Tuesday 28 July 2020

Algonquin Canoe Trip - Opeongo's Revenge

This past weekend I was up in Algonquin Park again for a quick canoe trip with Paul, Emma and Brynn.  We ended up booking the trip pretty last minute and so were stuck with Lake Opeongo, which wouldn't normally be our top choice (the lake is very large, motorboats are allowed, and it can be very windy - more on that later).  Nonetheless we had great weather with full sun and warm temperatures that made swimming the highlight!

Our first night was spent on Englehart Island on the south arm of Opeongo.
view from our campsite on the south arm of Opeongo

The next day we packed up and left our site around 9am and thought we would have just a short paddle into the east arm of the lake to find our site for our next night.  However, almost all of the sites were taken and we spent around 4 hours scouring the lake for any site.  I've never seen the park so full!  We finally found one down the very far end of the lake, close to the entrance to Annie Bay.  The reward for our persistence was one of the finest beaches I have seen in Algonquin.

The girls spent hours swimming and diving in the warm water.

The wind started to pick up in the afternoon and did not relent for the duration of our stay.

Paul filling up the water jug

The next morning as we awoke and prepared to depart we were greeted with white caps and a very stiff southwest wind...the exact opposite direction we wanted to go on our way out.

We left our site around 9am expecting a 3hr trip out to the Algonquin Outfitters.  Instead we experienced a 7hr battle with Opeongo that we almost lost!  Since Paul and I each had our own canoes with a small kid in the front, we had a brutal time keeping the nose of the canoe going the direction we wanted, particularly because the wind and waves were hitting us sideways.  We kept the nose into the waves as much as possible, but sooner or later we had to make the turn to go the direction we needed to, and that's when things got interesting.  Three times the wind was too much for us and forced us to the shore, at which point we actually got out and walked the shoreline, dragging the canoes along with us until we got to more sheltered areas.  Emma and Brynn were troopers though and rode the meter high waves fearlessly!

We were all exhausted by the time we reached the boat launch around 4pm, and I do not remember a time I have felt so spent at the end of a canoe trip!

All in all, another great memory from Algonquin Park!

Monday 27 July 2020

The Heron

I've been trying out some long exposures on my camera and was quite happy with this first effort on a Great Blue Heron in the Grand River right in Fergus! I was lucky that it stood still while the water continued to rush by.

Thursday 16 July 2020

First Post with New Camera!

I have decided to resurrect an old hobby that I haven't really practiced for nearly 10 years...photography! Although I post a lot of pictures on my blog, they are more often strictly for the purposes of documenting the experiences and things I see while I am out and about with little thought to photographic quality/techniques.  I have been using high end point and shoots for the past few years in place of my old Canon DSLR.  I decided to upgrade and purchased a mirrorless Fujifilm X-T30 along with their flagship telephoto Fujinon XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6.  Here is a photo of it below!  Its not quite as huge as the perspective and lens hood make it appear!

I have already been out having fun figuring it out again.  Below are a few of my decent shots so far.

Gray Catbird
 I like the shot of the pewee below, the lighting is really interesting to me.
Eastern Wood-Pewee

Cedar Waxwing
 This gull is a bit washed out, I am still working on refining my settings.
Ring-billed Gull
 The below image was a neat scene.  If you look closely you can see 5 species in and around this tree! Northern Cardinal, Chipping Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, and Baltimore Oriole!

Stay tuned! I plan on having lots more (better) shots in the future as I shake off the dust from a hobby long forgotten!

Wednesday 1 July 2020

The Birds of the Grass

The past few weeks I have spent a fair bit of time sampling some of the grassland habitat that Ontario has to offer - mostly hayfields, but I still turned up some interesting birds and other wildlife!

Upland Sandpiper

Grasshopper Sparrow

Tree Swallow

Eastern Kingbird
This Dickcissel, another open country species, was a pleasant surprise during one of my field surveys in Bruce County this week!  Dickcissel are an increasingly more common sight in Ontario, especially the past couple of years!
 This female Bobolink (on the left) seemed very impressed with the singing of the Dickcissel, but he showed a bit of stage fright and only resumed singing once she had sought out another perch!

I have also been enjoying other habitats during June including this beautiful marsh! 

Common Gallinule

Interestingly patterned Gartersnake