Sunday, August 27, 2017

Flora and Fauna in Algonquin Park

While in Algonquin Park we see lots of beautiful plants and sometimes, if we're lucky, a bit of wildlife. Since we're in the canoe so much, many of our photos are taken from the water. I came across these flowers when we pulled the canoe up at "the point" on Lake of Two Rivers for a look around this old home site of a former superintendent of the park.

this looked to be some type of sedum

a lone daisy amongst the grasses
There are many restrictions on cottagers in the park with respect to what they can plant in their gardens. They are not to put any non-native plants in their gardens. I'm sure there are lots of people who don't hold to that rule. We had inquired about a cottage while we were there, and one of the things that needed to be dealt with by the new purchaser was to remove a bed of non-native plants alongside the cottage. There is a hike that takes you through a former site of a summer home, and through those woods you can find some bunches of non-native perennials, still blooming happily in the woods after being abandoned from human care for over 40 years.

Back in the canoe again, we had paddled along a quiet river at the west end of Lake of Two Rivers. My husband calls it "The Boring River" :[  It can get a bit monotonous with the never-ending twists and turns, but it's those turns that I enjoy the most. You never know what could be there ahead of you just around the next bend!

I mean just look at these sweet little brown ducks ... ducks in a row.

I've shown the melancholy cormorant in a previous post, but here he is again.

One of the nicest things about canoeing is that you have an opportunity to see so much more than you would from the shore. After our terrifying paddle in the thunderstorm, my son joked with me that I would never go canoeing again ... unless the water was calm ... unless the water was calm and the day was clear ... unless the water was calm, the day was clear and there wasn't a cloud in the sky!!! He wasn't far off. I wasn't ready to get in the canoe again until a couple of days later when we had this clear, still morning to greet us ...

I even brought my mug of tea with me ;)
And we saw this unusual sighting up in the tree ... a seagull!
I've never seen a seagull land in a tree before.

We'd been trying periodically through the week to see a moose on Canisbay Lake where we camp. We tried in the evenings. We tried in the mornings. We never did see a moose there like we have in the past. The beaver pond where they like to go was beautiful, but empty of moose.

There were lots of glistening spider webs in the early morning mist ...

The mist was still clinging to the little coves and under the pines along the shore.


We took a tour of the short river that leaves this lake. Despite the heavy rainfalls this summer, the river was still quite shallow. The beaver dam that holds the river high is slowly crumbling, and I wonder if this river won't dry up completely at some point. It's slow going in the canoe since there are spots where your paddle hits the river bottom and we have to dig the paddles in to get the canoe over some spots. 

We almost always see something down here. This year it was a great blue heron high up in a white pine.

We watched him for a quite a while. He sat and stretched and scratched and tidied his feathers. He was obviously enjoying the beautiful morning just as we were.

On the way out of the river we saw a pair of small hawks hunting together. In previous years I have seen a family of merlins in this same spot. The markings on these two hawks were not quite like a merlin, but I can't see what else they could be. Does anyone else recognize them? Apparently, there are three different colourings for merlins, and I think these are the "taiga" colouring (according to Cornell's ornithology website). They may have been immature birds without the heavy streaks on their tummies. They did fly with lots of flapping and not a lot of soaring, as described in this site.


Out in the open water, a loon decided to follow along with us. Maybe we were disturbing the little fish for him as we paddled along. He didn't seem bothered by us, and we just paddled quietly along. He's so sleek, you can't even tell he is covered in feathers. Often when the loons dive underwater, we just sit in the canoe waiting for them to reappear. It's amazing how far they can swim underwater! Many times we are left adrift waiting and waiting and they'll resurface way across the lake ... I think that's why the loons laugh ;)

Back in our own campsite I had a wander around behind us in the woods.  If I walked far enough back, I could see the river we had paddled down. I found a few tiny plants growing under the shade of the tall deciduous canopy of trees. Tiny red toadstools ...

Ghostly white Indian pipes ...

And I don't know what this plant is ...

There have been moose wandering around back there regularly too. I found lots of piles of this ...

moose droppings ... fertilizing the Indian pipes ;)
And while I'm on the subject ... ahem ... we saw this at the beginning of our bike ride early one morning, which travels through the deep woods along an old railroad bed ...

Yep, very fresh bear poop! Not a comforting sight when you're one of the first people on the trail! Do you see all those seeds? Be careful where you stop for wild raspberries in the park!! Just before you head into this trail, there is an old airplane landing strip that has been taken over by wild blueberries. There are lots of people picking blueberries there in August. There are also often bears enjoying the blueberries early in the mornings ... ha ha! Oh, and we didn't see any bears on the trail. Good thing because the snack of cheese, kielbasa and crackers were packed on my bike!!

We visited the art gallery in the park and outside on their lawn I found an old raven. I'm pretty sure this is the same raven I photographed last year over at the Portage Store. He's really scruffy and looks really old, but he's quite tame. I don't normally feed any animals in the park, not even the chipmunks, but I know that this guy eats french fries, so I caved in and shared a cookie with him (I didn't have anything healthy with me at the time). He hopped right over for that and I got a few nice photos of him. I just wish he was in an old craggy pine tree rather than sitting on mown grass.

When I did the lino cut for my canoe paddle, I wasn't sure I got the proportions right for the raven's beak. Every time I looked at it, it looked more and more like a toucan rather than a raven. I decided to try something with my photos of the raven and a photo of the paddle. I overlay the photo of the raven onto my paddle image. Looks like I got it right ...

 AAaaaaand one last critter ... the moose. We only saw three moose in the park this year. There is a lot of road construction going on in I think three separate spots along Hwy 60. We thought maybe the constant noise was keeping some of them away. These two moose (cow and calf) were the only two we got on film. The other bull moose was running alongside the highway at dusk, and we barely saw him. Thankfully there was a guardrail between us and him, and he ran back into the bush. Boy, moose are fast when they run!!

a little cafe latte coloured calf ;)
And that's it folks. Did I try your patience with too many photos yet again?! Having lots of photos makes a nice record of my holidays for me so apologies if it's a bit much for you to look at. 

Thanks for dropping by!


Linking up with Eileen's Saturday Critters today. Thanks for hosting Eileen!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mizzy Lake Trail, Algonquin Park

One of my favourite trails in Algonquin Park is Mizzy Lake. It's apparently a trail where you will see lots of wildlife, but you will see more if you arrive very early in the morning. 

The trail is 11 km long and although not very taxing with respect to climbs up and down, it is a rugged trail with many roots and rocks all along the trail. With all the rain we've had this year from spring and right through summer, the trail was a muddy mess too. There were so many muddy areas that we had to squeeze around and tip toe over, that it really slowed down our progress. Usually this trail takes us about 3 hours to complete, which include a couple of breaks at pretty lakes and time for snapping photos. This time it took us 5 hours to finish!! We were slowed by the mud, we were slowed by the photos and we stopped under a relatively dry spot for a while during a heavy deluge of rain. My husband was not a happy camper. I enjoy the trails no matter what the weather, but he got awfully grumpy during the rain. I'll admit it wasn't that pleasant at that point, and actually by the end of the trail I too had had enough of balancing on rocks and roots to get across mud, but it's such a pretty trail that I shouldn't complain. When it rained, we were at the bottom of a hill and the water was instantly running down the path from above us in a solid river of water! The ground is so completely saturated right now that the water is unable to disperse. I doubt this trail will be dry even by the fall. There was one trail that was closed completely "due to flooding" ... never seen that before.

My husband claims he will never walk that trail again, but I hope he's not serious because I love the tangled woods we get to explore. We didn't see any moose, but we were following fresh tracks after the heavy rain of one soggy moose. We saw where he disappeared off the trail, but couldn't see him at all. Here are some photos of the trail ... hope you like them as much as I enjoyed walking the trail. 

lots of pretty creeks alongside the trail, the sound of gurgling water drew us
away from the path a few times

Not even the beaver dam at the bottom of the photo is holding back all the water this year!

This was the "drier" half of the trail

My happy husband ...  before the rain storm

a bit of mud ... it got a lot worse, but no more photos of that

a melancholy cormorant

he didn't bother with us walking past him ... he just wanted to sleep

Wolf Howl Pond

I love this beaver meadow. It's completely still, completely quiet.

We surprised a loon that was right up beside the path.
Beautiful markings when you see them so close like that.

Not sure if this was the same loon, but he sure made a racket flapping across the water.
I think he was trying to distract us from a family, but we didn't see any babies in the water.

The last water shots were at Dizzy Lake, the last small lake on this trail. It's always a relief to see that final numbered post here and know that you're close to the finish of your long walk. 

Thanks for stopping by today!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...