Fitzroy Provincial Park in Early June 2018
Our last trip to Fitzroy Provincial Park was in 2016 and we knew it was only a matter of time before we would be back. The park is on the shore of the Ottawa River with the Carp River flowing through. On our last trip, we had a campsite on the water and thought it would be the ideal spot to bring our canoe. However, due to the high levels of the river, that area of the campground was closed. So, at the last minute, we decided not to bring the canoe. Instead, we would hike the park trails as well as the nearby Morris Island Conservation Area. This turned out to be a good choice as the water levels were actually way down at the conservation area.
Our campsite was right on the Carp River where we could enjoy the view and listen to the soothing sound of the rapids when sitting around the fire and while nodding off to sleep in our tent. It was also a great place for Dragonfly and Damselfly watching as the odonates cruised the river looking for mates or their next meal.
Ebony Jewelwing (Male)
Ebony Jewelwing (Female)
Fitzroy Provincial Park is home to some beautiful White-Tailed Deer. Every time we went walking around, we were almost always guaranteed to see a deer. On one occasion we watched one wading in the Carp River and eating water plants like a Moose. We also had a short glimpse of a mother and fawn. We could barely see the fawn as it was shorter than the grass on the shoreline of the river.
On our last visit, we didn't have the time to explore Morris Island as much as we wanted. So this time, we planned to spend a good part of the day hiking the trails. We hiked just about the entire trail system of this beautiful Conservation Area and enjoyed the landscape and the nature of the park. As mentioned, the water was very low, exposing the dead heads that are usually well submerged in the many bays and waterways. We could see large bass and gar pike that were concentrated in the shallow pools. Dragonflies were abundant with many just emerging from the waters. A Snapping Turtle was just finishing up laying eggs and a Map Turtle was scouting for a nesting location.
Snapping Turtle heading back to the water
Low Water at Morris Island Conservation Area
Between Fitzroy and Morris Island, we sighted quite a variety of animal life and flora. Veerys and Red-eyed Vireos were singing, Pileated and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were drumming. Also sighted were Hooded Mergansers, Osprey, Eastern Kingbirds, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. Mallards were tending to their ducklings and Canada Geese, to their goslings.
The flora included a White Flag Iris, Yellow Lady's Slippers and a variety of ferns: Maidenhair Fern, Ostrich Fern, Marsh Fern, Northern Lady Fern, Bracken Fern, Spinulose Wood Fern, Northern Beech Fern and Rattlesnake Fern.
Even without the canoe, we had full days packed with hiking and exploring. Ottawa River Valley is very unique with its microclimate, sand, and limestone substrate and sustains rich wetland and forest habitats that support a diversity of flora and fauna. We got to see and photograph some different wildflowers as well as two rare dragonflies: Green-faced Clubtail and Springtime Darner. Those alone were worth making the trip to this beautiful park.