Even though we might feel tired of this long cold winter back at home, Algonquin winter is always a joy that we can’t seem to get enough of. This past trip was no exception.

Arriving mid-morning on Thursday under sunny skies, we drove around a few different areas as we waited for our yurt to become available. Our first mammal sighting was a Red Fox at the Pog Lake gate house. There were construction vehicles and an office trailer parked in the area and it seemed obvious that the fox was finding scraps or other sources of food here as it was sitting at the doorstep of the trailer. When we stopped, it came up to our car expecting hand-outs. After realizing that we weren’t providing, he lost interest and returned to scrounging around the vehicles and trailer.

We met up with some of our friends and exchanged sightings and places of interest. We met up frequently throughout the weekend and enjoyed each other’s company while dining at the Mad Musher and photographing together. These social times make the trip to Algonquin even more special.

Every year there seems to be a bird species that dominates and this year it’s the Purple Finch. Other notable bird sightings include: Evening Grosbeaks, White-winged Crossbills, Hairy & Pileated Woodpeckers, Grey Jays, Common Ravens, Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse and a Bald Eagle. Blue Jays were extremely abundant especially in the campground.

Pine Martens were sighted in various locations in the park and their portraits were being sought by many photographers. Other wildlife sightings included our first 2014 glimpse of an Eastern Chipmunk. We saw several peeking out of the newly burrowed holes in the snow banks during the warm sunny days. A beaver was out briefly on a pond by the Leaf Lake Ski Trail, but quickly retreated to his access hole when we stopped. We watched an Otter as he crossed the south end of Opeongo Lake. He was so cute, running a few steps, then sliding on his belly, running and sliding across the open snow of the lake.

There were many fantastic areas to snowshoe in the park. The main trails were open and, with a little effort, could be travelled. However, stepping of any beaten trail would be an immediate sinking into some very deep snow. Opeongo and Arowhon Road were both very easy to travel; however, Rock Lake Road was gated.

The evenings were comfortable under cloudless skies making the campfire experience even more pleasing. Saturday night felt much colder than the previous two, so we compensated by building a much warmer fire.

Sunday morning, we opened our yurt door and standing almost on the landing was a Red Fox. He hung out about the campsite snooping around for scraps and finding a couple of peanuts that were left for the blue jays. The jays weren’t impressed and were yelling disapproval from the branches overhead. After a bit, the fox continued on his way and moved on to the next yurt across the road. These campsite fox visits are becoming more frequent, which we don’t think is a good thing.

It was so good to be back in the park. The four days went by too fast. We had such a wonderful time enjoying Algonquin’s natural beauty and spending time with friends. We are looking forward to our next visit next month, but I expect we will be returning to a very different looking Park.

Grey Jay  photo by Tony deGroot

Purple Finch (male)   photo by Kathy deGroot

Evening Grosbeak (male) photo by Tony deGroot

Purple Finch (female)  photo by Kathy deGroot

Pine Marten  photo by Tony deGroot

Kearny Creek  photo by Tony deGroot