Breeding Plumage and Nesting Behaviour
Bathurst Inlet Lodge is famous for delivering opportunities to see birds in breeding plumage - and sometimes on the nest. Birds that otherwise can only be seen in their non-breeding plumage at home.
A partial list of the local bird population
Yellow-billed Loons in breeding plumage
Bathurst Inlet Lodge offers some of the best opportunities on the North American continent to see Yellow-billed Loons in breeding plumage. We often see these magnificent loons when we take the time to drift in the boat to watch their behaviour. Red-throated and Pacific Loons have also been sighted.
Golden Eagles and Peregrine Falcons
Bathurst Inlet supports a healthy raptor population, and one of the densest Peregrine Falcon nesting populations in the Arctic. Gyrfalcons (grey and white phases) are also present. Golden Eagles and Rough-legged Hawks are also resident in the area, nesting on sheer cliffs on islands or along river gorges. It is not unusual to see Peregrines “mobbing” a passing Golden Eagle. Immature Bald Eagles are frequently seen in the area, but these are usually non-breeders.
Shorebirds and Phalaropes
Least Sandpipers and Semi-palmated Plovers are the most common shorebirds in our locale. Red-necked Phalaropes nest on small ponds on the Delta.
Herring, Glaucous and Thayer's Gulls
Controlled conditions ensure we don't disturb nesting Herring, Glaucous and Thayer's Gulls. Wolves are known to steal the rich eggs.
Willow Ptarmigans nest near the Lodge, so you will hear them crowing, and if you are lucky, you could see family groups.
The Birding Experience
The Bathurst Inlet Lodge bird list includes other species, seen occasionally, on migration, or as accidentals in the area. Expert birders, and those able to recognize species by song, are often able to add species to the “usual” list.
Bathurst Inlet Lodge has for decades maintained an “observation book”, and guests are encouraged to enter sightings in the book. A superb northern library includes field guides and general interest or specialized bird books, as well as books about all other aspects of the Arctic.
Binoculars are a “must” for good birding in the area, and if you have a spotting scope, bring it. The lodge supplies two spotting scopes for guest use, as well.
We take field guides along on all boat trips, but having your own field guide is a good idea.
Recommended Guide Books:
- The National Geographic guide to North American birds
- The Sibley Guide
- If you use the Peterson field guides, you will need both the eastern and western field guides.
We travel on the Inlet in a stable and comfortable pontoon boat, which allows guests to walk around, and to use spotting scopes and binoculars with ease. Sam and Allen Kapolak, our boat captains are expert in maneuvering the boat to facilitate easy viewing of birds on the sea.