Tuesday, 3 January 2017



23rd annual Christmas Bird Count

December 17, 2016

 22 field observers and 7 feeder watchers

 28 species

  3 Common Merganzers

 16 Ruffed Grouse

  3 Bald Eagles

  1 Northern Goshawk

  1 Herring Gull

160 Rock Pigeons

   1 Northern Hawk Owl

 11 Downy Woodpeckers

 15 Hairy Woodpeckers

  3 Pileated Woodpeckers

  1 Northern Shrike

 40 Gray Jay –Canada Jays

 38 Blue Jays

 20 Crow

433 Ravens

185 Black-capped Chickadees

  2 Boreal Chickadees

 13 Red breasted Nuthatch

109 Starlings

 17 Bohemian Waxwings

  1 Dark-eyed Junco

283 Pine Grosbeaks

  4 Purple Finch

 17 Common Redpoll

  7 Pine Siskens

 32 American Goldfinch

121 Evening Grosbeak

 23 House Sparrows

Seven Mammals Observed:

16 Red Squirrels; 4 Deer; 2 Otter: 1 Vole;  5 Snowshoe hares; 1 Muskrat; 1 Flying Squirrel.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Year End Pageview total = 28,309

Thank you to the readers of this Blog in the year 2016.
Around 6000 Pageviews ,
Looking forward to the New Year and Peace on Earth.
Two Toms in the snow.
Red morph and grey morph Ruffed Grouse.
These two guys had five hens to chase through the snow.

Monday, 21 November 2016


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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Change is in the Hare

Still only ears and feet turned white so far. Nov. 6
Just about a complete change Nov. 6, 2016
Keeping a low profile.
Nov. 6, 2016

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

October Birding


On October 29 and 30, 2016 Kaarlo’s “group” travelled  through:  the Golf Course Road; Maatta’s Road; the municipality of the Township of Nipigon; Nipigon Marina; the Saw Mill Point Trail; Lake Helen; Polly Lake; Hurkett Dock; the community of Hurkett; Hurkett Cove; and Ouimet Canyon Road.

707 birds divided among 32 species


11 Canada Geese

7 Herring Gulls

99 Snow buntings

19 Ravens

80 Rock Doves (Pigeons)

6 European Starlings

36 Hooded Merganzers

6 Crows

53 Black capped Chickadees

6 Ruffed Grouse

16 Common Merganzers

14 Gull species unknown

10 Red breasted Nuthatches

2 Mallards

2 Longtail Ducks

4 Ringbill Gulls

11 Goldeneyes

9 Canada Jays

2 Common Loons

4 Bald Eagles

11 Blue Jays

1 Hairy Woodpecker

2 Juncos

3 Tree Sparrows

7 Trumpeter Swans (Hurkett Dock)

200 Black AND White wing Scoters

1 Pileated Woodpecker

9 Pine Grosbeaks

1 Rough-legged Hawk

65 Terns unknown species

1 Downy Woodpecker

9 Ring neck Ducks

Walleye Conclusion

WALLEYE Conclusion

From: The Status of Walleye in Nipigon Bay Area of Concern: 2012

Prepared for Environment Canada

By: Terry Marshall, Marshall Consulting

March 31, 2013

I am skipping over the next 14 pages of the Report which covers the following topics:

Recent Research, assessment and monitoring studies:

Genetics of stocks

Telemetry studies: seasonal movements and habitat use ( they want to continue this study to see if there really are two distinct spawning populations)

Walleye spawning observations and drift netting Nipigon River

Walleye and Northern Pike abundance: Lake Helen

Fish Community assessment Lake Helen

Electrofishing surveys: Nipigon Bay and River

Fish Community Index Netting: Nipigon Bay

Walleye Population assessment: Nipigon Bay


Reference sites

Recovery of collapsed populations

In all cases, rainbow smelt were also present in these water bodies which is an important consideration  if making comparisons.  The Nipigon Bay East area has the greatest biomass of rainbow smelt documented in Canadian Waters of Lake Superior (Yule et al 2008).  The species was also found to be generally of larger body size in this part of the lake.  The presence of a large and abundant prey such as rainbow smelt has a positive influence on walleye growth energetics.  In Western U.S. reservoirs, growth rate increases once rainbow smelt became a large part of walleye diet [Johnson and Goetti 1999; Groeb et all 2008]. On the other hand, rainbow smelt may also compete with and prey on age-0 walleye which in some instances can significantly reduce their density [Mercedes-Silva et al 2007].




Walleye Population status

1.       Abundance remains low – approx. 5000 Lake Helen

2.       Density is increasing

3.       Growth rates are very high

4.       Mortality is very low


Walleye Habitat status


Information needs ;

Genetic analysis of stocks

Population monitoring and assessment


If genetic analysis determines that two discrete populations exist, the size of each must be determined independently.



There have been many changes in the 50+ years since Ryder’s [1956] early studies and the collapse of the walleye fishery in Nipigon Bay.  There have been drastic shifts in the composition of the aquatic community, along with significant improvements to nearshore habitat within the Bay, and recent changes to the thermal properties of the area brought about by climate warming.  Together , these present a new environment for walleye to which they continue to adapt. This process appears to have promoted the development of two separate stocks of walleye in the Nipigon system.


We have a new  population [or two] of walleye here today, different from the historic population in terms of its genetics, its spawning behaviour, and its annual movement patterns and use of habitat.  This population is thought to be at a relatively low level of abundance compared with historic estimates, but quite healthy in all other respects.  Growth rates are rapid and mortality is low.  Together these traits suggest that large, rapidly maturing fish are present and have the potential to produce quantities of offspring in the future.  Clean, high quality substrate is available in unobstructed spawning areas in both Nipigon and Jackfish rivers and it not constraining recovery.


On the basis of this evidence, it is recommended that the BUI status of the walleye population and their habitat in the Nipigon Bay AOC be updated to “ Not impaired”.


The 40,000 fish target for Walleye recovery may never be achieved in light of all the changes observed in this ecosystem [Colby 2007].  All that can be done to accomplish this has been done.  Maintaining fishing mortality at a low level will help the walleye population expand to achieve its new equilibrium.

Friday, 28 October 2016

WALLEYE Rehabilitation Efforts

WALLEYE Rehabilitation Efforts

From The Status of Walleye in Nipigon Bay Area of Concern: 2012

Prepared for Environment Canada

By Terry Marshall, Marshall Consulting

March 313, 2013

In 1991, the historic loss and continued low abundance of walleye in Nipigon Bay was identified as a Beneficial Use Impairment [BUI] in the Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan [RAP] Stage 1 document [Cullis et al 1991].  Through the RAP process, multiple actions were identified and implemented in an effort to restore walleye in the Nipigon River including the stocking of adult walleye [Cullis et al 1995]. The Nipigon River walleye stock was later recognized as one of 14 priority areas for walleye rehabilitation around Lake Superior in “ A Rehabilitation Plan for Walleye Populations and Habitats in Lake Superior” [Hoff 2002].


A stocking plan was initiated in 1978 as an approach to rehabilitate the walleye population of Nipigon Bay and continued until 1992 [Wilson 1991]. Initially eggs were stocked, then fingerlings and fry, and finally adult walleye were transferred into the bay.

The source of eggs for the stocking program varied through the years, but included Current River, Onaman Lake, and Lake Nipigon.  Stocking sites included Jackfish River, Condon Island and three sites on the Nipigon River: the Lake Helen access, the highway bridge, and the river mouth.

An adult stocking program began in 1986, with 2,686 fish transferred from Savanne Lake over a four year period.  A further 12,100 fish were obtained from Lac des Mille Lac, Georgia Lake and Lake Nipigon and stocked in the bay from 1990 to 1992 [Wilson et al 2007]. ( and Trapnarrows Lake )



There has been considerable progress in addressing environmental concerns in the Nipigon Bay AOC.  This has included the development of a bioengineered marina at  Red Rock, which features armour stone breakwalls that provide public access and fish and wildlife habitat; the development and implementation of the Nipigon River Water Management Plan, which has provided a workable solution to water use conflicts arising from regulated flows;  and the realignment of Clearwater Creek and Kama Creek, which restored valuable brook trout habitat in the AOC.  The “historic” spawning grounds and the “Old Mill Site” wetland on the lower river were rehabilitated through removal of logs, pilings and debris.  Domtar Packaging Ltd. Upgraded its treatment technology in 1995 to improve the quality of wastewater discharged to Nipigon Bay ( and ceased operation in 2006).  In 2012, the township of Nipigon incorporated secondary treatment to its water pollution control plant.

In 2004, Environment Canada completed an assessment of the sediment contaminants in Nipigon Bay.  The findings suggest that the soil contamination near the vicinity of the pulp and paper mill have reduced to a point that the concentrations are suspected to have no or limited impact on the benthos [Richman 2004].

A recent inventory of benthic macroinvertebrate communities in the Nipigon system suggests a high quality habitat indicative of a highly oxygenated, unimpaired environment [Deacon 2011].