Welcoming Spring…Wildlife Watching from Your Canoe!

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Yes, this time of year presents such great opportunities for me to get out on the water, with Gryphon and Edgar, of course, to check out some of the early season birds and wildlife. More on that later….

Wait, weren’t we just snowshoeing? Yes, we snowshoed until April 17th, which was my 134th day of snowshoeing this season. We could have extended the season, but trips to DC, a bout of illness, and the first signs of open water signaled that a fabulous season had come to an end!

 

 

Our last 5 days of snowshoeing!

This Spring, we made 5 presentations,at 3 different venues. We presented two seminars at the North Country Animal League, the rescue shelter where we found both of our dogs. One presentation was on safe and responsible hiking with dogs,and the other was on Dog Paddling.

At a local library,we presented on wildlife watching from your canoe…with your dog!

And, we had our annual trip to the New England PaddleSports Show, held this year at the Whittemore Center at UNH. The dogs had to get special dispensation to be allowed into this newer building ( the show previously was held in the field house). Other than a few protective barks, they did very well…lots of waiting around, attending our two seminar sessions, and even having to take multiple trips on an elevator.

 

The pups were so well behaved, during a break, we took them to the UNH Dairy Bar, for a very delicious ice cream treat!

 

One of the highlights of the show was the opportunity to attend a presentation by Laurie A. Chandler,the first woman to solo thru-paddle the Northern Forest Canoe trail. We spent some time chatting, and she wrote a delightful inscription as she autographed my copy of her book Upwards! And of course, we had the ocean! Happy pups, running and playing on the beach…always a special time on this annual trip.

 

So, now we are in paddling mode..well, at least I am, because I have a dry suit; with local water temperatures ranging from 34-42, it would be foolhardy to get out paddling without such thermal protection.  In fact, I was aghast to discover that a local high school took some students out in canoes, on our coldest, last ice-out lake, where two days earlier I had measured the water temperature at34 degrees. Yes, they were wearing PFD’s, but as a former Outdoor Education program instructor, I cannot imaging taking such a risk. So Duncan has to wait until the water warms a bit before he can get kayaking, but since Edgar has become a steady canoe dog, I can take him out , alternating days with Gryphon ( the dogs are in life jackets, with neoprene vest beneath). Here are a few pics of our first 8 days on the water, in 5 of our local favorite lakes.

 

Yes, that is a patch of ice Gryphon sees!

So, the title for this blog entry refers to wildlife watching….so far, this spring has been phenomenal! I have upgraded to a newer model of my bridge camera ( Canon Powershot SX70 HS), and it appears to be an improvement in terms of clarity at zoom; it has a few improvements over the SX60, but also a few detrimental changes ( i.e. self timer only goes up to 10 seconds..for remote shots, it can take me longer than that to set the camera,and then get in position with the dog, gear,canoe,etc!) Otherwise, I think it will help improve my amateur photography skills this year.

We have welcomed back many of our avian friends, and look forward to spending more time on the water observing them ( from a respectful distance, of course). These are some of our observations from paddle days 1 through 8….

 

And a few more!

 

Yes, I really love and appreciate seeing the variety of nature on our local ponds and lakes…our newest presentation, on wildlife watching will have to be updated, as we see more and more species of animals and birds!

Our spring and summer schedule is chock full of canoe camping, GO camping, day paddling, an hiking outings…at this point we will take another hiatus from blogging, and plan to return with a mid-summer blog update. We will continue to have regular updates in Facebook, Instagram and twitter.

Have fun with your dogs, keep safe, and Paddle On!

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