The Aurora borealis is not common in Algonquin, but when it does occur, it usually does so during mid-late autumn days. Much of the leaves have come off the trees now in the Park, but the Oaks and Aspens are still holding on, and the Tamaracks just getting into the peak of their brilliant golden color.
About a week ago I went out with some friends to find one of the Great Gray Owls that have been present in the Park.
Snow was falling thick from the sky, but the bird didn't seem to mind (it'll have to get used to it anyhow) and we watched it for a couple hours. Larissa and I went to see the bird later that day as well and it was very actively flying around hunting.
When many owls actively hunt they assume an odd, wing-drooping posture:
At one point it cruised by us just at eye level, allowing us a good look at the shape of the bird in flight - a gray, airborne loaf of bread.
This weekend, however, we changed it up a little bit and Larissa and I headed South to Toronto to spend some time with both of our parents and to ultimately spend lots of money at the Henry's Digital Imaging and Video Expo.
I was after a used Nikon D7000, which was a bit of a step-up from the D90 that I shoot with, for a variety of different reasons, but one of the things that I most liked about this over my D90 is that it shoots Full HD video. I have a Youtube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/OntBirder) and it's about to get that much more interesting.
The thing was a bargain. Larissa just recently got into DSLR with a Canon Rebel T3i so she bought a whole bunch of gear as well. We had all the fun associated with spending a lot of money. It was great!
The other day I was out with my new setup after cold front to look for anything new, and sure enough, the Park was full of new birds. Fox and American Tree Sparrows have arrived. Some Rusty Blackbirds were hanging around. I was surprised to find a Red-necked Grebe at Lake of Two Rivers. Pipits have become scarce and are now replaced by Horned Larks in the open country, and these allowed me to try out my new gear.
I only have five remaining days here. After that, I will go further up North. I hope to catch Boreal Owl (literally..) and some of our other "winter" birds - perhaps a Shrike, some Pine Grosbeaks, or a Rough-legged Hawk, before I make my journey South to join our warblers and flycatchers that are already down there. As much as I definitely need a change of scenery, there will be birds and people in this lovely country that I will dearly miss. You guys and girls in Ontario will have to keep me posted about the goings-on there, and I will try my best from the hustle and bustle of what will surely be a busy guiding season in the South.
One thing that I won't miss however, is that fluffy cold stuff that y'all seem to love so much...