Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lake Superior Trip (old)

Another blast from the past! (photos scanned from slides)

A little trip I wanted to take was to the north shore of Lake Superior.  I planned it out as a camping trip for the middle of June 1999.  This adventure was sort of an exploratory trip, as I had never spent much time birding up there north of Lake Superior.  There are many places to check out, which I found out later.
I had nobody to come along, so I went solo!

On a sunny morning I left Wallaceburg and headed to the border crossing at Sarnia/Port Huron. Once on I-75 past Flint, Michigan, the trip was uneventful, but clouds started rolling in as I entered the Michigan UP.  After crossing the border at Sault Ste. Marie, I stopped by a grocery store to load up on food supplies.
As I arrived into Lake Superior Provincial Park, it had become quite foggy.  So much so, the trees were dripping as if it was raining. One could not see out onto the lake!
I found a campsite at Agawa Bay campground (they were self-serve at that time of year), then headed out to walk some trails.  One such was the Pinguishibi Trail where there was a nice waterfall.

Before dark, I checked out the Agawa Rock Pictographs—something I had always read about.

Along the trail, there was a ruckous of birds.  I found out they were mobbing a Northern Saw-whet Owl!  Birds annoying this little owl included Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Magnolia, Black-and-white, Pine, Blackburnian, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Parula, Amreican Redstart, Winter Wren, Swainson’s Thrush, White-throated Sparrow, American Robin and Dark-eyed Junco.  Quite a crowd!

Agawa Bay the next morning

The second day started out quite foggy, although the sky was clear.  I essentially drove straight through to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park on the Sibley peninsula.   I recall the first leg of the drive where I was following an old Corvette for almost 200km!  
Lunch was in Nipigon.

I took a campsite in the old “Sibley Park”, and then went for a long walk.  I felt ambitious and walked the Sawyer Bay Trail (6.5 km one way).  There were a number of birds seen including a Ruffed Grouse taking a dirt bath.

Sawyer Bay
There was some nice scenery from the trail.

White-winged Crossbills were heard as well.
For supper, I headed down to Silver Islet, a quaint little community. In the mid 1800’s a silver mine was just offshore on a rocky island.  It was eventually abandoned and is now underwater.
During the evening, a Ruffed Grouse walked through the campsite, and a Red Fox scurried through nearby.

Ruffed Grouse

By this time, the temperature had fallen considerably and the wind became quite strong.

The third day dawned cold and windy.  I decided on a change in plans due to the weather and would not stay a second night in sleeping Giant as originally planned.  Within the park, I walked Gardiner Lake Trail where I found several Canada Warblers.  I also walked Joe Creek Trail.
I drove out to the Thunder Bay Lookout which was quite impressive.  Some White-winged Crossbills were flying through here.

A short trail up there was Thunder Bay Bog trail. The road to that point was quite rough and I was glad I had my Ford Explorer.

Before leaving Sleeping Giant, I took note of Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park.  I had heard of the place, so I wanted to check it out.  Quite an impressive site!  Rare, Arctic-like plants are found in the canyon.

Among other birds, I found a Gray Jay here.

The canyon is not a fault, but formed over thousands of years by the rock being eroded and split apart by freezing and thawing.

There was some nice scenery stops along the way heading east.

Mouth of some River

I then headed further east and stopped into Rainbow Falls Provincial Park.  I walked the Falls trail to the lookout.

Rainbow Falls (I guess)

Later in the afternoon, the weather was rather uncomfortable, and I decided to spend the night in a motel in Schreiber.  On TV, I recall watching an episode of That 70’s Show for the first time!  lol.

The next morning was very cold, and in fact at one point, there were ice pellets!  However, I stopped into White Lake Provincial Park and walked Tiny Bog and Clearwater Lake Trails.  I found various warblers plus a couple of Black-backed Woodpeckers.

White-throated Sparrow

Tiny Bog Trail

Next stop further east was Obatanga Provincial Park which I had visited with Steve three years earlier.  Among other things, I found a singing Connecticut Warbler near the gatehouse.  The sun had come out by this time, so that helped in the mood.

Moccasin Flowers on the forest floor

I continued on and stopped in Lake Superior Provincial Park to walk Trapper’s Trail.
By nightfall, I found a motel on the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie.

The fourth day found me heading east after checking the locks area.  I stopped by Bellevue Park at the east end of the city to look at the St. Mary’s River.  I was familiar with this riverside park from previous trips.
I continued on straight to Manitoulin Island where I checked out some trails and birds along the road.  I went as far as Barry Island noting things such as Upland Sandpiper, and then back to Mac’s Camp on Lake Kagawong where I would spend the night.  I knew about this camp as it is owned by John and Debbie Kada of Sombra—I had met John Kada in the past.  It caters to the hunting and fishing crowd.
I recall an Olive-sided Flycatcher singing here.

On day five, I got up early and took my time getting to South Baymouth to catch the Chi Cheemaun

  After the crossing to Tobermory, I checked out my favourite spot at Dorcas Bay and Singing Sands.  No rattlesnake this time!

I also went into the National Park and walked a trail to the shoreline.  The park was very busy—in fact so busy I have never been back since!

For the night, I stayed in Port Elgin.

On day six, I went into MacGregor Point Provincial Park, one of my favourites, and spent some time walking trails.   A family of eight Ruffed Grouse on Lake Ridge Trail was a highlight. The usual Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, at the north end of its range, was on the Tower Trail.

Tower Trail

Continuing on, I stopped into Pinery Provincial Park to check out some trails.

Then it was homeward bound!

Rainbow Falls P.P.

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