Wildlife (and Itchy Times)

A weekend at a Canadian Shield lake is pretty much guaranteed to send you home with bites: black fly, mosquito, deer fly, or horsefly, depending on the month.  This last weekend was no exception: I am still sporting an itchy welt on my left foot from an attack executed through a tiny mesh section of a waterproof kayaking shoe.  In a kayak.

On the other foot, while doing the extensive research so typical of these posts I discovered both a discouraging fact and a helpful tip about deer flies.  You can guess which is which . . .

Their distribution is worldwide,
though they have not been reported in Iceland, Greenland, and Hawaii.
They do not enter buildings.

Even when I do venture out the building into the Great Outdoors at the lake, what’s never guaranteed is the more-desirable wildlife: the photographable as opposed to swattable variety.  But this last weekend sent me home with photos of frogs, deer(s?), and loons, oh my.  The frog has found a biting-fly-avoidance strategy that works for it, hunkering down on a slightly slimy lake edge; the deer, not so much.  Sister, I feel your pain.

3-photo collage of frog lurking in slime

2-photo collage of doe at White Lake2-photo collage of fawn at White LakeFawn nursing in the backyardFawn nursing in the woodsJuvenile loon splashing beak2-photo collage of juvenile loons and parental unit2-photo collage of common loons eating slimy bits


    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim – Thanks! The deer seem habituated to human presence, considering they were in someone’s (lake) yard. Mama did keep an eye on me, but I don’t think she was seriously worried. As for the loons, we hitched a ride on a pontoon boat and, again, the loons at the lake are accustomed to people coming and going. They don’t come over for a handout, but neither do they take off.

  1. Bonanza! The memorable faces of real creatures. It looks like Noah landed in a Canadian lake and started to unload the ark. Your camera allows us to study some of the finer details that when I see these beauties are on the move and disappear in a flash. Thank you for sharing your Peaceable Kingdom.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Laurna – Glad you enjoyed them. Apparently there are also foxes in the neighbourhood, but I have this only on report, not by observation. Also garter snakes, but I made an effort not to observe them.

  2. John Whitman

    Isabel – did you ever consider that deer flies and moose flies especially like kayakers and canoeists. That’s because they sit relatively motionless and can’t run away when bitten. That’s how it seems to me anyway.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      John – If I thought I were being differentially targeted, I might give up. We have noticed that kayaking a ways out from shore is usually safer. I don’t know over what distance they can detect CO2, which is how I think they’re finding us, as opposed to random flying about. But for sure it’s hard to respond to a deer fly assault both effectively and safely in a kayak.

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