Monday, October 04, 2010

Canada 2010 Summary

Travelling around Canada in a Recreational Vehicle is something that I can highly recommend to anyone of any age and is something that we are already planning to do again next year. With an RV, you don't just get a vehicle - you get access to an entire lifestyle, which Dee and I can fully appreciate living aboard a traditional narrowboat as we do.

During our tour Dave, my long standing best mate, Dee and I completed just short of 1,900Kms in 15 days and in 2 RV's, staying in some amazingly stunning places. Like the U.S, Canada is fully geared up for the RV way of life. There are campgrounds across Canada to suit everyone's taste. From large RV parks with every kind of luxury and amenity, to beautiful and remote wilderness camp sites, you can guess which ones we chose?

For me the birding is simply wonderful, with soaring Eagles and hunting Raptors around every bend and other wildlife always not too far away. For someone like my wife Dee, who loves to go in search of Mammals and Amphibians it's truly magical, and she always comes up with the goods!

Bow Summit
From a wildlife perspective visiting Canada in September can be unpredictable, during our visit we didn't encounter a single Swift or Swallow, plus several other species which I'd hoped to locate had moved on. We also encountered very few wading birds and zero Terns, although our journey was mainly inland and of course the wintering species like Tundra Swan have yet to arrive!

At the higher levels and in the Alpine, waterfowl numbers seemed extremely low. Talking to the local birding population it appears that an early snow which came and went seemed to trigger an early migration, having said all of the above, a bird species count of 118 is an excellent haul and one which produced several new species for our Canada list.

In total we managed 4 Black Bear, always a delight to see but drew a blank on Grizzly this year, Moose remain totally illusive to us even though we drove through a number of hot-spots, this is our second blank year. We managed a small number of Butterflies with Northwest Fritillery, Milbert's Tortoiseshell, Clouded Sulphur, Green Comma and Mourning Cloak.

As ever the weather played it's part and we arrived in Calgary to low cloud 3C and persistent rain, which unfortunately stayed with us through Banff and Radium Springs. From Lake Louise it was an improving picture and the weather during our second week exceeded all our expectations with cloudless skies and temperatures in the high teens, enabling us to enjoy an excellent campfire each evening.

To close the door on this visit, Canada remains a special place for Dee and I having got married in Banff last year, it's a magical wonderland for wildlife enthusiasts like us and the scenery never lets you down! The colours that abound during the Fall are simply breathtaking and the smell of Pine a constant delight, the people are amazingly friendly!

If I could pick a single moment of our trip that sums it all up it would be a moment on Bow Summit, Banff National Park (pictured Above right). The sun shone out and as we looked down in awe of this amazing vista from some 7,000Ft up within the Rocky Mountains 100 Cedar Waxwing appeared and began flying from tree to tree in perfect unison, amazing, stunning, simply wonderful!