Updated: Oct 21
"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolour, summer an oil painting,
and autumn a mosaic of them all."
Autumn is a wonderful time to be out and around in Ontario. In the northern parts of our province especially, the leaves are brilliant, lakes are clear and blue, and the forests are full of living things only found in this season of colour.
In early October, we made the trip from Floradale to Manitoba, by way of the Trans-Canada Highway. The views around corners and over hilltops were breathtaking. It's impossible to pull over, so this shot was taken through the car window.
On our return trip, we stopped at some of the many provincial parks situated around Lake Huron and Lake Superior. When we travel, I am always on the lookout for birds, but our avian friends were few and far between on this trip. At Kakabeka Falls,
above the falls and over the ravine, we did see families of Bald Eagles, teaching their young to hunt and fish. This juvenile Eagle landed in a treetop near the walkway over the falls, and preened for a few minutes. It still has some mottling on the head, and lacks the white tail of an adult.
Mature Bald Eagles landed across the canyon, and perched on dead trees.
The Bald Eagle "look"...
Only visible through a small window in the Cedar branches, this majestic creature was framed in shadows, spotlit by the late afternoon sun.
Back at our campsite, there were 3 Ruffed Grouse rooting around in the small trees. They stayed pretty well hidden, and this was the best I could do!
While birds were scarce, colourful leaves were spectacular and plentiful. There were Maple leaves in every shade of green, yellow, orange, brown, red...
We climbed trails and stairs to a lookout over Pancake Bay. So beautiful!
The Edmund Fitzgerald lies beneath the waters of this bay, which is surrounded by forest as far as the eye can see. How wonderful to see acres of trees, uninterrupted by hydro lines or roads (well, maybe a few roads, but they aren't visible from the Pancake Bay lookout), providing habitat for millions of creatures!
In other places, Birch leaves, yellow against the blue sky, were paired with Black Spruce.
Ripe American Mountain Ash berries were brilliant.
On the forest floor, Canadian Bunchberry blossomed.
Orange Hawkweed brightened the lichen-covered landscape on a high trail near Thunder Bay.
Sedge Grasses, Juniper Haircap Moss, and other Mosses formed dense blankets on massive rocks near the same trail.
Along the paths in the forests, there was an amazing variety of Mushrooms and Fungi. (I have tried to identify these to the best of my ability, but am open to corrections!) I didn't rearrange any of the elements in these next photos, except to remove a leaf or branch that was covering a mushroom; many of the little vignettes were works of art without any need for manipulation by a human.
Perhaps my favourite, this Amanita Mushroom (likely Fly Agaric) is a gorgeous, sunshine-bright Mushroom.
I think these next 2 are also Amanita Mushrooms.
Winter Russula Mushroom with Canadian Yew and Young Sugar Maple
Possibly more Russula...
Plums and Custard Mushrooms (sounds delicious, but apparently inedible)
Possibly a type of Suillus Mushroom (considered "edible -- good, after peeling and removing slime."* Yuck. I didn't try it!)
My Seek App calls this one a "Slimy-Girdled Cort"... likely a Cortinarius of some sort.
Not sure about this one.
Violet Webcap (Cortinarius violaceus) (Who knew there were purple mushrooms??)
I like the brown softness of this Mushroom.
Mycena -- likely Bonnet Mushrooms
Scarlet Waxy Cap
Scaly Vase Chanterelle?
Another pretty mushroom without an ID!
(Yellow-tipped?) Coral Fungus
Shining Clubmoss with Hoof Fungus
Some examples of Shelf Fungi...
Turkey Tail Fungus
Resinous Polypore, a Shelf Fungus
Likely Bone Polypore
Amazing to find all of these different forms of Fungi right beside the trails! It became something of a treasure hunt to find new shapes and colours.
We were very fortunate to have been in Northern Ontario when colours were at their absolute peak . The weather was warm for early October, and perfect for hiking along the Lake Superior Shoreline,
and through the magnificent forests.
"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."
-William Cullen Bryant
* I used "Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America" by Roger Phillips, as well as my "Seek App" to identify the mushrooms and fungi in this blog. However, I am unsure about quite a few of them! Any experts out there???
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