Algonquin moose tour – conclusion

In this final post about our trip to Algonquin, I would like to share some of the other birds I was able to capture images of as well as some other items of interest.  I am also experimenting with a new way of showing images via automatic slideshow and I hope you like it.  First off, I was surprised to see a female Mallard Duck lead its 2 ducklings to our campsite at Lake of Two Rivers, presumably for a human handout.

IMG_0726Despite having a couple of decent images, the Belted Kingfisher remains on my nemesis list and I am always hoping for another opportunity to photograph one.  While we were parked watching and taking pictures of the moose, a Belted Kingfisher suddenly appeared, hovering and hunting about 50 feet above the water, approximately 75-100 yards away in the direction we were facing.   I wasn’t quite quick enough to lock on it for an image as it moved to another location where it still remained about 100 yards away and 50 feet high.  However, this time I was able to snap 14 images in the 2 seconds it hovered there.  Normally this would not be anything to blog about but this time I happened to have a 600mm lens with the 2x tele-converter mounted giving me a massive focal length of 1200mm or the equivalent of a 24 power magnification if we were to use binoculars as a comparative example.  The sharpness of images I received was outstanding but I leave that for you to decide.  The first image is the original out of the camera and the second one the same image with cropping and some post-processing applied.  The third and fourth images are added to demonstrate that thankfully this was no fluke.  I was also using a monopod and my Canon 1DMKIV.

After our shore picnic lunch on the shores of Lake Opeongo, the weather started to change for the worse.  The winds picked up and there was the looming threat of rain.  Undaunted, Michael was prepared to continue our adventure but we decided we had enough images and headed back to the dock.  As we traveled back down the lake, we checked out various locations for moose.  In one of the bays, we found a pair of Common Mergansers with the male aggressively pursing the female.  They were too busy to worry about us so we were able to get images of them as well.  The male is particularly hard to photograph since the lower part of the body is pure white.

Last but not least is the Black-backed Woodpecker.  Back in November, I saw my first Black-backed Woodpecker during a trip to Algonquin.  This woodpecker is also on my nemesis list, not because it is difficult to photograph, but because it isn’t all that common.  It prefers northern coniferous forests, in particular burnt-out areas for food and habitat so it was a unique, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime event to be able to photograph Black-backed Woodpeckers at an active nest.  Scott had found a nest in a picnic area and was successful in getting some great images which you can see on his website.  Both the male and female took turns tending to the nest and the lack of activity is a test of the bird photographer.  We waited almost 2 hours in between ‘shifts’ when the male and female birds changed responsibilities but it was well worthwhile despite the relentless onslaught of mosquitoes and black flies.

This is a video that shows the extent I had to go to keep from getting bitten and you can see the bugs flying around the camera (iPhone) and myself.



Lastly, on our way to see the Black-backed Woodpecker, we found a cow moose and calf feeding right beside the highway.  This was especially good news for Joyce who was able to get some decent pictures of the moose since she had some technical difficulties with her 500mm lens and as a result was limited in the images she was able to get.  I took these shots with my iPhone and you can see the moose on the right side of the image.   Of course, moose on the side of the highway is a big attraction so traffic mayhem ensues.


My next post will be in a couple of weeks and include a variety of birds I have captured images of this summer.

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  1. Scott Martin August 13, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Another excellent blog post Arni and it certainly brings back great memories (notwithstanding the bugs :)). The detail in the KF images is amazing given the distance it was away and the female BBWO on the bark & moss is superb.

    • Arni August 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

      Many thanks Scott. The quaility of KF images was certainly unexpected but very welcome! The female Black-backed Woodpecker with the moss certainly is a favourite of mine too.

  2. Eleanor Kee Wellman March 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    In the midst of looking through hundreds of moose images from this trip I dropped in to see yours! I’m thinking about what I would do differently this year. I can only hope the opportunities will be as good. I’ll miss you guys!

    • Arni March 22, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

      I hope you have great success too Eleanor, we have to make sure we get together some other time this year.