Just a short trip … really!
I was working on some more uploads from our recent Cuba trip, looked out the window, saw that the sun was shining and decided that a short trip around the neighborhood with camera in hand would be good idea. Started out as a trip to the Jack Pine Trail because I hadn’t been there for awhile. Never got there. Ended up at various locations along the Ottawa River instead, rather a bit like the loop that Graeme and I did a few days ago on March 30th, 2012. The big surprise was how much the level of the Ottawa River had dropped in less than a week and there was no more sign of ice on the Ottawa River. Even the ice in the Dick Bell boat slips had all disappeared.
March 30th 2012
April 4th, 2012
Debris on the rocks shows that the river height covered the rocks on the left at its highest level during the Spring run-off period which appears to have come and gone weeks ahead of its normal schedule.
Today’s Wildlife sightings:
On the wildlife front, I had a few interesting encounters today. I had heard that there was a Black Chipmunk in the Shirley’s Bay area and today I was fortunate enough to see it and photograph it. Looks like a melanistic Eastern Gray Squirrel in miniature but observe it a bit more closely and it is indeed a melanistic Chipmunk.
I guess that I could have sat there all day watching that black chipmunk and observing the general pecking order of all the other creatures that were trying to get to the seed that was scattered there for them by the humans.
In addition to the black chipmunk, there were plenty of Eastern Chipmunks of the more familiar brown coloration and a Red Squirrel and, while I was there, we were visited by a collection of birds including Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, a male and female Hairy Woodpecker, a Downy Woodpecker, a couple of Blue Jays, a White-breasted Nuthatch, a Northern Flicker, lots of male Red-winged Blackbirds, a couple of Grackles and a female Cowbird. A bit surprisingly, the Porcupine that I had photographed up in a willow tree on March 30th, was still up in the same tree! Along Carling I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk. Canada Geese have returned now, and they are readily seen in just about any local field.
After Shirley’s Bay, it was a toss up. At this time of the year, Mud Lake is a wonderful place to find male Wood Ducks in full breeding plumage but one of the other photographers at Shirley’s Bay also mentioned that there was a hybrid goose frequenting the Deschenes Rapids lookout area. Since I have photographed Wood Ducks at that location on previous occasions, the Deschenes Rapids lookout got my vote and off I went hoping for both hybrid goose and Wood Ducks to both be there. Alas no Wood Ducks.
I like stopping at this location in the afternoon because, if the sun is shining, it is a great place to photograph the Mallard drakes with their wonderful green heads that look so wonderful in the full sunlight.
There are also plenty of Ring-billed Gulls waiting to be photographed at that same location but today’s star attraction had to be the amorous male Pigeon (Rock Dove) in hot pursuit of his equally quick mate.
It was just a short trip … really!