Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Quick, and Exciting Spring On The Vermilon River. A Post To SWF.

The weather went from cold to days of 25 C or 76 F, and spring came with a bang. The snowpak went through a quick melt, raising big time fogs, that the sun did not burn off until the afternoon. All the photos were taken on the upper river showing both the fog and the ice melt. All the photos are reduced in size, so click to enlarge and watch the slide show.

 Some of the snow, of course, remains in the forest, so we're still somewhat restricted in our hikes.
 These photos were all taken on the first day of the quick melt. The fog is so thick that you really have to watch for wildlife.
I almost missed this muskrat who was posed on the end of the ice enjoying his breakfast, He appeared at first as just a brown lump on the ice. I crept up on him and got some great shots, so I'll do a post on muskrats soon. He only left when some people showed up with dogs, and asked me what I was doing. They, the muskrats, have incredible hearing.

He kept diving in, and bringing up more river weed to feast on. You can tell that he's a muskrat from his tail.

And this is a close up of his tail!!

Thinking myself lucky with the muskrat, I was astounded when this beaver showed up about 10 feet away. River beaver will live in dens in the river bank, because the current is too fast to build beaver lodges.

He was feeding on this aspen stick.

Not as good a photo, but it shows the tail which is different from the muskrats,and makes for a fast ID.

This shot is from the next day, but it's the mustelid again on the far side of the river. From his size I'm starting to think he is a fisher as opposed to a Pine Marten.


I caught this photo of the red squirrel right where I had taken the photos of the mustelid  a few days before, so I guess the squirrel survived.

Another spring arrival, the Common Grackle.

The Ring-billed Gulls have returned to the river.

But most exciting is the return of the Robins.

They're just singing their hearts out.

I also saw a few Red-winged Blackbirds in the cattails.

With the clearance of the ice, the geese are on the upper river. If the flood is mild they'll stay ,and if not they'll move to one of the wetlands.

Geese In Flight.

Canada Goose.

These are yearlings and looking to choose mates and settle down. So competition for a mate is high. This guy is not landing, but on the attack to protect his lady.

Here is who he is attacking!! Our hero is on the right side of the photo.

These Hooded Mergansers suddenly materialised out of the fog.

This is the photo that really got me. One warm spell, and the pussy willows are out in some areas. A post to SWF @ http://skyley.blogspot.com/  and Camera Critters @ http://camera-critters.blogspot.com/ and Scenic Sunday @ http://scenicsunday.blogspot.com/

55 comments:

  1. What a great series of shots, you saw quite the variety of wildlife. It's been an incredibly warm March in my part of the world too.

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  2. Some great captures! I agree ... like that pussy willow.

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  3. congrats on the return of some summer-time birds! the muskrat was very cool!

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  4. A great photo-series of winter turning to spring.
    In the same direction we are going. We have it still requires a couple of months - a good spring.
    Spring greetings from Eco
    Finland / Lapland / Kuusamo

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  5. Everything changes so quickly Garry ....wonderful to see the pussy willows with those little daubs of white heralding warmer days to come.

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  6. Love the shots of the fog! And those cute little critters.

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  7. Great shots Gary - enjoyed seeing those beasts as well as the birds.

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  8. You did get some terrific shots for the day, Gary!! Love the muskrat and the geese and, of course the squirrels! Great foggy shots, too! Have a great weekend!

    Sylvia

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  9. I love foggy days. These are all great nature shots. The two geese in flight and the adventurous beaver are treats.

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  10. Beautiful photos.

    Regards and best wishes

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  11. Great post, - lovely birds!
    I wish you a Happy SkyWatch!

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  12. We didn't have much ice for melting, but this week has seen some incredible fog!
    Thanks for your visit.

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  13. Oh, they are superb, especially the Beaver, it can be outstanding, like yours.

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  14. Great photos!

    http://blogg.birgittasplace.com/

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  15. A wonderful post Gary... I loved seeing Musky..

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  16. You see the most amazing and beautiful animals. Great photo's.

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  17. You see the most amazing and beautiful animals. Great photo's.

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  18. Great post, I enjoyed the critter and the birds. Happy skywatching!

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  19. Thanks for sharing your great photos of the four-legged and winged wildlife. I agree with you that the return of the robin's sound is priceless--and to me, the red wing blackbird too.
    You & Boomer have a great weekend.

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  20. Great post I loved the robin.
    You always have something that make me smile

    Mormor Norway.

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  21. Congratulations on this exquisite work and bring the beauty of nature before our eyes. Wonderful. Greetings.

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  22. Lovely captures, Gary. I was fascinated by the musk rat, as we don;t have such creatures here!

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  23. A bonanza of wildlife and also a pussy willow! It's surely spring there.

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  24. Wonderful collection of shots and exciting spring walk....like the beaver and muskrat...you always give a very interesting text and great shots. It is appreciated that you share how different your life is from ours.

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  25. muskrat: looks like oour national bird, the Kiwi.

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  26. Hi Gary, we had that heat wave here where I live just south of Ottawa. There has been great fogs and mists along the Rideau River, perfect for photographers , lots of moody shots, I love your wildlife shots, good for you,,,,M

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  27. wow just amazing pics, thanks a lot for this great artworks!!!

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  28. Spring more gradually arrives here while yours seems to arrive with a bang, quite spectacularly it seems. Love the muskrat, beaver and red squirrel photos in fact I find your blog very interesting.

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  29. These are all great shots!!
    Been nice and hot here in Toronto as well until today.
    Thanks for dropping by and visiting.

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  30. An interesting post with fantastic pictures. I especially like the muskrat. :)

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  31. Wow..I miss our muskrat and watching the babies, but a mink came in last spring and carried them off and I saw it again recently...could that be a mink?....Michelle

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  32. The colours on that grackle are insane. really nice photos Gary

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  33. Love the foggy shots!
    Hmmm.. was that Muskrat Susie or Sam... :)
    Terrfic captures Gary!

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  34. The fog-enveloped river view after the quick thawing is awesome. What full of lives! They can’t hold back their excitement for the arrival of spring, neither can I.

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  35. Beautiful photograps and great story. Because my country is surrounded by dike's there are not much muskusrat's there. When they are spoted they get killed . Terrible is it not because I think it's a fantastic animal to see. The bever is also living not far away from where I live. A lot of people spoted them but I never saw one.
    have a great weekend
    marijke

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  36. great nature study photos, the fog and mist makes for an interesting view of the spring thaw

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  37. That's a great set of photos, Gary. It must have been wonderful seeing all that wildlife. Your shots of the fog over the water, and the geese in action are fabulous! Have a great weekend.

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  38. Very nice pictures!
    Fantastic beaver and other wildlife shots!
    Many greetings
    Yvonne & Raphael

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  39. Just came upon your blog. Nice shots! Love the pics of the muskrat. I've always been curious about this part of the world. Beautiful captures.

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  40. Fascinating temperature changes. I've read and heard about those sudden changes but your photos make it very vivid. Nice to have the birds coming back. I wonder when the spring flowers will start coming out of the snow.

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  41. What wonderful shots! I can't believe you've had such warm weather... (We're still waiting for ours.)

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  42. Oh that's a lovely early-Spring tour. Thanks Gary - amazing you got such good pictures of both the muskrat and the beaver on the same day.... you really live in a natural Paradise.

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  43. Looks like yr camera had a fueld day:) looking few to see more on tha muskarts..

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  44. These are wonderful shots! I loathed it when others would distract my critters! Most hateful are those who boat in the pathway of a loon. sigh.

    You have great places to visit, and glad you share them with us. I looked you up on the map. Amazing country. We are blessed with 16 acres, not huge, and few remote places to visit. I am grateful, nonetheless!

    Greetings from Cottage Country!

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  45. Just finished reading "Three Against the Wilderness" about the Collier family and their trapping lifestyle. Nice pictures of the beavers and muskrats. - Margy

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