Bon Echo Provincial Park

Bon Echo Rock

We headed out camping to this park for a few days. It is a great park and one of our favourites for paddling. We had a nice site and set up and thought WTH. There were Gypsy Moth Caterpillars all over the place, I’m talking thousands upon thousands. If you have never heard of them or have never had an encounter with them, I will tell you one important thing…….avoid them at all costs! They are horrible. You can hear sounds like it’s raining but it’s not, it’s the caterpillars pooping, I‘m not making this up. Had I known the park was infested, we would have stayed home. We are fortunate we don’t have any on our property but my son lives in Toronto and he says they are there. In fact, one of our favourite parks in Toronto, High Park, has an infestation. Long story short, we ended up coming home early.

A view from the shore
The Rock

We did not paddle because the wind was also horrible lol. There were white caps and rough waters every day. We did go for some drives and I got to watch a small snake eat a fish in the water!

Snake!

I watched him go under a rock, more or less, and eat a fish. It looked like a little Sunfish. He spent an inordinate amount of time under that rock with that fish.

Yum Lunch

Below are some photos of the area where we saw the snake.

Some random shots below of a few insects, not those caterpillars! haha

Below is one of the areas in the Park, we normally launch our canoe at this spot, and head out onto Bon Echo Lake.

One evening we went for a walk in the Park and we ended up standing by the shore. Two Loons were swimming around and one swam right up to me which was pretty awesome. I love Loons, they are a favourite of mine. I did a video on my phone of the Loons and one of them coming right up to me where I was standing. I love the sounds they make, so turn the sound on! Loon Video Below! Just click on the photo once, maybe twice and be prepared to be enthralled! They are the coolest birds.

We went for a drive another day and spotted this guy in a field. Somebody got creative! A very interesting tree and someone stuck a rubber mask on it.

Well that was our short trip, we ended up coming home earlier than we were supposed to.

Have a great summer !

My Favourite Park – 10 June Day Trip to Algonquin Park

Well here we go again….. up at 4 a.m. and out the door for Algonquin Park. We did this a week earlier and said that we wanted to get up there again before the 12th of June. Ontario Parks are finally all open for camping that day and it will be a madhouse! There was hardly anyone in the Park on Thursday when we went but the next day there would be thousands of people with all the campgrounds opening.

I thought last week we did good to see 4 moose but this trip we saw 10. And No, it wasn’t the same 2 or 3 running back and forth across the highway! Years and years ago we would always see 7, 12, 15 moose in the same day but the last few years it has been getting difficult to spot moose. We also spotted a newborn fawn and 3 deer and a fox but I only managed to get a quick shot of one deer. I was more interested to see and photograph moose. We saw 6 Bulls, 3 Cows and 1 Calf and he/she was adorable. It was a good day for moose for sure, the first one we saw was about 20-30 minutes before we even got to the Park, same as last week. I don’t know if it was the same moose or not. The highlight of the day was seeing this Cow and her Calf. Following Mom everywhere and hardly leaving her side.

You can see the little one beside Mom walking through the water in the ditch. She always made sure she was between people/the road and her calf.

He is so small compared to Mom.

They have such spindly little legs!

It was a long day, we didn’t get home until about 840 p.m. but it was worth it, thanks to my husband for driving us around, up and down the highways all day! And yes Clint does photography too, ever since he was in high school. He is one of the best photographers I know, but then again I’m bias. I put a link to his photography website on his name in the previous sentence if you are interested.

Another cow that we saw along the road.

A young Bull walking through the ditch

Thanks and hope you enjoyed the photos of moose. Until next time….

Algonquin Park Day Trip! – 4 June

I love Algonquin Park, I may have mentioned that a few hundred times before. We were able to go one day in March and we were supposed to go for 2 1/2 weeks in May but due to our Provincial Lockdown it was canceled. So I needed my fix and as our lockdown ended this past Wednesday, this was a day trip we were going for right away.

Up at 4 a.m. and hit the road with our camera gear and a cooler full of lunch, snacks and water. It’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive, maybe a little less. Just before we hit the turn off to go to Whitney, a little town outside the park, we spotted a moose in a marsh on the side of the road. We have only one other time spotted a moose before we got into the park. So that was a good sign for us. The lighting sucked at that time but we were able to get a few shots albeit not the best.

Into the park we went and to sum it up, we saw 4 moose total, 3 deer, 1 wolf and 5 turkeys. Turkeys for the win! We also saw a bunch of Canada Geese and some goslings and one heron.

Below are some Canada Geese and their gosling photos.

The photo below reminded me of the Abbey Road album cover! I know there is only three but still……………

We spotted another cow on the side of the highway, she was pretty skittish too. Didn’t stick around too long. I have a theory that because there has been so few people around the park for the last few months that the animals have become accustomed to basically having the park to themselves. And for the most part, are not used to humans again. I feel bad for them once the hordes of people invade their space when the lockdown is over. She did not want to come out from the shady trees.

We spotted three deer in the park, we don’t often see deer but they are there. In all the years of coming here, I have seen 10 times more moose than deer. I remember my Grandfather telling me years ago, he was from this area, that moose and deer don’t typically inhabit the same area. I don’t know if that’s true or not but I don’t see it to be honest.

The photo below is one of my favourite spots. On some Algonquin maps, it’s referred to as Pond. It’s between Source Lake and Tanamakoon Lake. We named it Monkey Lake, after Trum of course. We did this so when we are having a conversation, it’s easier to say Monkey Lake than you know where the highway blah blah blah. So below is Monkey Lake and a photo of Trum at his favourite lake too!

It was rather strange we saw no other ducks of any kind, we usually see a fair number on the waters. Maybe they are all in hiding from the mosquitos. The bugs were what you would expect in Ontario this time of year……..Brutal. We parked at one spot to walk down to one of our favourite areas in the park and even with our bug hats on, it was not pleasant. That idea was squashed rather quickly. Can I do a trail with a billion mosquitos flying around my face? Yes. Do I want to? No chance in hell. lol We did spot our second moose of the day right there in the parking lot though so that was okay. We didn’t get great photos of him either as I think he got startled pretty quickly and took off. It’s amazing how fast they can move. I was trying to exit the truck, run to the front of the truck all the while trying take a photo, by the time I actually got myself sorted out, he was gone.

Below is a photo taken from Arowhon Road.

You can see the moose below in the photo, that is how far away she was from us. Then of course I was able to get a bit closer and then zoom in.

A view from off Opeongo Road.

As we were driving up and down the highway, we all of a sudden saw this guy run across the road in front of us. Then he ran back to the other side, walked up the ditch and then ran back in front of us again. He was beautiful. We didn’t think there were coyotes in the park but we are pretty sure it is . Our initial thought was a wolf but we didn’t think we were lucky enough to see a wolf in the middle of the day. UPDATE – I asked a guy I know who is a professional wildlife photographer and goes to Algonquin more than I do, and he said it is indeed a wolf, so I guess we were lucky enough. This was our initial thought, pretty thrilling to see him regardless. Thanks Mark Raycroft for helping me out. (Check out Mark’s link, he has published books and does a Podcast called Wild and Exposed )

Our mode of transport! We took our canoe as we thought we might get a paddle in but there was way too much activity on the roads so we’ll wait and paddle another day in our area.

And in case you were wondering………..and really who wouldn’t? Here is where Trum gets situated in the truck lol

So we did a lot of driving and some walking. Some of the places we stopped to walk at were okay for bugs. Up until Covid hit, we used to spend 2 – 3 weeks in June camping in the Park. Looking back I don’t know how we did it or why. haha

Anyways, long story short, it was a great day.

Prince Edward Point – Our Day Trip 17 May

This guy fell asleep, he must have read my Blog Post

We went to this spot a couple of times in the last two weeks. It’s a great spot for the birders, Clint and I like birds but we aren’t experts by any means. I know they have feathers…….lol So as per usual, we packed a lunch, grabbed our coffees and headed out about 530 a.m.

So Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory is located in the south-east corner of the County in the Prince Edward Point Bird National Wildlife Area. It was established in 1978 and is about 560 hectares; it is a great area, right on Lake Ontario. I feel like wherever we go on our day trips in our area we are somehow beside, or near Lake Ontario, it seems to be everywhere. We have been out here so many times, I like driving around this area. But today we were here for the birds! Thousands and thousands of birds go through this area every spring. It is quite the spot if you are into birding.

Signage
Trail to see the birds
Catbird
Yellow Warbler and he’s very happy
Yellow Warbler, not so happy

The photo below is not about the bird but there were swarms of bugs, some form of shadfly all over the place. You would be walking along and all of a sudden there was a swarm just flying in one spot. You can see the little dots in the photo below. There were no mosquitos though so that was great.

Bird and some bugs
Some flowers aka weeds beside the trail
Chipping Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager

When we were done on the trails, we drove down and parked across from the Point Traverse Lighthouse. The road to the lighthouse was gated off but you can walk a trail to get to it. We did part of the trail.

Point Traverse Lighthouse

Nice spot and lots to look at. We were photographing these seagulls diving into the water. I got one with just the wings sticking out of the water, it was kind of neat watching them. I think they get a bad rap.

Seagull diving in for his dinner
Heading out to Lake Ontario
Tiny Nest

On our way home we passed this field and I thought it was pretty. I believe it is a field of canola.

Canola Field

Until next time……Stay safe

Presquile Provincial Park

Dinner’s ready

We decided to spend a day the Friday before our long weekend, we figured the park would be super busy for the weekend. We have to drive through the town of Brighton on our way to the park and at one point, a beautiful coyote ran across the road in front of us. I wish he had told me lol. I really would have liked a shot, he was very healthy looking and handsome. There are marshy areas on either side of the road just before you go into the park and we spotted an egret.

Egret

We got to the park before 830 and set up our chairs on the beach to enjoy our coffee and the view of Lake Ontario. It was so peaceful, no one was around and we just sat and stared out at the view watching the Cormorants, seagulls and assorted other ducks and birds fly back and forth.

Lake Ontario

We also took our bikes so after having a pre-bike rest we took off and did the perimeter of the park and then through the empty campgrounds and along the water. It was a great day and we ran into a couple of people we know so it was nice to have a social distanced chat with them.

My bike
Shoreline Shot
You can see Gull Island way out there
Road to go to one of the campgrounds
Canada Goose resting on a beaver house

We had taken our lunch so after our ride we sat back by the water and had our lunch and then sat there taking tons of photos of seagulls as they dove into the water for their lunch. I like seagulls, a lot of people don’t, I know they can be annoying sometimes but they are pretty cool to photograph.

Bottoms Up !
Wings only in Black and White
And he’s off to find another fishing spot
Coming out of the water
Got one !

As we were leaving we decided to park at the store and walk down to the point. We weren’t ready to go home yet, it was such a beautiful day. In the photo below, you can see they have it roped off due to nesting grounds. In the far distance is Gull Island, you can walk out there at different times in the year, depending on water levels, depending on nesting, depending on hunting. Yes they allow hunting and in the fall there are days open for the hunters and days open for the rest of us. We have been out there in years past and there has been shotgun shells and dead ducks just left there, plus garbage of course. Very frustrating.

Gull Island in the distance
Looking to the other side of the trail

That is all the wildlife we saw in the park that day, although we weren’t really looking too hard.

Another great day in this beautiful weather we have been having.

Moira River -Second paddle of the Week!

Heron flying away

We went twice last week to paddle the Moira River. The first time we headed to the right of the boat launch and this time we headed left to the end, well the end for us as there are rapids which sort of prohibit paddling. We may one day walk our canoe up and see where it goes!

I like Canada Geese, I know they are the birds everyone loves to hate but I don’t mind them and the goslings are super cute. These guys were relaxing on a strip of land in the water.

The guys just chillin’

We did see another snake but he was in the water swimming along so neither of us got a good photo. We also saw a beaver and his houses, herons, Bald Eagles, and more! It was a great day and the water was pretty calm, we did have quite a bit of wind when we paddled back to the launch. Around the corner from where we saw the snake there was a beaver house. We had seen the beaver earlier but I wasn’t fast enough to get a photo.

Beaver House
Flying Low
Heading towards the rapids and spotted this heron in the distance
Heron dance as he lands on a rock
And now for a break

As we approached the rapids, I saw two Bald Eagles in the tree to the left. I watched them for a long time while at the same time trying to photograph the heron. One time I looked up and one had flown off. A few minutes later the other one left and I was able to get a couple of shots.

Bald Eagles
Off to where there are no humans
Lots of turtles on the Moira
Beautiful spot
Great area to paddle
And here he is again

Heading back to the boat launch, you can see the bridge in the distance.

Moira River

So that was that, all in all a great day with the exception of the mosquitos which actually followed us out on the water! We had a reprieve on the paddle back as the wind was against us and kept them at bay.

Until next time……..

Quinte Conservation – Potter’s Creek North

Bridge done in Black and White

We have a lot of Conservation Areas where I live and one is only about 5 minutes from our house, or less. It’s Potter’s Creek North and Potter’s Creek South. They are right across the road from each other. The south side is on the Bay of Quinte and is a popular spot for people to put their ice fishing huts out on the Bay.

Potter’s Creek North is where they tore down a beautiful (but dangerous) old barn a couple of months ago. I posted about it in another Blog post. We were there the other day to walk the trails.

Quinte Conservation offices

Below is what the old Barn looked like Before and After the tear down

Beautiful old barn

They kept part of the old stone foundation and apparently there are plans to put a small picnic area beside it.

What’s left

I love to do things in Black and White so I took what’s left of the old barn and did just that as shown below.

What’s left of the foundation, done in Black and White
Trail
Bridge taking you to the rest of the trail, part of which runs along the creek
One view of Potter’s Creek from the bridge
Part of the Trail
Trains drive over this fairly regularly. It doesn’t seem sturdy enough!

We enjoy our outdoor areas and try to get out as often as we can.

See you next time

Biking in Belleville

Bay Bridge Belleville

We went for a bike ride last week around the waterfront in Belleville. This city has a beautiful waterfront for walking, biking, photography, boating, fishing, it’s a great outdoor space.

We parked at the west end at the trail and rode our bikes along the water on the Zwick’s Recreational Trail which is about 3.25 kms long. We left there and took Hwy 2 to get to the other side of the Moira River and then kept going on the Kiwanis Bayshore Recreational Trail about 3 km in length. We do this trail, biking and walking, fairly regularly and we enjoy it. There are other trails to walk/bike in Belleville. I know I have done posts about this before but perhaps some photos are different this time.

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Part of the Zwick’s trail

This is the view of the City of Belleville from the trail, before we head to the highway to cross the water to get to the other part of the trail.

City of Belleville
Close up of the City

Both the trails have lots to offer; boat launches, Meyer’s Pier Marina, canteen, playground, a dog park and more. They do a lot of festivals in the area of Zwick’s park situated on the Zwick’s trail. Due to Covid of course these have been suspended but they do have Pop-Ups in the summer which is nice. There is usually a Pizza Oven Truck, Falafel King, Fries, Bake Shop, Venture Outfitters where you can rent SUPs and more!

The photo below is across the river by the Belleville Yacht Club before you head onto the Kiwanis Trail.

Some housing by the water, close to the Yacht Club
Meyer’s Pier and Marina
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Pergola by the Bay, heading east
There is a turtle pond to the left in this photo and the Bay is to the right

Traffic Jam!
Above is one of the boat launches at the east end of the trail
View from the boat launch looking west, you can see the Bay bridge in the distance

Another great day, thanks for reading!

Napanee, Ontario – 13 May

One day last week we had to drive to Napanee for our first Covid-19 vaccination. Yay! Finally we get ours, we have been a little slow in getting out vaccines to people. But today is our day!

We had about a 40 minute drive and we left a little earlier so we could check out the waterfront in Napanee, it’s a nice spot, we have been here several times.

It’s called the Spring Side Park and River Trail.

Bridge over the river
Park on the other side and walk under the bridge to get to the trail
I love these historical plaques telling us about our areas
Great old building, hope they don’t tear it down. It would make a great brewery!
I do love to do buildings in Black and White
Heading down from the top of the trail
Looking up the river
Interesting and informative sign

After that we received our vaccination and then headed home. On the way home we drove by the Old Hay Bay Church which is the oldest surviving Methodist building in Canada, erected in 1792. I love churches, any style or size. The architecture and history is always interesting to me.

Hay Bay Church

So that was that…………first vaccination done and a walk on the waterfront. One more vaccination to go! Hope you have all received your shot or have it booked. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can all have our lives back. I don’t know about you but I am more than ready. It has been a difficult 17 months.

Stay safe everyone!

Moira River Morning Paddle – 16 May

We decided to go for our first paddle of the year so we loaded up the canoe and headed to the Moira River. I love paddling this river, it’s very long but lots of shorelines and little nooks and crannies to investigate. We usually see ducks, birds, swans, turtles, muskrats, Kingfishers and more.

The water was pretty warm getting into the canoe. And off we went to paddle for a couple of hours.

Today we saw something we haven’t seen before, a huge water snake sunning himself on a log in the water. We have seen LOTS of snakes but never sunning like this, it was quite something and he was not bothered by us at all. Of course if I was a snake, I would not be scared of anyone! A lot of people don’t like snakes, but I don’t mind them, they are interesting.

Stretched right out enjoying the day, he was probably close to 5 feet long
Close Up

We saw a pair of swans, same area last year. We didn’t see a nest but we also didn’t paddle too close as we didn’t want them to be stressed. We could hear a Kingfisher and saw him flitting around but they are very elusive and hard to capture. We did see one last year and he sat on a tree limb for us for a long time so we could get photos. He was not in a cooperative mood today!

Swan hanging out

Lots of turtles were out and about.

We also paddled through what I call Frog City. It’s an area, actually there are a couple but one in particular, and it’s chock full of frogs. Today however the lily pads haven’t grown up yet and so all we saw were hundreds of tadpoles swimming around. We need some good hot days for the vegetation to grow and get the little ones going. Then it is nothing but lily pads and frogs, all over the place!

We also some a couple of herons. One of the herons we saw we both mentioned that he seemed to have different colouring than other herons we have seen. We have photographed tons and tons of them and this guy looked a little unusual. The best spot to photograph herons, for us anyways, is from our canoe. We have sat for ours waiting and photographing a heron.

So that was our day on the Moira River, Stay safe everyone!