Well here we go again….. up at 4 a.m. and out the door for Algonquin Park. We did this a week earlier and said that we wanted to get up there again before the 12th of June. Ontario Parks are finally all open for camping that day and it will be a madhouse! There was hardly anyone in the Park on Thursday when we went but the next day there would be thousands of people with all the campgrounds opening.
I thought last week we did good to see 4 moose but this trip we saw 10. And No, it wasn’t the same 2 or 3 running back and forth across the highway! Years and years ago we would always see 7, 12, 15 moose in the same day but the last few years it has been getting difficult to spot moose. We also spotted a newborn fawn and 3 deer and a fox but I only managed to get a quick shot of one deer. I was more interested to see and photograph moose. We saw 6 Bulls, 3 Cows and 1 Calf and he/she was adorable. It was a good day for moose for sure, the first one we saw was about 20-30 minutes before we even got to the Park, same as last week. I don’t know if it was the same moose or not. The highlight of the day was seeing this Cow and her Calf. Following Mom everywhere and hardly leaving her side.
You can see the little one beside Mom walking through the water in the ditch. She always made sure she was between people/the road and her calf.
He is so small compared to Mom.
They have such spindly little legs!
It was a long day, we didn’t get home until about 840 p.m. but it was worth it, thanks to my husband for driving us around, up and down the highways all day! And yes Clint does photography too, ever since he was in high school. He is one of the best photographers I know, but then again I’m bias. I put a link to his photography website on his name in the previous sentence if you are interested.
Another cow that we saw along the road.
A young Bull walking through the ditch
Thanks and hope you enjoyed the photos of moose. Until next time….
I love Algonquin Park, I may have mentioned that a few hundred times before. We were able to go one day in March and we were supposed to go for 2 1/2 weeks in May but due to our Provincial Lockdown it was canceled. So I needed my fix and as our lockdown ended this past Wednesday, this was a day trip we were going for right away.
Up at 4 a.m. and hit the road with our camera gear and a cooler full of lunch, snacks and water. It’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive, maybe a little less. Just before we hit the turn off to go to Whitney, a little town outside the park, we spotted a moose in a marsh on the side of the road. We have only one other time spotted a moose before we got into the park. So that was a good sign for us. The lighting sucked at that time but we were able to get a few shots albeit not the best.
Into the park we went and to sum it up, we saw 4 moose total, 3 deer, 1 wolf and 5 turkeys. Turkeys for the win! We also saw a bunch of Canada Geese and some goslings and one heron.
Below are some Canada Geese and their gosling photos.
The photo below reminded me of the Abbey Road album cover! I know there is only three but still……………
We spotted another cow on the side of the highway, she was pretty skittish too. Didn’t stick around too long. I have a theory that because there has been so few people around the park for the last few months that the animals have become accustomed to basically having the park to themselves. And for the most part, are not used to humans again. I feel bad for them once the hordes of people invade their space when the lockdown is over. She did not want to come out from the shady trees.
We spotted three deer in the park, we don’t often see deer but they are there. In all the years of coming here, I have seen 10 times more moose than deer. I remember my Grandfather telling me years ago, he was from this area, that moose and deer don’t typically inhabit the same area. I don’t know if that’s true or not but I don’t see it to be honest.
The photo below is one of my favourite spots. On some Algonquin maps, it’s referred to as Pond. It’s between Source Lake and Tanamakoon Lake. We named it Monkey Lake, after Trum of course. We did this so when we are having a conversation, it’s easier to say Monkey Lake than you know where the highway blah blah blah. So below is Monkey Lake and a photo of Trum at his favourite lake too!
It was rather strange we saw no other ducks of any kind, we usually see a fair number on the waters. Maybe they are all in hiding from the mosquitos. The bugs were what you would expect in Ontario this time of year……..Brutal. We parked at one spot to walk down to one of our favourite areas in the park and even with our bug hats on, it was not pleasant. That idea was squashed rather quickly. Can I do a trail with a billion mosquitos flying around my face? Yes. Do I want to? No chance in hell. lol We did spot our second moose of the day right there in the parking lot though so that was okay. We didn’t get great photos of him either as I think he got startled pretty quickly and took off. It’s amazing how fast they can move. I was trying to exit the truck, run to the front of the truck all the while trying take a photo, by the time I actually got myself sorted out, he was gone.
Below is a photo taken from Arowhon Road.
You can see the moose below in the photo, that is how far away she was from us. Then of course I was able to get a bit closer and then zoom in.
A view from off Opeongo Road.
As we were driving up and down the highway, we all of a sudden saw this guy run across the road in front of us. Then he ran back to the other side, walked up the ditch and then ran back in front of us again. He was beautiful. We didn’t think there were coyotes in the park but we are pretty sure it is . Our initial thought was a wolf but we didn’t think we were lucky enough to see a wolf in the middle of the day. UPDATE – I asked a guy I know who is a professional wildlife photographer and goes to Algonquin more than I do, and he said it is indeed a wolf, so I guess we were lucky enough. This was our initial thought, pretty thrilling to see him regardless. Thanks Mark Raycroft for helping me out. (Check out Mark’s link, he has published books and does a Podcast called Wild and Exposed )
Our mode of transport! We took our canoe as we thought we might get a paddle in but there was way too much activity on the roads so we’ll wait and paddle another day in our area.
And in case you were wondering………..and really who wouldn’t? Here is where Trum gets situated in the truck lol
So we did a lot of driving and some walking. Some of the places we stopped to walk at were okay for bugs. Up until Covid hit, we used to spend 2 – 3 weeks in June camping in the Park. Looking back I don’t know how we did it or why. haha
We went to this spot a couple of times in the last two weeks. It’s a great spot for the birders, Clint and I like birds but we aren’t experts by any means. I know they have feathers…….lol So as per usual, we packed a lunch, grabbed our coffees and headed out about 530 a.m.
So Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory is located in the south-east corner of the County in the Prince Edward Point Bird National Wildlife Area. It was established in 1978 and is about 560 hectares; it is a great area, right on Lake Ontario. I feel like wherever we go on our day trips in our area we are somehow beside, or near Lake Ontario, it seems to be everywhere. We have been out here so many times, I like driving around this area. But today we were here for the birds! Thousands and thousands of birds go through this area every spring. It is quite the spot if you are into birding.
The photo below is not about the bird but there were swarms of bugs, some form of shadfly all over the place. You would be walking along and all of a sudden there was a swarm just flying in one spot. You can see the little dots in the photo below. There were no mosquitos though so that was great.
When we were done on the trails, we drove down and parked across from the Point Traverse Lighthouse. The road to the lighthouse was gated off but you can walk a trail to get to it. We did part of the trail.
Nice spot and lots to look at. We were photographing these seagulls diving into the water. I got one with just the wings sticking out of the water, it was kind of neat watching them. I think they get a bad rap.
On our way home we passed this field and I thought it was pretty. I believe it is a field of canola.
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.
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.
We left there and off to Cordova Falls!
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.
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.
It’s hard to tell on the photo below but there are lots of ruts and they aren’t shallow.
The photo below shows the big rut, it looks worse in person than in this photo, but you get the idea.
The trail was nice and no snow or ice. There was a bit of snow down further but nothing to interfere with a hike.
This is what you see when you look over the fence, lots of water today.
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.
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.
Part of the trail follows this river which lead to the falls. You can see a small rapids in this photo, from a distance.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
We drove down Opeongo Road a few times but there was not much going on except for ……….Squirrels!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are lots of farms on the island and SHEEP ! I love sheep, they are just so cute.
This little deer was by a farmers barn, maybe he wanted to get in with the sheep.
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
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.
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.
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.
So last Sunday we headed out to Prince Edward County, it was a beautiful day and we wanted to leave early to get the sunrise. But we were running late so we just moseyed down the road to Bain Park in Trenton for a short time. I wanted to try to capture some photos of the sunrise and to drive to another location would have meant missing it.
After that we headed to North Beach Provincial Park for a walk along Lake Ontario. The park was closed so we parked outside the gate and walked in. We were the only ones there, probably because it was so early!
We walked for quite a while along the beach and we didn’t even see a bird. It was very quiet.
We stopped in Wellington, at Rotary Beach, and sat by the bay drinking our coffee. Then we walked around and took photos of the ducks, Canada geese and Swans. There were so many birds in the water and more kept flying in.
This one duck was quite busy, most of the waterfowl just floated around but this guy was pretty energetic.
They have a lighthouse which is on the point separating Lake Ontario from Wellington Bay.
The photo below I took while standing in front of the Lighthouse and looking back towards Wellington Bay. Clint and I like to canoe in Wellington Bay in the summer, not so much in Lake Ontario!
After that we headed to Long Point . We stopped at this rock face on the way there, it was covered by ice, kind of cool.
The road to Long Point, below
The road was gated off to get to this Lighthouse so I took this from the opposite shore where we stopped for a bit.
On the way home we stopped so I could get a quick shot of The Bluffs at Little Bluffs Conservation Area. This is a 20 metre high limestone bluff overlooking Prince Edward Bay. This Conservation Area is still closed, it has been closed for the last few months.
So that was our day, lots of being outdoors and great spots to visit.