A Canadian Wildlife Hat Trick

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Written by Stephen D. Earsom
Sunday, May 22, 2011

Photo of Stephen D. Earsom.It's May, and that means it's hockey playoff time in Canada. I don't know much about the sport, but I do know that if you've scored three goals in a game it's called a hat trick. So today was a special day for us, flying over northern Ontario in an area where the boreal forest begins to give way to string bogs, lichen-covered granite, and stunted trees, collectively known as the taiga ecoregion. For amongst the singles, pairs and small flocks of waterfowl we continue to count, we managed to see a nice-sized bear, a moose with a calf, and a rare woodland caribou. We've seen as many as five bears in a day, and moose have also reared their heads fairly frequently in the North, but the woodland caribou, considered a threatened species by the Canadian government, was a lucky find. We are truly fortunate souls to be able to work toward conservation of our natural resources in such a beautiful locale.

A string bog in Northern Ontario.

A string bog in Northern Ontario. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

String bogs, lichen-covered granite, and stunted trees that exemplify a taiga landscape in Northern Ontario.

String bogs, lichen-covered granite, and stunted trees that exemplify a taiga landscape in Northern Ontario. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

More of the Northern Ontario taiga ecoregion.

More of the Northern Ontario taiga ecoregion. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS