MacLeod Provincial Park
The most amazing wildlife encounters but nothing else really worked out
|GPS Coordinates are 49.69046, -86.90204.
Link on Google Maps
We reserved three nights at the MacLeod Provincial Park. The elements were not in our favour and we left the second day after lunch. The wildlife sightings on the other hand were spectacular and made us forget the wind, smokey air and bad weather forecast.
Setting up the tarp and keeping it securely anchored was no easy task. The wind was pushing hard and the gas stove needed additional wind reflectors. We got it to work for breakfast, but didn't really want to deal with this for the next days. The forecast had rain and smoke from the forest fires. We left after one night.
We shared the shore of Lake Kenogamisis with several duck families. One seemed to own our site. They returned several times. Were they hoping for a glass of wine?
Watching the ducklings bobbing on the waves is very entertaining. They try to keep up with mama duck and bounce up and down and into each other. This must be tiring. The younglings had no problems taking a nap while mama duck was watching.
And that's when we saw the white bird out on the water. The only white water bird that comes to my mind is the seagull or swan.
Ursula watched with the binoculars and identified the bird as a white pelican. We knew about them from Saskatchewan and weren't really surprised to see them. It was still unexpected.
The White Pelican migrate from the Gulf Coast and Mexico to Canada. They spend the summer from Northwestern Ontario all the way to British Columbia. About 10% of these birds come to Ontario to nest.
Out on the lake, we noticed a bird splashing. The first thought was a loon is cleaning the feathers. This looked different and the binoculars revealed a more dramatic picture.
A bird was trying to keep the head above water and flapping the wings. It took us a while to realized that it is a bald eagle and she was moving towards the shore. After closer observation, the splashing looked more like a swim. The 100 meters to shore were done in less than two minutes. The camera was already on the tripod and we could get pictures and a short video from this unbelievable act.
Once on dry land, the bird was a poster child for having a bad hair day. We didn't move any closer to allow the eagle to rest. She started to rip the fish apart that she brought on land. As it turns out, they will catch a fish in flight and won't let go. Even when they can't lift the fish out of the water.
Other birds arrived, hoping to get a piece of the fish. This is a juvenile bald eagle and mama just caught the fish. Patiently waiting until the adult hopped away. Shortly after, she flew to another part of the shore, waiting for the young. By the time the juvenile was done, there was not much left of the fish.
The juvenile bald eagles look almost larger than their parent. They do have longer flight feathers that help them learning to fly. They loose them after the first molt.
|Watch the bald eagle swimming to shore and feed.
The camping experience at MacLeod PP may not have gone as hoped, the wildlife viewing was unforgettable. The white pelicans and the bald eagle sightings don't happen very often.