MAGNIFICENTLY MONSTROUS MOOSE & MESSY TRAIL CONSTRUCTION

Last year after Nola McConnan’s book “ABC Muskoka” came out I spent several long drives making up alliterative sentences for animals. One was “Magnificently monstrous moose munch messily in the midnight marsh”. Yesterday I had the chance to photograph a couple of moose in Algonquin Park and one or two of those immages might work as illustrations for that sentence. They would have been much more difficult to photograph at midnight.

This poor young moose looks like he had a difficult winter. He was missing alot of fir, had many ticks, surrounded by blackflies and one of his legs was badly swollen. I don’t know about the leg but warmer weather might help his condition.

A female and two yearling calves feeding gave me some great opportunities along Arrowhon Road. Hundreds of small sapplings leafing out made photography a challenge but I did get a few close-ups of the cow showing her method of consuming the tender young leaves.

The May issue of Muskoka Magazine contains an article by Doug Smith including some of my previous moose images. The next two would have been good to have.

As most of you know ungulates, except camels and llamas have no upper teeth and use their highly sensitive upper lips to capture their food.

All the above images were taken with the Canon 7D and a 100-400 lens. The images contained in this blog are all the property of Eleanor Kee Wellman, are copyrighted, and may not be used for any reason without the written permission of the photographer.

On the continuing saga of the “snowmobile trail”. I have requested the group reconstruct the trail where it runs through two vernal pools. Contrary to the stated recommendations of the company chosen to do the environmental study for the club the one pool was completely destroyed and the larger one reduced to half its size by filling with debris and cut logs. The trail construction could have been kept to twelve to fourteen feet from the road allowance survey line. Instead it extends thirty feet from the survey line. Last year there were thirty Spotted Salamander egg masses counted with most of them in the now filled area of the pool. This year there are twelve egg masses and they are all in the part of the pool outside the road allowance, which I still own.

Two trees were cut at the pond edge for no reason other than, likely, they were the right size for the fill. Those trees would have shaded the pond edges.

I have been photographing egg masses and amphibians at that pool since 1999 and several of those images have been published.

The intent, according to the Environmental Report was to minimize the width of the trail through those pools but, in fact, the trail has been constructed to almost the width of the whole thirty- three foot road allowance in the area of the largest pool. No amphibian surveys were done as it wasn’t deemed necessary by the company who did the report, as they stated, wetlands would be protected. They were responsible for making sure all construction was done properly.

I had help from Bob Bowles, friend and professional environmental consultant, and Dirk Janas of Beacon Environmental, in writing my presentation and asking Mayor Murphy and all Council Members to delay returning the $10,000 deposit made by the snowmobile club at a May 7, 2012 meeting of the Township of Muskoka Lakes.

With the logs and debris removed the trail could be reconstructed to the twelve foot width done in other areas of the same trail. Within a couple of years the pool might recover and more of it be useable by its obligate species. How the company, whose recommendations were to be followed, could have let this happen and then sign off on the construction, I just don’t know! The MNR then signed off as well. Did any of their environmental experts actually visit the site after the construction? If they did their job wasn’t done!

More to follow!