Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving in Nipigon

We spent Thanksgiving with friends in Nipigon and enjoyed some great hospitality, a little (salmon) fishing, some birding at Hurkett Cove Conservation Area, and hiking at nearby Ruby Lake Provincial Park. As it has been for weeks, the weather was unseasonably warm.

Shorebirds were scarce, despite the  availability of so much great habitat. At the mouth of the Wolf River we found four Black-bellied Plovers and a lone Wilson's Snipe.

[click on images to enlarge]
Along the road to Hurkett Cove we encountered lots of Rusty Blackbirds, American Robins and Pine Siskins. We also pished up four warblers - Yellow-rumped, Palm, Orange-crowned and Cape May - the last species being somewhat late for our area. Nearby were two Fox Sparrows and a Black-backed Woodpecker.

By late morning a few dragonflies were active. We saw Saffron-winged Meadowhawk in the parking lot and at the edge of the wetland, Black Meadowhawks were ovipositing. As a mosaic darner flew by me I was able to catch it by hand - a feat made possible, not by my cat-like quickness, but rather by the tattered and aged condition on the insect, a female Canada Darner. This is a late date, by more than a month, for the Thunder Bay District.
Next we headed east to Ruby Lake Provincial Park where we hiked up to the spectacular east rim of the diabase cliffs overlooking the lake.

Of interest was the plant community of the cliff edge. The Fragrant Shield Fern (Dryopteris fragrans) was new to me.

Here's our bird tally as processed through eBird.

Hurkett Cove Conservation Area, Thunder Bay, CA-ON
Oct 10, 2011 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
7.0 kilometer(s)
48 species

Canada Goose  35
American Black Duck  1
Mallard  4
Northern Pintail  1
Bufflehead  3
Common Goldeneye  2
Hooded Merganser  1
Common Merganser  25
Ruffed Grouse  1
Common Loon  1
Bald Eagle  1
Black-bellied Plover  2
Wilson's Snipe  1
Bonaparte's Gull  17
Ring-billed Gull  12
Herring Gull  10
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Black-backed Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Gray Jay  4
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  1
Common Raven  6
Black-capped Chickadee  24
Boreal Chickadee  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch  18
Golden-crowned Kinglet  10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  25
American Pipit  2
Cedar Waxwing  10
Lapland Longspur  12
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Cape May Warbler  1     Smudgy HY bird - all field marks seen
Palm Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  13
American Tree Sparrow  6
Savannah Sparrow  4
Fox Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  3
White-throated Sparrow  8
Dark-eyed Junco  18
Rusty Blackbird  65
Purple Finch  2
Pine Siskin  35
American Goldfinch  6

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