Wildlife viewing at Bearskin Lodge is always excellent, but this winter the animal population around the lodge and our cabins has been extraordinary.
During our first winter as Bearskin owners, many of our winter guests commented that the birds had disappeared. Whatever caused that slump in the bird population last year is over now – we have an incredible number and variety of birds in the trees around the resort this winter. We’re going through an astonishing amount of black oil sunflower seeds every week, but it’s a worthwhile investment in bird watching. The bird identification books in every cabin are getting a serious workout these days.
Over President’s Day weekend, many guests participated in our “Critter Watch,” by keeping a list of animals and animal signs they saw or heard over the long weekend. Birds included black capped chickadees, red breasted nuthatches, common redpolls, pine siskins, pine grosbeaks, blue jays, Canadian jays, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, and pileated woodpeckers.
Otters were observed on East Bearskin and Little Alder Lakes; otter slides were noted along the Poplar Creek ski trail. Skiers photographed beaver tracks along — of course — Beaver Dam trail. Several moose sightings were reported; people are frequently finding moose in groups of 2 or 3 now. Moose tracks were spotted everywhere, wolf tracks were seen along Bear Cub Trail and fox tracks were found on the lake by several guests. Pine martens were identified by the Main Lodge. Playful red squirrels were abundant, but lucky observers also glimpsed flying squirrels at night. Wolf howls and raven cries were reported by several guests.
Originally we thought we’d do the Critter Watch for one weekend. A drawing to win a Bearskin T-shirt was the incentive to keep the Critter Watch list. Douglas Owens-Pike won the first drawing. (He actually turned in extra credit by e-mailing in additional wildlife sightings from the trip home, but all that extra work was for naught, as he’d already won the T-shirt.)
We had enough fun with the project that we’ve decided to keep it going. We’ll draw names for more T-shirts again and if you’ve entered a list or a photo, your name will stay in the hopper — you could win the next one. So if you still have a photo or animal list, send it to us and we’ll add your name into the drawing. It's just one more reason to appreciate the abundant wildlife around Bearskin.