Look To The Sky - Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  –          

Look To The Sky

Here in Thunder Bay the ice is gone with the exception of one large pile that pushed up to 25 feet of ice, on a windy afternoon, outside the break wall protecting Thunder Bay’s harbour. Below you will see Gord Ellis has written about the walleye opener, which technically starts this weekend, for those who might have a hovercraft that can negotiate between rivers and ice covered lakes. We anticipate ice will be gone from “our” lakes by next weekend and for those of you fishing then Gord’s tips are worth a read.

It’s that time of year again. As we await ice out on the remote lakes up north we participate in an activity that has become an annual tradition in our home; bird watching. The shoreline in front of our seaplane base has become a mecca for birds. I always thought bird watching was for those more senior (wiser) folks. I have either entered that demographic unknowingly or perhaps birding is starting to appeal to a younger crowd. (LOL)  In the last few years we kept a book by the window with a pair of binoculars, but this year the book went missing and Krista found an app called Merlin Bird ID for the iPhone. We’ve used it and it’s really a neat tool to help identify the birds that pass through our area.

I think the app is responsible for making Krista a bit of a bird geek (further evidence that maybe birding is appealing to the younger generation); she is forever talking about the birds she spots in the harbour. The app has 5 questions it asks about the bird before providing a result.  First, by using the GPS location provided by your Smartphone it can tell where you are and knows what species would likely be found in your area. You then pick the date.  A diagram pops up and you are able to pick the size of bird ranging from sparrow to goose, you choose the colours and then the activity you saw it doing ie. Swimming.  From that, the app will choose several options of what it could be. So far we have seen several types of mergansers including the hooded merganser, as well as mallard ducks (see main picture), herons and buffleheads. This week is world birding week—perhaps the most well-known week in the birding world. Most birding organizations host talks and seminars about birds in their area.

This summer, while out at the lodges or outposts, consider downloading this app and using it to find out what birds you are seeing or hearing.

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