Monday, June 18, 2012

Ontario & Quebec, Canada

 Into the vast forests of Northern Ontario and Quebec - trees as far as the eye can see - dotted with rivers and lakes at every turn in the road.  We have only seen 1 young bull moose in velvet and 2 black bears.  We had hoped for much more.  We have seen 23 species of warblers on breeding grounds including the Connecticut and Black-throated Blue ( 1 each).  Our Canada bird list is just over 100 hoping for many more as we keep traveling east.  We have camped at Sleeping Giant, Fushimi Lake, and Rene' Brunelli Provincial Parks.  In Moonbeam (yes, it is a town with signs of "little green ETs" everywhere, even on the trails where we walked birdwatching for a few kilometers.
At Cochrane, ON,  we took the "Polar Bear Express" train 186 miles north to Moosonee, a Cree Indian village full of dusty, dirt roads that go nowhere but the natives were driving everywhere.  The only way to this town is by train, boat or air.  In winter, polar bears are sometimes seen here but the only one we saw was this one!!  Someday we will travel to where we can see them in their native habitat.  Canada sure has its share of Black Flies, Mosquitos and Gnats, and we have the itchy lumps to prove it.
Into French Quebec, where it seems no English language is allowed on signs or taught in the schools for hardly anyone can understand English and our French is nil.  So far we are winging it, at least the numbers read the same on the highway signs.  Things are different shopping too - the "Lait partiellement e'cre'me'" 1% Milk comes in bags ( 3 bags = 4 liters)  We are having fun opening and pouring it.

We reached day 400 of our journey and it still feels like a great adventure.  We have 585 species of birds so far plus a plethora of wildlife sightings - mostly Snowshoe Hares lately.  We love retirement and seeing God's creation - where each day brings something new and exciting.  We get email every week or so - please stay in touch.                 Ty & Ida Baumann

Friday, June 8, 2012

NW Wisconsin & Minnesota's North Shore

 From Packer Country to the Viking's back yard we made a 3 day stop at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area. This Red Fox let us venture fairly close in the RV being able to shoot this photo through the new binoculars.  We saw many Trumpeter Swans with cygnets and this loon with two young riding high and dry on her back. ( Pictured lower right.)  Crex Meadows never disappoints; we saw Sharp-tailed Grouse, Nelson's & LeConte's Sparrows, Red-necked Grebe, plus Am. & Least Bitterns.  Blandings, Painted & Snapping Turtles were laying eggs along the sandy roads.

While driving north toward Lake Superior we encountered 2 Black Bears on the forest roads.

 Taking the Circle Tour from Duluth to the Canadian Border, we explored miles of the Lake Superior rocky coastline.  We camped at three State Parks and hiked in 5 more parks along the way.  Each one had unique waterfalls with millions of gallons of root beer colored foamy water cascading into the Lake. The color is due to swamp tannic acid and iron bearing rocks.

The north woods continues to impress us with winged creatures:  7 species of butterflies including these Tiger Swallowtails and 16 species of warblers singing on breeding grounds.

The forest floors are carpeted with an abundance of wild flowers.  We are looking forward to our adventures in Canada for the summer.

Ty & Ida