On Home Turf

I’ve been back home for over a week, my jet lag is gone and I’m ready to get my hike on. Today that hike is at Bognor Marsh.

Bognor Marsh Sign Bognor Marsh Sign

It was a bright day and not really that great for photography but hey, there is always something you can find to photograph, just not this sign in the middle of the bright marsh. So deeper into the woods we go to find something a little less glaring.

Bognor Marsh Boardwalk Bognor Marsh Boardwalk

This boardwalk had some beautiful light coming through the trees so I gave that a go. And you know what? It’s one of my favourites from the day.

Bolete Bolete

And then there were the mushrooms. It was, after all, the season to find mushrooms. Although they appear all year autumn is when you find so many different kinds no matter where you look.

Cameron Ranch on the Carden Alvar

My friend Galina suggested a trip to the Carden Alvar located in the Kawartha Lakes region. It was a great opportunity to photograph one of Ontario’s newest provincial parks. So with my friend Nigel joining us, we all headed up to the Alvar for a day of shooting.

Hoverfly on Chicory Bloom

Hoverfly on Chicory Bloom

Since this new park is quite large we had to choose a specific area to explore so we started our day at Cameron Ranch. With an overcast sky above us to somewhat mute the harsh sunlight we set out on a hike in this beautiful park.

Bee with Crown Vetch flowers

Bee with Crown Vetch flowers

There was so much to see. The Alvar is full of all sorts of wildlife and flowers. I couldn’t get over how much was flourishing here. This bee was busy working away getting the pollen for his hive from some crown vetch.

Old Man's Whiskers

Prairie Smoke Flower

The most interesting flowers that I came across here was the Prairie Smoke flower aka Old Man’s Whiskers. What fun names for such an interesting looking flower. I have never seen anything like it. It was also on of the hardest flowers to photograph because of its wispiness.

Tawny Crescent

Tawny Crescent

Hiking further down the trail I came across this Tawny Crescent butterfly sunbathing on some flowers. I’m surprised I didn’t startle it into flying away but it was nice enough to stay around while I shot some photos.

After spending most of the day at Cameron Ranch we decided to get in one more hike before heading home. Out next stop was place called Prairie Smoke. As we started heading over the clouds broke open and the rain came down. By the time we got over to Prairie Smoke the rain had petered off and we were able to get in our short hike without getting wet. 

Yellow Goatsbeard

Yellow Goatsbeard

It was a quick hike here but I came away with some great photos. My favourite was of the raindrops that had accumulated on this Yellow Goatsbeard. It was a great day here at the Carden Alvar and I look forward to more trips here in the future.

You can find out more about the Carden Alvar here and here.

Where Did All The Flowers Go?

How quickly the weekend passes. It’s almost time to go home but before we do we have to hunt down some orchids. I mean, it is one of the main reasons we come up this particular weekend.

Sit for a Spell

Sit for a Spell

Unfortunately high water levels have struck the shorelines of Tobermory this year. Singing Sands beach, where we would find some of our favourite orchids, is water logged.

Instead we choose to hike a section of the Bruce Trail we haven’t tried before in the hopes of finding some flowers hidden among the trees. We lucked out on this decision when we came across trilliums galore in the underbrush.

Trilliums

Trilliums

And just as we thought the trilliums were all we would see, we came across a small bunch of Large Yellow Lady Slippers.

Yellow Lady Slipper

Yellow Lady Slipper

I was so excited to see these little flowers that I couldn’t stop photographing them. They all were still in the early stages of blooming. I’m not sure if that’s because we were further south of Tobermory or at a slightly higher elevation (we were high on the escarpment). Either way I was happy to finally see some orchids this weekend.

Cabot Head Lighthouse with Wolf's Milk flowers

Cabot Head Lighthouse with Wolf’s Milk flowers

We made one final stop after our hike at Cabot Head Lighthouse. This is a favourite spot for some pretty great views of the bay not to mention all the wildflowers that grow here.

Tobermory is one of my favourite places to visit, especially in the spring or fall when less people are visiting. It’s become a popular place in the summer months and who can blame them. It’s one of the prettiest spots around.

Early Mornings and Late Nights

We decided to stay in Lion’s Head rather than in Tobermory this year, just for a change in pace. The decision ended up being a good one since our B&B was so close to a harbour with a picturesque view of sailboats in view of the morning sunrise. We knew we had to get up early to take advantage of this.

Sunrise at Lion's Head

Sunrise at Lion’s Head

The sunrise did not disappoint and neither did the view.

After the sun rose over the marina we headed back to our B&B and dug in to a well deserved breakfast. With our bellies full we were ready to conquer a hike on the Bruce Trail.

Driftwood on the rocky shoreline.

Driftwood on the rocky shoreline.

It turned out to be a great day with clear sunny skies and a bit of breeze as we hiked along with shoreline of Georgian Bay. I made sure to get really low on the shot above to make the driftwood seem much larger than it really was. Changing your point of view can dramatically change your photo results. Give it a try next time you’re out.

Lakeside Daisy

Lakeside Daisy

As we were driving back to the B&B we noticed an area filled with Lakeside daisies, so you know we had to stop and get some photos. Again I decided to get very low for this shot. The daisies are very short at only a couple inches so shooting down on them would not have given me the photo I was looking for.

Back at the B&B we got in a short nap before dinner and then it was time to prepare for a late night shoot. My main goal for this trip was to focus on improving my skills in astrophotography. One of the things I wanted to try was a panoramic to capture the full Milky Way across Little Cove.

Milky Way at Dave's Bay

Milky Way at Dave’s Bay

It looks to me as though I may have captured some northern lights. It was a beautiful Way to end a great day on the shores of Georgian Bay.

Exploring More of Algonquin

It’s the last day of our trip to Algonquin but the exploring isn’t done just yet. After breakfast we head out to Big Pines Trail for what we hoped would be a snowshoe but the melting snow didn’t make for good conditions.

Enjoying the View

Enjoying the View

After our hike on the Big Pines Trail we decided to do one more hike at Spruce Bog Trail. This trail is always a good spot for spotting birds and other wildlife.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

We were not disappointed as we were greeted by a nuthatch and a couple chickadees. A red squirrel also joined us and was more than happy to pose for our photos.

Posing for photos

Posing for photos

As is traditional we stopped one last time at the Mew Lake campground to see if we could spot the Pine Marten again and we were lucky enough to have him come out of the forest and visit us.

Who are you?

Who are you?

Although hesitant he was more than happy to eat the seed that people have left behind. Another great trip to Algonquin comes to an end but we look forward to future trips here.

Opeongo and the Two Rivers Trail

We’re on the hunt for wildlife. Each year we hope for a glance of a fox or even a moose but so far we have been unsuccessful and today proves to be no different.

Openongo

Openongo

Its chilly out and the wind by the water makes it hard to stay there long. The sun helps but only when away from the biting wind. Our walk/drive down Opeongo Road is unsuccessful so we all decide to hike the Two Rivers Trail.

Two Rivers Trail

Two Rivers Trail

This beautiful walk through the woods brings us no closer to finding any wildlife. Are the animals hiding from us? Most likely. Or we’re just hiking the wrong places.