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And then there's the Churchill river, roiling with belugas in summer. 
And the caribou...and BEARS!

We had to postpone our Churchill trip this year, but anyone who wants 
to be notified about next year's trip can contact me privately. 
There's an overnight train out of Thompson. Gives you enough time for 
a few hours of tundra wildflowers before settling in for the night.

Jill DeWitt
Kansas City, MO
www.burroughs.org
> 
> >From: Robert Fisher <[log in to unmask]>
> >Reply-To: okbirds <[log in to unmask]>
> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >Subject: June
> >Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 12:15:44 -0500
> >
> >With the northward migration over, the southward migration yet to 
> begin and
> >gasoline prohibitively expensive, one way to deal with June is to 
> sit at 
> >the
> >computer and muse about old times and what it all means. June is 
> the month
> >during which I took two of my most memorable birding trips -- to 
> Churchill,>Manitoba and to Alaska. June is also the time when 
> Nature seems to  be
> >peaking in various ways -- at least in the Northern Hemisphere. 
> The days 
> >are
> >long. The vegetation is fully developed, yet still growing, and 
> for the 
> >most
> >part the slow process of drying out that will eventually turn 
> most of it
> >brown has not yet begun. The birds are proclaiming their 
> territories and
> >rushing about to feed their offspring. Squirrels and rabbits seem 
> to be
> >everywhere.
> >
> >No place where I have birded dramatized the peaking of Nature in 
> June more
> >for me than did Churchill, Manitoba. When our plane circled to 
> land at the
> >Churchill airport on June 15th,  Hudson's Bay was white with ice 
> floes as
> >far as we could see. When we left a week later, all of it, except 
> for a few
> >places along the shore where ice chunks had piled up, was clear 
> blue. The
> >pace of seasonal change accelerates enormously in the long days 
> of northern
> >summer. It all starts much later and ends much earlier, so 
> everything 
> >races.
> >
> >Churchill, which features both tundra and boreal habitats, is a 
> great place
> >to see birds that reside in the north throughout the year, like 
> >Black-backed
> >and Three-toed Woodpeckers, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Northern 
> Hawk Owl,
> >Hoary Redpoll,  Pine Grosbeak, Spruce Grouse and Willow 
> Ptarmigan. It also
> >offers a chance to see a few species that are rare anywhere in North
> >America, like Ross' Gull and Little Gull. But the most rewarding 
> experience>for me at Churchill was to see where birds I have 
> usually known only as
> >migrants end up and what they are like when they get there. By 
> the time 
> >they
> >reach Churchill, the  familiar winter or transitional garb of Harris
> >Sparrow, Pacific Loon, Long-tailed Duck, Horned Grebe and  
> Smith's Longspur
> >has been transformed into splendid nuptial plumage. Shorebirds like
> >Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, American Golden-plover, Lesser 
> Yellowlegs and
> >Dunlin, which we usually see on mudflats, are nesting in tundra 
> and boreal
> >bogs. Warblers, like Blackpoll, which we usually see in deciduous 
> trees,>sing from conifers.
> >
> >"June is busting out all over," goes the song from Oklahoma! The 
song
> >applies equally to Oklahoma and to Manitoba. June just busts out 
> with a 
> >much
> >greater intensity in Churchill than it does here.
> >
> >So what does it all mean? Are we witnessing an exuberance of 
> prosperity or 
> >a
> >desperate struggle for survival when we observe Nature in June? 
> In fact, we
> >are seeing both.
> >
> >The following little ditty, which I wrote a couple of days ago, 
> expresses>both the optimism and underlying desperation that I see 
> in  Nature in June.
> >
> >CERTAINTY
> >
> >"I'll never die," said the butterfly,
> >flopping about from flower to flower.
> >But once it had mated and propagated
> >a bird came and ate it
> >in less than an hour.
> >
> >Shalom
> >
> >Bob Fisher
> >Independence, Missouri
> >[log in to unmask]
> 
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