Constance Lake, Ontario
Our plan was a simple one. Put our canoes into Constance Creek at Thomas A. Dolan Parkway and paddle/pole our way along Constance Creek until we reached Constance Lake. Not a long distance but an interesting trip as the waterway is next to impassable during the summer but manageable when the water is higher in the Spring. Our interest was int he bird life not speed so neither distance nor speed were an issue. There is no clear cut channel for part of the distance as the water meanders through thick marshland and patches of floating vegetation. There were plenty of Canada Geese nesting in the floating islands of vegetation along the way as well as many ducks and other creatures. Our first nesting goose that we encountered was nesting atop a beaver house and tried very hard to become invisible as we passed by.
Evidence of beaver activity was everywhere but we saw no beavers along the route.
We had the creek and our end of the lake all to ourselves except for a couple of fishermen who came along in their canoe. Weather was beautiful with comfortable Spring temperatures, no wind and a beautiful blue sky. It was a workday and although there were a few homes bordering on the marshland, there were no sounds coming from them so the only sounds we heard were the sounds of the gentle breezes through the reeds and the sounds of wildlife passing overhead or communicating out of sight in the nearby vegetation.
Where the creek enters the lake there is no definitive pathway but rather a broad expanse of floating mats of vegetation which would be wet in the Spring and dry at various points in the summer. These vegetation mounds supported the growth of thick bushes and in some instances, small trees and provided lots of nesting sites for Canada Geese and other waterfowl.
As my birding partner, Gerhard, was scanning the area for various bird life, we noticed a Bald Eagle fly into a clump of trees a long ways off. The bird was perched in the branches of some shoreline trees and didn’t appear to be in any hurry to leave so we decided to try and snake our canoe through the marsh and wetlands area in the direction hoping to get in range for a photograph before running out of navigable waters. We were successful!
Along the way we came close to a nesting Canada Goose and frightened her off of her clutch of eggs. Actually she probably frightened us more as our focus was on the eagle and didn’t even know she was there until she burst into flight right neat to our canoe.
Along the way, we encountered Midland Painted Turtles basking in the sun as well as a Snapping Turtle carcass which was now destined to be food for other creatures. The many old tree stumps in this wetland area provide homes for cavity nesters such as the Tree Swallow.
With Canada Geese flying overhead, we decide that it was time to leave the side of the lake and head back to our car. Along the way, we once again passed by mother goose who was still sitting on her nest atop the beaver house and trying her darndest to be invisible. All in all, it was a near perfect day.