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A walk on the wildlife side

One of the great things about getting out to the provincial and national parks and conservation areas is having the opportunity to encounter some really cool wildlife. These are the critters you would rarely or never encounter in your city neighbourhood. This year we've had some awesome up-close-and personal meetings with Ontario's wild residents. I already told you about the moosefrogs and turtles we came across in Algonquin Park back in the Spring. So, I thought I'd share a little summer wildlife roll call with you. Here's who we've met so far this summer...

Please note - wild animals deserve our utmost respect. Many of these photos were taken with a zoom lens from a distance. We do as much as possible to photograph the animals with as little disruption as possible, and we take safety very seriously - for us and the animals!

Snakes on an Island.  We saw more snakes on Flowerpot Island in Georgian Bay than I have ever seen in one spot in my life. No rattlers, but still, all those non-venomous snakes are still a little creepy. We learned very quickly to watch where we walked very closely. Every. Single. Step.
- Flowerpot Island, Fathom Five Marine Park, Georgian Bay



Pretty Bird. This beauty spent a good hour preening on this rock, just a few meters offshore from our campsite.
- Flowerpot Island, Fathom Five Marine Park, Georgian Bay
Gone Fishing.  For the first time ever, we saw seagulls acting like truly wild birds and fishing for their meals. They were very impressive to watch and I found myself cheering them on when the caught something.  It almost made me forgive this particular type of bird for swarming me in a public park and stealing french fries right out of my hands a few years ago. Almost.
- Flowerpot Island, Fathom Five Marine Park, Georgian Bay
  
I feel like I'm being watched.  This little guy made his way onto the bench of our picnic table and hung around for quite awhile. I'm not sure how long it sat there, but we moved him along when dinner was ready and we needed the seat. It's a good thing someone noticed this tiny visitor before there was an unfortunate incident involving a frog, a wooden bench and a bum.
- The Massassauga Provincial Park

Let's Call Him Theodore  This guy showed up on our campsite every day, a few times a day. Guess what times he showed up? Yup - mealtimes. We think this chunky chipmunky has become quite accustomed to human visitors to his park and was quite bold. We actually chased him away every time he showed up and didn't feed him. They're cute, but they can be destructive and aggressive when they've been fed by people too many times. 
- The Massassauga Provincial Park
Looking Snappy  This absolutely huge turtle decided to join us for a swim one day.  It seemed to show up from nowhere as we splashed and swam at our little private beach. It was a very curious beast, swimming leisurely towards us, and then sticking his head out of the water to investigate what was going on above the lake.  When we grabbed our camera, he didn't seem to care at all as we watched him from a few feet away. Did I mention that this beast was huge? His shell spanned at least 2.5'  from head to tail. It was like looking at a dinosaur. And it was awesome. He hung around our beach for a couple of hours, then disappeared and we didn't see him again for the rest of the trip.
- The Massassauga Provincial Park

While we were at The Massassauga, we also saw what we thought was either a mink or a pine marten. We only caught a couple of glimpses of it, and it was always it's backside scurrying into some bushes near the beach. Unfortunately, I never had the camera ready when it appeared.  

And of course, an Ontario camping season doesn't seem complete to us unless we hear the call of the loon. We have listened to the Loons in Algonquin, The Massassauga and soon we'll hear them at Grundy Lake. I wonder what other creatures will reveal themselves when we head North to Grundy later this summer? 

And now, a contest!! If you can identify the correct common name for each of the animals pictured in this post or leave me a comment about this post you'll be entered into a draw for a freshly minted Sometimes Eventful Sticker! Woohoo! Wouldn't this look awesome on your food barrel/vehicle bumper/thing-that-you-put-stickers-on?



Provide your answers in the comments below to qualify. Contest closes on August 30, 2015. Good luck!

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