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The latest news, updates and commentary from mcelroy.ca.

Water Bombers

2018 July 11

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".

Water bombers working fire at Presquisle
Water bombers working fire at Presquisle
Water bombers working fire at Presquisle
Water bombers working fire at Presquisle
Water bombers working fire at Presquisle
Water bombers working fire at Presquisle
Water bombers working fire at Presquisle
Water bombers working fire at Presquisle
Water bombers working fire at Presquisle

forest fire photo set

Point Alexander

Heronry in the Petawawa Research Forest

2018 June 21 / July 05

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.

Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron
Nesting great blue heron

(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.)

photo set

Bypass Road Petawawa Research Forest

Cartier Lake in the Petawawa Research Forest

2018 June 25

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.

Arethusa bulbosa Dragons Mouth Swamppink
Arethusa bulbosa Dragons Mouth Swamppink
Nuphar sp Waterlily
Sarracenia purpurea Northern Pitcherplant

Arethusa bulbosa bullhead lily Dragon's Mouth Northern Pitcher-plant Nuphar sp. orchid photo set Sarracenia purpurea Swamp-pink Yellow Water-lily

Petawawa Research Forest

Kettle Bog along the Brent Road

2018 June 20

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.

Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen
Day trip to kettle bog fen

botany day trip (canoe) photo set

Brent Road

Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park

2018 June 15-17

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.

Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park
Two nights on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park

photo set trip log

Algonquin Park Grand Lake Rowan Creek