The further north from the equator you dwell, the deeper November drives you into darkness and cold. Those hardy, some might say foolhardy, souls who make their homes in proximity to the Arctic Circle are already confronting the dismal prospect of near-endless night for months on end. Temperatures plummet. Waterways freeze. The ice encroaches, encases, arrests all activity. But life will out even the nadir of winter. Arctic Bay in Canada’s Nunavut Territory, for example, supports a surprising range of birds. You can find waterfowl (Snow Geese), waders (Baird’s Sandpiper), raptors (Rough-legged Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Gyrfalcon) and even passerines (Horned Lark, American Pipit, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting) without looking too hard. A variety of gulls and pelagic seabirds also thrive in these environs. You might hear the cry of the Qarsauq (Red-Throated Loon) or spy an Aqiggiq (Willow and Rock Ptarmigan) in winter-white plumage. You’ll most certainly spy the ubiquitous arctic trickster, Toolagak (Raven), who signifies that some spirits can never be dampened or chilled.
An ecosystem that sustains such superb birds cannot help but nourish some dynamic naturalists as well. Clare Kines, the fantastic blogger behind The House & other Arctic Musings, makes his home sound exotic, enticing, and downright hospitable. This is undoubtedly a positive thing for Clare since he’s entering the hospitality business as the proprietor of a shiny, new, hopefully toasty bed and breakfast. Clare comes across, through his perceptive, warm writing, as someone who would make a sensational host. Lucky for us we needn’t embark on an arctic expedition to sample those skills (just yet!) because Clare is the host of I and the Bird #11! Explore it!
What birds are keeping you company this time of year? If you write about your appreciation of birds, whether local or exotic, consider sharing your observations with the readers of I and the Bird. Submit a link to your favorite wild bird-related blog post with a brief summary and “I and the Bird” in the e-mail header to me or our next host, David of Search and Serendipity. The next edition of the world’s favorite bird-blogging carnival will be presented on Thursday, December 8 (a little early for Thanksgiving) so the deadline for submissions is Tuesday, December 6. And to our U.S. readers, Happy Thanksgiving!
Those of you looking to appreciate the Qarsauq, Toolagak, and other exciting arctic avifauna in their native environments should contact Clare (clareleah AT qiniq DOT com) without delay! Cold is my enemy, but I still can’t wait to visit:
Kiggavik Bed and Breakfast
Arctic Bay NU X0A 0A0