Totally captivated in 2007 by the live camera feed of the Hornby Island nesting Bald Eagles in B.C., I was drawn into birding and have never looked back. Thus begins my account of what I'm fortunate enough to discover each day and perhaps capture with my camera.

Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by and are the property of Janice Melendez

Species Counts:

2014 Final Year List: 255; 2015 Year List a/o June 5, 2015: 235; Life List: 327

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Milestone for Mom

It was time to introduce my mother to my latest love, Algonquin, especially when she confessed that she had never been there before in her entire eighty-seven years on the planet! The only family connection to Algonquin that mom is aware of was a sad one that dates back to 1909: my grandfather's youngest brother Bryce (who my Vancouver uncle is named after) was presumed drowned during a canoe trip in Algonquin at the young age of nineteen...

Mom's summers as a child were for the most part spent exclusively at the family cottage, a tradition which continued into her adult life. The commute from Toronto to the cottage back then took an entire day, so the thought of travelling further away from the cottage was no doubt quite daunting for the family.

But that was all about to change, she and I arrived at the cottage late in the day on Monday, October 3rd, but not before ensuring that my Osprey nest was now vacated for the season, after all, it was October. To my horror,  one of the babies was still there!

Dad was still around though, too, doing yet another one of his endless food drops:

I followed up with one of my local Osprey experts, and admittedly it was getting rather late for them to still be loitering around. Dad would know when it was time to head south, but as for the baby, we weren't too sure, and I feared that I was about to witness the process of natural selection first-hand. Over the next few days I made frequent visits to the nest and eventually was able to heave a massive sigh of relief when I determined that the nest was indeed empty for this season, phew! 

Mom and I departed for Algonquin at the crack of dawn the next morning (past an empty Osprey nest) and saw first light by the time we reached the Haliburton Highlands:

The autumn colours had progressed since my visit a week earlier:


We arrived at the West Gate to Algonquin at 8:30 a.m., mom's first time ever in The Park!!!

A mandatory stop at Peck Lake for the distressed juvenile Common Loon came up empty yet again, but the colours were spectacular:

We made frequent stops at any lookouts along the highway to take in the colours, even if it was past its peak:

An interesting "time-lapse" colour comparison was evident here. Two and a half weeks prior to this visit with mom, there was no apparent colour change yet....

...but nine days later, there it was!

And a week later with mom, it was past its prime, but still glorious to enjoy:

Mom truly enjoyed her first time at the Visitor Centre:

We learned more specific details about the trees that we were seeing:

The spectacular views from the Centre were breath-taking:

Our final stop for the day was a leisurely drive along Opeongo Road:

The rugged rocky terrain of The Park was still offset by the dwindling autumn colours of the foliage:

And so ended our trip to Algonquin, mom heartily approved of my new love as she thoroughly enjoyed the day. We both suffered culture shock as we left the wilderness of Algonquin to return back home (past an empty Osprey nest) to the city, though, but our shared memories of the day together will stay with us forever!


Alison said...

This is exquisite and so personal. The photography stands alone but the human element complements it in a most touching way. I've enoyed this as much as any and your comparative photography is superb. Thank you so much. It makes us think about our parents and how we can enrich their lives. x

Alex said...

I agree. What a lovely post, and so glad you got to take your mom somewhere she'd never been before. Beautiful pictures of the fall foliage as well.

janice.melendez said...

Thanks, ladies, mom's still talking about our road trip together!