely new things for me to see!  Most of the study area is wet tundra (basically wet sedge meadows with small moss hummocks) but there are also numerous small ponds, often with small willows and heath-lichen ridges which is more of what I pictured tundra to look like.  As a group we had 87 species over the two weeks in the study area.  The weather was quite cool and windy most days (winter jackets and hats necessary) so insects weren't too exciting (only 2 species of odes) but migrant butterflies had certainly made it there with Red Admirals and both ladies seen regularly. Question Marks had made it to at least Moosonee on June 6 when we stopped to refuel.

The birds were awesome with shorebirds nesting everywhere.  We had about 8-9 nests of Least Sandpiper, Whimbrel and Semipalmated Plover.  Plus a single American Golden-Plover nest and a handful of Killdeer and Snipe plus some other cool stuff like 2 Red-throated and 1 Pacific Loon nests, Parasitic Jaeger nest and lots of Willow Ptarmigan nests!

Anyways, I'll let some photos and video speak for themselves....
Smith's Longspurs were around on the bigger ridges.

Ice was still right to shore when we arrived

White-rumped Sandpipers were still moving through when we arrived

Molt migrant Snow Geese

Caribou were seen basically everyday

Flame-tipped Lousewort

Parasitic Jaeger "nest"

Mama (or Papa?) both adults let us know we weren't welcome

Whimbrel on heath-lichen ridge with flowering Lapland Rosebay

American Golden-plover near nest

Arctic Fritillary, my only lifer butterfly

1 pair of Short-billed Dowitchers was present at the very south end of study area

Arctic Tern colony (18+ adults) at south end of study area

Long-tailed Duck on nest

Me at the coast near the end of the trip

Semipalmated Plover doing a half-hearted broken wing display

Female Willow Ptarmigan

Camp pond at midnight

Frosty Lapland Rosebay

Red-throated Loon on nest

Common Redpoll in birch.  Redpolls were indeed common and I was pretty sure I heard Hoaries once or twice

Northwest end of Akimiski Island, Nunavut.  Check out that ice in the background!

First look at the camp.  Looking north.

Scared up a Compton's Tortoiseshell

First Willow Ptarmigan sighting....!

Hudsonian Godwit at camp pond.  Hard frost that night froze a skim of ice on pond.

The White-crowned Sparrows we saw were quite variable.  From pale-lored individuals like this to completely dark lores.

Painted Lady was probably the most common butterfly I saw

Willow Ptarmigan after dust bath

That's most of it!!!!


  1. How can this be the same province? Breeding Smith's Longspur!?

  2. How exciting! Thank you for sharing the gorgeous photos.