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I went to Churchill June 15-21, 1998 and heartily recommend it. There is a 
Lane Guide to Churchill (by Bonnie Chartrier, I believe), which is 
indispensible. We (i.e. Ken Hollinga and I) spent a week there with a rented 
truck.  There were several tour groups there while we were there, and we 
kept in contact with them. My list for Churchill was 101 species. (Ken and I 
did somewhat better than Bonnie Chartrier's group because Bonnie did not 
take her people to see the Hawk Owls or the Black-backed Woodpeckers. There 
were photography groups around, and some of them were totally heedless of 
the disturbance they created. Bonnie did not want her group to lead 
photographers to the Hawk Owls or to the woodpecker nests. I'm not sure 
whether the Field Guides tour saw the owls and woodpeckers either).

Churchill may be unique in that it features both tundra and boreal forest. 
Evidently, the bay keps land close to Hudson's Bay cold enough so that some 
permafrost persists. That keeps deep rooted trees from growing, resulting in 
tundra. Only a few miles inland, however, the bay effect is lessened, and 
boreal forest grows. There is, of course, a transition zone betwen the two 
habitats that harbors birds like Smith's Longspur. The Churchill River 
provides still another habitat.

We got some good birds at Churchill, which I will list below. However, my 
personal highlight was to see many of the bird species that we see only in 
migration in their finest plumages on the breeding grounds. It was also 
exciting to see Belugas in the Churchill River. We also saw a couple of 
Caribou, a wolf (very rare), foxes and seals.

Highlight species were:

ROSS' GULL (1 on the last day. The species is becoming increasingly 
difficult).
LITTLE GULL (several in breeding plumage)
THAYER'S GULL -- adults
PARASITIC JAEGER -- quite a few, including birds on the nest.
LONG-TAILED JAEGER -- a fly-by. Not guaranteed.
SMITH'S LONGSPUR -- in high breeding plumage
HUDSONIAN GODWIT --  common breeder
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER -- common breeder
WHIMBREL -- common breeder
PACIFIC LOON -- breeders.
HORNED GREBE  -- beautiful in breeding plumage.
NORTHERN HAWK OWL -- with young in burned area of  boreal forest.
SHORT-EARED OWL -- seen flying in the abundant daylight
BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER -- several nests in burned area
THREE-TOWED WOODPECKER -- several nests in burned area
HARRIS SPARROW -- beautiful in high breeding plumage
PINE GROSBEAK
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL
COMMON REDPOLL -- every day
HOARY REDPOLL -- every day
PALM WARBLER
BLACKPOLL WARBLER
MYRTLE WARBLER
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE -- breeder
LONG-TAILED DUCK -- in breeding plumage
COMMON EIDER
ALL THREE SCOTERS
BOREAL CHICKADEE
GRAY JAY -- fed in the hand
WILLOW PTARMIGAN
SPRUCE GROUSE
RUSTY BLACKBIRD
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK -- on the nest

We may have been early for YELLOW RAIL. They say they arive when the 
mosquitos are out, and we just missed the mosquitos.

BOHEMIAN WAXWING is apparently regular there, but they were not around in 
1998.

We were evidently late for more northerly breeding birds like RED PHALAROPE, 
SNOW BUNTING and LAPLAND LONGSPUR, which go through in late May and early 
June. We were also too late for BOREAL OWL, which had fledged and left the 
nest boxes shortly before we arrived.

There are quite a few good retaurants in Churchill. I ordered Arctic Char at 
every one of them and ate it every day. It's wonderfull.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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