Mary and I spotted a flock of about 100 huge white birds flying in a single V on the Turkey Float yesterday. I believe they were tundra swans, because the mute variety aren’t fond of flying at all if they can help it, and they definitely don’t fly at the altitude of a small jet plane like these birds were. And trumpeter swans (formerly called whistling swans) are still very rare in the Midwest.
Which got me to wondering: how high do birds fly? Higher than you might think:
Bar-headed Geese are known to cross the Himalayas at 29,500 feet. The world record holder is a Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture seen at 37,000 feet. A Mallard, which struck an airplane at 21,000 feet, holds the record for the highest documented flight altitude for a bird in North America.
Even our humble little songbirds fly as high as 6,000 feet, although the majority of them migrate at 500 to 2,000 feet. This according to the Smithsonian National Zoo website, which has some really cool facts of bird migration.
Our earth is a stupendous place.
Sent to me by Rich Bailey:
“I don’t know why I didn’t notice this before, but here is an adventure that I think should go on the LOAPC calendar. I am thinking April 19 next year, the week before your Ausable trip. I would be more than willing to be “trip leader” for this one. I thought about doing the Williamston to Zimmer road section (it looks like the first 2 stages are in that stretch), but I’m not sure about the number of dead falls there after the tornado last month. I’ve some time constraints tomorrow so spending 4 hours portaging doesn’t really work. I am planning to hike the river bank around Legg & Harris parks just to see what the portages for the 23rd might look like.
This is a very difficult multi-cache that requires a canoe, excellent canoeing skills, and a full day to complete. It is not to be undertaken lightly. There are significant safety hazards along the way. The canoe trip is from Williamston to Lansing along the Red Cedar River. There are six intermediate stages, each is necessary to find the next. The final stage is an ammo box with traditional trade items.
The given coordinates are for the put-in location in Williamston. The City of Williamston removed an old dam and constructed this series of rapids in its place. Take the time to run the rapids if water is high enough. If you lack the skills to run this Class 2 rapids, you do not have the skills needed for this cache. The take-out location is N42 42.991 W84 31.317 at Crego Park in Lansing (also known as Kruger’s Landing). This makes for a very long day, however, it is possible to break up the trip into two days. (See Two Day Option below.)
Six Intermediate Stages
All intermediate stages are bright yellow plastic water-tight containers, 4 inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter. Each has a lanyard stapled to a tree near the water’s edge. Carefully unscrew the container and remove the card. On the back of the card you will find four letters. The four letters, in order, will allow you to determine the coordinates of the next stage. Please replace the card in the container and replace the container for the next cacher. Reasonably conceal the container to minimize plundering.
The next edition of the LOAPC newsletter is in production as I blog this, and I’d like to add a feature we haven’t had in several years: where people have been paddling lately. Isn’t that always the first or second question out of your mouth when you bump into a club member you haven’t seen in a while?
So post a few words about your adventures in a comment, or e-mail them to
Comments sent by e-mail will be published in the newsletter only.