An early return trip to the cottage on Thursday, October 6th meant a chilly fall morning where Mother Nature was seen sucking the warmth out of our mist-covered lake:
A Great Blue Heron took flight, perhaps to keep warm??
I wandered down to the swamp and
saw heard numerous Golden-crowned Kinglets dining on insects as the morning sunshine warmed up the cedars, but a pair of female (!) Pileated Woodpeckers caught my attention in the woods at the end of our point:
I was keen to visit the Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve (now that's a mouthful!) before cottage season ended, so as Dan successfully discouraged me from making a solo trip there, I arranged to meet Ginny at noon, so off I went (past an empty Osprey nest, hooray!), stopping to enjoy a bit of scenery along the way:
Altberg Nature Reserve is eleven hundred and sixty-three acres of woodland and wetland in the Kawarthas, and the Kawartha Field Naturalists are the property stewards:
Ginny greeted me at the gate, wisely wearing red so as not to become the target of any local hunters:
Ginny adeptly guided me through the nature reserve for the next two and a half hours, which admittedly would have been virtually impossible for me to do on my own, thanks again, Ginny!
The trail map at the entrance made it all look so easy...
...but once inside, the autumn leaves on the ground along the trails made navigation a challenge:
There's no way I could have coped on my own!
On the critter and birding front it was extremely quiet, but admittedly it was the dead zone of the day. Our BOTD was a Red-shouldered Hawk that we heard calling, but were unable to ever get a visual on it. Regardless, I was content to visit this beautiful location so close to the cottage and will definitely make a return trip there (consider yourself forewarned), the Kawartha Field Naturalists have done a fabulous job there, congrats!
Look closely at the nick marks on this tree. Some are made by Sapsuckers, but most of them are made by BEAR CLAWS! We looked higher up in the tree to make sure that one wasn't looking down at us:
Ginny and I said our farewells back at the parking lot and I made my way home to the cottage via assorted scenic routes to check out the fall colours in my stomping grounds. There was virtually no colour here, with dead trees in the foreground and coniferous trees in the background...
...so why not try a black and white version??
But as Golden Hour approached, I knew exactly where to go to next, on the outskirts of Bobcaygeon:
Yes, folks, I was admittedly out of control, this is what happens now when wildlife is MIA:
I arrived back at a chilly cottage (yup, past an empty Osprey nest, hooray!), just in time to turn on the heaters for the night, it really was not only looking, but now also feeling like autumn in the Kawarthas!