The ugly weather that has been forecast over the past couple of days failed to materialize and I have been taking full advantage of , walking around all over looking for nests. Yesterday, the cloud drifted off and the afternoon was clear, sunny and almost hot. This brought out a number of insects. I was watching a pair of Snow Buntings “hawking” insects (i.e., flying up and catching them on the wing) when I noticed a much smaller bird doing the same right with them. MUCH to my surprise it was a Yellow-rumped Warbler!. What the heck is it doing here!? And what route did it take to end up in this part of the world?
The Northern Wheatear is a wondrous story: breeding in Arctic Canada and wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. So I’m always on the lookout for them and for their nests. I was sitting on top of some rocks taking a break when a female wheatear popped up out of nowhere and began to fly around – not away. “Hmmmmm” says I, “I’ll bet there’s a nest nearby” And sure enough there was, almost right under me.
Not much further on I watched a pair of Snow Buntings foraging on a sunny slope when suddenly the female took off with the mate-guarding male in hot pursuit. She flew over 200 meters but ended up entering a big crack in the rock. A careful examination turned up a nest. I’ve noticed that the buntings here often go long distances to feed. When you’re hunting for nests this can be pretty frustrating as you often lose sight of them during their flight.
There are some absolutley fantastic murals decorating some of the walls in Iqaluit. Here’s another. Imagine the pictures that are running here from top to bottom going from left to right and you’ll get thepicture.
One of the local Environmental Technology students, Steven Lonsdale, sent me these great shots of a Rock Ptarmigan that he took:
Just some nice shots: