Sunday, September 13, 2009

Killarney Wildlife

One of the biggest thrills of this year's trip to Killarney, was the variety of wildlife that I was able to see up close--for the record, I saw 2 black bears, a red fox, a black snake, 4 beavers, and 2 loons. Well, of course, I didn't get pictures of all of them, but I did get a few....

On my Thursday mid-day canoe trip, I decided I wanted to go to the cove on George Lake that is lined with 2 large granite cliffs on it's sides and has a small wilderness lake right behind it (a small granite embankment separate the two lakes, so you can easily walk up to the little lake). I thought this would make the perfect spot for a picnic lunch.

As I paddled around the tall rock cliff to enter the cove, I discovered that someone else thought this place was a good lunch spot too....a big black bear!!! He was perched halfway up the rocky cliff eating his lunch and was only a few hundred feet away from me. We looked at each other for a few seconds in surprise, and he then continued to eat his lunch as I began to reach for my camera. He stayed up on the ledge another minute or so before deciding that I was taking far too many bad photos of him, so he decided to walk down to the shoreline. I kept my distance and stayed in the middle of the cove ("Bears can swim" I kept thinking to myself!). Fortunately, the bear didn't catch wind of the pepperoni and cheese slices I had in my lunch bag and decided he would rather retreat back to the rock cliffs and forest around the little wilderness lake than come swim out into the cove to steal my lunch.

I stayed in the cove a few more minutes to see if he (or any of his kinfolk) would return, and then decided to briefly park my canoe along the shore to quickly check out the wilderness lake (I wasn't going to be dumb enough to still eat my lunch there, but at least wanted to scope it out to see if any other animals were around). All was calm-- no more bears or other animals.

Amazing to wonder what would have happened had I come into the cove 10 minutes later, not seen the bear, and had set out to eat my lunch on that very rock the bear had just walked across! Wow.

Thankfully, what a thrill it was to share a few minutes in the wild with this beautiful creature in a calm and peaceful way.

After the bear encounter, I thought for sure that'd be the only memorable wildlife sighting of the whole trip, but the very next day, Millie and I decided to take a hike to a granite boulder trail near Georgian Bay on our way to the town of Killarney. Here's a pretty little shot of Millie on the trail:

As we were driving out of the trailhead parking lot, there sat another black bear eating berries along the side of the road. Millie took a good hard look at him and must have deducted that it was "the strangest looking big black dog" that she'd ever seen! This bear wasn't too fond of a Subaru less than a 100 feet in front of it, so it took off into the woods quickly before I could reach for the camera. Same scenario when we saw a red fox cross the road in the campground a few hours later--too quick for a photo opp.

On the water that night with my camera, I had a bit better luck with some of the other animals--
this pair of loons:

and this delightful beaver who let me get really close and take dozens of pictures of her before she decidededto swim away. What a treat!


Lisa said...

Great blog was fun to read about your adventure.

outdoor dad said...

I love these posts on your Killarney trip. Killarney is a favourite spot of mine as I used to lead canoe trips into the park, back in the 70's, and your photos and writing brought back great memories. Nice blog!

Lynne said...

@outdoor dad-- hope you can return there again one day. I still have yet to find another canoeing destination that has quite the same level of "magic" as Killarney. And if you do backcountry trips, at least now days, Kevlar canoes make the portage trails a bit easier!