Monday, October 6, 2014

Churchill Day 3

Finally!!!  The second last Churchill post. It took a bit longer to get it out than I wanted. Now that school has started and stuff I haven't had as much time for my blog.
On the third day, we went for a long hike from Sloop Cove to Fort Prince of Whales. We saw a few lifers, including a Semipalmated Plover, which was one of the birds on our list. There were quite a few fossils in rocks scattered across the beach, which was interesting. There were also really cool rock formations and jellyfish!

We boated across the river in a zodiak, a five or ten minute ride. We saw a few belugas on the way. We landed on the beach and had to hike away from the fort, which was our goal, to go to Sloop Cove.
A view from across the river, the building is a grain building for loading onto ships.
All in the rocks there were names engraved names of the people who came to Sloop Cove,
Samuel Hearne's name engraved in the rock
 one of which was Samuel Hearne, the famous explorer

After exlporing the names a bit we went back towards the fort. We saw many jellyfish, over 30. Our guide said this year the polar bears and jellyfish are very numerous.
Lion's Mane Jellyfish
We found some cool fossil rocks on the beach

This is a really cool rock, with the splotches of white.
A very neat rock!
I saw a small bird fly across the beach. The guide said it was a Semi-palmated Plover! As soon as it landed I was able to get a clear look at it and the single black stripe across it's chest made it clear that it was.
Semi-palmated Plovre

A flock of shorebirds skimmed across the water and flew in front of the group. I got some pictures as they flew by. It wasn't till a few weeks after we got home from Churchill that we identified it, Sanderlings! Also a lifer. Sanderlings is what I had thought when I first saw them.
A flock of Sanderlings
We saw a helicopter fly with a bundle below, it was a dead polar bear. The bear had been sitting across the river in sight from Cape Merry for a month, it was very old.

A large fossil rock

An Arctic Tern flying with a fish
We found some fox and wolf prints, the ones below are wolf prints.
Wolf print
Another jellyfish!
A jellyfish!
A cool layered rock my sister found

The polar bear watcher on some really cool rock formations.

Red-breasted Merganser
Here's a cool tree. Many of the trees are like this in Churchill. The bottom is very bushy but the top is almost stripped bare except for one side. This happens because in the winter, the harsh winds blow a certain way, allowing only one side of the tree to grow, while the bottom of the tree bushes up because it is in the snow.

We made it to the fort, and had a little time to explore it, then we went back across the river and we went to the Northern Study Center

As I have said before, my mom and dad met at the study center, because that is where they worked. Except that was the old study center, they built a new one several years ago, a very impressive building and also very environmentally friendly. We also went into the old building, many memories for my parents. There were also two people using a room in the old building as a place for their studies. They were doing respiratory experiments on Dunlin's, Short-billed Dowitchers and Least Sandpipers. Least Sandpiper and Dunlin are new birds for me, but I didn't put them on my list, because they were captive.

Dunlin and Least Sandpiper

Here's a helicopter leaving from the study center to collect water samples
After exploring the old center a bit and the manager showing us around the new building, we drove down to Twin Lakes area, though we didn't make it all the way there, the road was in really rough shape. We were looking for Willow Ptarmigan and Grey Jays, we saw both, plus baby ptarmigans.

Young Willow Ptarmigan

Willow Ptarmigan
Grey Jay! A lifer!
Grey Jay
Here's an odd tree, super bushy at the top.

A path through the boggy field to a study site

We also saw some redpolls, which was odd for me, because I'm used to seeing them in the winter.

Here's one of the rocket range buildings

We found a door open and went into one of the rocket range buildings, everything was just left there. It was dark, and kind of creepy, it seemed out of a movie.

The control panel
 My dad worked at the rocket range so he remembered a lot of the stuff.
My dad remembers this!
 A closet full of poisonous chemicals, it's sad to see everything just left there.

One of the very large tunnels with a rocket carrier in it.

Another building

We saw a Bonaparte's Gull in the water, the first one!
Bonaparte's Gull
The day before we had seen some baby gulls being fed by the parents, but we were in a hurry to get to our mom and dad's friends house for supper, so we couldn't get any good pictures.
baby Arctic Tern
The baby being fed, what a beautiful picture! It looks like it is water actually.
Term feeding it's young

Back at Cape Merry we saw a mother and a cub pacing along.

A cool picture of the sun behind the clouds.

Stop! Don't walk in this area
One of the old houses by Cape Merry

Here's a truck looking out for bears.

Some really cool sunset pictures I took. I think they were from the day before though.
My brother on a old railway.
Beautiful sunset in Churchill to end the day

Stay tuned for the next post!