Thanks to Ron Marshall from Barnsley for standing in at short notice at the October meeting. As always, Ron gave us a most interesting talk illustrated with his professional grade photos of a trip he took with his wife to Manitoba in June. He flew to Winnipeg and visited the Ridings National Park, a huge reserve covering 1148 sq. miles of unspoilt forests, lakes and streams. The park is famous for its black bears, and holds one of the largest concentrations in North America. Ron took some excellent shots while being careful not to get too close, as black bears can run extremely fast if they feel threatened. Also seen in the park, were nesting great northern divers in their beautiful summer plumage, Bonaparte’s gull, and perhaps most spectacular of all, the scarce great grey owl, a huge bird with bright yellow eyes set in large feathered facial discs.
Wanting to visit Churchill near the Arctic circle, Ron had to take the two day journey on the sleeper train as there are no roads to this remote town. Churchill grew from a remote outpost to a bustling seaport with the construction of the Hudson Bay railroad and port in the 1920s, but its now a world renowned hotspot for bird and wildlife watching in spring and autumn. In June many of the breeding birds are in full summer plumage particularly the black throated diver and red necked phalarope both photographed with a stunning backdrop of wildflower blossom.