Monday, 11 June 2012

Midnight sun memories

There are strange things done in the midnight sun,
by the men who search for a bird;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
that sometimes seem quite absurd;

We arrived one night after a two hour flight
and pursued some tales we’d been told
After a brief search, from a rooftop perch,
We found our Yukon Gold

Ray and Brian with some Yukon Gold
 The weather can be surly but we woke up early
and went off with hardly a word
Beyond the docks, flying over some rocks
an Arctic Tern was our first new bird

Arctic Tern
We picked up our RV which was something to see
with its 3 beds, kitchen and shower
We stocked up, got everything locked up
and were heading north within an hour.

Phil driving the RV with Ray relaxing in the back

Nearing a lake, we needed a break
and had heard of Sam McGee.
So we stopped at the marge of Lake Labarge
but there were not even ashes to see

The Dempster scenery with its budding greenery
left us utterly astounded
And with continuous daylight, much to our delight,
the birds and mammals abounded.
Dempster Highway scenery

We saw Snowshoe Hares, two kinds of bears
and a Caribou on the road was nice
There were Long-tailed Ducks and, with a little luck,
Phil found us a tattler on ice.
Wandering Tattler

Despite the hummocky sod, up Surfbird Mountain we trod,
walking  a kilometer, I’d wager
Where Ray and I spied but Phil was denied
a view of a Long-tailed Jaeger.
Where's the darn jaeger?!

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest and never seen again
Was that night in the park, just for a lark
When a rock became a ptarmigan.

The scenery unfurled as we drove “Top of the World”
to Canada’s far western edge.
Nothing much there but a guard with a glare
and a Hoary Marmot asleep on a ledge.
Ray and Phil at the Yukon's border with Alaska

At Klondike Kate’s the food was great
and the beer made us feel quite jolly
But there was no show, so with Cameron in tow
we created the “Fur and Feather” follies.
Phil, Cameron & Ray doing a dance
Now we were well fed, we headed for bed
safe from the weather so foul.
We woke to the sound, emanating beyond town
of the hoots of a Boreal Owl.

To the Yukon good-bye, further north we did fly
where the climate is like a deep freeze.
Though some lakes were ice-covered, we quickly discovered
that the temperature was twenty degrees!
Arctic tundra north of Inuvik

We flew up to “Tuk”, met up with Chuck,
and the town soon had us awed.
To top off the day, in an arctic-type way,
we birded the area by quad.
Brian on a quad

We were out on the ice and the weather was nice
when I heard an ear piercing scream.
A bear was in sight with Phil and Ray in flight
Whew – it was just a bad dream!
Can Ray and Phil outrun a Polar Bear?

There are strange things done under the midnight sun
some of which I have put forth.
But don’t believe me, go for yourself and see
and experience the magic of the north.


  1. Hi, I met you guys at the Yukon birdathon BBQ in may. Awesome and entertaining post; I'm very glad that you guys had such a wonderful experience. I can't believe that you set a new record for number of bird species seen during 24 hours in th Yukon on your first trip here! Congratulations :) Good luck on your birding endevors!

  2. Beakingoff - you are right in that we had a wonderful experience in the north but I don't think we met you as we weren't at the Yukon birdathon BBQ. Also, we didn't set (nor even try for) the Yukon big day record; in Inuvik, we tried for the NWT record but did not quite get it. I think big days are more suitable for a younger person with lots of stamina so perhaps you will set the record one day ... well done on your 93 species birdathon total.