On Saturday July 7, a small forest fire was observed near the mouth of Presqu'isle. (Presqu'isle is a long bay on the Quebec shore of the Ottawa River a little upstream of Point Alexander. The axis of the bay is parallel to the river and is separated from the river by a gravel peninsula.) The fire was presumably started by lightning from a thunder storm the previous Thursday. From Saturday through Wednesday (July 11) the fire was attacked by water bombers for a couple of hours each day. On Wednesday, we got the opportunity to go down to Burkes Beach (the point of Point Alexander) to take some photographs. While the Quebec forest-fire webpage still (July 14) lists the fire as only "under control", it certainly appears to be out. Indeed, it was largely out on Wednesday, even though, officially, it was only "being held".
There are at least two (and probably more) heronries in the Petawawa Research Forest. One of them is quite visible from a road -- a drive-in heronry, if you will. Since late June, I have been driving by regularly to take photos. There are two visible nests, each with three or four chicks. The chicks are getting pretty big and will probably leave the nests very soon. Unfortunately, I am unable to check any more, as the area has been closed due to the high fire danger.
(Nerdy note: While I am pleased to have been able to get photos of the chicks, they are not as sharp as one might like. I have sharpened them -- oversharpened them -- to the extent that noise in the sky is starting to appear. The close-ups were shot with a 150mm lens on a micro 4/3 system, so an effective focal length of 300mm. But after considering the final crop, the true effective focal length is between 1100 and 1200mm. They were shot hand held while I was being attacked by deer flies.)
After failing to find any orchids in the kettle bog on the Brent Road, I returned to check out the Arethusa population in Cartier Lake in the Petawawa Research Forest. I found a few, but not many. I think the water level in the lake has been rising over the last several years -- there is a beaver dam on the lake's outlet -- and it is drowning their habitat. Or maybe, I should have been there a week previous.
We visited a kettle bog along the Brent Road associated with the Greenbough Esker. This is a very interesting little wet land unlike any other that we know in the area. We were hoping that we would find some Arethusa bulbosa (Dragon's Mouth or Swamp-pink), but without success. However, we found many other interesting plants and know that there will be other orchids there later in the season.
This wet land comprises at least three separate ponds that we believe at least two to be kettle holes. There are large areas of bog mat, perhaps floating, perhaps grounded, separating the ponds and around the edges. The edges of the mat that we were able to visit by canoe are perhaps more fen-like than bog-like.
We were hoping for something a little more ambitious for our first overnight trip of the season, but Diana's old rotator-cuff injury has recently flared up. So we needed something that was a relatively short paddle away. We wouldn't normally consider camping on Grand Lake, but it's virtually deserted during the bug season, especially during the week. We were originally planning on starting two days earlier, but we postponed on the basis of the weather forecast. In retrospect, that turned out to be a good decision.
It was a good little trip. We had good weather, the bugs were manageable, and although we saw other people out on the lake, no one camped close to us.