Sorry for the lack of updates — I’ve been guiding in Alaska the past couple of weeks. And while I was gone, our final tagged owl of the season still in cell contact, Oswegatchie, seemed to have flown the coop.
After spending several weeks near Fitzroy Harbour on the Ontario/Quebec border, on May 28 Oswegatchie flew briefly north into Quebec, then back south to Arnprior in Ontario. He lingered there for a few days, and our last contact with him was the evening of June 1, when he was logged flying at 37 knots on a northwesterly heading, crossing the Ottawa River.
We heard nothing from him on June 4, when he should have checked in, and once more we wondered if he’d crossed beyond the last GSM cell towers in southern Canada. But Saturday evening he checked in on the shores of Lac Malartic, Quebec, a 370-km (230-mile) flight from his last location. He’d spent four days hanging around the town of Malartic just to the south, before moving about 20 km north to the lake itself.
I’ve made the mistake before of counting him out, but if he keeps going on this heading, he’s going to be out of range almost immediately. There is only one more GSM tower just north of Lac Malartic (near the town of Amos) and after that there is nothing using a GSM network all the way to the Arctic.
But we’ve said goodbye to this bird before, so we’ll have to wait and see if he really disappears. But it feels odd that I made it to the subarctic before he did this summer.