Friday, June 5, 2009

The North Country

I spent three days last week driving up to the north country of Ontario, with my friend Eric, on an errand. I didn't need too much of an excuse to go, despite the 1800km round-trip because I'd never been up there before. Specifically we were headed to Kapuskasing, which is on the Hudson Bay Frontier. The forest is truly boreal: lots of White Spruce, Black Spruce, Tamarack, Balsam Fir, Jack Pine and Trembling Aspen. This is also lumber country, so I was curious to see how it looked. We camped at Greenwater Provincial Park just outside Cochrane and were lucky to see this Great Gray Owl in the gloaming.

This view is from the Esker Trail at Greenwater. Two things that were immediately noticeable were the absence of both bugs (black flies or mosquitos) and leaves. Despite the early spring-like climatical conditions, there were a number of typically late spring migrants already in residence on their breeding grounds, like this male Bay-breasted Warbler.

I was particulary impressed by the dawn chorus as I lay in the tent. First Ruffed Grouse, followed by Loons, Sandhill Cranes, Wilsons Snipe, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and finally Robins.

Dark morph Red-tailed Hawk by the roadside.

Broad-winged Hawks were the most numerous large raptor. There were also many Kestrels in the cultivated areas.

This pair of Common Loons covered several hundred metres to check us out as we shattered their tranquility.

Bull Moose just getting started on his rack.

I think it sounds a bit more impressive than it actually is, but the place marker is pretty smart nonetheless.

A Raven nest on an electricity pylon, with two almost fledge-worthy young occupants visible.

1 comment:

John said...

great shots. love the owl.
tripped across these while planning a trip that might stop in Greenwater PP.