Bird Survey Outings Canada Explorer Ontario

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 1

Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 1 – June 3, 2013

This was the fourth year that Gerhard and I had teamed up to conduct breeding bird surveys for Environment Canada on four prescribed routes between Ivanhoe Lake and White River, Ontario. Our first day was always a very long drive since our destination was Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park where we hoped to pitch our tents before nightfall with a bit of time left over to get something to eat for supper and to still have a bit of daylight left to explore the shoreline and a few of the trails in the area. To do so meant that we had to leave Ottawa before sunrise (about 5AM) and drive the 900 km distance with only quick breaks for nourishment and gas along the way. On our first day’s drive, last year, we encountered heavy fog as we departed the city but, this year, the weather cooperated and we had clear driving until about the time that we reached the Montreal River crossing at Latchford. As we headed further north from that point, we encountered, first, a few intermittent rain showers and then a few more showers and then, as we got closer to Timmins, Ontario, the weather had deteriorated into showers composed of a mixture of rain and snow which made driving a bit more difficult. The wet stuff, although white in the air as it passed our windows, melted immediately when it hit the ground so was interesting to experience but not a significant danger. Standing at the side of the road, however, signalling traffic to stop or go would definitely be less pleasant in such inclement weather.

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After we passed Timmins, Ontario and continued west along Highway 101, we gradually left the wet weather behind and by the time that we reached Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park the skies had begun to clear and the temperature was a bit more pleasant.  Since we were car camping and not backpacking, we could again enjoy the luxury 🙂 of two tents. Gerhard got my 3 season, 3 person Quest tent while I enjoyed the comfort of my North Face Mountain 25 tent (my pictorial review of the TNF Mountain 25). There was a cool breeze blowing off of the lake and the overnight temperature reached the freezing point but we had nestled the tents into a sheltered spot in the woods and were quite comfortable in our rustic accommodations.

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As it turns out, this would be our only night using the tents since the Provincial government decided this year not to open the campsites in two of the Provincial parks that we would normally be utilizing. An unfortunate turn of events but this would mean that we would need to get up even earlier each morning to get from the location of our  accommodation to the start of each survey route.

When we were registering at the park office, Mhat Briehl approached us and told us about some Bonaparte’s Gulls that had recently arrived at Ivanhoe Lake.  Happily, we followed up on his information and directions and we were able to watch and photograph this small gull as it picked food out of the ripples along the shoreline.


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The weather had been rather damp and cool in this part of the country and, although the conifers were well greened-up, the deciduous trees were just beginning to leaf out.  This improved our chances of visual confirmation of some of the bird songs that we would be hearing over the next few days.

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As sun began to drop below the horizon, all was pretty quiet out on the lake. Golden rays of the setting sun shimmered across the beach and contrails lit a path across the sky.


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It would not be many hours before some loons began calling out on the lake even before our 4AM alarm went off!

– – – – – – – – – Northern Ontario BBS 2013 posts completed – – – – – – – – –

The following links relate to this June 2013 Breeding Bird Survey:

Day 1 – Ottawa to Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park

Day 2 – Singe Lake Route

Day 3 – The Shoals Route

Day 4 – Little Tukanee Lake Route

Day 5 – Goldie Lake Route

By Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron

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