Wildlife Photography – Getting that Unique Shot

Sat and watched two Canada Geese families for about 2 hours

I have so many photos, thousands literally. I go through them over and over again, keeping what I think are my best or unique shots. Sometimes I will have 20 or more shots of the same animal, (usually a lot more,) and quite often they are all in the same pose. My goal is to get shots of the animal or bird doing something different, you know? But it’s not easy.

In my opinion, because I am not an expert, in order to get a different/unique type of wildlife shot, two things determine how you can do that, well maybe three. You don’t need all necessarily but you do need at least one.

1. Right place, right time (that is almost always my mantra);

2. Patience; watching and studying your subject and wait for them to react in a different way, and/or;

3. Money; and by this I mean, for example, going on a Safari for a week or two or heading into the heart of British Columbia to visit Grizzly bears for a few days. You know the kind of trip whereby you and/or the guide you hire, basically know where the wildlife is going to be and you have ample time to photograph your subjects. An environment structured to see wildlife, which we haven’t done yet.

So the first option, right place, right time (or the luck of the draw) is a crap shoot basically, you are gonna be lucky or you aren’t.

The second option is not always possible, quite often we don’t have enough time to sit and focus on a subject for any length of time. Plus wildlife is so unpredictable. Bears for example typically take off upon seeing you and Moose tend to wander off after a few minutes. Believe me when a moose wanders off it’s like they literally disappear into thin air! Or you startle a duck and they are gone in a heartbeat.

The third option would be terrific but how many of those can you afford and how often could you go?

I have quite a few (hundreds) of Right Place, Right Time photos. One day we were driving through a campground and heading back to our campsite and we spotted a Mom Black Bear and 4 Cubs. That was definitely right place, right time.

The littlest bear

Another example – We had both been trying for years to get a half decent shot of a Kingfisher. They are such unique birds but they are skittish and VERY fast. So we never really had much luck but last summer as we were paddling along the shore of the Moira River, we spotted this little guy sitting in a tree. I reached for my camera and I’m sure Clint, in the back of the canoe, was reaching for his but I thought why bother? He’s gonna take off any second, but he didn’t. It was the best time and we sat there for probably 1/2 hour photographing him. Now he didn’t really do anything unique, he just sat there but still….! So I guess that was Rule #1 followed by Rule #2 Patience.

Kingfisher on the Moira River

Or we will drive past a spot in Algonquin Park and see nothing yet 5 minutes later drive back past the same location and there you have it….a moose just walked into the water.

Where did she come from ?

One day we had stopped our truck on the side of a road where we knew foxes hung out and out of the blue, the old fox and one of his kits walked down to the water for a drink. What are the odds?

Dad Fox and one of his kits

We were in Newfoundland a few years and camped in Gros Morne National Park. One day we were heading out in our truck to go someplace, I forget where, and just as we got to our truck we heard a commotion in the tree beside our trailer. There were two squirrels on their first date! Maybe third…… How often does anyone see this? I have not before, nor since.

Third Date……

We were sitting by Lake of Two Rivers one day just enjoying the weather and across the river we saw a chipmunk jump into the water and head to our side! It’s amazing how many chipmunks and squirrels will swim quite a distance to get to the other side. Why did the chipmunk cross the river? I have no idea…..

When wildlife cooperates and we do have time to sit and watch and wait, it can be rewarding. I remember one day my husband and I went to Algonquin Park for the day. We did our usual driving around, hiking some trails but didn’t see too much. We decided to drive down to one one of the lakes and just sit and relax and enjoy the water view. Well there happened to be a couple of families of Canada Geese there hanging out. We sat there for probably 1 1/2 to 2 hours watching them and photographing them and I feel like we were able to get different types of shots than just clicking and leaving.

Dancing Queen
Goslings are so cute.

When we are in our canoe, we can sit and watch mergansers, herons whatever for a very long time and we just sit and wait and you can get some really unique shots. So patience in these types of situations helps to improve your odds of getting a unique image of your subject. We sat in our canoe for a very long time observing and photographing this Merganser family.

Merganser Family

A heron we spotted while in our canoe on Restoule River was incredible to watch. We sat in our canoe for a couple of hours, or close to that. And in fact, he was in the same area for a couple of days so we saw him more than once. Lots of patience involved here, waiting and watching until he did some unique poses.

Crazy Tongued Heron
Maestro Heron

Sometimes the “being somewhere at the right moment” is combined with patience. We were walking an area where there had been moose sightings and indeed one morning they were there. We spent a few hours photographing them and were fortunate enough to see them mating and just being themselves.

I didn’t want to put too much Moose Porn in the post so above photo is what you are getting 🙂

As for the third option, I have not been to an environment structured for wildlife like an African Safari or to British Columbia to see the Spirit Bears or to Churchill Manitoba to see the Polar Bears but believe me, I would love to do all three.

I wish I had more opportunities for the shots taken by being patient but wildlife is quite unpredictable so typically you have to be where they are at the exact moment they are there without you knowing they are going to be there. I don’t really know what I just said lol.

This post shows a few of my photos that I think are a bit different and/or unique. I hope you enjoyed them. If you have any stories to tell or any other opinions on getting “That” shot, let me know.

Hope you enjoyed my stories.

Stay Safe.

Wildlife Photography – Do you have a Code of Ethics?

I had posted this quite some time ago but with spring here and all the wildlife young ‘uns about to come forth, I thought I would share it again. My friend Bill let me use his Code of Ethics but I have also included in this post some photos of wildlife that I have personally photographed and I tell their stories.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is algonquin-2015-june-and-march-exported-lr-116-studio-1.jpg
A young fox kit who is likely no longer with us

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.

https://trumstravels.com/2020/03/10/the-old-fox-dies/

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.

A Hiking Kind of Day – Cordova Rapids, Cordova Falls, Gut Conservation Area and High Falls Algonquin Park

A small cascades

Good Friday was a beautiful day and we decided to head up north and do some hiking. We thought there was a better chance of less people being out and about. It was about -5 Celsius when we started out and by the afternoon I think it got up to about 10 Celsius. Our travels started off at Cordova Rapids and Cordova Falls which is north of Marmora and then we kept going to Cordova Mines and a tad north of there. We stopped at the Rapids first and walked along the shore, it is a nice spot and there was no snow but there was some cool ice formations along the shore. One guy was fishing, he showed up after we got there. I don’t know if he caught anything. And no we did not get up at o’dark thirty this morning! I think we left about 6:54 a.m. and we were home about 10 hours later.

Lots of water this time of year
Along the shore, pretty spot and we walked quite a ways down the shoreline

I like ice formations but they always look better in person. Some look so great but I don’t get the same look in my photos. I need to research and see if I can do better next winter.

These remind me a little of the Lens Ball we have that we rarely use!
Some ice just hanging aroun
Part of the trail

We left there and off to Cordova Falls!

The top of the Falls
So much water, it was quite something and noisy too
A view looking towards the dam
So much water
Trum sitting on some cool ice formations by the dam

Below are some photos I took of some ice formations that caught my eye. I really like the way ice can form into so many different shapes. I did the photos below in B&W. I liked the look better than in colour.

Some ice hanging from a tree branch over the water
These reminded me of ice flowers or berries
Ice Starburst

After the Falls, we were going to head straight to High Falls north of Harcourt which is north of Bancroft. On the way though, we passed the Gut Conservation Area, which we have been to before. We decided to stop for an hour or so and hike down to the water. It’s a nice spot and the weather was fantastic. If you have a car I would not suggest going here for awhile. You can park out on the main dirt road and walk down this dirt road though. The winter did not treat this road kindly. There was one rut across the road that must have been about 12 inches deep and a few feet across. Even with our off road vehicle we sat and thought about it for a bit. Then we went anyways. My husband always says JUST DO IT that’s why we bought this truck. And there are lots of ruts, quite deep. This road is never in great shape but it’s a lot worse right now.

Road to Gut Conservation Area

It’s hard to tell on the photo below but there are lots of ruts and they aren’t shallow.

Bumpy old road!

The photo below shows the big rut, it looks worse in person than in this photo, but you get the idea.

I would not take a car on this road
Parking Lot at the Gut Conservation Area
The nice part of the road which is at the end lol

The trail was nice and no snow or ice. There was a bit of snow down further but nothing to interfere with a hike.

Trail
A fence surrounding the Gorge , it’s quite a drop
Trum !

This is what you see when you look over the fence, lots of water today.

The cascading water down to the river
The river

Our last stop is High Falls, now this is part of Algonquin Park so you have to display a Parks pass in your vehicle. We bought an annual pass so we don’t have to worry about paying for each visit. The parking lot and beginning of the trail looked great! And then we got a little further on and the trail was nothing but snow and ice, quite a lot of ice. We had to skirt around the edges of the trail so we wouldn’t slip on the ice. Every once in awhile we had a small stretch of no snow and no ice but that didn’t last long. We walked for about an hour, maybe a bit longer and we still weren’t at the Falls yet. The trail then was nothing but a sheet of ice and there was no skirting around anything. Clint said he would try to go a bit further and I said Bye Clint! I’ll sit on this rock and relax by the water. So I sat and got to thinking, what if he drops off the edge? what if he doesn’t come back? I worried about that but then thought … next time I am bringing another set of keys. lol He wasn’t gone long and he came back and said he did not make it to the Falls either. The Falls are a fair size and the spray of water from them was coating everything in ice, he decided to play it safe and come back. He said it takes to long to heal at his age if he were to fall.

Icy trail so we walked the edges

The trail would probably be great when the snow and ice leave. There are some parts that are clear of snow but chock full of rocks! But still a great trail as you can see from below photo.

More trail

Part of the trail follows this river which lead to the falls. You can see a small rapids in this photo, from a distance.

Rapids
You need good trail boots/shoes to travers this kind of trail, lots of water and mud.
Another part of the river
More snow and ice, the snow was okay, it was the icy parts I didn’t like
Well look who did the trail! He did not have to worry about slipping!

Just down the road a bit was the dirt road to the Kingscote Canoe Access, also part of Algonquin Park, but the road was still snow and ice covered. Even with our truck we thought it smart to forgo this drive. Maybe we’ll come back later in the spring and give ‘er a go.

So that’s that, we had a great day being outdoors, with lots of driving thrown in!

Stay safe.

Belleville Waterfront – 27 March

Female Mallard or Hen

So apparently there have been Wood Ducks down at our waterfront. I love Wood Ducks. People I know have been posting photos of them for the last week. Clint and I drove to the waterfront Saturday afternoon to take a look-see.

Reminiscent of our trip to Algonquin last Tuesday, nothing! No Wood Ducks, apparently they headed west about 90 minutes before we got there.

We did see some cute mallard ducks, swans and pigeons! lol

Here are a few of my favourites from yesterday. Oh and lest I forget, seagulls were all over the place. Seagulls in Belleville are like the Red Squirrels in Algonquin Park, numerous and plentiful.

I do like doing Seagulls in B&W for some reason.
Taking a drink
Scratching an itch
Male Mallard or Drake
Pigeon Attack!
Pensive

Not too exciting but we will try again to find the elusive Wood Ducks. Here is a photo of one that I saw in Algonquin Park last fall when we were camping there. They are a beautiful duck.

Hopefully we will get out again soon, stay safe !

Algonquin Park Day Trip – 23 March

So here we are again, beginning my Blog post with the words…We got up at 0’dark thirty to head to the Park! But we did get up early and were on the road before 530 am this past Tuesday and headed out, ever hopeful to see some wildlife.

To save you from the suspense, we saw a beaver and a crap load of red squirrels…that’s it, that’s all. The Red Squirrels run that place, so many of them. I swear they ran all the other wildlife off, they can be aggressive. I mean, they are cute to watch but still they are not nice. We have one in our backyard that we call Tommy the Terrible. He owns our yard, the other squirrels, twice or more his size take off when Tommy comes out. As do the birds, raccoons, us……we all leave!

Opeongo Road Squirrel

The lakes are still frozen but I was surprised there was not as much snow as I thought there would be. Below is a picture of highway 60 going past Mew Lake

Mew Lake, we will be camping here in 7 weeks, hard to believe!

This was such a beautiful day, look at that blue sky in the photo below. I think the temperature got up to 18 Celsius which was amazing. Wonderful weather, we didn’t even need our winter coats, touques, mitts, nothing!

We did do a couple of hikes, Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail being one of them. This is a nice and short trail going through the forest and also through marsh areas.

Boardwalk on Spruce Bog Trail
Part of the trail goes through the woods
Heading back to the Trail Head, Highway 60 is just to the left
Well well well,what have we here

One of the trails we like to walk is the trail to the Cascades. We go here quite often, in all seasons. We have also paddled this river and had to portage over the cascades to continue down the river. Today we both wore our spikes, or crampons, on our hiking boots. It was a little icy in spots.

Part of the trail
Bridge leading from the trail to the cascades

Now this trail is part of the Highland Backpacking Trail and you can also access the Track and Tower Trail from here. It’s a nice area.

Clint standing on the rocks, the river continues on past here
View of the river from the left side of the bridge

Me on the trail
My heart
Me on the trail

We drove down Opeongo Road a few times but there was not much going on except for ……….Squirrels!

They are EVERYWHERE!

We did finally spot two beavers, one was quite far from us having it’s lunch and the other was closer and hanging out in front of their beaver house. The photo below shows how far away we were. You can see the beaver house out on the ice on the left. He was hanging out in front of there.

I told him to get out from behind the grass but he didn’t listen to me
He went in the water and didn’t come back up after he got some reinforcement sticks

Canoe Lake was still frozen. This is a big lake from which we have started a few of our interior canoe trips. We have been up here when they closed down the canoe rentals because of the wind and whitecaps. It can be a nasty lake to paddle.

The stores, restaurant,gift shop, equipment rentals are to the left

Back Country check in !

This Totem Pole is at the Main Gate on the East side of the Park, where we enter. We have a Parks Pass for the year so we don’t have to stop to get a permit.

So that’s that, we most likely won’t get up here again until we are camping in May, hopefully the moose get THAT memo.

Stay safe Everyone!

So Who doesn’t Love a Great Brewery? Prince Eddy’s Brewery

You know I post mostly wildlife photos/adventures and landscapes, flowers etc but I also love Beer. I can’t help it, it’s my thing. A friend of mine Lesley B. told me that she knows me well because on Instagram I would only post wildlife photos and photos of Craft breweries! That pretty much describes me and my life.

So here is a token wildlife photo, and then on to one of my favourite breweries, right here in my area where I live.

Did someone say BEER? Yuck………………

We took a drive to Prince Edward County last Friday, or as we in the area call it, The County. I know I have mentioned this place a zillion times before but it’s a pretty awesome island. There are approximately 40 wineries, 10 craft breweries, (that might be higher) cider places, a distillery, one of the best beaches in Canada, at Sandbanks Provincial Park (Formed on the world’s largest baymouth dune barrier formation) (whatever that means, but it sounds impressive).

Also – I’m not done…..North Beach Provincial Park, Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park and assorted Conservation areas. And…..some of the best restaurants I have ever had the pleasure to visit. (Shout out particularly to Maran’s Dinebar) The County isn’t so much a place but a way of living or life style. Awesome festivals and shopping, I could go on but I won’t. We’re here to talk about beer.

Now I think I will do the local breweries in separate posts. I am doing this for two reasons, the first being that this post would be super long and who wants to read a super long Blog post? Not me…. And also because we aren’t traveling, I don’t have a lot of new wildlife photos to share. Which is sad…. mostly sad for me. In the meantime, enjoy reading about local breweries.

So on to the breweries …… man I get distracted easily! Or as we say in Canada….Squirrel! (that’s another story)

Prince Eddy’s Brewing Company, one of my favourites and my husband’s also.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend……. My Husband!

They are located in Picton (Ontario, Canada) in the Industrial Park. Prince Eddy’s has a great outdoor area including a beach volleyball court, outdoor kitchen and a stage for live music. On their website they state they have a 2 storey tasting room which I did not know and we go there A LOT. They do have a seating area in the main part where the bar is so I will have to be more observant when I go back. It doesn’t mention food on their website but I know in the past they have had Food Trucks there.

I remember the first time we went there, a few years ago now. We decided to share a taster tray, or sampler tray, whatever you call it. They put all these cute little glasses of beer on a skateboard, that was their tray. Problem was, they didn’t take the wheels off the skateboard! I recall sitting at the table and Clint and I batted this thing back and forth so it wouldn’t roll over the edge. Pretty funny. We haven’t sat there to have a beer since the Apocalypse began so now we normally go in, grab some to go beer and head home to drink it.

Me, wanting to drive this cool car….

They have a varied beer selection. Now I love IPA’s, the hoppier the better. Hoppy makes me Happy. My husband prefers Stouts and Porters, preferably barrel aged. He loves their Dark Side BBA (Bourbon Barreled Aged) Imperial Stout made with Coffee, Chocolate & Vanilla. That’s only one of a few Stouts that they have and he likes ’em all. I sent this one – Coco Dojo Imperial Stout with Banana, Coconut, Coffee and Vanilla – to my son in Toronto. He is very excited to try this, I mean come on, Banana? It sounds cool. I love their Hazy Brigade IPA and I like So Many Friends Session NEIPA. They have Blonde ales, Black Lagers, Lagers and their Cream Ale is great and I could go on but I won’t. Suffice to say, hit this one up if you get over there.

They also have Sour beers. My husband’s theory is that a few years ago someone, somewhere, screwed up their vat of beer and decided to market and sell it as something “unique” rather than dump it and lose money. So from that you can gather that we do not like Sour Beer, I mean is it even beer? But that’s my opinion only…….it appears to sell mostly to the young’uns not experienced beer drinkers like us.

We met the owner, Aaron (Erin?) last summer when we were camping at Bon Echo Provincial Park. He and his buddy from Midtown Brewing Company asked if they could walk through our site as a shortcut to their site. We said sure and as they were carrying/drinking cans of beer and we were sitting drinking beer, we struck up a conversation. Now what d’ya suppose we talked about? lol

At Prince Eddy’s the staff are great and the prices reasonable. So check them out!

And as they say on their website, Stay Safe, and Stay Frothy!

Presquile Provincial Park – 12 March Jaunt to the Park!

Nice walk down this trail

Friday morning we got up really early………..why do my Blog Posts always start with that? Anyways up at Oh Dark Thirty again and out the door before 630 a.m.

Drove to the Park and spent some time driving around and we spent a couple of hours hiking some trails. We did see some very shy deer, they were deep in the woods and of course swans and ducks. But that was it, pretty slow day at the park today.

There are some nice trails and we walked a few to get our exercise and see what we could see; which was not much, except for a Pileated Woodpecker and he was pretty far away.

Some trails need some clean up !
Lots of little boardwalk sections in the park and they were mostly ice and snow

The ice is pretty much gone off the shoreline of Lake Ontario and the trails, for the most part, are snow and ice free. Well, there are a few sections that you have to be careful but it’s not too bad.

Lake Ontario shoreline
Shoreline of Lake Ontario

And here he is the star of the Blog – Trum and he’s checking out the info on Waterfowl

Amherst Island – 9 March Day Trip

This past Tuesday we got up really early, too early for humans, and were in the truck and on our way before 6 a.m. Why? I dunno to be honest. We wanted an early start to go to Amherst Island and we wanted to catch the ferry from the Millhaven Ferry Dock which leaves on the half hour. So we got to the ferry terminal at 650 and yup had to wait until 730 to get across ! It only took us about 45 minutes to drive to the ferry but we did have to stop for gas. Oh well, we bonded while sitting in our truck.

Ferry leaving for Amherst Island

So the ferry to Amherst Island is $9 for our truck, return. It holds a surprising amount of vehicles. We were not allowed to get out of our truck because of Covid but it’s only about a 20 minute run so not bad at all except for some photos I took which are not great. I would like to have gotten better photos of the ferry and the trip because taking photos out a truck window is not ideal.

Us driving on to the ferry, I took this out of our front window

Amherst Island is in Lake Ontario and just west of Kingston, Ontario. There is a small village named Stella. Every time I hear or see the name Stella I immediately yell it out like Marlon Brando did in the movie Streetcar Named Desire to Kim Hunter’s character. Stellllllaaaaa !

Anyways, moving on…….

I guess Harrowsmith magazine named Stella as one of the prettiest towns in Canada. Yeah I don’t think so, it’s quaint and cute but far from the prettiest.

So after our cool ferry ride, breaking through the ice, we landed on the Island, at the Stella Ferry Dock. This island is chock full of windmills, hawks, deer, wild turkeys and sometimes owls. But we did not see any owls this day.

We saw so many of the above mentioned wildlife and yet most were always so far away.

We also spotted a fox with either a duck or Mourning Dove in his mouth. He ran from the shore of Lake Ontario, across the road in front of our truck and was gone just that quick. I did manage to snap two quick shots out of the truck front window while the truck was still moving. Needless to say they did not make the cut, pretty bad photos but still so cool to see.

So many deer on the island

There are lots of farms on the island and SHEEP ! I love sheep, they are just so cute.

Scratching an itch

This little deer was by a farmers barn, maybe he wanted to get in with the sheep.

Young one

We drove by a cemetery and sitting by the fence was a cute little deer and two others were behind the fence of the cemetery. Of course he couldn’t stay down, he had to get up and flee. We didn’t even leave our truck.

There are a lot of windmills on the island. I like windmills, a lot of people do not, they find them intrusive. Construction on these ones began late in 2016 and there are about 26 Turbines. I like the look of them and I do not find them noisy. However I do have to say I am not well versed in the pros/cons of having windmills so I will not say anymore on this topic (although I do have some opinions) Are there windmills where you live? How do you feel about them?

As we were leaving to go back to catch the ferry, we were stopped at a Stop sign and I looked to the right and there was a hawk sitting right outside my window on a fence post. So how do ya like that? I was able to get a few shots that turned out okay

Off he goes
Crazy Landing in the field

Below is us leaving Amherst Island on the ferry, see all the ice on the water. We just went on through it! And the ferry leaves the island every hour on the hour.

Ferry leaving Amherst Island

After we got off the ferry,we drove about 30 minutes down the road and caught the FREE Glenora ferry over to Prince Edward County. I have written about the County before so I won’t speak again about it here. But …. it’s an island and this ferry is free because they consider this an extension of the Ontario Provincial Highway from Kingston area to The County.

Below is the Glenora Ferry as we are arriving in The County at the docks, we did not go through any ice, the passageway was clear water.

Coming into the docks in The County on the Glenora Ferry

Again we could not leave our vehicles and the ride was maybe 20 minutes. After we got off the ferry we drove maybe 2 minutes up the road to a brewery. The Lake on the Mountains brewery to be exact so we stopped in there to buy some craft beer to take home.

That was it, that was our day on Tuesday.

Stay safe Everyone.

Dragonflies, Bees and Bugs

I don’t normally photograph any kind of insect because I am not fond of bugs to be blunt. However, sometimes when we are sitting in our canoe for a very long time (maybe a couple of hours) we do see some great photo opportunities. Now I don’t have a macro lens so I just use what I have, usually my 200mm or my 300mm. A macro lens would be better but we only have one of those lenses between us so we both can’t use it at the same time!

As well as photos of butterflies, bees and others, I also have photos of dragonflies and damselflies. I always these two were one and the same but there are differences. The dragonfly has a bigger body and the wings are to the side when sitting. The damselflies are more slender and their eyes are large and somewhat on the side of their head. I spent more time than I should have trying to figure these guys out and was just getting discouraged. If anyone can tell what types they are please feel free to let me know. Knowledge is a great thing! It was very difficult to try and match up my photos with photos on the web.

I took this in marsh area outside of New Orleans, I like the look of the photo.
Bald Faced Hornet and apparently these guys are miserable!
A little bee, I believe he is a honey bee
I could not find this guy, he might be a Saddlebag or some form of Jewelwing?

This is the infamous Brown Dragonfly! Okay I have no idea…….
Bees getting nectar
Some form of caterpillar
Butterfly on the Moira River
another nameless flying creature……..
I really liked the colouring of this guy/gal

I believe the blue Dragonfly below is called the Canada Darner and the other is a female Canada Darner….. or not

Okay so this is the Porn shot lol

So those are some of my unidentified insect photos.

Stay safe !

Denali National Park

Mount Denali

Denali National Park is in Alaska and we were there in 2017. The Park originally opened in 1917 as a wilderness area and also to protect Dall Sheep. It is the only National Park with a working dog sled kennel.  Because of the dogs, the Park Rangers can patrol in the winter checking for poachers and each year they average about 3,000 miles throughout the Parks’ interior.

Near the entrance to the Park are the dog sled kennels which you can visit, also a campground and some hiking trails. We went to visit the sled dogs and learn about their history, it was quite interesting and informative. We also did the Horseshoe Lake Trail which was only about 2 miles and took about two hours I think. It was a really nice trail and they have other trails that are just outside the park.

The houses for the dogs, they each have their own with their names marked at the door
One of the Rangers and a couple of dogs, these dogs are intense and they love their job

Below are two photos from our hike around Horseshoe Lake Trail, a really nice walk and lovely scenery.

Horseshoe Lake Trail
Clint
Well look who we have here, it’s Trum the Traveling Monkey

Well first let me say, I really liked this Park and I wish we had more time there to be able to do tent camping in the wilderness. So to start, Denali is about a 4 hour drive north of Anchorage, it is more in the southern portion of Alaska. The Park spans about 6 million acres of land, I can’t even imagine that much land. Mount Denali is the highest peak in North American at 6,190 metres or 20,310 feet. People may remember it as being called Mount McKinley but the name was changed in 2015 after years of people lobbying for the name change.

Savage River

There is only one road through the park and one entrance to that road. The road is 92 miles running east/west. The first 15 miles is paved but the rest of the road is not a highway, it is dirt and gravel, narrow and winding. You have to purchase tickets to take a bus through the park. You are allowed to drive your own vehicle for the first 15 miles to a spot called Savage River. There is parking there and you can hike around that area. But after Savage River, NO private vehicles are allowed.

Well hello! Security at Denali
Looking for something to eat
Clint on the bridge at Savage River

The only exception to drive past Savage River is if you are camping at Teklanika Campground, at marker 29, then you may drive your vehicle. However, having said that, once you get to your campsite you are not allowed to drive anywhere. Your vehicle sits there until you are physically leaving the park. They are strict about that.

Some of the buses stopped at a washroom

For tent camping, you can camp off trail wherever you want but again, you must take the bus and they will drop you off wherever you want. When you are ready to leave, you stand on the roadside and wait for a bus to go pass and they will pick you up. Strangely the bus we were on stopped to pick up a couple of people who had been interior camping and we got to talking to them. One of the guys grew up in the city we live, so odd!

All the buses trundling along

We were staying in the area for a couple of days so one day we drove our own vehicle to Savage River and spent some time. Then on our way back out of the Park we stopped at the Wilderness Access Centre (WAC) which is where you purchase bus tickets if you want to travel further into the interior of Denali. The tickets were $35 each and the day of our tour, we left at 630 in the morning! In addition to this there is also a fee per person to enter the park. I believe it was $15 each. We had a National Parks pass so didn’t have to pay this fee.

I highly recommend purchasing a National Parks pass, they are well worth it if you plan on visiting lots of National Parks as we did that year. I believe they are about $80 but definitely worth it. Now for the bus tours through Denali, there are narrated and non-narrated trips. We chose the non-narrated trip and it was an EIGHT hour trip, return. Also, they do not supply, nor stop, for food or drink. There is no place to spot, no stores or restaurants. Clint and I made sure to make sandwiches/snacks and also take water in our backpacks. You can however, refill your water bottles at Eielson Visitor Centre. Even though our tour was not narrated, our driver was terrific. You could ask any questions and he would point out things. When we got to where we could see the mountain, I thought he was going to cry. He said he had worked here for about 3 months and had yet to see Denali. The reason not many people see Denali is because it is always covered with clouds/bad weather and only about 30% of the people who go to Denali actually see the mountain. The day we went the sky was so clear, the mountain was spectacular. We were pretty happy about that, it’s a beautiful mountain and we were part of the 30% who get to see it.

Scenic View

You eventually end up at the Eielson Visitor Centre at mile 66 where you can get out and check out the centre and/or do a hike in that area. There are three trails near this Visitor Centre, only about 1 mile each in length. If you bought another type of ticket you can take the bus to mile 85 to Wonder Lake (costs more money and takes about 12 hours). Now they do have a small campground, tents only, at Wonder Lake and you still have to take the bus to and from there. We only went to the Eielson Visitor Centre and that was a long day. Below you can see a bus, in the distance, on the road heading to Mount Denali.

You don’t have to take your same bus back. Once you buy your ticket you can hop on/off any bus that comes by. You just have to wait until one comes by and hope there is a seat for you.

Unique landscape

I wanted to see wildlife and we did see some. There is a lot of wildlife, Grizzly bears for starters, this is where I saw my first one one out in the wild. There are also caribou, moose, wolves, fox, Dall sheep, pikas, squirrels, rabbits, and more in the Park. We were fortunate enough to see a grizzly family, a mom and 2 cubs. Now these were off in the distance and we were on the bus but still… it was exciting for me. We only saw wildlife while on the bus which was disappointing, as the photos turned out so-so, but still nice to see them.

Mom and 2 cubs

The day we went, in addition to the Grizzly family, we also saw a moose with calves, a Bull moose, caribou, rabbits and some white dots that were Dall Sheep.

In reference to Dall Sheep, one funny story that happened; we were on the bus and our driver told us if you see something and want to stop, just yell out and I’ll stop. He also said you might see Dall sheep up high up on the mountains.

A few minutes later, a man on the bus yelled out “I see white dots on the mountain!” He was very excited. Some people moved to the right side of the bus. Then he yelled out “Those white dots are MOVING!” and then EVERYONE moved to the right side of the bus and took out their cell phones.

I honestly thought the bus was going to tip over! Clint and I stayed on the left side of the bus, our cameras with big lenses, in our lap. I didn’t need any photos of white dots lol.

But he did stop whenever we asked and sometimes he stopped when we didn’t ask! There were a few spots he pulled the bus off the road and we could wander around a bit and stretch our legs which was nice. He also stopped for washroom breaks which was welcome as it was a long day.

The bus stopped here for a bit and we were allowed to wander
Me wandering around!
Taken from the bus, look at his ribs

We took this at the Visitor Centre, you can see the different peak names on Denali
Moose

Just a final note, this place is crazy busy. We had our trailer as we were camping from Ontario, (where we live), on our way to Alaska and the Yukon. We tried to get a spot to camp in Denali but it was booked solid. We ended up about 5 minutes away, just outside the park at Rainbow RV Park. Now this was basically a huge parking lot behind the main street. Our trailer was backed right up to an Outdoors Store and we would chat with the staff. They had an open window and would watch us cook at our BBQ and say how good it looked lol.

It’s a cute little town and they do have restaurants and a bar. You can also take a flight tour over the park which would have been awesome, if you had about $300 dollars US a person. We did not do that but still…would have been pretty great.

Anyways that is our experience with Denali. I would love to go back.