Tuesday 21 May 2013

Wawa to Thunder Bay

Today we spent more time birding the communities along the North shore of Lake Superior and less time on the highway. Much of the coastline here reminds me of Newfoundland. If someone took a picture from one of the bays of Lake Superior I don't think I'd be able to distinguish it from a bay in NL...

One of our first stops was at Pic River, a seemingly abandoned community along a large river. There were plenty of birds at the river mouth. There were hundreds of Dunlin, Horned Larks, American Pipit, and Lapland Longspurs.

In Marathon we walked the railway bed hoping to stir up some interesting sparrows. There were plenty of Savannah Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. We still haven't found a Gambell's White-crowned Sparrow despite scrutinizing about 30% of the White-crowned Sparrows we've been seeing.

A flock of Horned Larks included several Lapland Longspurs, including one male close to full breeding plumage:

A Field Sparrow in Marathon was a good find (apparently) with only 19 previous records in the Northern Ontario region (before 2012)! It was feeding from a lawn, where we watched it for no more than 30 seconds before we lost interest in this common species for Southern Ontario...

I was happier to see this Clay-colored Sparrow even though they're not nearly as rare:

In Terrace Bay a flock of 15 swans turned out to be the least expected species, Mute Swans. Another rarity for Northern Ontario (only 11 records prior to 2012) but a similarly not very exciting find, even though it's a record high for this large region!

It has been raining a lot here over the last few days. Some of the highways have been washed out resulting in closed roads. Luckily we haven't been delayed too much yet. This Bald Eagle didn't seem to be doing very well: