After a lovely spring in the big city of Whitehorse I am back at
Frances Lake. Because the boats were on this side I came in by canoe
up the West Arm and hiking in on the winter trail. A beautiful short
paddle and a tough walk! This chain of ponds and swamps is a natural
route when everything is frozen and in the summer is still an ideal
trail -- for a moose.
The exciting season of thaw and return is past: all creatures have
settled to the serious tasks of life and growth in the long hours of
daylight. Rare fairy slipper orchids are just finishing their
blossoming next to the outhouse and the sweet scent of lupins is in
the air. Small bog plants are showing bright flashes of color in the
muskeg. The poplars and birches have their full summer green and when
the lake is calm you can see the skiff of yellow spruce pollen
everywhere. Insects are represented, as always, by legions of
mosquitoes, but there are also handsome butterflies -- shining whites
and blues, checkered fritillaries, dark floppy alpines and big bright
But birds seem to be everywhere, making their presence known not in
the showy manner as during migration and mating, but in the quieter
modes of nesting and rearing. Coming in I camped under an eagle in
her nest and saw swans, geese and every kind of duck. Here there are
grouse and tern, loon, swallow and sparrow and all their kind. The
whiskey jacks, as winter residents, have had a head start. The shabby
and harried-looking parents and aunties have already brought around
their young of the year -- he is bigger than they are, fuzzy and dark,
awkward and demanding.
My best find is a plover nest on the beach
across the creek and every time I pass I am treated to the full broken
wing charade to distract me. I am hoping to see the young ones before
they are up and away.
Here is my version of 'Lullaby of Birdland' -- joining in at the end
is a Swainson's Thrush.
Wishing us all a sun-filled Solstice,