|1000 Islands region where we paddled, with the east end of |
Lake Ontario just visible in the SW corner
2. Our class of excellent paddlers. Like the weather, this blessing of a condition allowed for its own slew of subsequent highlights. Because the students were so quickly adept at slicing through the St. Lawrence, we had oodles (doesn't that work just...make you feel a little uncomfortable?) of free time that we normally wouldn't have. For example, working with an itinerary based on many prior trips to the same set of islands, we took about two hours to drift half of our last full day's route, while singing and basically napping on the open water, which still got us to our destination around 1:00, with many hours to spare before needing to cook and set up camp in earnest. This allowed for plenty of extra, more advanced paddling practice, like working with rolls, and the unusual opportunity to just explore the islands extensively ("birding").
3. Pacific Loon. According to eBird, the last Pacific Loon to be seen on the eastern half of Lake Ontario was 1991. Now, that's presumably a history full of holes in that region-- there's no way they're that rare on such a body of water-- but, nonetheless, I was excited to see that when I got back. This map summarizes the bird's reported distribution around Lake Ontario, with each purple block representing one or two individuals in this case. I spotted this handsome bird from a ways off, and with binoculars and camera stowed in the hatch, assumed it was a Common. But then it surfaced within 50 feet of our pod of kayaks, and stayed calmly at the surface for a while, allowing good views of its comparatively diminutive bill, and the sharp, vertical separation of its clean gray nape and white throat and face.
|This map shows the Pacific Loon's distribution over Lake Ontario, with each purple block, in this case, representing only one or two individuals, from 1991 to 2011.|
|Relative Warbler Abundance|
|Gordon Island, after sunset. A long exposure of waves lapping at the rocks|