Paradise on Georgian Bay

I spent the weekend in paradise. On an island 50km or so north of Parry Sound. Right here:

The beauty of the place was so arresting that I didn’t miss the lack of electricity one bit. We felt like we’d stepped into a Group of Seven painting for the weekend, tilted pine trees and all. I wasn’t expecting a particularly birdful weekend, but we saw about a dozen Common Loons convening on the water for what was either a rowdy party, a sincere and earnest gossip session or a political gathering. They intoned their distinctive, high pitched call repeatedly. If I were more musically inclined, I might have been able to discern a harmony. If I were Olivier Messaien, I would have gathered enough material to write a whole new symphonic poem. They were louder than I’ve ever heard loons, but because this was the first time I’ve seen so many active loons so close up, I was captivated. Here are the last two loons, after the party had pretty much disbanded, making plans for their next rendez-vous.

I even saw a Black and White Warbler chirping away in a pine tree. He was deeply engaged in a singing contest with the local Chickadees. Given that I tend to judge primarily by appearance, embarrassingly shallow birder that I am, I’d say the Black and White Warbler won hands down. I didn’t even need binoculars to make eye contact with him! Just when I thought I wouldn’t see another warbler until Fall, when they’d all be a uniform shade of brown and I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, I caught a glimpse of my all-time favorite warbler, still sporting its breeding plumage. I’m telling you — this weekend really was heavenly!

I fed bits of steak fat (left over from our feast) to a group of rabid seagulls; about twenty of them descended on the granite rocks to claim the loot. Here’s the beginning of the action:

I meant to read, but all I ended up doing was stare at the water, the trees, the sky, the rocks, and the birds (all of that in my Tilley hat, of course). A perfect weekend.

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