Churchill Travel Diary - p 2|
18 June 2003
Launch Road goes east from Churchill across tundra near Hudson Bay. It's a good place to look for Willow Ptarmigan. Right on cue, here's a male loafing near the road. As their name implies, these chicken-sized birds feast on willow buds and leaves. And like the Pine Grosbeak, they don't mind a little cold weather. Hard to believe, but Churchill is near the southern end of their range -they live as far north as land goes, burrowing into the snow to pass bitterly cold winter nights. The male's guttural alarm call reminds me of the sound made by the Alien in the movie of the same name.
19 June 2003
Be careful what you wish for, they say, it might come true. Today's warm (75 º
F) sunny weather brings hordes of mosquitoes. Even with repellent they are vexing,
constantly hovering and probing for an unprotected spot of skin. The windy tundra at
least provides some relief, where I get a chance at the commonest sparrow here, Savannah
Sparrow. Not bad, but what I really wanted perched on a lichen-covered rock was
Smith's Longspur, another sparrow that sports bright orange and black breeding
plumage. But Smith's is a no-show, and I'll have to be content with Savannah.
In photography as in life, one must often accept whatever opportunity brings.
21 June 2003