Friday 5 June 2015

Sleeping Giant "Little Big Year Part 13

    Manitoba to Kenora to Thunder Bay to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park Ontario Sunny 15c

Not long after leaving flats of Manitoba, the small inclines and an increasing number of pristine lakes indicated a radical of scenery and temperature. It was quite a few degrees cooler driving through the Lake of the Woods region. Overhead Turkey Vultures sniffed out carrion, over the larger lakes the l Osprey hovered but strangely enough, hardly a duck, grebe or bird could be seen on any of them. The dabbler and divers must have all gone to the Prairies. I stopped at quite a few lakes and only saw Grackles and Common Loons. In the picnic stops, the trees had Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Goldfinch, Ovenbirds and Swainson's Thrush. There were nowhere near the number of birds that I had seen in the prairie provinces. However, there was more to this trip than just birding I tell myself and onward I go to a place I had yearned to visit for many years, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Sleep Giant. This reminds me so much of a previous trip to Easter Island where many of the statues had been toppled.
At Sleeping Giant there are breathtaking views and over hundred kms of walking trails. I had planned to visit the bird banding station but I didn't realize that it was a 24 km roundtrip hike and I wasn't prepared for overnight tent camping.
Despite the mild disappointment I decided instead to do what all birders do when faced with adversity, I unfolded my lawn chair, popped open a chilled Corona beer (gotta love VW Westfalia's fridge) and enjoyed the view. No sooner had I sat down when from around the corner of the little bay a Red Fox appeared. It was curious, perhaps it had been accustomed to campers or was thirsty and wanted to share my beer.
Anyway, one gulp into my brewski and the camera was out and ready for action. I was lucky to get the shot with the lake in the background. The contrasting red and blue make it one of my favourite from this chance encounter.

Red Fox

I settled in for the night staring at the Sleeping Giant formation across the bay. A pair of Common Merganser flew by and a pair of Mallard came right on shore in front of me. In the trees a Blackburnian Warbler snagged an insect and Black-capped Chickadees hung upside down collecting nesting material, spider webs I think.

I made a time-lapse video of the Sleeping Giant and called it day. Oops, I had forgotten to have supper.

I woke to the sound of pounding rain, a good excuse to sleep in. During breakfast I had visit form an Easter Chipmunk and a Downy Woodpecker.

Eastern Chipmunk

Downy Woodpecker
Eventually the weather cleared and it was time to pack up and make my way to Thunder Bay. As I left the park a White-tailed Deer wandered across the road. I cut the engine and photographed it for a few moments.

White-tailed Deer
It was then I heard the plaintive call of the Red-eyed Vireo. The distinctive sound was the loudest in the forest and the peninsula from which the Sleeping Giant park gets its name had obviously funnelled in some new migrants overnight. The Red-eyed Vireo, unlike its cousin the Warbling Vireo is quite secretive so I shot through a tangle of leaves. I quite like the effect which photographers term selective focus.

Red-eyed Vireo

My visit to Sleeping Giant was ending and had so far proved to be one of the most memorable and I'm only halfway across Canada.

Note: Due to lack of internet connections I am a week behind in my blogs but I will try to catch up as I traverse this great country.

"It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon
BC Canada

1 comment:

  1. Nice shot of the red-eyed vireo and fox! I just love foxes