Monday, July 08, 2013

Getaway

We've had a break.  A getaway.  And it was wonderful!


A few hours east of us lies beautiful Charleston Lake Provincial Park.  The lake is very large, and it's dotted with tiny irresistible islands ... perfect for paddling to and exploring.

 
Sweet wild flowers   (sorry don't know the name of these)  "Dog Rose" ... thank you Jane!

 
Look at that perfect little bud!
 
 
Remnants of loon eggs ... I don't think these were hatched, however, I think they were stolen and eaten as there was evidence of other bits left by fishers or martens.
 

 
Charleston Lake is noted for its many black rat snakes (tree climbing snakes).  We found some hatched eggs on one of the islands ... the snakes swim too :[
 

A tiny little swallow in its nest on a rock cliff (this was taken from the canoe)

 
 Our lunch island and our rides :)
 
 
Then into the marsh, where everything is green  ...
 
 
Lots of birds here if you paddle quietly.  The osprey has built his nest on a manmade platform.  Ospreys will return to the same nest year after year and add more sticks to the pile.  I see this osprey has plants now growing out of his nest.  They'll continue this until the nest eventually collapses from the weight. 
 
 
 This osprey wasn't happy to see us and began making his chirps to warn us off.  Do you se the baby osprey's head peeking out of the nest?
 
 
On we go ... quietly now ... the heron sees and hears us long before we see him. 
 
 
We paddle closer and closer and then wait, because we know he's going to fly ...
 
 
and away he goes ... only to circle around again after we paddle out of the marsh ...
 
 
We continue on again.  The water is so thick with marsh growth it becomes difficult to paddle.  Every dip in the water disturbs the green mesh, but it's just so interesting  here, that we can't turn around just yet.  I'm glad that we continue, because we soon see this ...
 
 
Can you see her too?  Lying low on her nest on this tiny marsh island.  We have no choice but to paddle right past her ... all other ways are clogged with logs.
 
 
A red eye ... I'm sorry that we are so close and that we're making her nervous (I'm using the zoom lens, so we appear even closer than we actually were).
 
 
But she's a good mother and doesn't move, doesn't flinch, doesn't blink.  She is stunningly beautiful.
 





I think we all breathe a collective sigh of relief when we have passed and she has remained on the nest.

 
I don't think there is a bird that impresses me more than the loon.  The black and white patterning on their back is so vibrant and graphic when you see them on dry land.  Their laughing and haunting calls are enough to make you weep.   I love to see them on the lakes when we go camping. 
 
A couple of years ago I took some photos of a loon fishing when I was out in the kayak early one morning.  I just sat in the kayak and snapped photos as the loon continued to swim around and under the kayak and burst out of the water beside me with tiny fish in his beak.  It was a magical moment.  I even had the dog in the kayak with me, but the loon didn't seem to be bothered by us.  I only stayed long enough to take some photos, and then I moved on.
 
While we were slowly drifting past the loon, this red-winged blackbird was dive-bombing us and causing a big raucous.  We could only assume that this little bird was protecting his loon friend. 
 
 
We  soon left the marsh alone again.   A walk on another day took us across the marsh on a boardwalk.  This is the view back into the marsh from the boardwalk.
 
 
Now doesn't that look like an inviting place to explore by canoe?



This funny little bug hovered in front of me as if begging to have his picture taken too.  So I obliged him, and he then flew away ...



Here's the loon out on the water.


There were lots of turkey vultures continuously soaring overhead too ...

 
I just love all the tiny islands.  Charleston Lake is just north of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River, so the landscape is very similar.
 
 
So that's where I've been for the past little while ... enjoying lots of canoeing, hiking, swimming and general relaxing as we camped in this wonderful provincial park.  I was sorry to have to leave to come home today. 
 
I hope everyone has been enjoying their summer ... the weather has certainly warmed up to be quite muggy, and I guess I'll be out in our own tiny dot of water (pool) this week.
 
Thanks for stopping by!
 
Wendy
 
 
 
 

59 comments:

  1. What a lovely getaway Wendy! Boy do I just love camping and your shots of the birds are gorgeous!!! Especially of the loon! I felt my body relax just from reading your post! What a way to spend your time with your family!!! And oh how I love those islands...must be so neat to explore...minus the snakes!!!

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    1. Thanks Nicole :) Camping is my idea of relaxing too. My son loved taking his kayak to the islands and hopping on and off them. I don't enjoy the snake aspect either, but they're there, and they're harmless, so I try not to worry about them.

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  2. What a wonderful post! Your photos are fabulous...even magical...even the one of the bug (it's so cute!). I had no idea that's what a loon looked like. Wow! That sure looks like a wonderful place and your day sounds amazing! I can see why it was hard to leave.

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    1. It really is a special place, and we even found a quiet tiny lake off the beaten path with another marsh to explore ... next time ;)

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  3. You had such a nice getaway! What a beautiful place to visit. I love your photos, especially of the birds. It's nice to see you again. :)

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos :)

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  4. Wow Wendy! What a fabulous break and a great privilege to get up close and personal with so much wildlife ... the osprey on its nest is an amazing picture!

    Thanks for popping over to me, and for your lovely comments, I really appreciate it.

    Love Claire xxx

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    1. Hey Claire, I do enjoy taking all these bird shots, and my husband is becoming very good at keeping the canoe steady while I take them ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Ditto! from me (wow) amazing photography, Wendy! You do live in a wonderful part of the world.....And like Claire says already, LOVELY to get up close and personal with all the amazing wild life..
    Thanks for sharing with us all...Hugs Maria x

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    1. You are a pair Maria! I do live in a very pretty area and would never leave it. We don't have to drive too far to be in this wonderful wilderness. Our next trip is the home of BIG wildlife (moose & bear), so I hope to catch some of those on the camera too. (Maria, I STILL cannot get onto your page, and this has been going on since before the Jul 1 googlereader mess ... the page loads up, and I can read the first line or two before it blinks off the screen and I'm left with just your background and no post! I don't know if anyone else has the same problem, but I haven't had trouble with anyone else's blogs .... I'm missing all your lovely posts :( but it isn't anything personal)

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    2. Awwww heck! I did miss YOU calling in on me, Wendy!
      I wonder if you really, really wanted too, if you would be able to view me through Thriftwood's side bar maybe... ( Claire wouldn't mind) I did this with Vals blog, as I had the same problem and didn't want to lose her friendship on here! and it worked! Naughty blogger does play up, but I am sad it has played up with YOU and ME !! hugs Maria x

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  6. Wendy your photos and description are so relaxing- I really felt as if I was being paddled around the lake. The Loon is amazing. Hope your feeling of relaxation continues at home.
    Ali x

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    1. Thanks Ali, our wilderness areas really are a great place to relax. We took the canoe & kayak out every day and just loved cruising around and enjoying the scenery and wildlife. Lots of fish there too, but I left that to my husband and son ;)

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  7. What an incredible place - apart from the swimming snakes! Eugh! - and your photographs are just amazing Wendy. One of the best things about blogging is seeing though the eyes of my blogging friends so many wonderful places around the world that I will probably never visit in person.

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    1. Within the first half hour of being at the campground we saw two snakes. I'm not a fan of snakes, and I get a bit panicky when I see them swimming in the lake with us. I too like to share my adventures (small as they are), and enjoy seeing where other people live too.

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  8. What an absolutely gorgeous part of the world! Wendy, your photos in this Post are stunning! I can't stop looking at them. There was a lot of talk about Loons when I lived in Canada but I never did see one. Your shots are amazing. This would be my absolute ideal kind of getaway - nature, wildlife, activity. Mel x

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    1. I didn't know you lived in Canada Mel ... where abouts? Loons are fairly common here in Ontario ("Common Loon" is their proper name!). You just have to be in the slightly northern lake area, although I've seen them on Lake Ontario too. Although I hate the packing up for camping, once we actually get there, I never want to leave ;)

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    2. Vancouver, for a year while I was studying st UBC. I did get to travel out East too - such an amazing country!

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  9. A beautiful area for scenery and wildlife. We must have loons on Lake Simcoe where we are because I hear them sometimes in the morning but the only part of the lake we see is from the town park.
    It always amazes me that some critters are as inquisitive about us as we are of them. No harm done in checking each other out and carrying on. :-)
    Judith

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    1. I think this mother loon would be happier left alone, but we came upon her unexpectedly. I try to be careful when the adults are caring for their young because I would hate to see them abandon a nest just because we stayed too long.

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  10. This is one reason I love Canada..the pristine beauty of wilderness and wildlife. You captured it in words and pictures so beautifully I felt as though I was there.
    Thank you.
    Jane x

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    1. PS The flower is a dog rose.
      Jane x

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    2. Thank you Jane, I love it here too, but especially just north of us where I wish I could live. Dog rose! I thought it looked a bit like an old-fashioned rose, and the buds looked very rose like. I knew someone would know the name ;) thanks!

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  11. What a beautiful part of the world ... we honeymooned in Canada and we so loved it ... we will definitely go back again ... your photos are simply stunning ... Bee xx

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    1. Thanks Bee ... I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit to Canada, and I hope you come back again real soon ;)

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  12. Wendy what a totally awesome getaway! and to see a loon in person-now that is special! I always loved them in photos have never been where they live. thanks so much for all of these wonderful photos-really enjoyed your post

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    1. Thanks Kathy, I think you and I really enjoy all that the wilderness offers by way of scenery, plants and wildlife. The loon on her nest was a special highlight of our canoeing ... I love to come away with at least one extra special memory.

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  13. Hi Wendy, as always, I enjoyed your lovely post and amazing photography ! Ontario is so beautiful and there is so much to explore. I had the opportunity for the first time to visit Haliburton county this past long weekend and it was a wonderful experience.
    have a great day ! - Gaia

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    1. Now you'll be hooked to go back again Gaia! Haliburton is such a pretty area too ... we drive through there on our way to Algonquin Park. I'm glad you had a good time there :)

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  14. What a beautiful place to relax and just take in mother nature. Your photos are all so beautiful.. no wonder you didn't want to leave. xx Shari

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  15. That does look like such a wonderful getaway. The bug picture is so cute. My youngest son who is 14 and 3/4's and taller than my husband is scared to death of bugs. Any bug. I don't think I've ever seen a loon before. Its markings are so very pretty. Wow! Thanks for sharing. Have a great week. Tammy

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    1. Hah! My son is 15 and also taller than my husband ... but guess who refuses to take the fish off the hook?! I try to encourage him to see the beauty in bugs so he's not afraid of them, but then I totally panicked in the trailer one night when a huge winged creature crashed around when we were going to bed (good role model!!).

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  16. I am so glad you have a happy and well deserved vacation with your family! I love bird watching and I always have an eye out for them. The lake must be quite healthy since all of those beautiful birds are flourishing. Your photos of the loon are exceptional. She is such a gorgeous bird. And I love the heron too. I can't wait for my kids to be old enough to go on these kinds of adventures.

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    1. Thanks Stacy ... and hey, your kids are old enough already to go on these adventures. We first started camping when my daughter was two, and my son had no choice but to come with us from the time he was a baby. It's all about how much YOU can handle, kids are so adaptable.

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  17. Wow, what absolutely beautiful pics - thanks so much for sharing them and taking us along on your trip. Looks like a really lovely time away.
    Xx

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    1. Thanks Gilly, it really was a great time :)

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  18. We have loons that nest in our bay every year - it's so sad this year - something got to the nest and we have no babies to watch grow up. Not sure if a predator got to the nest or if the high water washed it away.
    But... they come back every year, so that's good.

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    1. That would be a nice thing to watch the babies every year! The loons may just build another nest in a new location if they lose one clutch of eggs. You might still see those babies after all.

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  19. Wendy! Oh my gosh... those photos are just amazing! I felt like I was there :) You have a keen eye for beauty in nature and you captured it so lovely! I am so glad you had a great break.. you deserved it. Hope you are having a great week too, Hazel x

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    1. It's a pretty place isn't it? The week has turned hot, muggy and rainy ... weather handled easier beside a cool lake!

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  20. What a wonderful getaway and such amazing pictures of the wildlife ~ thanks for sharing ~ Sarah x

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  21. Those are some amazing photos, Wendy! I'm a bird lover, so I really loved the pictures of the loon, osprey, and heron. Thanks for sharing all the beauty!

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    1. Thanks Mitzi! I love watching the birds too. We also saw a pair of Little Green Herons flying over the lake while we were swimming which was a bit of a thrill too ;)

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  22. Looks like you have had a wonderful break, Wendy :) The photos are great, thanks for sharing! I loved seing the birds, and the scenery is stunning.

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    1. It was a very nice break, I really like this park more and more whenever we visit it. We keep adding more days to our camping trips there each year.

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  23. What a fabulous place and your photo's are beautiful. I have never seen or heard of a loon before what a lovely bird and how nice to be able to get that close to take those photo's amazing. :)

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    1. Loons are Ontario's provincial bird. They have amazing calls that are very lonesome sounding across the lakes at night.

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  24. Wow, great pictures....what a stunning location, lucky you! :) x

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    1. Thanks Ada, it really is a spectacular spot!

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  25. You've taken some beautiful photo's of a very stunning location. The wildlife is gorgeous, we see plenty of herons here in our part of the UK.

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    1. Hi Jay, and thanks for visiting :) The scenery north and east of us really is great! We get the Great Blue Herons here in town too where they live in a local pond and take visits to private backyard ponds to gobble up goldfish (like ours!).

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  26. What a lovely getaway with such beautiful wildlife! Thanks so much for sharing Wendy!

    Sarah xox

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    1. Thanks Sarah, I'm glad that you enjoyed the post :)

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  27. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your photos are amazing. That is a wonderful capture of the Blue Heron in flight. And the photos of the Loon. I don't think I had ever seen an up close shots before. It is beautiful. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

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    1. Thanks for coming over for a visit Yael. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos!

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  28. Gorgeous pictures! What an amazing place. I think we will have to check it out one day! I hope I don't see one of those swimming snakes though. ;)

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    1. This is a really nice campground and well worth the visit. It's very easy to get to (401 to just past Kingston and then north about 10 minutes). We've been camping there for 15 years and have never seen a snake in the campground area until this year ... usually they're basking in the sun on rocks out in the lake ... AND they're harmless and will wiggle away from you about as fast as you're running in the opposite direction ;)

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