On Sunday, Leah, Travis and I took a trip out to the dock at Nanisivik, to see if the Sealift ship had arrived there yet. The ship was scheduled to be there and would be there a couple of days prior to coming to Arctic Bay, so it would give us a heads up for the arrival of our sealift stuff.
It was a miserable day, weather wise. A hard driving rain, fueled by 30 knot winds, beat down. It was a good day to stay indoors but we went anyway. About half way there, just past the valley at Second Bridge a white bird was flying hard across the road, travelling with the wind. As I pointed it out to Leah I pondered what it was, as it was too far away to see clearly. It had a strong direct flight and out of the two possibilities I thought it most likely to be a gyrfalcon, not a gull. It continued on past a ravine that fed the stream at Second Bridge and landed on the other side. I put the binoculars up, but by this time it was way too far, to identify, other than as "that white spot over there".
In Nanisivik the winds seemed to have picked up, funneled down the valley. When I stopped to take a picture of the mill being dismantled, the wind was shaking and buffeting the truck. We continued on down to the dock on Strathcona Sound, however the sealift ship had not yet arrived. Sitting at the dock however was the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Terry Fox. The Terry Fox isn't the prettiest icebreaker in the Coast Guard's fleet, but it is powerful and functional. It also has the biggest honking Bridge I've ever been in or seen. It is huge with an almost 360 degree panoramic view. And like all the Coast Guard ships I've been on, serves great meals. However we didn't stop for a visit, and headed back home.
When we reached Arctic Bay the weather hadn't improved much, if at all. Wind was whipping spray up on a little harbour just east of our water lake. In town I asked Leah where she wanted to go, and was surprised when she said Victor Bay, expecting her to say either home or her mother's. I'm glad she did.
Just as we passed the little lake, partway down to Victor Bay I could see something white sitting on a large rock a couple of hundred metres off the road. Again I wasn't sure what I was seeing, and asked Leah if that was another rock sitting on the rock. She just said "check it out" and handed me the binoculars. This time there was no mistaking the Kiggavik sitting stoically in the rain.
As it happens, the falcon was sitting just off the trail to the lake, over looking a small meadow where we often see Snowbuntings and where we have returned time and time again to watch a pair of Lapland Longspurs. I backed down the road and turned onto the trail, hoping to get a little closer for a better view.
Alas I could could only close the gap by about 50 metres before the bird had enough and took off, flying low and hard, across another meadow disappearing out of sight over the next hill. The rain and the wind were still beating down, but somehow the day now seemed much better.