Arctic loon (copy)

Arctic loon.

An Arctic loon was spotted for the first time ever in Wisconsin when Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Biologist Ryan Brady and friends sighted the striking loon along Lake Superior in Bayfield County May 31.

Only a few records of the bird exist elsewhere in the U.S. Arctic loons are birds of northern Europe and Asia as well as the Pacific coast of Alaska. In wildlife terms, the bird is a “vagrant” or an “accidental,” an individual found outside its normal range. Although the Arctic loon sighting has been acknowledged as legitimate by multiple birding experts, it has not yet been officially accepted by the arbiter of such things, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, which will meet to discuss and rule on the sighting.

Nature notes from DNR

It’s that time of year again: tick season. You’re likely to encounter these critters this summer while hiking and camping. Ticks are tiny and flat, and they are not insects. Ticks are arachnids, related to spiders, mites and scorpions.

In Wisconsin, there are three types of ticks that spread disease: the deer (black-legged) tick, the wood (dog) tick and the lone star tick. The deer tick spreads the most illnesses in Wisconsin.

You can help prevent tick bites by wearing hats, long sleeves, long pants and high socks with your pant cuffs tucked into the socks. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to find ticks. You should also walk in the middle of mowed trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation. After a day in the woods, it’s a good idea to do a “tick check” before going to bed.

Within the United States, Lyme disease mostly occurs in the Northeast and Midwest. In Wisconsin, it is the most common illness spread by ticks. The ticks that spread Lyme disease can be found in every county in Wisconsin. Not all tick bites will make you sick, but it is still important to take steps to protect yourself and your family while enjoying time outdoors. The good news is that Lyme disease is preventable and treatable. Watch this YouTube video on how to protect yourself from Lyme disease: youtu.be/G0XKzRNSvUc.

Visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website for more ways on how to protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes too at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/fight-bite/index.htm.

The private Nature Education Center in Fifield operated by Tom and Mary Lou Nicholls is open seasonally by appointment only. Nicholls can be reached at nicho002@umn.edu.

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