NWT Big Day - PART 4

We arrived at Hay River just before noon, with a great total of 103 species! Our first stop was the Nuisance Grounds (the local name for the town dump!). Here we tallied four gull species, and our what was certainly our rarest bird of the day - a flyover AMERICAN GOLDFINCH! This is certainly one of the few, if only, records for the NWT!! The nearest eBird observation is nearly 800 km to the south and the NWT bird list does not include this species.

Our real target in Hay River was the mouth of the river, where it empties into Great Slave Lake. When scouting there was still lots of ice here and we were hoping that some still remained. Ice is often a magnet to north bound migrants. When we arrived at our first view point we could see a large floe of ice to the west so we quickly moved there. Next began an amazing string of new birds for the day as flocks of shorebirds dropped in to the ice edge, along with loons, gulls and terns, and many waterfowl feeding busily along this area. We added 31 species in just two hours of scanning this area! Conditions were perfect, though it was extremely cold with a light wind off Great Slave Lake. Highlights of the birds here included RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (10), STILT SANDPIPER (5), SANDERLING (10), WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (2), and EARED GREBE (1). The last species is quite rare in the NWT. Below are some pics of these same species taken in the days before while we were driving through Alberta.


 STILT SANDPIPER in breeding plumage

 SANDERLING in breeding plumage


EARED GREBE displaying in full breeding plumage!

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