Left from the 27th of September until the 1st of November to an unknown territory: Thunder Bay, Ontario. This city is right above Lake Superior, the second Great Lake that I visited for the first time, both in a year. I brought a slightly over-sized carry-on bag (10kg) with me (only by a kg). The Porter airline officer glanced at it and let me pass without weighing anything. That was easy.

I was told the night before by the observatory coordinator that I would have to hike in. Weather conditions did not favor a boating trip. I was given a ride to Silver Islet from where I started a hike on Kabeyun trail. I was told that there would be two big “obstacles” on the trail, one after ~9 km and the other after ~11 km. The first obstacle, rocks for ~0.5 km:

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The second obstacle, stairs that are a lot steeper and higher than the picture suggests. The space between the logs could not be stepped on, and were about waist-high:

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The coolest trail I’ve hiked! Not that I’ve hiked many trails. 13 km later and I arrived. Two volunteers greeted me on the trail ~a hundred meters away from the station and one offered some water. I was ecstatic because I emptied my water bottle before starting the supposedly three-hour-and-a-1/2 hike. Didn’t want extra weight on my back. 2 km away and all I cared about was water.

I arrived at ~6 pm and was then told to sleep in the morning after, partially to rest from the long hike. I took that pretty well and slept until 10:30 am (I soon learned that “sleeping in” at this observatory usually meant waking up before 9 am).


Highlights!

Types of bird traps I’ve never seen nor used before!

Atop the TCBO watch tower, looking north-ish, one can see the (stinky) feet of the Sleeping Giant.

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What are those cute furry blue flying __ that fly around like snow around the cabin? A friend mentioned contextual emotions when I made a fuss about how cute the aphid was. Yeah, yeah.

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Woolly aphid

I had a few dragonfly-catching days. I proudly made my own net with a plastic bag, wooden sticks and rubber bands. There was no net at the station.

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(Very) Common green darner

Bird Highlights 

Of course, the birds were great awesome. There are too many things to say about them, and I like posting about things that aren’t so bird-centric. In other words, this post is not about bird documentation.

Anyhow, here are among the better bird moments:

  • Spotted a Townsend’s Solitaire! Thanks to a friend who told me what I actually saw
  • Flocks of Snow Buntings around the last week before leaving
  • A bold Horned Lark that stayed around for days, hung out on the lawn, and never got caught in the surrounding ground traps
  • Migrating (we say “vis-ing” for visually migrating) Northern Shrikes
  • A day of seeing all seven woodpeckers: Black-backed, Downy, Hairy, Pileated, Red-bellied, Red-headed (brown-headed juvenile), and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Released a Sharp-shinned Hawk, by facing away from the wind and throwing the bird as straightly, strongly and steadily as possible!

Prepping and leaving

I booked my flight a bit late with the plan of travelling around urban/suburban Thunder Bay for a few hours.

Here’s a better view of the Sleeping Giant.PA310090.JPG

I considered buying candies and a pumpkin to put outside my motel room. I could hear “trick or treat!” every few minutes for a while. It was Halloween. But the nearest shop wasn’t really near…and I wanted some rest.

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Bring this back to Ottawa?

Oh hey, a rainbow seen from inside the plane!

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An unforgettable month+a few days. Great people I hope to see again sometime in the future. One of them told me he noticed “the world is small”. Hmm.

My next post will probably be about…dogs. Yes, dogs. They’re part of wildlife too. The post is already a draft sitting in my draft box.

Cheers!