(Bert) With no urgent agenda, a few of us linger several days at our campsite near Winnipeg, visiting restaurants and enjoying each otherís company especially around a campfire at 5 PM each night. ďDick and JaneĒ are still here as they resolve what to do about their damaged rig. It now seems the insurance company will declare it totaled since the mechanics have determined the frame is severely bent. The couple will rent a large car to transport themselves and their RV contents to their home. As ever, Dick and Jane handle the situation with unusual calmness.
When Shari and I finally move on we drive only a short distance to the Rat River south of Winnipeg. A biologist we met at Devilís Lake told us he was studying Least Bitterns in Manitoba and suggested the Rat River as the best location in the province. I visit it in the morning and hear seven Least Bitterns and two American Bitterns. Even after nearly three hourís vigil, I donít see any of them although they keep announcing their presence in the marsh only a hundred feet from me. I am delighted to watch a few Black-billed Cuckoos, though. This is the first time Iíve seen them outside of migration through Texas where they always seem quite shy. Here on the breeding grounds they are incessantly noisy and fly conspicuously past me.
With a bit of free time available now, I finish compiling our bird and mammal sightings for the trip, as well as finish up on the journals for which I had only sketched an outline. Certainly our trip could be deemed a success just for the good times we had and the wonderful new friends we made. From a nuts and bolts point of view, we encountered 242 bird species, all but Lark Sparrow within the Manitoba province. We also saw 30 mammal species. Iíll put the lists on my website as appendices to the journals.
We are in Northern Wisconsin as I write this. Weíll stay here for several months and continue the preparation for trips weíve offered through Central America in early 2008, followed by Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories a few weeks after returning from Mexico, as well as trips scheduled through 2010. Shari and I love the life we have the opportunity to lead and as she always says, tongue in cheek, ďItís a tough job, but someone has to do it!Ē She then adds, ďAnd God has blessed us.Ē
Appendix A Table of Contents