So just how cold was it at the cottage this Victoria Day week-end? Cold enough for frost warnings which prompted me to do an Algonquin run with Tessa for the day as it would be warmer in the car than at the cottage! So at the crack of dawn, after being kept awake by a calling Barred Owl the night before (best cottage Yard Bird ever!), we headed out.
My first unexpected discovery was one of huge disappointment for me, as the Osprey nest I had so much history with was no more. Up until two days earlier, this is what it looked like:
...but this is what now greeted me:
After examining both "before" and "after" shots, it appears to have simply fallen down, and as much as I was disappointed, it was best for it to happen now rather than later in the breeding season. Regardless, it was still quite moving for me to see both parents next to the remains of their nesting tree.
We continued north and east, stopping off at one of my favorite Kawarthan marshes for a rather spectacular view as I heard both an American Bittern and Sora calling:
Another favorite autumn spot of mine was quite different in the spring:
This was a time of year in Algonquin that I wasn't all that familiar with, so my only expectation for the day was to be warmer than we would have been at the cottage! In the end I saw several warblers, but certainly the most fun view was of this colourful yet odd couple that consisted of a Yellow-rumped Warbler and an American Redstart:
The Yellow-rumped was definitely not impressed with the Redstart sharing his territory!
...the Redstart bravely moved to the foreground...
...but eventually moved on:
A more relaxed pose of him, handsome boy:
The Yellow-rumped Warbler also gave me great views:
...as did this Black-throated Green Warbler:
I was pleased to see my first Northern Parula for the year, one of my favorites (I have so many!). This tiny male's orange and yellow chest band is quite striking...
...whereas this male's chest band is not so much:
Another view, but of a female:
Gray Jays are not as easy to find at this time of year, so what a surprise to encounter a pair along Opeongo Road. This one was eating a stash of food it had retrieved from a secret hiding spot:
Nashville Warblers were as plentiful in Algonquin as they had been in the Kawarthas:
The complete white eye-ring, along with a gray hood makes Nashvilles easy to identify in the field:
I never knew that Nashville Warblers have rufous feathers on the crown, which were visible after reviewing some of my photos from the day:
Nashville fluff ball:
Another view of the chestnut crown patch, perhaps better seen if this photo is enlarged:
Of course I am always hopeful of seeing a Moose in my travels but there are never any guarantees with wildlife, so imagine the thrill of seeing three, grazing together off the side of the highway in the woods. My first view of one of them was this:
What a difference some time makes for a new set of antlers for the year. Five weeks ago those antlers were just knobs, look at them now!
Sadly, a lot of his fur was missing, rubbed off in a vain attempt to alleviate the aggravation of winter ticks:
They were on the move now, one had retreated back into the bush while the other two casually grazed on a narrow path that ran parallel to the highway:
A rear view of his remaining fur!
Nibbling on the fresh leaves, we made eye contact:
My last view of him as he wandered back into the bush, how exciting to see these magnificent creatures yet again!
A perfect day was completed by a special sunset back at the cottage, as I cranked up the heat for another frosty night in the Kawarthas: