ALGONQUIN PARK IN NOVEMBER
We set out Friday morning, November 9th, to Algonquin Park for our final camping trip of the year. We tried to keep an eye on the weather forecast all week, but, as usual, the weatherman could not make up his mind. We decided to be prepared for anything Mother Nature could throw at us. Well, Mother Nature was in a very good mood and we enjoyed some truly amazing camping weather for mid November. It was difficult to leave the campfire and call it a night each evening.
The weekend in Algonquin Park provided some great sightings. When we were at the park on the October 20th weekend, we came across a bull moose at Kilometre 53. From reports from friends and other park visitors, we heard he was sticking around the same area. Now, 21 days later, K53 moose was still there in the same field we initially observed him . Between then and now, he shed both of his antlers. We spotted another moose along highway 60, near km 17, however, this guy still had his full set of antlers.
The park looks quite different since our last two visits. The trees are all bare including the Tamaracks. The open forest takes a whole different view. The forest was very quiet. The only insects left were a few moths flying by and there was the occasional small spider seen crawling about. No Great Blue Herons remained and the few loons that were left were now a light brownish grey. We spotted three Loons out on Lake Opeongo but we did not see any loons on the other lakes in or around the park.
Its a strange time of year when the summer birds and bugs are gone and the winter migrates have not really arrived yet. The wildlife that was around were mostly the inhabitants that were here year round.
The chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays and grey jays have become like big city panhandlers, mobbing us and trying to persuade us to give them handouts. Sadly, a few foxes have also become used to people feeding them. Not only are they starting to lose their fear of humans, but they can actually be seen as aggressive. A recipe for disaster. A fox visited our campsite each night, obviously looking for human scrapes or handouts. On the Arowhon Road, a fox came up to our parked car. As we took a few pictures, another fox came running up the road to see if he could mooch some food. Since we were camping, we keep our fridge and food in our vehicle. When he realized we weren't handing out treats, he decided to try help himself and actually jumped up in the back of our car. And, when our back was turned, he pulled out some wrappers out of the garbage that was in the front seat area. A bold little sly devil. I guess we better keep all our doors and hatches shut when we park along the road. You never know what might be robbing you while your taking photos.
Otters were seen many times along the Costello Creek and the south end of Lake Opeongo. At one moment, we actually seen a group of seven otters frolicking in the mouth of the creek. Grouse were also plentiful throughout the park. The Pine Marten only made one late evening appearance in the campground providing us without any photo opportunities.
Although very low in numbers, we did see Pine Grosbeaks, Snow Buntings, a single Evening Grosbeak and a Northern Shrike.
Next time we visit Algonquin, I expect it's going to be quite different again. By then, the forest and trees will be covered in snow and the lakes and rivers will be frozen. Can't wait to get bacK