Friday, August 3, 2012

Shots from the Lodge - Part 1

It's already been almost 2 weeks since we returned from the Lodge up north... seems like a long time ago already. It was a great week with hot weather made easily bearable by the always perfect temperature of the lake to dip into. There is never a dull moment up at the in-law's "cottage" with 23 kids running around, repair jobs, and tournaments, never mind fishing, boating and swimming to do. Oh, and some time for picture taking too!

I believe (one uncertain still) found 6 new life birds, and got pictures of new butterflies, and other wildlife as well. It was quite a fun week in the photography department too. Seeing as this post is due to come out further and further from the actual week, I'm going to keep my commentary shorter and let you enjoy the pictures. It took a while to weed out the good ones and do my slight editing (I try to only do minimal tweaking).

The first excitement for the week came with two of the older nephews (thanks Nate and John-Michael) reporting they had come quite close upon, and then been momentarily challenged by a deer buck in the woods. They were still willing to go back up with me to try and re-locate it, and after some hunting around, we found it out by Lilly Lake (for those of you who have been there before and know where that is).  With the low lake levels, I was able to follow it for a little ways into what is usually a wet, swampy area.

White-tailed Deer buck

I'm no authority on deer, but it looks like a three pointer buck. From my reading online, I discovered that the number of points on the antlers does not represent the buck's age. This buck looks like it will have three points and it is likely 1 1/2 years old getting it's first rack. Each year they do get more points, till they are about 7 years old and then the number of points will act decrease as it looses health in its age.

White-tailed Deer buck with velvety antlers.
They have huge ears and have very good hearing, with the ability to hear higher frequencies than we can. Their eye sight is very sensitive to movement, but they can't focus on one thing very well because of how their eyes are placed on the sides of their heads, and because they don't have a sensitive centre focus like we do. Their night vision is better than ours though.

White-tailed Deer buck ears.

A new bird for me spent a lot of time along the driveway of the lodge, eating wild raspberries and aspen leaves. An adult and young Ruffed Grouse was life bird number 90, though I have heard its distinctive drumming in the past. The adult bird was not afraid at all. On more than one occasion it slowly ambled over to where I was laying in the sand, jumping up to reach the top berries it wanted, and walking within a couple meters of me. Once it flew down from it's perch in an aspen tree where it had been shredding leaves and landed almost right at my feed.

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse eating Aspen leaves.
The younger, smaller bird was more skittsh and stayed almost always hidden in the raspberry bushes. On the last night, it finally came out once to check me out, and with the clicks of my camera shutter, took off with a flurry of wings and legs, running for cover. I just got a few shots, the one below with the adult being the only non blurred one. I was shooting at ISO 1600 and a shutter speed of 1/60, so any movement meant the bird was just a blur. I was pretty happy to see this bird, as they are usually thick in the brush of the woods, with only its deep, chest beating throb the only indication its in the same woods as you.

Curious young Ruffed Grouse.

Adult and young Ruffed Grouse just before taking off for cover again.

A lake close by has a nesting pair of Common Loons every year, and it often is seen feeding near the edge in a shallow little bay. I headed out there one morning and was rewarded with some nice close shots. I can never tire of seeing these beautiful birds.

Common Loon

Common Loon

Common Loon taking a look-see under
water before diving.

Common Loon.

Just as I was leaving the lake, I noticed this snake swimming across from the other side of the small bay. Researching to find out what kind it was, E-Nature stated that it "glides across water surface instead of diving in like aquatic snakes". That seemed to fit pretty well, including the pattern and identifying marks. It could be a Common Garter Snake too, but I don't think so the way it swam, and the distance it came from.

Eastern Ribbon Snake (I'm pretty sure)

Well, I'm going to split this up into another post. There are more pictures and life birds to share, but you'll have to wait. I'll leave you with this nice Orange Hawkweek shot from near the the lake.

Orange Hawkweed


  1. Great shots Brian. The Roughed Grouse would be a lifer for me as well. Amazing shots, particularily of the Grouse and Loon. I need a cottage up north! :(

    1. I'm very thankful for my in-law's place - it's on small double lake on about 50 acres - very nice!


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