Monday, 18 July 2016

Churchill, Manitoba - day two...a haven for wildlife.

Day two in Churchill and I got up at 5am to a howling cold NW wind and a series of heavy showers that thundered rapidly through the town only to vanish as quickly as they'd arrived. It was so cool that a thoughtful member of staff had risen even earlier to get the wood stove burning. We were supposed to be snorkelling with Belugas at 6am but the water was too choppy and the event was cancelled. As I was already up and ready to go I decided to head out for a walk around town. When heading off on your own you have to remain vigilant. At this time of year the Polar Bears are leaving the rapidly shrinking ice sheets in the Hudson Bay to swim ashore and wait for the big freeze in October/November. This means they can turn up just about anywhere, so you have to keep an eye open, stay away from longer vegetation and plan your escape route as you walk. With this in mind I set off to take a look at couple of small ponds I'd noticed while out on the Churchill city tour yesterday and they proved to be worth the walk.

Yellow Warbler by Lazy Bear Lodge: R Harris 
Ring - billed Gull, Churchill MB
The Hudson Bay, looking very cold!
Drake Surf Scoter, Churchill: R Harris 
American Wigeon,  female with young.
Arctic Tern: R Harris
As well as a smart drake Surf Scoter and nesting Arctic Terns the ponds also held a smart but more distant Lesser Yellowlegs, 6 Greater Scaup, Savannah Sparrow and a Red-necked Phalarope. Not bad considering their small size. I then continued my walk around the town perimeter and saw this lovely young American Robin, several White-crowned Sparrows and a host of other Common species.
American Robin,juvenile: R Harris
White-crowned Sparrow: R Harris
Later I was heading out on a Hudson Bay coastal tour so decided it was time to head back to the Lodge, grab lunch and layer - up. The clouds were gathering once more and the wind was still blowing hard...

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