Sunday, August 18, 2013

An adventurous long weekend.

I spent another fabulous long weekend at Killbear Provincial Park, the long weekend of August. Well, the first half of it anyways!

Our first adventure was out to Harold Point, the area of the park that has an amazing beach as well as a place known as the "jumping rocks".  The first thing I saw here, I have to say, are the absolute cutest thing I have ever seen in my life.  While beginning the hike I heard little peeping noises. All excited I knew there were babies nearby and after a few minutes of quiet searching...I spotted them!  What an amazing sight.  For sure I can tell you that they are flycatchers, although getting more specific may be a little more difficult.  The vast majority of people have agreed that they look to be little fledgling eastern Phoebes.  Unfortunately, I did not get that great of a look at the adult birds.  From the quick flyby that I did get, it looked like a certain possibility!
Potential Eastern Phoebe Fledglings

Female deer overlooking the Bay
It was another fairly quiet afternoon when it came to birds.  I did see a few flycatchers, although they
did not stay long enough for me to take a good look and ID them.  Common Merganser young were seen floating in the bay, yellow warblers also sung around us.  Our first mammal of the weekend was a very, very relaxed deer.  While walking along the rocks we saw ran into her, which shocked me a little as the last thing I expect to see is a deer out on rock cliffs!

The next exciting spotting was our first snake of the weekend, a beautiful Watersnake.  This guy was hiding in some tall grasses and we just happened to spot it slowly moving as we walked by it.  As it slowly slithered out of the grasses and onto the open rock we were able to notice that it was a really beautiful red morph.  I was fairly surprised at the number of people who walked by us, very set in their walk out of the area, and not being able to notice this little guy.  It makes me so happy that I and the person I am with, have such keen eyes and are constantly on the look out for this beauty.


We later decided to walk out into these beautiful back woods, still inside the park but taking an old path that seemed as if it hadn't been used in the past few decades.  The remnants of the path were still around, so we tried to follow them as close as possible to get ourselves out towards the rock outcrops.  We spotted quite a few different things while out there, another flycatcher sp., spring peeper, leopard frog, black-throated green warbler, yellow warblers, and a really big lump of fresh bear poo.  Naturally after seeing this, I was just a little bit on edge as by the sight of it we could assume the bear had been there within the last half hour.  Although I am used to working in bear country, I can't help getting a little nervous! 

Massie in the rocks
After getting a little "lost" (or as we like to say it wanting to walk in a giant circle) we reached the rock outcrops! It was such a beautiful outlook to the bay, it was almost breath-taking. We walked over to the first little patches of rocks and there in the middle was a beautiful Massasauga!  We took her back to the research station to get fitted, weighed, etc. and then brought her back out to where she had been previously found.  I was so happy to hear that someone called about us to the wardens making sure that we were not poachers collecting snakes.  I always love to hear when people do this because a lot of the time, people could really care less!  Hearing that someone was worried for the life of a creature that has often been so feared by humans, well that was just wonderful! 

So, that was the ending of the few days that we spent out at Killbear, although the next half of the weekend was a complete surprise to me.  Little did I know we were actually heading off to Algonquin Park!  To be continued...

Lookout of the Bay