Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Weekend Moose Spotting trip to Algonquin

Spring has finally decided to make an appearance!  It's slow going though, at least in Algonquin.  Our trip for the first weekend of May will probably be cancelled.  The park has had to postpone the opening of Rock Lake campground until the second weekend of May because of a slow melt and iced up lakes. Sad, but it's one of those risks you take when you camp in the spring.

Easter weekend was beautiful, weather wise, at least for the most part.  We had hoped to go and camp at Mew Lake for the weekend, but Dad didn't want to dig their trailer out of the snow bank (that was his excuse...he just doesn't like camping in the cold)  So we just did a drive through, stopped at the visitor's centre, and had a picnic.

Usually we stop at the Tea Lake Dam picnic area but it wasn't open, so we drove a few hundred meters down the Opeongo Road and stopped at the Costello Lake Picnic Area.  There was a few good sized snow banks, and lots of mushy spots, but the weather was nice.  Mum had precooked some mini burgers at home, and we just heated them up using her BioStove with the grill attachment.  That, along with some celery with peanut butter, chips and goodies from Henrietta's Bakery in Dwight made a perfect lunch.

Hooded Merganser seen in southern inlet of Opeongo
We saw 4 moose during the drive.  For the most part they were far enough back into the bush to make it hard to photograph them.  While at the visitor's centre, the kids had a lot of fun trying to photograph the birds at the bird feeders.  They saw Downy woodpeckers, common grackles, evening grossbeaks, blue jays and possibly a pine siskin.  Unfortunately, a couple of people were either let through the lower exit or found their way around the building and got super close to the feeders with their huge lenses, managing to scare away all the birds.  You'd think they could have gotten good shots with those big lenses without having to get to within 4 feet of the birds themselves...

On Monday, Chris was off work, so we did another drive through with him.  It was rainy so we didn't really get to do the picnic thing, but we went through the visitor centre displays, something we hadn't done in a few years, then continued our moose spotting.  It had started out with a bang.  Upon entering the park, we spotted a cow moose with a yearling calf at KM 2 and thought we were going to see tons.  We didn't see anymore until we passed the Sanitation Station.  Just past the road in a little pond, we spotted a big bull moose but he was too far back to get a good shot.  On the drive back west, we spotted a moose at KM 29 but Chris didn't stop to let us take any pictures.  It was drizzling and the moose was kind of tucked behind a few trees, so not the best for photographs.

We spotted lots of turkeys on the second trip, and only one Blue Heron, where as we saw at least 4 Herons on the Saturday.

All in all, not a bad weekend of moose spotting.  Despite the slow spring thaw, there wasn't a lot of snow in Algonquin, (that we could see anyway) and we left feeling cautiously optimistic that they might change their mind about opening Rock Lake for the weekend of May 2nd - 4th.

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