A couple weeks ago my dad and I had the glorious opportunity of visiting Churchill, Manitoba for a week. This Canadian birding gem is located on the Hudson Bay and combines a large variety of habitats that makes it uniquely full of birds. Throughout our week we not only saw new species we’d never encountered before, but we experienced things I never thought would happen. Churchill was an excellent trip so of course I made a big trip report about it. The full report is accessible on my blog (petesbirdblog.wordpress.com) but if you would like to begin reading part 1 of 4 click here.
There are a lot of places to bird in Churchill, but most of them require driving down some long and bumpy roads into the spruce forests or deeper out to the wet arctic tundra. In our travels we had excellent views of all sorts of shorebirds such as Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, Lesser Yellowlegs and Short-billed Dowitcher; all of which nest in these areas. The waterfowl diversity is incredible in the tundra, and it is augmented by the nearby Churchill River which houses hundreds of eiders, scoters and mergansers. Gulls such as Bonaparte’s, Ring-billed, Herring, Little and even Ross’s can be found in Churchill as well. Arctic Terns are everywhere in the tundra, and are not afraid to make their presence known. As far as passerines go, you may still see Yellow Warblers and Swamp Sparrows in Churchill, but White-crowned Sparrow and Common Redpoll are more common than anything else.
As you travel south from Churchill you pass the treeline and enter the spruce forests that cover all of northern Manitoba. I have birded spruce bogs before, but I have never seen species such as Fox Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pine Grosbeak and Bohemian Waxwing on their nesting grounds. Birds like Red-winged Blackbird and Black-capped Chickadee are replaced by their Rusty and Boreal counterparts, while the sparrow diversity is magnificent – we tallied ten species over the course of the trip including Nelson’s and Lincoln’s. As a little sneak peek, I’ve also included some wonderful photos my dad took of some of Churchill’s amazing birdlife. These are the pictures that just missed the cut for the TR so you won’t see these anywhere else!
In other news, our monthly club trip will be next Saturday! We will be traveling down to New York to visit the lovely shorebird diversity of Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Shorebird migration is just beginning, but it’s already heated up. I’m sure we will catch large numbers of all sorts of shorebirds, and the possibility of uncommon shorebirds such as Stilt Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper or even a Ruff is always there. We are excited to get back on track with club trips with this exciting adventure!