2022-06-16 Thursday At Lake Lebarge

Bohemian Waxwing - Bombycilla garrulus
I used my second day of clear weather to explore Lake Lebarge, north of Whitehorse. I visited the lake near a boat-launch and met for only the second time, Bohemian Waxwings.

Rather than chase the same birds as I did Wednesday, I wanted to try for birds in an area yet unexplored by me. Lake Labarge, the subject of Robert Service’s epic poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, is but a few miles north of Whitehorse. After I finished my breakfast at Legends Restaurant, and under clear and sunny skies, I drove up to investigate the area.

When I reached Lake Lebarge, I drove into the campgrounds near their boat launch. My first instinct was to gaze out at the water, and search the shore for a burned out derelict boat named the Alice May, but knowing full-well the Robert Service poem was the tallest of tall-tales, I wasn’t truly expecting to find any evidence of the boat’s existence. After assuring myself that there was no relic in sight, I could see no sign of waterfowl or any bird-life on the lake. So I turned back to the trees lining the campsite, and met kinglets, warblers, sparrows, and flycatchers. But most rewarding were the Bohemian Waxwings that spent a little time with me.

The only Bohemian Waxwing I’d ever met was a single bird that landed on an old snag in the middle of McIntyre Marsh during my 2005 visit to the region. The image I captured all those years ago was not of the best quality, but being the only image I had, I kept it. Such is the lot of the photographer, that we always wish for a better image. Only rarely are we satisfied with our results. Even with my waxwing encounter being a big improvement from my effort so long ago, I find myself wishing for a chance to do better.

When I finished at Lake Lebarge, I drove to Fish Lake Road, and then out to McIntyre Marsh to spend a few hours. I boondock camped beside Fish Lake Road, where I stayed a few days earlier after reaching Whitehorse. I spent much of the late afternoon and evening processing images, while parked at the roadside. Returning to the marsh for another visit the next morning, I enjoyed the birds there for a few more hours. I will share more about my visit to the marsh in the next episode. [Spoiler Alert! I captured another milestone bird at the marsh.]

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