The non-Shorebirds that go to Churchill

My previous blog was about the shorebirds in their gorgeous breeding plumage that make their way to Churchill, Manitoba.  But there are plenty of other types of birds and species that travel all the way to Churchill in order to breed.

Many of these birds also “dress up” in order to attract a mate!  Here are some images of these other categories and species of birds I photographed in Churchill.

It was FANTASTIC to see a King Eider because it should not have been there!  When we informed the birding experts at Parks Canada – they sped down to Cape Merry to add it to their Life List.

King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) – Who Should Be Somewhere Else!

The Common Eider looked quite splendid, but not as impressive as the King Eider!

Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) on an Ice floe

There were three species of Loons.  The Common Loon (which is quite rare in Churchill), the Pacific Loon and the Red-throated Loon.

Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) pair showing

Common Loon (Gavia immer) which isn’t common in Churchill

Of course the Arctic Tern, which has the longest migration of any bird – from Antarctica to the Arctic to breed then back again!

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradise) all the way from Antarctica

The American Bittern also comes up to breed.

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

The Horned Grebes looked most impressive in their breeding plumage.

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) puffed up a little

There was an abundance of Yellow Warblers, but they just keep jumping around in the grasses, reeds and bushes, making it difficult to shoot one!

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) jumping non-stop in the grasses

The Ptarmigan, an upland game bird, is pure white in the winter (perfect Arctic camouflage) but the male is in his breeding plumage and the female expertly camouflaged for the Tundra.

Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) male in breeding plumage, nice red combs!

Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) female in breeding plumage – perfect camouflage

I managed to photograph the non-shorebirds on the following list:

  1. Gruiformes
    • Sandhill Crane  (Grus canadensis)
  2. Gulls, Terns and Skimmers
    • Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
    • Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephia)
    • Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
    • Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
    • Sabine’s Gull (Xema sabini)
  3. Icterids
    • Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)
  4. Jaegers & Skuas
    • Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)
  5. Loons
    • Common Loon (Gavia immer)
    • Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica)
    • Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata)
  6. Raptors
    • Red-tailed Hawk (Bueto jamaicensis)
  7. Sparrows
    • Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
    • White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leugophrys)
  8. Swallows
    • Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
  9. Swans, Ducks and Geese
    • Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
    • Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
    • Canada Goose (Branta canadersis)
    • Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)
    • Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
    • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
    • Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)
    • White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca)
    • Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
    • Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
    • American Wigeon (Anas americana)
    • Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
    • Common Eider (Somateria mollissima)
    • King Eider (Somateria spectabilis)
    • Common Goldeneye (Somateria mollissima)
    • Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
    • Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)
    • Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrated)
    • Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
  10. Upland Game Birds
    • Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)
  11. Wading Birds
    • American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
  12. Wood-Warblers
    • Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)

Gear: Nikon D4s; Nikkor 600.0mm f/4 VR II, Nikkor TC-17 EII, RRS Tripod & Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

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