Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hudson Bay Coast

We finish this series with a few images from the Hudson Bay coast – an area of exceptional interest and beauty and a place of stark contrasts, especially from winter to summer…  compare, for example, these two photos of ice in the bay in late June and then a Whimbrel on lichen-covered rocks in mid July! The landscape changes from black and white to colour and back, seemingly in the blink of an eye!

It is not often I get to see a species of mammal in Manitoba that I have never seen before but this “sik sik”, a.k.a Arctic Ground Squirrel was a first for me. This species reaches the southern limit of their distribution at the north bank of the Seal River and are hence not found in Churchill. They were easy to see around the Seal River Heritage Lodge.

Although always a treat, this year the Beluga put on a particularly excellent show, swimming close to shore on a near daily basis. The following series of four photos shows some of their antics near the surface (the darker animal in the last photo is a youngster) 

Along the coast, one sees lots of Parasitic Jaeger. I found it intriguing that I would see only Long-tailed Jaeger at inland tundra sites, whereas the larger and more robust Parasitic Jaegers dominated the coastal strip. It will be very interesting to see how the distribution of these species falls out when we complete the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas ( You can study the differences between these two species by comparing these photos below with the Long-tailed Jaeger photos in my previous post.

Many waterfowl utilize the coastal strip too – here are a handful: a flock of White-winged Scoters, a female Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Eider with young and a young Northern Pintail

Hope you enjoyed this brief addition to the previous posts of Manitoba’s northern birds!

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