Great Egret

Great Egret

Friday, 4 August 2017

A Northern Trek

A few weeks ago we took a trip to North Bay to visit our daughter and son-in-law. It is always a highlight, not just to see them, but also the landscape which is substantially different and, in many ways more attractive, than the flat lands of the southwestern Ontario agricultural dominated one.

On the way, we often stop at a place just outside of Fergus, where Osprey nest on top of a pole right beside the road.

Another stop, partly to take a break from the ~8 hour drive, is Brooks Falls, a bit north of Huntsville and east of Hwy 11.
The Main Falls
The Lower Falls
We didn't stay too long here, as due to the timing and the presence of the highly oxygenated water, the blackflies were out in full force.

At North Bay, I almost always include a trip on the trails of Laurier Woods Conservation Area, a natural area of more than 100 ha within the city limits, comprised of rocks, hills, trees, beaver ponds and the like. It is always a pleasant walk, with a varied network of trails.

(Note: I am not nearly as well acquainted with the northern leps and odes, so if anyone notices something misidentified here, please let me know.)

Common Whitetail (f)
 There were several Veery squawking about my presence along the trail. This one was feeding young.... was this White-throated Sparrow.

The bright green eyes of this dragonfly led me to believe it is a Racquet-tailed Emerald.

At the south end of North Bay is the La Vase River, which empties into Lake Nipissing, and was one of the main access points to places farther west for early explorers and courier de bois during the early days of the fur trade. A little while spent at this municipal park with water access always turns up something of interest.

The river edge was dotted with Blue Flag.
 Chalk-fronted Corporal was the most abundant dragonfly.
 A Four-spotted Skimmer was uncommon.

A Clubtail of some sort, I think
It seems that Double-crested Cormorants are in every large body of water. This one had successfully caught a large fish of some type. Given the size, I wasn't certain it would be as successful swallowing it as it was in catching it.

 After a bit of a wrestling match, the cormorant won.

Not too far away from our northern most destination is a property owned by some friends. It is along a quiet gravel road several kilometres from the nearest settlement. The cabin itself is half a kilometre from the road, so it is really quite isolated and definitely off the grid. We stopped in to enjoy the surroundings and had lots of stuff to see.

Orange Hawkweed was in its prime. Even though it is not a native species, it plays an important role for butterflies and other flying critters.

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
Dreamy Duskywing
Harris's Checkerspot

Hummingbird Clearwing
Hobomok Skipper
Indian Skipper
A gathering of Indian Skippers
Little Wood-Satyr
Long Dash Skipper
Silver-bordered Fritillary

White Admiral

Belted Whiteface (f) ?

Trees were in flower.
White Spruce
 Eastern Tent Caterpillars were out crawling around..... were some other crawling critters.
Eastern Garter Snake

All in all, it was a fun trip with lots of small wildlife out and about. (No moose or bears this time.)


  1. A terrific trek! A couple of those butterflies I would like to see!

    1. I need to spend more time in the north to catch up to a lot of the resident leps and odes.....never enough time!