There has certainly been a lot happening lately especially with visitors to our fair town. Spring floods in Hay River sent evacuees scurrying here. Then, a Royal tour and the United States Government talking about UFOs visiting the planet. Or, as they are calling them now, Unidentified Flying Phenomena — UFPs for short. Since an object could be a phenomenon, not sure what the name change signifies because, either way, it is unidentified and flying.

Lots of other things going on and if a UFP or O, should happen to enter our airspace I am sure one of the many birders here will spot it. And they will no doubt add it to their lifer list. Some bird watchers’ actually keep a list of all the birds they have seen in their lifetime. I admire their passion and dedication to the cause.

There are over 200 species of birds that have been recorded in the Yellowknife area and some watchers know and recognize most of them. To them a duck is not merely a duck of some sort, they want to know exactly which sort it is and if they don’t know they will look it up in their bird books. Birders often have several books, several pairs of binoculars and means to photograph what they see. That’s one of the ways to spot a serious birder. Do they have a pair of binoculars with them?

We are well into the bird migration season and not thousands, but millions of birds are passing through the area, so its hard not to see them, but some people do manage to miss most of the action. There is another way to spot a person who likes birds. They rush outside to look when they hear a flock of geese overhead. The flocks of birds that don’t honk as they fly over are much harder to spot. You must be looking at the right place at the right time.

The ponds and then the small lakes will soon open and that will pretty much be the end of the bird migration north for the year. It really is an amazing yearly event. The return of the birds. In the summer, it is almost impossible to look around you and not see a bird somewhere. Usually there is one or more in the sky and if you stand still and look carefully around you, you can usually spot a few on the ground or in the bushes.

The end of the migration is also usually the start of another northern phenomena. Planting fever begins to affect some people. The days are long and warm. Wild plants are starting to send out shoots and green up. People want to get planting in the worst way. If they can’t plant, they can still buy plants and stockpile bedding plants indoors, in their kitchen, on their dining room table, in the laundry room or anyplace else they can find some space. They go to the places that sell bedding plants and just can’t resist buying a few more.

Every time they go outside they are seized with a dilemma; they want to plant but it is still too early. They know that deep down but then someone in the neighborhood can’t take it anymore and they plant. People see that someone planted, and their will power breaks down. They plant. Then it seems like everyone is planting.

Then it hits, the year’s last snow fall. I have seen people outside in a snowstorm digging up their bedding plants and bringing them inside, all because they planted too soon. Many must visit the nurseries again because some of the wussy southern garden plants, just don’t survive.

Lots of people have passions and as long as they don’t hurt others or nature, why not encourage them. Some people have a passion for hiking, cooking, fishing, or swatting mosquitoes. Some prospectors get what is called gold fever and they will go a little nuts looking for the stuff. Others have a passion for seeing another species of bird and some people really like to garden, even if they do start a tad early.

What ever your passion time to get outside and enjoy it. And if you see or photograph a UFP, please share it.

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