RIP Old Barn

The Old Barn

There is a Conservation Area near where we live, Potter’s Creek Conservation Area to be precise. There are trails and an off leash dog walking trail; at the entrance by the parking lot, there is a big old barn. I love barns.

Well I just learned this past Saturday that they are tearing it down. So this morning my husband and I went down to take a couple of photos. The barn comes down tomorrow. So sad. They said they might leave the old stone foundation so there’s that…………..

I took this photo and then did the editing in B&W. I love old buildings and landscapes in B&W. Well not ALL but some…
Clint took this photo of me in front of the old barn

This area will sure look different but I’m glad I learned about the demolition ahead of time and was able to take some memory photos.

Stay safe…………..

Canada Geese – The Icon That Everyone Loves To Hate

The water is cold!

I thought I would do something different with my Blog posts because Covid prohibits our traveling and therefore, I do not have a lot of travel/new photos to show or write about.

I have been going through my photos, thousands of them, and I have a lot of favourites. In this Post, I would like to share some Canada Geese photos that I have, I took all of them in Ontario, mostly Algonquin Park or Belleville waterfront.

I do have to say, Canada Geese are everywhere. We were watching a corny movie the other night about these people who went through the Bermuda Triangle and ended up in a prehistoric age. In one scene as they were paddling across a small lake to escape a prehistoric water creature, you could see two Canada Geese swimming along the far shore! I said to my husband I’m sure the director didn’t realize the geese were there. But then I thought Nope they ARE everywhere! And did you know, 50 Canada Geese alone can produce 2 1/2 tons of excrement every year. Holy crap…………………………………

Canada Geese, the birds everyone loves to hate. When you see one, you’ve seen them all. But I like to sit and watch them for a long period of time and you can get some really cute shots. Plus if there are no moose, fox, or bear around, well I need something to photograph.

I hate the taste of grass, get me a drink!

They are the largest goose in the world and usually weigh between 5 and 14 pounds, although females are usually slightly smaller. Their life span is normally between 10-25 years. Of course, anything is possible, some geese grow bigger and some geese have been known to reach 35 or even 40 years of age. Females are known as goose and males are known as ganders, the little ones, who I love to photograph, are known as goslings.

Me and my Mom

Man I have big feet……………
Look at me go

Getting tired, this is hard work

Lunch Time

A warm place to nap

Heading for a swim

They can be a nasty bird, I have been hissed at more than once. We were golfing in Banff, Alberta a few years ago and as we approached a tee block, there were a good dozen or more standing on it. They would not let us on, we had to tee off in front of the tee block. Even though we gained a couple of yards, it frankly did not help my score on that hole.

The family that drinks together…………hey that’s my family!

They mate for life and usually stay in large flocks. Now mating for life means that if their mate dies, they will find another mate. Some people think that means they have one mate only, that would be kind of sad. In the spring, the geese couples break off from the other geese and find a nesting site which they defend vigorously, usually the same site or area as the previous year. However, if there is a large population, they may have their nesting sites in view of another family. The male will guard the nest for the female as she incubates the eggs which takes about 25- 28 days. The nest is built on the ground and is made up of dry grasses, moss, other plants and lined with their own down and feathers. The nest will hold between 2-11 eggs which are laid one at a time every day or two. She will leave the nest once or twice a day to eat, drink and bathe but once all the eggs are laid, she will not leave the nest at all until the eggs are hatched. Why? Well apparently any feces will attract predators and could also cause bacteria in the nest which is not good for the eggs. 

Had enough swimming for one day

The goslings will stay with their parents for a year. Sometimes you will see more than one family traveling together, safety in numbers I guess! I think goslings are adorable and they learn to swim the day they are born. Flying is learned when they are a couple of months old.

Geese will remain throughout the winter if there are areas with lots of food resources and open water. They like to eat grasses, grains, aquatic plants and berries and seeds. You will often see them in farmer’s fields eating grains and they will eat corn off the cobs.

They can travel more than 1000 km in one day flying in a V formation because of the drafting effect.  The geese following the leader benefit from air currents passing the leader which means expending less energy when flying and also for communication purposes when coordinating the movement of the flock. 

They do have predators, among them are humans. I remember once, on another golf course, we came up to the green and there were about a dozen geese laying dead around the green. It was pretty obvious they had been poisoned so I mean you be the judge……………..It was very upsetting to see. They have other predators which include foxes, coyotes, wolves, owls, eagles, raccoons and a few others.

I wish he’d come eat the dandelions in my front yard!
I feel like today is the day I fly!

Are you looking at me?

How cute am I?

So that’s that for today. I am working on a Post on “Perspective in Photography” and I have more wildlife photos to share. I have been working on posts similar to this one but highlighting other wildlife i.e. moose, bears, loons, foxes……….well you get the picture!

The province of Ontario, where I live, is under new stay-at-home orders even though we thought we were under the old stay-at-home orders and both sets of orders are virtually the same………..we think.

Anyways, stay home and stay safe Everyone!

The Moose that Followed Us

I mentioned on another Post that I have been going through photos and reliving memories. I have some great stories of wildlife that I have posted here before. However, some of the stories were posted anywhere from 1 to 3-4 years ago. I thought I would revisit some of my favourite memories, complete with my photos.

This particular story occurred in October 2018. Clint and I were in Algonquin Provincial Park, our favourite place to be in the autumn. We love to hike and canoe but this story revolves around a hike. Algonquin Park has a lot of published trails for people to hike, we have done them all, more than once, but usually we like to head out on our own. This day we began hiking and after about 45-50 minutes we hadn’t seen anything so decided to turn back, get in our truck and try another spot.

The trail, part of the old railroad line that went through the Park
Clint walking ahead of me

We turned back on the trail and a few minutes later, we stopped dead in our tracks as there was a bull moose (albeit a young one) heading towards us on the trail. He didn’t look too happy and as it was rutting season we thought we would play it careful and take cover behind some trees. I got a couple of shots before we went into hiding. Clint videotaped him going slowly past us as we cowered quietly. Keeping in mind that Clint strategically placed me between himself and the moose lol. He denies it but we have video! The video is a little further down past some photos.

He is watching us
I feel like he is thinking what to do

Stopping and assessing, much like we were doing

Video below, you may have to doubleclick on it.

Here he is passing us, very, very slowly. I wanted him to go faster lol

Finally he went past us.

I looked behind me as we got back on the trail. He was watching.

He continued on down the trail and we let him get a fair bit away and we went back on the trail to continue.

After a few minutes we could hear the moose calling and moving through the marshy area to our right. If you have never heard a moose, it’s quite something. I was ahead of Clint and he kept saying walk faster! I was walking as fast as possible without running.

Hiding in the marsh parallel to where we were walking

Shortly afterwards, I heard my husband say “He’s running down the trail after us” I turned to look and yup sure enough, here he was running on his big gangly legs. I told Clint he was probably attracted to him! Clint said keep walking and don’t stop. The moose slowed down behind us but still following. I kept going until I got to the road and our truck and Clint was not behind me. I thought to myself that I would wait 10 minutes and if he didn’t come out, I would get a Park Ranger and we would drag Clint’s dead body out of the bush. lol Where my mind goes, you have no idea………….

Anyways a couple of minutes later my husband emerged from the trees. He said what happened was, he would stop and look back at the moose and the moose would stop and then he would continue walking and the moose would start walking again. He and the moose played this game for a bit all the while getting some nice pictures. And by that I mean, Clint got some nice pictures, not the moose. As he got closer to the road, the moose decided to wander off into the woods. Phew! What a relief. Note: I do not have photos of him running down the trail after us.

Over the years, we have spent a lot of time outdoors and I have always said I am more nervous about moose than bears. Bears, in Ontario, are fairly predictable. They see you, they run. OR they see you, they want your Pringles and you run. JUST KIDDING, never run from wildlife. That is the worse thing to do. But as I was saying, moose can be very aggressive, particularly in the fall when they are in rut. So we are always watchful.

He was a good looking young Bull for sure

We have had many encounters with moose, and bears, so more stories and photos to follow……..

Stay Safe

Social Media – Killing It! or Killing Us?

This isn’t my normal type of post, I usually post photos of furry creatures and photos of our travels but this is a topic that has been on my mind for 2-3 years to be honest. Can you say Procastinator? I guess that would be me on this topic. But I have noticed, to my dismay, an upward trend of addiction to technology. So here goes………

Communication is a big part of our society.   Chatting with friends, writing letters to relatives, talking on the phone are just some of the ways we communicate. We are exchanging our thoughts, information, ideas, conveying emotions and of course our opinions.  Because everyone wants our opinions, am I right? lol

Back in the “old days” , you know pre-Facebook, Twitter, Instagram blah blah blah…………… It used to be exciting to get a phone call, (from a phone hooked to a wall no less,) or  chat in real time about real life and things that were familiar and part of your life.   Or maybe you checked your mailbox, (you know the one that is out front of your house and now only houses flyers,) and found a card or letter from a loved one or a dear friend.  Taking the time to sit down with a cup of coffee to read and enjoy what the other person had taken the time to write.  I personally LOVE getting cards and I always look forward to checking the mail even though there is rarely anything there these days. I’m let down quite regularly with the mail lol.

It was fun to sit in a cafe or bar and have a heated debate or discussion with friends, or strangers, about politics, religion, whatever topic came up…….and knowing you would listen and more importantly HEAR what the other person was saying and perhaps accept that everyone has a different opinion.  And maybe even accept that your own opinion might not necessarily be the right one.  You can still hold on to your viewpoint due to your upbringing, your religious views or out of just plain stubbornness. But it was all good, everyone had a vent or a laugh, one more drink and then headed home. Getting gossip and information and feeling closer to that person in small ways could be fun and healthy.  Now everyone sits in restaurants, cafes, bars and stares at their phones.

Twitter, in particular, has taken on a vicious, no nonsense undertone that belies any verbal back and forth or compromise. I post my wildlife photos on Twitter. I never, until a few weeks ago, put any comments on Twitter relating to politics, Covid or any other topic. But a few weeks ago a fellow was ranting about all of Canada being on lockdown and what good was it doing? Nothing is locked down where I live so I simply said “where I live, nothing is locked down, restaurants, bars, stores are all open, there are live bands/concerts going on at certain venues etc”. Well this guy from Calgary, which is a long, very long, way from where I live, called me a liar. And said he didn’t believe me, cause you know apparently what happens in Calgary is happening everywhere. So I sent him a link to a particular theatre we have in our city stating live bands and selling tickets.

But he didn’t read it, he looked at the first page that said online viewing and called me out again. I told him to read the article, it was online AND in person and that I was done with him. So this is why I don’t put comments on social media, I am not going to prove myself to strangers who can’t take the time to research outside their own little world and furthermore, they can’t seem to read and comprehend; they just see one or two words and rant about it. Long story short, I am done with commenting! If you see me commenting, tell me to stop lol……….unless it’s your birthday …or anniversary…… or you post a cute dog pic.

But seriously, how many people do you know make statements or comments and you realize Wait a minute, they haven’t even read the whole article or the comments? I guess they are in a hurry to get to the next topic so they can rant some more.

Social media has been around for decades, give or take.  Facebook, one of the most used and most popular, started in 2004.  It was great ! People from all walks of life and all around the Globe were able to communicate.  Show photos, chat, keep in touch, make new friends AND  state their opinions  And boy people have really stated their opinions.  Common courtesy and consideration and to some extent, common sense,  has went right out the window.  So  now………………people can freely say what they want, no repercussion, no consequences.  No face to face interaction where you could look into the other persons eyes and maybe, just maybe, see their side.  OR, hesitate before making cruel, rude or inane comments. Maybe still not agreeing perhaps but possibly understand it and move on to another topic.  Now, people who don’t even  know each other are rude and forceful in their comments.  They vent and rage and if you don’t agree with them and the name calling starts………., you are a Snowflake, or a Liberal or a Dummy or a Bot. It took me a long time to figure out what a bot was.  Okay honestly, I’m still not sure.

God Forbid we each have our own thoughts and opinions.  Or maybe you got your information from Fake News. That’s always a favourite of mine, when I read a comment to which someone takes offence and NOW it’s fake news, so they say.  What makes them the keeper of the truth?  Do you not think a lot of news is fake news?  I sure do.  No one fact checks anymore particularly if they know that their fact checking may lead to evidence that their opinion is not supported. We can’t have that; once we form an opinion, no one is changing it. Right? They believe what they want to believe and anyone can say anything and state that it’s the truth. Even people who write newspaper columns (are they still around anymore?) or commentate on the radio can, and will,  word things a certain way or have a certain opinion that comes through in ways that can be taken in all different ways.  Whew that was a mouthful. Take it all with a grain of salt I say !

I remember when I was a kid, just past the dinosaurs and just before computers, we relied on the Encyclopedia Britannica, (first published in 1768 consisting of 21 books.) FYI – In 2010 the last printed version consisting of 32 volumes was printed. Anyways to continue, this set of books ensured that everyone was getting the exact same information but now anyone can set up a website or make a comment and be the “expert”. It can be confusing and frustrating trying to find out what exactly the truth is. I research a lot of different topics for my Blog, our travels and other items and I spend a lot of time dredging through articles and websites to find the information I need and to make sure it’s correct. Or as correct as it can be in this day and age.

And dictionaries! I live by my dictionary, some people today totally rely on spell check. And you shouldn’t; I do not. I read my Blogs over and over and my husband proof reads them and then I read them again…. and again, before I post them. Watch, now that I said that there will be umpteen spelling/grammar mistakes in this Post………..

Common courtesy and consideration for others has taken a backseat to “My way or the highway” type mentality.  If you agree with an aggressive individual well then, you are their best friend, they will support you and cheer you on.  You could be a convicted murderer, but no matter! – if  you agree with the leader of the herd you are now a treasured member of the herd!

Complete strangers calling each other names, threatening to hurt them, or their families, or just being dismissive is the name of the game today.

What happened to respect?  What happened with keeping an open mind?  What happened to us?  Some will disagree and say Social Media is terrific!  Look what we can do! We can chat with people all over the world, talk about our private lives as though we are in the confessional booth at church AND plaster our opinions online, all the while being in our Pajamas!  How cool is that.   

Not very cool IN MY OPINON.  We are losing our socialization skills.  Chatting on line, shopping on line, playing games on line.  Let’s go back to going to the park, wandering through the mall or just sitting with a friend and having a coffee and a really good visit. Okay well maybe not NOW but you know when the apocalypse (aka Covid) is over. 

I miss the old days when people weren’t glued to their  devices and living through their social media.  Let’s go for a coffee or a drink has been replaced with people sitting alone in front of a screen and typing away as though demons are after them.  I can’t do it.  People who sit and chat on Facebook with a few people at a time, all the while doing emails and playing games.  Maybe I’m jealous because I can’t even handle two Bingo cards at once……………although I’m pretty sure they even do Bingo online now.

So many people rely so much on their iPhones, computers, tablets etc and spend far to much time on their devices. I prefer to be out in the woods doing photography, or maybe I’m out for a coffee with my husband, or maybe I just want to sit on my couch and read my new novel.  Electronic gadgets and social media venues, and all that comes with those things, has a place in our society for sure but it’s a PLACE, not REPLACEMENT

Yes, the internet and all it’s associated outlets can be rewarding and can be fulfilling if you want to keep in touch with people long distance or get information but let’s use it wisely.

I also think we need to get back to “being social” with our actual voices and faces out in the real world.


Please feel free to share your opinions, comments, I would love to hear them

Yep I’m a Liberal Snowflake and signing off…………….

Stay safe everyone.

Some Feathered Friends

I have been going through my photos, trying to clear up my folders. I enjoy looking at my photos and reliving memories of some great trips and great day trips. I haven’t been out much lately doing any photography so I thought I’d do a short post on some feathered friends I photographed in Algonquin Park this past September/October.


Red Breasted Nuthatch


White Crowned Sparrow

Spruce Grouse

Ruffed Grouse

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Raven – I love Ravens, they are so intelligent and friendly.

A couple of ducks, having fun

Stay Safe and Happy New Year!

I Do Love The County

For those that don’t know, Prince Edward County or The County is an island, just a short hop, skip and a jump from our house. The main towns are Picton, Wellington and Bloomfield with assorted other little villages along the way. It’s a very popular destination if you live in Ontario or Quebec, hugely popular. Why you might ask? Well they have the Sandbanks Provincial Park (includes the World’s World’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation), tons of wineries, breweries, cute shops and boutiques, bakeries (Wellington Bakery is our favourite) and some of the finest restaurants I have ever been to. And there is lots more including outdoor activities, parks, festivals, events and so on and so on. There is a great article in the NY Times about The County.

But I digress, a few days ago, we went for the day as the weather was great and we wanted to get out of our house. We headed to Beaver Meadows Conservation Area for a hike. We hadn’t been here for a long time and I honestly didn’t remember it. There are a couple of short hiking trails and some old ruins and wetlands. It’s not very big and doesn’t take long to go around.

The ruins were kind of cool, I love ruins. There was no signage to say what this was but I am thinking maybe a farm, but I don’t know for sure.

The trails were nice but not very long and there were a couple of spots to look out over the wetlands.

We left there and headed over to Gillinghams Brewery for an outdoor beverage. But first we stopped at Carson’s a really cute store which is just down the road from the brewery.

I don’t know why but we had never been inside before

And then to the Brewery…………Gillingham Brewing Company

When you go to the back they have several picnic tables with overhead heaters and a couple of tables with fireplaces inset into the table. They also have an outdoor firepit with Adirondack chairs all around. Quite a cute spot to have a beverage in the winter without going inside.

So another fun day, a little of this and a little of that……….Stay Safe!

A Cold Morning in Presquile Provincial Park

Our weather has been pretty good so far. Tuesday (15 December) was supposed to be a nice sunny day albeit cold so we decided to head out early in the morning to Presquile Provincial Park which is about a 30-40 minute drive for us. The park is right on Lake Ontario (part of the Great Lakes) and therefore a lot colder than the temperatures indicated, good thing we were bundled up. We were in the Park by 730 and right away saw a small herd of turkeys! I do love wild turkeys and not to eat. They are pretty awesome and honestly quite big.

There was probably 8-9 turkeys in their little herd. They were running around a field, probably trying to get warm.

As we continued on we spotted a couple of deer including a fawn. He was getting big but you could still see the size difference. Here are a couple of photos of the deer that we saw.

I took this photo in colour and when I got home, I did a copy in Black and White. I don’t think I am as fond of animals done in Black & White (unless it’s a zebra lol) as I am of landscapes and old buildings done in Black and White. But here goes…………..

We did do a hike, not long, couple of kilometres. It was a nice trail and we were on a hunt for an owl but we didn’t see him. It wasn’t as cold in the forest but walking was interesting as the ground was all frozen and crunchy.


All in all a nice morning and as we go there quite a bit, I know we will head back again.

Lake Ontario early in the morning

Stay Safe Everyone

Algonquin Park, Mew Lake – September/October 2020; Part Two

So here we are again, still in Algonquin Provincial Park. We like to hike and there are so many great places to hike in Algonquin Park.

Below are some photos of a trail by Cache Lake.

Some spots along Arowhon Road and the old railroad line.

March Hare Lake

Canisbay Campground and Trum out for an adventure.

It’s interesting some of the things you see when walking a trail. We spotted some cool mushrooms and an old abandoned? canoe on one trail.

Another trail we took started out as an old road and then turned into a trail in the forest. At one spot, we saw some turtle nests. The nests were old and had been trashed by another animal. Most likely a fox or raccoon. We could see the egg shells scattered around.

This guy was on the wall at the Canoe Lake restaurant. Cute.

We like to do different trails throughout the Park, but there are some we don’t do as they are way too busy. Here is a view of the highway leading up to the Track and Tower trail. Crazy busy. This was during the Thanksgiving weekend. It normally doesn’t look this bad.

Below are some random photos of some of the hikes we do and some other parts of Algonquin Park. The photo below is described on maps as “Pond”, Clint and I named it Monkey Lake, one of my favourite spots.

Monkey Lake

We came across this sight while out walking. I guess it’s where firepits come to die.

I love Kearney Lake, we weren’t able to canoe there this trip but it’s a cute lake. And we saw a snake while walking around.

Some random mushrooms and pods. Mushrooms are so amazing, I can’t believe all the different styles and colours.

Source Lake Road is a pretty road in the fall to drive down.

Some of the trails we hiked needed some cleaning up. Sometimes you have to go under, over, around or through!

So that about wraps it up, just a few more random shots. Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Well another trip come and gone. But there is always next year.

Stay safe Everyone.

Algonquin Park, Mew Lake – September/October 2020; Part One

And…………..back to my favourite Ontario Provincial Park………..Algonquin !

I got a little behind in editing my photos and writing my Blogs, by the time this will be published, I will already have published another post on a day trip we took to Algonquin in November, Sorry about that! This is a trip that started 13 September, we stayed in Mew Lake campground and left for home on 13 October, so 2 1/2 weeks total.

We had a nice site, lots of room. We liked to play backgammon and have a beer at the end of the day, and eat peanuts, and we kept having Blue Jays drop by, literally on to the table. Little Bandits they are. For a few days, it rained so much that our site had a little lake, what are you going to do? So we made up a sign that said Boat Launch and stuck it in the water. People walking by laughed about that.

Algonquin is 772300 hectares compared to Sharbot Lake which is 80 hectares, so Algonquin is a fair size. I have written about Algonquin Park before, in detail, so I won’t do it again; suffice to say, there are about 12 campgrounds, back country camping, 14 hiking trails, biking trails and over 1,500 lakes and 1,200 kms of streams. Quite the place.

The colours in Algonquin Park were not the best this year, they peaked early. I think the high point was around the 20-22 September. We arrived 26 September and by then there were a lot of leafless trees and hardly any red trees. Majority of the trees were already looking dry and had that yellowy-brown colour.

We drove one day to Dorset, a small town that I just love. My parents owned a cottage near Dorset when I was growing up and we spent every summer in this area.

We then drove up past Minden and up to the Bracebridge and Gravenhurst area. The leaves were quite different in this area, more reds and oranges and the colours were overall much better and the trees were full of leaves. Quite a difference. We did stop at three breweries to pick up some craft beer. Muskoka Brewery, Boshkung Brewery and Sawdust Brewing Company. We really like Sawdust Brewery and Muskoka is okay. It was our first time buying Boshkung beer and it was so-so. We also spotted an old barn down a side road so we stopped for photos, I love old barns and in fact I love any old buildings.

We drove into Whitney a couple of times, mostly for gas, but one day we drove around the area. We followed the Madawaska Road which follows the river and a few other roads leading us here and there.

We always go to Oxtongue Rapids, a really lovely spot. This site is west of Algonquin, outside the park. We stopped at one area that we like, cute little bridge and then further on we stopped at the Rapids.

We did a lot of hiking this trip, not so much canoeing. In fact, I think in 2 1/2 weeks we only paddled once. It was pretty rainy almost every day and windy and cold ! The day we went paddling it was 4 Celsius.

I love moose and sadly this trip we saw only two. The first time I saw a moose I was about 6-7 years old. My parents, sister and I were hiking in Algonquin Park and I was running ahead of my family. A cow and calf ran across the path in front of me and I don’t know who was more startled, them or me! My husband, Clint and I have been together 20 years and since we met, we have been going to Algonquin every year, in all seasons, spending anywhere from 2-3 weeks up to 8 weeks a year in Algonquin. We do trailer camping but we also do back country camping and quite often we drive up for the day. It’s about a 3 hour drive each way for us.

On all the trails we hiked, well most of them, we saw lots of moose tracks and scat, and yet we only saw two moose and they were on the side of the highway. One dirt road we walked down, we followed the tracks of an adult and young one and they were somewhat fresh tracks. I would love to have seen them ! We have never come here and NOT seen moose.

I do wildlife photography and this trip was pretty slim pickings for us. Now I have always said, as have many people, wildlife photography is “Right Place, Right Time”. We know Algonquin Park very well and we know the areas to go where you will have a better chance to see wildlife but no guarantees. On this trip, we did see a bull moose, a cow (female moose), beaver, herons, wood ducks, pine marten, mink, loons, otters, ducks, grouse and assorted birds. Having said that, it sounds like a good haul, so to speak, but a lot of them I was not able to get photos of. For example, the otter I saw was way faster swimming away than me grabbing my camera ! The mink was also very quick, I did manage to get off one photo but he is behind branches on a rock and therefore not a very good picture.

Some photos on Opeongo Road, east end of the park.

Some other photos from the same area.

Years ago, it was normal to drive the highway through the park and see 10-12-14 moose in one day! Not so much anymore. We were told by a friend that lives up that way that the moose population has declined significantly and I believe that. Also we normally see bears, probably 3 out of 5 visits, but none this visit. But there is always the next time.

Whitefish Lake is a great lake and Centennial Ridges Trail looks over the lake.

East Beach is a nice spot and we like to put our canoe in here and paddle. The Park’s Amphitheatre is on the way to the beach. When you get to the launch to put your canoe in, you can paddle to the right to Lake of Two Rivers or go to the left down a little river and into Pog Lake and you can go further into Whitefish Lake.

This Blog Post is getting kind of long so I am going to break it into two parts.

Stay tuned for Part Two where I’ll have more photos of the park and some of the trails.

Wildlife Photography – Do you have a Code of Ethics?

I have been meaning to write about this topic for quite some time but haven’t had the time. However, the other day, a friend of mine posted his own personal “Photography Code of Ethics”. His list is everything I believe in and so I asked his permission to use his list; plus it saves me time from making one, which I appreciate. Bill is a wonderful wildlife photographer having been featured in National Geographic magazine and other media outlets as well as winning several photography awards. His photos are terrific, please take a look at his website – Bill Bickle Photography

Ontario Provincial Parks also has an article on Ethics if you would like to read it. Here is the link Ontario Parks Ethics.

You see people all the time who go to great lengths to get “that” photo. I’m surprised at times who I see doing questionable acts by putting either themselves or the animal at risk. Quite often I am shocked that I know some of these people. I think they get caught up in the moment or their adrenalin gets them going, I don’t know.

We have all seen and/or heard the stories about people trying to get too close to bison at Yellowstone National Park or standing 10 feet from a grizzly in Banff, Alberta to get a photo. The stories go on and on.

My husband and I have seen many situations where some of these codes are not followed and believe me, it does not turn out well for the animals. Humans seem to get away with whatever they want to do with no regard to the animals involved. We have so many stories of wildlife being put down because they are a “nuisance” when in actual fact the people breaking the rules are the true nuisances as their actions resulted in the animal becoming habituated.

I am not going to get on my high horse but I will share some situations that we have personally experienced. These experiences have certainly shaped the way I think and how I do my photography. I’m going to provide some examples of what we have encountered during our travels.

Years ago there was a family of foxes living in a particular area of Algonquin Park. There was the Old Fox, his mate and a passel of young ones (kits). They were almost always in the same large area and one day we were by the road photographing them as they played. I knew approximately where the dens were but I had never, and would never, go to either of them but this lady who joined us did. She asked me if I wanted to go with her and I said “No, I’m good, I don’t believe in bothering them at their homes”. That, to me, is their safe spot. So people might say, well they are just animals but would you want people walking into your home to stare?

People were also feeding/baiting these animals for photos. One day we stopped to photograph the Old Fox and he was trying to climb this small tree. Another couple were at this spot photographing him; they had hung bacon over the branches of the tree to encourage a “better” photo. People were feeding the foxes so much that it got to the point that if they heard a car/truck door slam, they would run towards the vehicle.

Stand Off . the turtle won’t leave her nest and the fox won’t leave the turtle

Long story short, the foxes became habituated which is not a good thing. Eventually the Parks Staff took the Old Fox to a sanctuary as he was not in good health, having been hit by a car among other things…….and the rest of the family was also taken away. Below is a short Blog post I wrote on the Old Fox as he died earlier this year.

Below is the old guy and one of his kits having a drink.

Pretty sad story.

In 2016 there was a young Black bear cub hanging around the campgrounds in Algonquin Park. He may have been about 2 years old. One day we had been out canoeing all day and came back to our site to sit and have a beer. I felt someone watching me and I looked up and he was about 20 feet away by our firepit. He wandered up and down the rows of campsites 2 or 3 times a day looking for food. He was not scared of humans at all. I felt bad for him, in fact, my husband said that little bear had the saddest eyes he had ever seen.

He would drop by at our campsite almost every day we were there and then move on to walk through other campsites. Now some of these photos seem very close but keeping in mind my husband and I have very long (big) lenses. We do not have to be close. Although when he came into our site, we were kind of close, through no fault of ours. This occurred in the month of June.

Waiting for dinner
Here’s looking at you kid

During our June trip, this same little guy also followed us on the bike trail. We had started biking towards Rock Lake and we encountered an older couple walking along the trail towards us; the bear was following behind them. We didn’t want to go past him so we got off our bikes and walked back the way we came along with the couple, bear in tow. After a few minutes we stopped and made all kinds of noise and he took off. Sadly, this same year we went back in the autumn to camp for 3 weeks and one of the Park Wardens told us that he had been put down.

Stay Away!

I was told that if bears are sighted near humans, or people complain about them, they have a tag put in their ear. If they are tagged 3 times, that’s it for them. I don’t know for sure if this is true but if anyone knows it to be a fact, I would appreciate the information. So long story short, don’t go tattling on the bears.

In 2018 we were camping in Algonquin Park and there was a Mom Black Bear and her four cubs, yes four, we couldn’t believe it. Anyways, she was hanging around Lake of Two Rivers campground and Mew Lake campground. One of the cubs (below) was so cute and tiny. We were driving into the campground and they were crossing the road.

In the case of this particular family, I was told that the Mom Bear was put down, one of the cubs was run over by a car and the other three were taken away.

Four little cubs all trying to climb the tree

But you know it’s not just photographers that can be the problem; some campers have dirty campsites and by that I mean they leave their food and garbage out, etc which is an attractant for wildlife. The adult bears become habituated and teach their cubs and then they are all running around the campgrounds looking for Pringles and wieners. In our opinion, Park Wardens could do a far better job of enforcing the cleanliness of campsites. And people in general could use a little more common sense and consideration.

In Algonquin Park there are a couple of spots where Pine Martens regularly hang out. They are super cute but again, people are feeding them. A friend of ours told us that one guy was caught feeding the Pine Marten and was fined by a Warden (this year). We were at this same location the next day and we spotted a woman feeding him. My husband told her about the guy that was fined for feeding him, the outcome, she was not very nice to us after that and kept feeding the pine martin anyway.

So as I mentioned, it’s not just some photographers that show no respect for wildlife, it can be campers, hikers, canoeists, tourists and the list goes on.

We have been to Alberta a couple of times in the last few years and things are no different there. We were driving somewhere around the Banff area and there was a bear feeding on the side of the road. You would not believe the number of people who stopped to get a photo, which is understandable. Getting a photo is one thing but did they have to get in the ditch with the bear? Standing so close that some of the people could have touched him. These are wild animals regardless of their “tame” behaviour. They like to have their personal space, just like we do. And in fact they NEED their personal space.

Another time we were photographing a moose; he was standing by the side of a road, another gentleman was with us. We were quite a ways back from the moose and all of a sudden a car came from the other direction. They spotted the moose and stepped on the gas coming to a screeching halt just short of the moose. The moose took off into the forest and these people piled out of their car and chased him into the woods. If they had shown some respect, they would not have upset the moose, or us, and we all could have enjoyed the moment. I don’t know what happened to them or the moose; the other gentleman and Clint and I got into our cars and left. But you would be surprised, or maybe not, how many times we have watched people literally chase after the animal or try to “sneak” up on them to get a photo. Seriously Dude, that bear or moose or whoever, know you are there. You aren’t fooling them. And they are wild animals, they don’t know your intentions.

Now some might say we aren’t exactly following the rules by taking photos of these animals when we have a good idea of where they hang out. There may be some truth to that, however, we drive down roads and hike trails and hope to see wildlife but we don’t encourage them by baiting or invading their nests/dens. If you get familiar with an area you can have a good idea of where they might hang out. My husband and I do our best to stay back and as mentioned, we both have long lenses. I know the trips we have taken to Alberta and British Columbia, we have quite often sat in our truck and taken photos from the windows. You see lots of bears out there on the side of the road but a shot from a truck/car window can be just as good. You can also book a tour and go with guides who know where to go and how close to get.

The lady who was feeding the pine marten told us she would keep feeding him and the birds. Now, in my opinion, feeding birds is not a horrible idea. We have several bird feeders in our backyard. I don’t think feeding the chickadees, grey jays, blue jays is wrong. I look at it this way, these birds are not going to be hit by a car when they run out on the road looking for food, they aren’t going to be put down because they are a nuisance and they do not pose a threat to anyone.

I also want to mention, it’s not just wildlife we should have respect for. We have seen some crazy things when people are trying to get photos of landscapes, buildings, whatever. We were in Victoria, British Columbia last year. We went down to the Fishermen’s Wharf where they have the floating homes. This is a beautiful spot. Fishermen’s Wharf

We stayed on the dock to get a photo or two of these really cool homes. Some tourists however were walking up to peoples homes, standing on their decks, sitting in their chairs, climbing over railings, etc… to get a picture. Just crazy and disrespectful behaviour.

We have seen people go onto private property to get a photo of a dam or cascades or some other point of interest. Some properties have signs so when Clint and I see signs “No Trespassing”, “Private Property”, “Keep Out” etc, we pay attention and we respect the signs. Should I assume for those that don’t respect the personal space/property of others that it is ok for me to wander through their yard, stand on their deck and do as I wish in the pursuit of a photograph. Just something else to think about.

At the end of the day, everyone loves to see wildlife. It’s a thrill for me to call out “There’s a moose!” and grab our cameras but it is our responsibility to take care of our wildlife, respect them and allow them room to live in their own environment without being hassled. Same goes for people’s property.

It appears that in todays digital social media world it is more important to get those likes and immediate recognition for your picture than to be respectful of our precious wildlife and fellow humans.

I would love to hear comments or stories of any situations you have encountered.