Churchill: Jun 08—14, 2014
Register NowTour Details
To Be Announced
- Jun 09, 2013: Churchill
- Jun 10, 2012: Churchill
- Jun 12, 2011: Churchill
- Jun 13, 2010: Churchill
- Jun 10, 2009: Churchill
Past Field Lists:
- Jun 09, 2013: Churchill: PDF (2.2 MB)
- Jun 10, 2012: Churchill: PDF (2 MB)
- Jun 12, 2011: Churchill: PDF (2.5 MB)
- Jun 13, 2010: Churchill: PDF (1.2 MB)
- Jun 10, 2009: Churchill: PDF (1.3 MB)
- Jun 05, 0008: Churchill: PDF (707.1 KB)
Register for this Tour
Smith’s Longspur— Photo: John H. Boyd
Enjoy a memorable birding experience at Canada’s famous Arctic seaport on Hudson Bay at the edge of the tundra. We will spend many hours standing on the ancient rocks of Cape Merry at the mouth of the Churchill River where the changing tides bring huge ice floes in and out, Parasitic Jaegers chase a constantly changing feeding frenzy of gulls and Arctic Terns, belugas blow loudly as they surface, and hundreds of loons, eiders, mergansers, scoters, and other birds feed, fly by, or drift with the tide waters.
This small seaport is situated on the shores of Hudson Bay where the mouth of the Churchill River attracts Pacific and Red-throated loons, Arctic Tern, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, and all three scoters. June in Churchill means melting pack ice breaking adrift, fitful with the promise of far-wandering Arctic birds, seals, and beluga whales. It also means nesting shorebirds in full plumage and spectacular display.
Churchill has long been famous among naturalists as the site of the most easily accessible tundra on this continent. For several decades it was famous as simply the place to find Ross’s Gull. However, this highly sought gull has not been seen in the last six years, while sightings of Little Gull have increased.
Both the tree line and the permafrost line run through Churchill, home to such birds as Willow Ptarmigan, American Golden-Plover, Stilt Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, Parasitic Jaeger, Little Gull, Smith’s Longspur, and both species of redpolls. Between the tundra and the boreal forest lies the taiga, where several species live at the limit of their ranges: Spruce Grouse, Northern Hawk Owl, Boreal Chickadee, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Bohemian Waxwing, Northern Shrike, Harris’s Sparrow, and Pine Grosbeak. The coastal areas of Hudson Bay host an assortment of migrants. A lingering Lapland Longspur and Snow Bunting are sometimes joined by a stray King Eider, Harlequin Duck, Red Phalarope, or Sabine’s Gull.
Along with some of the finest scenery of the far north, the combination of our Churchill tour with our Southern Manitoba tour offers participants an outstanding natural history experience and a remarkable cross section of the wide variety of habitats in central Canada. Photographic opportunities abound. Those combining both tours should see some 225 species of birds, including several rarities and specialties, plus an impressive number of mammals. There will be ample opportunity to study bird song and observe bird behavior. Without question, this combination provides one of the most popular experiences in VENT’s North American repertoire.
Turboprop plane flight from Winnipeg to Churchill and back; the small bus comfortably holds eight participants, each with a window seat; optional early morning outing before our 7 a.m. breakfast; an optional after-dinner outing most nights; birding both along roadsides and on relatively short hikes; all nights at Churchill at the comfortable Tundra Inn; typically cold and windy, but if winds are from the south, can be hot; some biting insects at times.