Algonquin Park – June 2020 – Let there be Moose !

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Merganser Duck Family

Finally………….Ontario Provincial Parks opened on Monday 22 June.  We were all ready to go that day.  Originally we were booked for 12 nights from 15 June which was great because Doug Ford, our Premier said they could open on 15 June but Ontario Parks weren’t ready to open.  I get that, I mean you have to………….I dunno…..do what?  We were there for a day trip 2 weeks before and everything looked great, unless they needed staff.  They need those people to drive around in their vehicles I guess.  But….we got to go for four nights, vice 12 and it was better than nothing.

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View from the beach at Lake of Two Rivers

Monday was a great day, we drove around the Park and went paddling and saw a deer, a Merganser family and assorted other little creatures and birds.

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At one spot, we saw a loon nest in the water, just off a bridge.  The nest was very low in the water and I know they like to nest in the water to ward off predators but this was exceptionally low in the water. We have seen tons of nests over the last 20 years and none of them have ever been so much in the water.   The Dad was there swimming around as the Mom Loon sat on her eggs.  It’s a little late in the year for them so I guess they got a late start.

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You can see the nest in the bottom right corner, this is the river where they built their nest
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Very low in the water, even before the rain.

The next day it rained all day and I mean rained……..probably 35-40 mm, maybe more.    Wednesday we  drove down to where the loon nest was, expecting the worst, and we got it.  The nest was completely submerged and she was there by herself swimming around on top of it and she kept putting her head under the water.   It was truly heartbreaking.  Someone else told us the Dad Loon was also there for a while swimming where the nest used to be.  So sad.

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Wednesday morning we went for a drive and spotted a Cow (moose) and her young calf.  He was probably last year’s calf, he was not very big.  It was great watching them, he did not come out of the woods as much as she did.  I have a couple of crappy shots of him so I’m not posting them.  He was very shy and a little skittish.  Eventually they crossed the highway and went into the woods on the other side.

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Having Lunch – they probably eat 50-60 pounds of food a day
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I love this one, her ear is all cockeyed!

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Later that same day, there were a bunch of cars stopped on the highway so you know there is a moose.  Sure enough, a mom moose and a calf (this year’s calf) were standing in a bog.  They were on the drivers side and by the time I got out of the truck on the passenger side and in front of the truck, they were already heading into the bush.  But I did get to see them and got off a couple of shots like this.

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Thursday we were up early and out and about.  We decided to walk down part of the Mizzy Lake trail heading towards Wolf Howl Pond and West Rose Lake.  Mizzy Lake Trail is 10.8 km long and this is a short 2.5-3 km part of it, (each way. )

This part of the trail used to be part of the old railway line that ran through Algonquin Park.  A really nice trail.

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I love this trail
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Lots of marshy areas and small lakes/ponds.
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The flags signify turtle nests

Years ago we ran into one of the researchers who was flagging the turtle nests, keeping notes and keeping track.  He told us what the colours meant but I forget now.  I believe one colour flag shows where a nest is and the second colour shows that someone got into it.  A raven we were watching was trying to dig up the nests.  Fox, raccoons, all kinds of animals will try to eat these eggs.

 

For years, this has been one of our favourite areas and we are rarely disappointed.  We walked a couple of kilometres down and sat for a bit.  We were quite entertained by a raven and his antics.

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Notice his eye in this photo
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This creeps me out
Their eye lids are lubricated with a nictitating membrane which helps keep their eyes clean and for aquatic birds, acts like a contact lens when they are under water.
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Then Clint spotted a Mom Moose and her very young calf.  They are super cute.  We got a lot of photos and spent a lot of time watching them.  They were a fair distance away (about 200 yards) and I only have a 300 mm lens but all in all it was great to watch them and get some photos.  Still a memory for me.

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Always lots of different butterflies around, these guys are mud puddling which means they all mill around a spot getting their nutrients from damp sand, compost and manure.  This is someone’s manure ! Kinda gross but it is what it is !

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Later we went for a paddle to find the Merganser family again.  The lake wasn’t very cooperative, white caps in the water, but we managed to make it to the river and to the marsh area.  Nothing to report!

Friday we were up early and headed off to East Beach to put our canoe in and we paddled over to Pog Lake and then down towards Whitefish Lake.  We did see a heron and a duck family and the ever elusive Kingfisher.  I have yet to get a really good shot of one, they are very skittish.  So I will put a photo in here of the Kingfisher but I am not at all happy with it but in case you have never seen one, this will give you an idea of what they look like.

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Part of the river we paddled
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Cute little face
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The ever elusive, ever skittish, Kingfisher
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Heron
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Flower (butterfly included) along the shore of the river
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Ducklings

 

There are lots of wildflowers in this park.  We stopped at one spot for a long time and took some photos.  I was lucky enough to get a small bee in this photo.

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I cannot wait for my next trip to Algonquin Park.  Take care and stay safe.

 

10 thoughts on “Algonquin Park – June 2020 – Let there be Moose !”

  1. That is an impressive amount of wildlife during one visit and the quality of the images are spectacular. Any advice on the moose spotting? My wife has tried for years to see one and we’ve come up short every time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We get up early in the morning and we are gone all day until late in the evening. We drive, hike, canoe our way around the park. Four of the six moose we saw were on Highway 60 and two were on part of the Mizzy lake trail. That is a good area to see moose. I have been going to Algonquin since I was a kid and honestly it’s right place , right time that’s all I can tell you. Hopefully you will see one this year!

      Like

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