Friday, September 16, 2016

Mississagi Bay Family Vacation Day One & Two

Well I am finally back at school and that usually gives me some time to relax, but not this year! I have the honour of being Co-President of the University of Guelph Wildlife Club and with that comes a lot of responsibilities in planning events such as our O-week event or our annual Bruce Peninsula Trip. Now things are finally starting to slow down and I have a chance to update the blog with what I did this summer. So let me begin...

With a very unexciting summer, I was fortunate that with my summer job I was able to take a week off to go to my Uncle's cottage located on Mississagi Bay.

Sunday, August 14 myself, my Dad, my Grandma and my Aunt, who is visiting from Alberta, loaded up the car to make the nine hour trip up north. To make the trip as quick as possible, we head up through Michigan, then head east of Sault Ste. Marie to Iron Bridge. We had great weather for travelling and it was great to be able to spend time with both my Aunt and Grandma.

Eight kilometres from the highway into the forested area of the Mississagi Delta Provincial Nature Reserve we finally arrive in the late afternoon, greeted by my Uncle and his family. I have been here once before back in 2009 but it was during the winter and the views are quite different. We unpacked, settled in, had some dinner then enjoyed the views that were around us.

As we sat on the deck, we had a few small visitors fly around trying to get at the feeders near by.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird August 14, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario

Then came my favourite time of day, sunset. I enjoy this time of day because it is never the same. Every day is different and every sunset is different. I think it is a perfect time to reflect on the days activities, think of plans for tomorrow and just relax after the day. The sunsets this week did not disappoint.

August 14, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario

August 14, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario

The next day was just spent around the cottage relaxing. In the morning I decided to go for a walk down the road to see what I could see. There was something everywhere I looked before even leaving the driveway!

Grasshopper August 15, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario

Chipmunk August 15, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario
Once out of the driveway, there were lots of wild flower including the invasive Orange Hawkweed.

Orange Hawkweed August 15, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario

Along with flowers, there were lots of dragonflies and butterflies. Although I focus most of my attention to birding, my interests has also sparked in butterflies, skippers and dragonflies. The book "Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Easter North America" by Stephen Marshall (who is a professor at the University of Guelph!) is a great book for not only identifying insects but reading up about them too. This White Admiral followed me for my entire walk but did not want to offer that many photo opportunities. The White Admiral and the Red-spotted Purple are the same species (Limenities anthems) but different forms. The Red-spotted Purple is normally found more south than the White Admiral but both forms do occur in Southern Ontario and can interbreed.

White Admiral August 15, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario
I almost walked by this skipper but it caught my eye.

Leonard's Skipper August 15, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario

Now I do believe this to be a Leonard's Skipper base on the pattern of the wings and referring to multiple photos but I am by no means an expert.

While sitting on the deck, I had a great opportunity to photograph the hummingbirds that were visiting my Uncle's feeder on the corner of the deck. It was amazing to watch such a tiny bird up close. They did not seem to be bothered by us at all, even if someone was directly under the feeder!

Ruby-throated Humming Bird August 15, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario
After a long day exploring, it was once again my favourite time of day.

August 15, 2016 - Mississagi Bay, Ontario
Now, I promise it won't be so long between post again! Day 3, 4 and 5 will be up soon! :)

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