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Tag Archives: wildlife encounter

BEST Mosquito Bite Remedy EVER!!

mosquito-bite-remedy

When mosquitos look at kids, they see little targets everywhere.  One evening outside means days of itchy welts.  Big golf ball kinds of welts!  You can go through a lot of Benadryl every summer because it’s been the only thing that gives them any relief, but there is a better, safer, cheaper way to get rid of that itch.  Soap!  Just rub a bar of dry soap over a mosquito bite and feel better instantly.  Seriously!

COMMENT:  Claudia’s poor little legs were covered with mosquito bites that were even keeping her awake at night.  The anti-itch creams weren’t working for long, and giving her Benadryl during the school day just wasn’t practical, so I turned to my old friend Google.  A quick search led me to TipNut, where I found the perfect remedy to make my sweet girl feel better.  A plain old bar of soap!  And it works!

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CANADIAN LYNX – The Ghost of the Wilderness

lynx

These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.  So if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of these animals while in Canada then consider yourself very fortunate.   The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts, stalks and hunts in our remote northern Ontario forests in and around Wawang Lake Resort.  Although we’ve been at Wawang Lake for over 40 years now we have actually only seen these animals a few times.

Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during long, frigid Canadian winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.

The Canada lynx is a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as bobcats at supporting its weight on the snow.

Canada Lynx_family

Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years.

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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Lynx, Lynx Cat, Wildlife

 

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THE MOOSE – Bold, Majestic & Potentially Dangerous

moose at night If you’ve ever driven any distance through the Canadian bush – especially endless miles of tree-lined, two-lane highways, then you will know about the moose as they often move about our Canadian highways freely.

There are foreboding signs along the way featuring outlines of these hulking creatures nonchalantly strolling across your path. The message is not one of protecting the environment, it is one of avoiding mortal danger and a warning to YOU.

Moose-warning

An uneasy feeling starts to set in right about dusk, when the light of the sky darkens enough to match the light thrown by your high-beams.

If you know about the threat of the moose you will tend to slow down just a little, and your eyes will skirt furtively for motion and shadows along the treeline. Because you do not want to hit a moose. If you do, it will almost certainly be THE event of your day. Although generally timid, the males become very bold during the breeding season, when the female  sutter a loud call, which can be heard from up to 2 miles away, and are often mistaken for lowing cattle; at such times they fight both with their antlers and their hoofs. Fierce clashing of antlers between males is also not uncommon during the rutting season. The female gives birth to one or two young at a time, which are not spotted. The gestation period for a moose is about 216-240 days. After the young are born, they drink the mother’s milk, which is very high in fat and other nutrients. Because of the milk, the calf grows very fast.

moose-down-the-road-from

The cow moose is reported to kill more people in Canada than any other animal (far exceeding the toll of the grizzly bear). These large animals can be extremely protective of their young, and caution should be exercised when approaching a cow moose.

In the spring, moose can often been seen in drainage ditches at the side of roads, taking advantage of road salt which has run off the road. These minerals replace electrolytes missing from their winter diet. However, this is where the most potential danger lies in these locations as the moose will come out to the open for various reasons one especially to get away from the flies. So on your journey up to Wawang Lake be sure to heed the warning signs – keep your eyes peeled and scan the timberline on each side of the road for these majestic animals.

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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Adventure, Moose, Moose sightings, Wildlife

 

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CANADIAN LYNX – The Ghost of the Wilderness

lynx

These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.  So if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of these animals while in Canada then consider yourself very fortunate.   The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts, stalks and hunts in our remote northern Ontario forests in and around Wawang Lake Resort.  Although we’ve been at Wawang Lake for over 40 years now we have actually only seen these animals a few times.

Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during long, frigid Canadian winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.

The Canada lynx is a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as bobcats at supporting its weight on the snow.


Canada Lynx_family

Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years.

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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Lynx, Lynx Cat, Wildlife

 

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CANADIAN LYNX – The Ghost of the Wilderness

lynx

These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.  So if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of these animals while in Canada then consider yourself very fortunate.   The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts, stalks and hunts in our remote northern Ontario forests in and around Wawang Lake Resort.  Although we’ve been at Wawang Lake for over 40 years now we have actually only seen these animals a few times.

Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during long, frigid Canadian winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.

The Canada lynx is a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as bobcats at supporting its weight on the snow.

At Wawang Lake we’ve had the pleasure to see these cats during winter and summer.  They are stealthy and beautiful to look at.


Canada Lynx_family

Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years.

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Lynx, Lynx Cat, Wildlife

 

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THE AQUATIC MOOSE

Moose feed on a large variety of foods. They browse on the twigs and leaves of many kinds of plants.. Grasses and marsh plants are also sought.

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Aquatic vegetation growing in lakes and streams is particularly relished in summer. During this season of the year, animals are seen at the edges of water or feeding in it.   Adult moose will stand virtually submerged in deep water, lowering their heads underwater, grazing for long periods of time on underwater growth.   Where a moose cannot reach these succulent plants, it can actually dive in deep water (up to 20 feet), remaining below for up to one minute.

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Meanwhile at Wawang Lake – THE MINK FAMILY

ImageSeveral years ago when Terry and I (Tami), owners of Wawang Lake Resort, were out fishing we  trolled our boat into one of the lakes’ many bays, a splash resounded in the bay that caught our attention.  Curious Terry headed over towards the ripples left from the splash to have a look.

Soon a head popped up out of the water between the boat and shoreline – it was an adult mink and suddenly a couple more smaller heads bobbed up right after – her babies.  We soon realized mom was teaching her young to swim and forage for food.  So cute!

Looking over towards the shore we noticed a couple more drenched baby mink patiently waiting for mom to return.  That was four kits in all.  Meanwhile, one of the kits had drifted away from mom coming closer to our boat and now struggled to crawl up the shaft. of the motor.  Terry reached over and grabbed the little mink by the scruff of the neck and pulled it into the boat.  Now sitting on the boat seat the little one, looking like a drowned rat, sneezed, coughed  and hiccuped and looked very dazed.

Suddenly mom was alarmed when she noticed one of her young was Imagemissing.  Sensing danger she swiftly  grabbed the one near her by the neck, dove under the water and soon came up at the shoreline 20′ away where her other babies were obediently waiting.  Quickly, she turned and stood on her haunches as she scanned the waters surface for the lost kit – but he was nowhere to be seen

She dove back into the water and swam back to the training area.  She swam in panic, swam in circles, dove under anxiously looking for the kit.  Her head bobbed out of the water over and over, several times.  Seeing that she had become quite concerned for her missing baby Terry picked up the nervous kit sitting with us and put him back in the water, and shoved him off towards his mom.  Mom now seeing her baby swam over, grabbed him by the neck angrily and gave him a p531031126-3few good shakes in reprimand before driving under the water with him away from danger and  back to the rest of her family and safety.  With one last head count she then leaped into the dense woods, her babies following close behind and not one of them looked back even once.

Once we were done fishing Terry threw the remaining minnows onto shore where the mink family had been.  I knew he was thinking that they might come back.

As it turned out it was a wonderful day.  The weather was great, the fishing even better and we now looked forward to a freshly caught fish supper.  Best yet though was our wildlife encounter and a glimpse into the lives of one of our neighbors – the mink family.  As I put my jacket on and got myself comfortable in the seat for the ride back to the lodge I wondered if the mink family would come back to that spot and be eating as good as we would that night.  At least I hoped so.

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THE MOOSE – Bold, Majestic & Potentially Dangerous

moose at night If you’ve ever driven any distance through the Canadian bush – especially endless miles of tree-lined, two-lane highways, then you will know about the moose as they often move about our Canadian highways freely.

There are foreboding signs along the way featuring outlines of these hulking creatures nonchalantly strolling across your path. The message is not one of protecting the environment, it is one of avoiding mortal danger and a warning to YOU.

Moose-warning

An uneasy feeling starts to set in right about dusk, when the light of the sky darkens enough to match the light thrown by your high-beams.

If you know about the threat of the moose you will tend to slow down just a little, and your eyes will skirt furtively for motion and shadows along the treeline. Because you do not want to hit a moose. If you do, it will almost certainly be THE event of your day. Although generally timid, the males become very bold during the breeding season, when the female  sutter a loud call, which can be heard from up to 2 miles away, and are often mistaken for lowing cattle; at such times they fight both with their antlers and their hoofs. Fierce clashing of antlers between males is also not uncommon during the rutting season. The female gives birth to one or two young at a time, which are not spotted. The gestation period for a moose is about 216-240 days. After the young are born, they drink the mother’s milk, which is very high in fat and other nutrients. Because of the milk, the calf grows very fast.

moose-down-the-road-from

The cow moose is reported to kill more people in Canada than any other animal (far exceeding the toll of the grizzly bear). These large animals can be extremely protective of their young, and caution should be exercised when approaching a cow moose.

In the spring, moose can often been seen in drainage ditches at the side of roads, taking advantage of road salt which has run off the road. These minerals replace electrolytes missing from their winter diet. However, this is where the most potential danger lies in these locations as the moose will come out to the open for various reasons one especially to get away from the flies. So on your journey up to Wawang Lake be sure to heed the warning signs – keep your eyes peeled and scan the timberline on each side of the road for these majestic animals.

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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Adventure, Moose, Moose sightings, Wildlife

 

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BEST Mosquito Bite Remedy EVER!!

mosquito-bite-remedy

When mosquitos look at kids, they see little targets everywhere.  One evening outside means days of itchy welts.  Big golf ball kinds of welts!  You can go through a lot of Benadryl every summer because it’s been the only thing that gives them any relief, but there is a better, safer, cheaper way to get rid of that itch.  Soap!  Just rub a bar of dry soap over a mosquito bite and feel better instantly.  Seriously!

COMMENT:  Claudia’s poor little legs were covered with mosquito bites that were even keeping her awake at night.  The anti-itch creams weren’t working for long, and giving her Benadryl during the school day just wasn’t practical, so I turned to my old friend Google.  A quick search led me to TipNut, where I found the perfect remedy to make my sweet girl feel better.  A plain old bar of soap!  And it works!

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Love of Loons – Wawang Lake

by Alan Schwoegler  – Madison, WI
(friend & guest of Wawang Lake)

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People love Wawang Lake’s loons. Their calls and antics are a part of every hour at the lake. During my very first vacation there, I was overjoyed to see how many loons called Wawang their home.

I have been monitoring and learning about loons through WI Loon Watch since the early ‘80’s. Most recently, I have been closely following the latest loon research and am a Loon Watch trained educational speaker. I’d like to share some things I’ve learned.

To start, the loons we love in WI, MN, MI and Ontario are Common Loons, one of 5 species of loons. There is a large nesting population in Ontario, estimated at about 200,000. In the US lower 48 states, the Common is the only loon species nesting. WI has about 4000 loons.

Loons are the oldest, most primitive, living bird. They are from ancestors at least 20 million years old.

Loons have solid bones allowing them to sink, dive and swim like masters of the water. But, flying requires a water take-off “runway” of ¼ mile (400m) to become airborne. Their legs are far back on their torso, an awkward set-up for water-landings. Legs at the rear and need for long flight take-offs make loons helpless on land. They can’t walk on land; only push themselves along for short distances. They can’t take off from land. If forced to land on ‘land’, they will starve, stuck at the landing spot. Sometimes, during migration, loons mistake wet roads for rivers. They land, and die unless rescued by people. Landing in a ‘too small’ pond for take-offs also means doom.

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Loon Calls: 4 basic calls, hear them at: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/common_loon/sounds

·       Wail – a back and forth location calls: “Where are you?”

·       Yodel – Male only territorial call:  “This place is mine!”

·       Tremolo – Stress, alarm :  “Something’s Wrong”

  • o   Flight Tremolo: similar non stress “Flying. Anybody down there? “

·       Hoot – Soothing, quiet, close-by. “Hello friend, I like you”

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Some other facts about our loons:

  • Their average weight is about 10 lbs (4.5kg); males are usually heavier.
  • Male and female loons look identical. Male loons are often slightly larger.
  • Adult loons winter on the oceans. Juvenile loons migrate to the ocean in their first autumn and remain there for 3 full years until mature.
  • Loons have small wings compared to their body size, so they have to move their wings much faster than other waterfowl to stay airborne. 
  • They need about ¼ mile (400m) to take off; a lake at least 10 acres (4 Hectare)  They can fly at up to 70 mph (113 Km/hr), even faster with a tail wind.

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  • In one documented case, a loon flew 670 miles (1078 Km) in 1 day.  1524 m)
  • Loons fly at 3000 – 5000 ft high (914 – 1524 m) 
  • Loons use the Great Lakes extensively as staging areas for rest; migration.
  • Most Great Lakes area and W Ontario area loons migrate to 1) The Gulf of Mexico (Florida’s coast and MS, AL) 2)FL inland lakes  3)Atlantic (Florida east coast, the Carolinas, GA) 
  • For example, some loons from MN and WI were tracked migrating EAST to Lake Michigan; Then they feed, rest and slowly make their way to the south end of Lake Michigan. They may head to the Gulf or SE to the Atlantic, stopping at Lake Erie and then over the Appalachians. Amazing!!
  • Common Loons once nested as far south as Northern IL and N Iowa. (1900). Human population, hunting and loss of habitat pushed their range further north. 
  • Loons do not mate for life; they are more true to a lake and territory than to a mate. However, both male and female will strive to get to the same territory year after year. If they are both able to claim their territory and defend it from others who want it, they nest with last years’ mate, in the same lake or portion of lake.
  • Loons can live 25-30yrs. This is still being researched. Might be longer. 
  • Loons fight to claim and keep a good lake territory where they can nest. 
  • Adult loons consume about 2 lbs of fish and crustaceans per day. Mostly perch. 
  • Loons and their chicks in N WI are highly studied. A large number have been banded with colored, individualized leg bands. The bands allow researchers (and the public) to identify an individual by patiently observing them with binoculars. Adult loons who have returned and juveniles banded-as-chicks can be identified.
  • A female loon has been returning to my WI lake since she was first banded in 1995. She was estimated to be 5-8 years old then. That means she is at least 25 years old if returning in 2015. She has had at least 5 mates since then.

A color leg-banded loon:  photo by Alan Schwoegler
2

A Loon’s Year

The beginning: March- April
Adult loons on the ocean molt their flight feathers in late winter Feb-March. They are unable to fly until the new feathers have all grown in. Once feathers are ready, the loons are itchin’ to head north. The male is especially loaded with hormones at this time and ready to head to the area he calls home.

They head north as far as they find ice-free water, utilizing the Great Lakes and river flowages to get north. Many males will hang out on a river or flowage and take flights over their home lake each day to see if the ice is gone. I have seen them fly over my iced-in lake, circle the area and fly back. WI DNR people have identified my lake’s male loon hanging out on the open WI River near Rhinelander as early as 2 weeks before my lake was open.

Territory: May – June
Male loons are usually the first to arrive and claim a territory. The female arrives soon after. As a pair, they may claim the total water area of a small lake or a portion of a larger lake. My WI Lake is 150 acres and oval. It supports one pair of loons who won’t allow others on their territory. This is known as a territorial pair. Irregular shaped or large lakes have multiple territories. I estimated Wawang Lake to have about 75 loon “territories” suitable for nesting. A pair of loons in a territory have to defend it against stronger, younger loons, male or female. A male loon will sometimes fight to the death trying to defend his “spot”. Females are less violent.

Loons with no territory or mate are known as floaters. Floaters stay on lakes or areas of a lake which are not good for nesting but hold fish. Floaters will continually fly into nest territories as intruders and challenge the resident(s) for their territory. Some of the large open areas of Wawang Lake are good examples of floater “hang outs”.

Nesting: June-July
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Preferred nesting areas are shallow areas with islands, points, exposed rock and bog mats. A nest is built from muck, reeds and vegetation gathered from the lake bottom by male and female together. The nest will be built high enough to be out of the water and the loons will push themselves up to sit on it. There are normally one or two eggs. The loon pair share nest duties and need about 28 days of undisturbed incubating. Weasels, otter, eagles and gulls will eat the eggs if possible. Also, if the territory is successfully taken over by an intruder (floater), the affected male or female is booted out. The remaining mate accepts the new one and the existing nest will be abandoned; the eggs left to die.  It’s a tough life. When a nest fails because of mate displacement or predation, there are sometimes enough weeks left in the summer to attempt a 2nd or 3rd nest. This can never succeed however, if a new nest is started too late. (Probably later than June 15th at Wawang.) Any loon chick hatched late has a poor chance of growing big enough to fly south before its’ home lake freezes.

Chicks: Late June – July

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Chicks will hatch a day apart if there are 2 eggs. The chicks take to the water immediately after their feathers dry away egg liquid. They are able to walk around on land or the nest at this time, if needed.

The chicks will sometimes ride on an adult back because chick feathers don’t keep them warm enough. Riding also keeps them away from predators. Muskie, large bass, northern pike, snapping turtles and eagles will snatch a young chick from the water. Male and female loon will catch perch, minnows and crustaceans to feed the chicks. Once again, loon intruders fight for the territory. More fights! If a new male can take over, the young chicks will be killed by him. If it is still early summer, the new adult pair may try to re-nest.

Chicks are helpless for 3 weeks. They are not able to feed themselves or dive to avoid boats. Boats are a lethal problem on crowded lakes. By 6 weeks chicks are more independent and will start to dive for food on their own. By 12 weeks old, the chicks are juveniles, able to feed themselves and start to fly.

Time to cut the ties: August – September
Once loon chicks are 6 weeks old, the adults begin to wander off now and then, one at a time, to socialize and feed. The time-away starts to increase and the parents may totally leave chicks alone after 12 weeks.

Then, the adults usually go to large open-lake areas and hang out with the “floaters”. The adult loons begin to lose some of the beautiful feather pattern and red-eye. They start to turn a dull grey prior to migration. The adults form rafts of anywhere from 25 to hundreds of loons. They feed heavily and prepare for migration.

The chicks, now juveniles, fly around their lakes and adjoining waters to strengthen their wings. They too feed heavily to get ready for migration.

An adult loon molts, begins migration

Migration:  Oct – Nov
By October, adults start to migrate, singly or in very loose flocks. They do not fly together and the territorial pair seen in early summer will probably disperse to different migration destinations, not to see each other again until spring. Adults leave before their offspring, leaving the juveniles to find their own way south later. This “rookie” migration sometimes causes problems for the juveniles. They wait too long, their lake begins to freeze over, and they no longer have enough open water to take off. These poor juveniles usually become eagle food as the eagles wait at the edge of open water for the young loon to exhaust itself.

Researchers have used satellites to track migrating MN WI and MI male adult loons. The tracking allows people to see exactly where the loons were. The results of several years of satellite tracking can be seen at:538985_10151485445607581_1088304094_n

http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/terrestrial/migratory_birds/loons/migrations.html

More Loon information can be found at:
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/search/Loon.html
https://www.northland.edu/sigurd-olson-environmental-institute-loon-watch-FAQs.htm
http://loonproject.org/walter-piper/ (The scientist researching in my home area)

Enjoy Wawang Lake’s numerous loons. Their calls give you a wonderful memory to take home and enjoy long after you’ve left the lake.

Thank You!.
Alan Schwoegler

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