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!