Thursday, June 13, 2013

Back To The Wild!

Last nights stop, which due to our detour was not part of our orginal plan, was the quaint Mountain Vista Seaside Campground, located on the shore of the St. Andrews Channel, which In fact produced Bald Eagle, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and turned out to be a nice little overnight stop.

Great Cormorant at Cheticamp Island
From here it was back to the wildlife and Dee and I changed our itinerary deciding to head back into Cape Breton National Park to have another go at tracking down the illusive Moose. One thing we both pride ourselves on is avoiding bespoke tours and enjoy the challenge of finding our own wildlife and so with the best will in the world we were a determined team.

Black Guillemot at Cape Breton Island
We made an early start and prior to entering the park once more stopped at several scenic viewpoints to investigate. Belted Kingfisher, Cedar Waxwings and Spotted Sandpiper at Little River and using the back road into Belle Cote, bypassing Margaree Harbour, the brilliant sight of a pair of courting Wilson's Snipe in flight winnow, an amazing call produced by air passing through specialized tail feathers as the birds perform flight displays, a definite first for us in Canada and what a stunning thing to behold.

Savanah Sparrow on the cliff tops at Cheticamp Island
Prior to arriving in Cheticamp a stop for lunch overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence provided great views of a large flock of White-winged Scoter, around 200 or so with several Black Scoter close by. More Northern Gannet, Double-crested Cormorant and unusually a couple of Red-throated Loons, when two adults in non breeding plumage were just offshore.

Minke Whale With An Onlooking Gannet at Cheticamp Island
Our next stop was to take a walk along the cliffs at Cheticamp Island and while driving across the causeway the amazing sight of a Minke Whale, when a lone individual repeatedly broke surface. We re-located him once more after arriving atop the cliffs and while enjoying his antics spotted a couple of Dolphin just off shore.

The cliffs were alive with Savannah Sparrow and Cliff Swallow, and down below Willet, Spotted Sandpiper and close views of Great Cormorant. Black-tailed Kitiwake, Razorbill and Black Guillimot all seemed to be nesting on the rock face and we enjoyed a brilliant 90-minutes.

Bull Moose at French Lake Cape Breton Highlands
After checking in and re-entering the park our next quest was to take the 7Km Skyline Trail just prior to dusk in search of Moose once more. Amazingly, just after stopping at French Lake on the Cabot Trail on route to Skyline Dee uttered the immortal words MOOSE!! Our quest for this, what we believed to be mythical creature was over, when a stunning bull Moose was stood right in front of us staying just long enough for a few snapshots, a truly amazing day's wildlife spotting!

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