Thursday, July 05, 2012

Rainy River Lists

A'ight, everyone.

I'm finally getting around to sharing my complete lists for the trip to Rainy River that Mark Field and I took.

We left on June 6th from Toronto and returned on the 11th.

Here is our rough itinerary:

We first drove to Keswick to get a Cattle Egret, which Mark needed for his year list. Success. We then drove the 400 north, which eventually turns into 69, the Trans-Canada-Highway. This we followed through Sudbury and eventually ended the day at Pumpkin Point Marsh, Sault Ste. Marie. We camped over night in the Sault and then got back on the Trans-Canada (here the 17). We drove to Thunder Bay, that night camping once again on Everard Road. The following day we finished the drive to Rainy River along the Trans-Canada (here it's 11). We stayed in Rainy River until the 11th. During our stay, we visited most hotspots in the area, camped at Harris Hill Resort, and on one night, visited Baudette, Minnesota, to have dinner. This wasn't our only travel into the U.S. We decided to drive back through Michigan to get back to Southern Ontario. We stayed a night in Wawa before this drive. We took the 75 to the breeding grounds of the Kirtland's Warbler near Gaylord, Michigan, then continued driving down to Highway 69, taking this east to Sarnia. We stayed at Walpole Island that night and on our last day, traveled south to visit my family in Leamington, visited the Onion Fields and Hillman Marsh for Dickcissel, and then drove north on the 401 to get back to Toronto. An amazing cross-province trip.

Birding hotspots visited (from start of trip to finish):

Pumpkin Point Marsh, Sault Ste. Marie
- highlight included the first record of a Common Gallinule for the Sault Ste. Marie birding area, which Mark iPhone-scoped a photo of. We were very proud of this record. Here we ran into Tyler Hoar who gave us many helpful tips for the area as well as what we could expect in our visit to Rainy River.

Echo Bay, Sault Ste. Marie
- highlight was 43 Black Terns.

Lake Superior Provincial Park
- a short visit only. Did not enter the gates. 

Wawa Sewage Lagoons, Wawa
- We visited this location twice, once at the beginning of the trip and once more at the end of the trip (and camped nearby). Highlights were a hunting Bald Eagle over the ponds, our first Northern River Otters for the trip (2nd visit), our first-of-year Eared Grebe (OBRC-report submitted, 2nd visit), Lesser Scaup in numbers, and our first Common Goldeneye chicks, which are adorable. Tyler had warned us we would be sick of them by the end of the trip.

Everard Road/Black Bay Fen, Thunder Bay County
- highlight was a good selection of breeding warblers, including many Mourning Warblers singing, and our only Gray Jay on the trip (a juvenile, which neither of us had seen before...lifer plumage!). It was here that we encountered the worst of the mosquitoes on the trip at the end of Everard Road where the Black Bay Fen begins. We could not stay in the area long. We tried for owls here but to no avail. Earlier in the year, however, we did get Sharp-tailed Grouse at this location on our first trip to Thunder Bay with Andrew Keaveney.

Rainy River Sewage Lagoons
- highlights included 3 Wilson's Phalarope, many American White Pelicans, and Marbled Godwit. We tried this hotspot many times for Eared Grebe but the individual in Wawa was our only sighting.

Emo Sewage Lagoons, Rainy River
- highlights included a Sora collecting nesting material giving excellent views, Ruddy Duck, 1 Yellow-headed Blackbird male, and a wide selection of waterfowl.

Fred's Road Marsh, Rainy River
- the best spot to listen for Yellow Rail, which we did not hear anywhere we visited during the trip. This was by far our biggest miss and the species we put in the most effort for. However, we did hear Le Conte's Sparrow here and it was quite a journey to throw on boots and wade out into the middle of the marsh. A tough but worthwhile experience as it was quite dramatic with a thunder storm rolling in and seeing lightning in the distance.

Harris Hill Resort/Windy Point
- a wonderful place to camp and very helpful staff. Highlights here were many but the best was my lifer Franklin's Gull, some of the first individuals to return in 2012. We had planned to take a boat out to get a closer look but weather and time did not permit.

Wilson Creek Road, Rainy River
- we tried here a few times for Eared Grebe but highlights ended up being Yellow-throated Vireo and Red-bellied Woodpecker, our only occurrences of each species on the trip. 

Hurkett Cove Conservation Area
- not too much around but we did get a single Tundra Swan at this location, our only one for the trip.  

Pukaskwa National Park, Thunder Bay County
- a beautiful national park that we spent a decent amount of time in, taking in the incredible scenery while searching for Black-backed or Three-toed Woodpeckers, and Spruce Grouse. We didn't get any of those species but we did luck out with a Lesser Black-backed Gull (OBRC report being written), as well as our first Black Bear. Just outside the park we had our only Moose on the trip, a huge male. 

Aguasabon Gorge, Thunder Bay County
- an absolutely gorgeous waterfall off the Trans-Canada. Well worth the visit. Not too much in the way of birds but some of the most dramatic landscape we saw on the trip.

Guide's Rest, Michigan, United States
- it was an absolute wonder to be able to visit the last remaining stronghold of the Kirtland's Warbler on their breeding grounds. To see a male singing was unbelievably special and although these birds didn't count for my big year, it was a pleasure to see and hear them. 

Walpole Island
- we tried Walpole for King Rail but did not have any luck. We did, however, get Least Bittern here, our only one for the trip. 

Our final hotspots we visited were the Onion Fields, Leamington, Hillman Marsh Conservation Area, and Blenheim Sewage Lagoons.

The Trip List:

Thanks to Mark for putting this together.

Species in italics were not seen within Rainy River County.
Bolded species were lifers

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Tundra Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Ruffed Grouse
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
American Bittern
Least Bittern

Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron

Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Virginia Rail

Common Gallinule
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Spotted Sandpiper
Marbled Godwit
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
American Woodcock
Wilson's Phalarope
Bonaparte's Gull
Franklin's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull

Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Common Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Alder Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Gray Jay
Blue Jay
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Winter Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Kirtland's Warbler
Magnolia Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Pine Warbler 
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow 
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Le Conte's Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Total Species in Rainy River County: 121 (from 3,181 individual birds counted)
Total Species on Trip: 157 (5,165 individual birds counted)

We submitted 35 checklists from Rainy River to eBird and 75 lists from the overall trip.

United States List (includes Minnesota and Michigan)

Common Goldeneye
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
Turkey Vulture
American Kestrel
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull

Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Northern Flicker
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Nashville Warbler
Kirtland's Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Sparrow

Total: 38

Mammal List 

Black Bear
White-tailed Deer
North American Porcupine
Red Fox
American Beaver
Common Muskrat
Snowshoe Hare
Eastern Chipmunk
Red Squirrel
Striped Skunk
Northern Raccoon
Northern River Otter

bat sp.
rabbit sp.

Butterfly list to come.


Tyler said...

You forgot Otter on your mammals
"Aguasabon Gorge, Thunder Bay County
- an absolutely gorgeous waterfowl off the Trans-Canada"

proves you were solely focussed on birds

Cheers nice read

Jeremy Hatt said...

haha thanks for the "waterfowl" catch. That was an embarrassing one!