Birder's Guide

MAR 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Nunavut's Cambridge Bay 16 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2014 and Red-throated Loon. The mating antics of the eiders, especially, are a spectacle. Pacifc and Yellow-billed loons nest along the shorelines or on small islands in the larger ponds, and Brant, Glaucous, and Sabine's gulls, and Arctic Tern inhabit those same islands. In the wet, grassy tundra and along the edges of small ponds, you may fnd breed- ing species such as Willow Ptarmigan, Sandhill Crane, White-rumped, Pectoral, and Stilt sandpipers, Red and Red-necked phalaropes, and Short-eared Owl. If dwarf willow is present, Common and Hoary redpolls may be around. The upland areas of heath-lichen provide nesting habitat for Greater White-fronted Goose, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden-Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Semi- palmated and Buff-breasted sandpipers, Parasitic Jaeger, Horned Lark, and Lapland Longspur. On the eskers and boulder-strewn ridges, you can fnd a variety of nesting species: Rough-legged Hawk, Rock Ptar- migan, Semipalmated Plover, Baird's Sand- piper, Pomarine and Long-tailed jaegers, Snowy Owl, and Snow Bunting. Gyrfalcon and Thayer's Gull are found along the bay coast fairly regularly, and I have seen some rare visitors there, such as Slaty-backed and Ross's gulls. The coast west of the hamlet is also an ideal area to view ringed seals. During periods of high lemming popula- tions, certain bird species seem to explode in numbers. It was during one such year (1996) that I counted six nests of Rough- legged Hawk, 18 nests of Pomarine Jae- ger, and 16 nests of Snowy Owl on slight mounds right along or within sight of the roadway. If you have ever contemplated a trip to the Arctic, what are you waiting for? Why not investigate some destinations like Bathurst Inlet, Pond Inlet, and, yes, Cambridge Bay? Tour groups go to these locations every year. I would recommend Eagle-Eye Tours , or you can head out on your own if you are adventurous. Getting there Using Edmonton, Alberta as a base, you can connect on fights to Cambridge Bay via Ca- nadian North or First Air. Most internation- al carriers using Edmonton can arrange for connecting fights, or you can do so your- self. Depending on when your incoming fight arrives in Edmonton and your con- nection to Cambridge Bay, you may have to stay overnight. An internet search reveals many hotels near the airport with shuttle services. There is one short stop between Edmonton and Cambridge Bay, at Yellow- knife in the Northwest Territories. well as Sandhill Crane, Arctic Tern, King Eider, and phalaropes. Crossing the river emptying Grenier Lake, you can swing right to visit the old townsite and some historic features; look for Semipalmated Plover and Rough-legged Hawk. Continuing eastwards on the Pelly Road, you encounter many ponds and wet marshy areas. It is along this 12-mi. (16- km) stretch to Mt. Pelly where you have chances to see American Golden-Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Stilt, Semipalmated, and Pectoral sandpipers, Ruddy Turn- stone, Long-tailed Duck, Brant, Cackling Goose, and Snowy Owl. Here you may also see muskox and Arctic fox. Your fnal destination at the end of this road is Mt. Pelly. Around the base, you may encounter Baird's Sandpiper, Semipalmat- ed Plover, and American Pipit; it's also your best chance for fnding Yellow-billed Loon. The top of this "hill" plays host to species such as Peregrine Falcon, Rough-legged Hawk, and Red Knot. Most everywhere, in the shallow ponds and small lakes that are free of ice, you encounter large numbers of Snow Goose, Cackling Goose, Brant, Tundra Swan, Northern Pintail, King and Common eiders, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Sabine's Gull Cambridge Bay (Iqaluktuuttiaq), Victoria Island, Nunavut Map © Cindy Lippincott 4-Nunavut.indd 16 3/4/14 12:51 PM

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