Breeding Bird Survey 2012 – Day 1
June 9, 2012 – This is our third year of conducting breeding bird surveys in the region of Highway #1o1 north of Sudbury, Ontario. In order to get to our campsite before dark, we need to leave Ottawa before 5AM. This year, nature gave us a new twist – FOG! In the above image, the building to the left is Scotia Place where Ottawa’s NHL hockey team, the Senators, play their scheduled NHL games. Directly ahead, lost in the fog, would be the privately run and controversial garbage dump affectionately referred to as ‘Carp Mountain’. Garbage disposal is always a controversial issue and ‘Carp Mountain’ makes it into the news almost as often as the hockey team :-).
There isn’t usually a lot of traffic on the highway at 5AM especially on a Saturday morning but, at some points, we had to slow down substantially just to see where we were going.
No “Watch out for Moose” sign in the area but, thankfully, this one didn’t decide to wander out onto the road. It was grazing near to the road and, as soon as we stopped the car, it turned and wander back out of sight in the woods.
The fog cleared eventually and we arrived in Mattawa, Ontario without incident. Mattawa is normally our “time to stretch and top up the gas tank” moment so, while Gerhard filled up the Forester, I took a few minutes to photograph a few things nearby.
Of course I needed another fire hydrant to add to my collection of fire hydrant images!
Once we were out of the foggy stuff, we began to encounter some light intermittent showers instead. The weather radar indicated that our destination would be dry, so we kept looking for those patches of blue sky – few and far between. When we arrived at Latchford, a light drizzle began anew but we needed to stretch our legs a bit so tolerated the dampness for a bit of exercise in the “Best Little Town by a Dam Site”
From Wiki: Today, the vast majority of the Ferguson Highway has been bypassed by the provincial highway network; however a select few sections were incorporated into the alignment of Highway 11, while others remain as portions of, from south to north, Highway 11B, Highway 562, Highway 571, Highway 573, Highway 112, Highway 66 and Highway 668. The remaining sections have either become local access roads or have been abandoned and subsequently consumed by nature.
Sgt Aubrey Cosens V.C. Memorial Bridge across the Montreal River.
After taking a short walk around the visitor center (closed at the time of our visit), we stopped at a local store and learned that Latchford was home to the world’s shortest covered bridge so that necessitated a ‘short’ detour.
As the rain came down upon my head, I’m sure that the Cedar Waxwing perched on an overhead wire was beginning to question the sanity of the human below!
Before I got too wet, I was back in the Forester and we headed on our way further north. The weather began to clear again and, at our next stop, the lilacs by the pull-off were in full bloom and a Monarch Butterfly was dropping by for a visit.
Our next stretch was at a picnic area beside Swan Lake. The sun was shining and that meant that the dragonflies were moving around. We were heading out on our survey about one week later than previous years and, with the warm Spring weather that had arrived early this year, it seemed that the dragonfly cycle was more advanced. Definitely fewer biting insects flying around.
Chalk-fronted Corporal Dragonfly (male)
Dragonfly (species ?)
On our previous trip to this area, we had taken a few moments to visit the Shania Twain Centre in Timmins, Ontario but this year we decided to continue on to our destination without stopping in Timmins except to change places in the driver’s seat (and to photograph a Timmins fire hydrant 🙂 )
Our next stop for gas would be Foleyet, Ontario about 100 km straight down the relatively straight highway from Timmins. The smell of smoke still lingers from the large forest fire that occurred south of Highway 101 earlier this year and side roads are blocked off by “Do not cross” tape in a number of locations.
At the Opishing River picnic spot, we took a short break to stretch the legs and enjoy the bit of sunshine that was peaking through the clouds.
I believe that the following couple are a pair of Stoneflies but i.d is not positive.