[Ontbirds] Netitishi Point, James Bay - October 28-November 11

Ken Burrell kenard89 at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 15 22:55:48 EST 2011

Hey Birders,

Brandon Holden, Barb Charlton, Mike Burrell and myself just got back from 2 weeks at Netitishi Point, just east of Moosonee. All the below sightings are from Netitishi Point, unless otherwise stated:

King Eider:
November 3 -- 1 female
November 4 -- 4 females (groups of 1, 1, and 2)

Sharp-tailed Grouse:
October 27 -- 18 flushed by the train on way to Moosonee

Red-throated Loon:
November 9 -- high of 199

Loon spp.:
November 9 -- 3 (all singles) our thought was likely all Pacific, although observations were too distant

Red-necked Grebe: this is considered a rare species in the James Bay region
October 27 -- 1 Moosonee

November 4 -- 2
November 8 -- 1
November 9 -- 8 (groups of 4, 2, 1, and 1)

Horned Grebe: again, this is considered a rare species in the James Bay region
November 10 -- 1
October 31-November 1 -- 1 dark morph juvenile female

November 8 -- 1 gray morph juvenile male

Western Sandpiper:
November 8 -- We had a flock of 8 peeps that were clearly smaller than the numerous Dunlin, White-rumpeds, and Sanderling.  Before we had a good study of them some of them flew off to the east, but we had good looks of at least one of the birds that remained and were able to identify it as a Western.  Presumably the other peeps in this flock were also Westerns.

Purple Sandpiper:
November 3 -- 1
November 6 -- 5
November 8 -- 1

Jaeger spp.:
October 30 -- 1 (too distant to id)

Pomarine Jaeger:
November 9 -- 2 (singles; intermediate morph juvenile and dark morph juvenile)

Black Guillemot:
November 2 - 4 (all singles)
November 4 - 2 (pair)
Snowy Owl:
A total of 32 individuals were seen, birds were seen everyday of the trip, except one (November 3). The high count was 14 birds on November 9th.

Northern Hawk-Owl:
October 27 -- 1 bird seen from the train

We had daily flights of Redpoll flocks coming in off of James Bay.  Based on slight differences in flight calls (backed up by the odd bird that landed and Brandon's excellent in-flight photos) we were able to identify over 300 Hoary Redpolls (about 25% of identified Redpolls). It is likely that we saw several 'Hornemann's'  based mostly on flight shots by Brandon but we had at least one bird we were confident on (that landed long enough for us to study it) on November 2.

We saw several thousand shorebirds throughout our trip, with many species present in high numbers given the late dates for Ontario, let alone James Bay. I've listed the shorebird species we saw throughout the trip (not already listed above), with the high count observed. On our last date at Netitishi there were still 150 White-rumped Sandpipers, 100 Dunlin, and 75 Sanderlings present.

Black-bellied Plover - 30
American Golden-Plover - 1 - November 3 and 9
Semipalmated Plover - 1 - October 29
Killdeer - 2 - October 27 in Cochrane
Greater Yellowlegs - 25
Sanderling - 200
White-rumped Sandpiper - 350

Dunlin - October 1,400
Wilson's Snipe - 1 - seen several times 
Other late dates:
Double-crested Cormorant - 1 - October 29
*Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 1 female in Moosonee on October 28!

Dark-eyed Junco - 1 was present until November 4, before succumbing
American Robin - 1 was present the entire trip, including on our last date (November 11)
Throughout the entire trip, temperatures ranged from -6 to +10 degrees C. Winds were predominantly from the SW, with only one afternoon of sustained N winds (no doubt why we didn't see more pelagics/Fulmars)! We were delayed coming back a day due to a snow storm on November 10th. Shimmer didn't pose a serious problem this trip, likely due to warmer temperatures.  

 We have entered all of our sightings from the trip into ebird (www.ebird.ca) which means that anyone can view them for free.  Here are links to our complete checklists:










Directions: (courtesy of Alan Wormington) Netitishi Point is located 21 miles due east of Moosonee, on James Bay. The point itself is situated on raised beach ridges, which not only protect from high tides.
>From Toronto drive north 400 miles to Cochrane. Get on train to Moosonee, for 186 miles. At Moosonee take a taxi to the Airport. Get on helicopter. Take helicopter 21 due miles east to Netitishi 
Point. Land helicopter. You're there.
Good Birding!
Ken Burrell
Heidelberg, Ontario


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