Yesterday's chilly temps of -28º in the Kawarthas at Susan and Dan's lovely country home did not deter Susan and Cooder taking a brief walk before we headed off to Algonquin:
It was an excellent day with some of our targeted boreal species appearing as if on cue, while others eluded us, including the Great Gray Owl(s) that have been frequenting the park. Then again, I had warned the group that they didn't have a prayer of seeing one as long as I was around!! We made our way along highway 60 looking for owls to no avail, but our first official stop at Spruce Bog Boardwalk rewarded us instantly with Gray Jays at the parking lot.
A surprise Brown Creeper at the suet feeder (my first for the year) was unexpected, but imagine our delight when we next picked out a Brown-capped Chickadee, aka Boreal Chickadee!
This was way too easy as Boreal Chickadees are usually heard first and a challenge to get a visual on as they usually flit around high up in trees in dense foliage, but these were the best views ever for most of us! It was also the first time for me to never hear one, as it was far too busy stuffing its face in the cold winter temperatures:
As we made our way out to the boardwalk after dipping on both Spruce Grouse and Black-backed Woodpeckers, Susan spotted a gorgeous Pine Marten that I suspect was perturbed because we stood between it and the suet feeder:
This was a Lifer mammal for Dan, it was so beautiful against the white snow:
Susan experiments with her new camera along the boardwalk:
Our next stop was for lunch at the Visitor's Centre where we were blinded by the striking male Pine Grosbeaks at the feeders:
The females are spectacular in their own special way, though!
She and my camera were having a moment as she was totally intrigued by the noise of clicking shutter:
Common Redpolls were plentiful, but we were
too cold and lazy not inclined to look for any Hoarys in the dozens of Redpolls:
We skated along Opeongo Road to the north end where I had an interesting time of turning around on sheer ice, knowing full well there was no way I would be venturing back there on my own later, yikes! It's so desolate at this time of year, but still incredibly beautiful:
A black-and-white version of a Gray Jay...
...and a colour version of one of his buddies trying to stay warm:
Our final stop was at one of the few trails with open water that I knew of, which was a first for the others. Although devoid of wildlife, other than tracks and scat, it was a peaceful way to finish off the day:
Many thanks to Tim for leading the outing, as well as Susan and Dan for their hospitality towards me ahead of the day.