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!


  1. Enjoyed my canoe ride with you and every one of the photos, they were great. The moose was worth waiting for. When we were in Yellowstone earlier this year they were recommending that if you're hiking to take bear spray (a form of pepper spray, but much stronger) with you.

  2. Hello, what a lovely day in the park. The views from the canoe are beautiful. I love the birds, duck and the Merlin. The moose was a cool sighting. Awesome photos. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

    1. PS, thanks so much for linking up your post today. You have some great birds and the cool moose. Awesome critters.

  3. Great pictures of the loon. What gorgeous coloring. I absolutely love crows. Enjoy watching them so much when we are in Sri Lanka. They are quite the characters, that's for sure. You managed to get some beautiful pictures. Especially the misty ones with the reflections of the trees in the water. Gorgeous!

  4. Wendy, your photos are amazing! And very much appreciated by those of us who don't get out in a canoe. So thank you!!

    I found the Algonquin Outfitters contest page and have bookmarked it to follow up on the paddle contest.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  5. You should totally turn your cool Algonquin Park posts into some type of photobook. I think Lorrie did something similar for her blog last year?

  6. I love this photo journal. The perfect reflections are by far my favourite shots.Wow,that's pretty.

  7. What a wonderful collection of Algonquin photos! Those misty morning pix are so evocative of canoeing in the park.

  8. Dear Wendy, I so enjoyed this post. Lots of interesting creatures and a most beautiful misty lake. Lucky sighting of the moose - I am always seeking to see one when we go to Canada, and likewise the loon. Best pictues I have seen of one of those. The blue heron is so majestic; we have a type of blue heron in Australia too. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

  9. What a wonderful adventure and such beautiful photos to go with it, the Loone photos are outstanding, I think its the same bird we call "The Great Northern diver"
    All the best, Gordon.

  10. In my experience the moose are most easily sighted in April and May near the roadsides when they're interested in salt. Beautiful shots!

    I remember a beaver dam up on the Centennial Ridges trail that gave out some years ago... probably seven or eight years. You'd come back the following year for a hike and the pond behind it was less and less full.

  11. You got your raven perfectly!! The wildlife is incredible isn't it, and your photos capture the animals and flowers and scenery beautifully. You really are the master of the photos of the trees reflected in the water too, they are so lovely, I could stare at them all day!

  12. You are a wonderful photographer, these shots are amazing !!

  13. Oh my, Wendy, you have some great photographs. Very nice to see it from the canoe viewpoint. I'd be hard-pressed to choose favourites, there are just too many.


  14. Wow, Wendy.
    What a fabulous post.
    So interesting to read and your photographs so lovely to see.

    All the best Jan

  15. Such amazing wildlife shots Wendy x

  16. Hi Wendy, I just love all the posts you've been sharing. I've gone through them a few times. What a wonderful way to spend summer time. By looking at your pictures I can envision the sounds of the birds, the drip of the water as it slides from your paddles, the crunch of rocks under your feet as you travel the trails. Thank you for the glimpse into your wonderful adventures!

  17. What an amazing place, Wendy! Love the shots of the water with the mist and when it is still like glass. So many wonderful birds, plants and of course, the moose! So nice to see the calf, too. I think the loon is so beautiful with its graphic markings. How cool to see the raven from year to year. You really captured his image! Thanks for taking us along! x Karen

  18. Wow! I enjoyed all of your wildlife. I don't blame the "cottage authorities" for wanting native plants only. Too many plants become invasive and kill off other plants and wildlife. I've never seen a loon before. It's gorgeous! I've never seen moose in person, and never want to see a bear!!! I've only been canoeing once, and we tipped, and everything, including lunch, got soaked! I think I want to try to kayak now. Enjoyed your post. And thank you for your kind words on my blog.


  19. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing your province's beauty. Your perspective from the canoe is a good one. Seagulls land in trees quite often around here. There are no moose on our island, but I grew up further north and we used to hunt moose and freeze the meat for the winter. Now I have to find your post about the bad storm (I assume there is one. )

  20. I think you did a great job with your paddle! And I'm glad you got to see your moose after all, but I love your bird pictures, too - especially the pictures of the heron - really nice!


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