Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pukaskwa: hike to Playter Harbour

We parked at the locked gate at the end of the Hwy 627 and walked to Playter Harbour, a round trip of about 13 km. What a great day - sunny and warm and the only other tracks in the snow on the coastal trail were those of grouse, lynx, pine marten, moose and varying hare.

In the frozen swampy backwater of Hattie Cove we heard the unfamiliar, strident calls of an unseen bird. When we next heard short thrasher-like song phrases we suspected Northern Shrike and sure enough, the bird flew into view and perched for a minute before disappearing.

Before we reached the ever-lovely campsite at Playter harbour, we watched a courtship flight of a pair of Bald Eagles over the treetops inland from Pulpwood Bay. This may have been the pair that has been nesting each summer high up in an aspen about 1 km away beside Hattie Cove.

Here's the bird count for the day:

Spruce Grouse
Bald Eagle (2)
Herring Gull (2)
Downy Woodpecker (9)
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Shrike (1)
Gray Jay (3)
Common Raven (2)
Black-capped Chickadee (3)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (4)
Pine Grosbeak (2)
Common Redpoll (1)

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