Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spring Trip 2010 – Day 21 – Crane Lake

May 12th we packed up and headed into the town of Lac la Biche….with one mission in mind – find water!  Ernie went to the visitor’s center, which was actually open….and they told him there was a gas station where you could purchase water – so headed there and for a nominal fee, were able to fill up the water tank again.

I’m really not sure why we drove such a short distance that day.  We followed #55 which heads south for a bit before turning east, heading to Cold Lake.  We knew that the provincial campground at Cold Lake didn’t open until the long weekend, but there were a few recreation sites in the area, so checked them out. 

First visited Crane Lake West which was a nice enough little campground, right on the lake, but surrounded by lodges, and private RV parks….if you like that kind of thing it would be nice – but we don’t – so we headed to Crane Lake East, past a subdivision of I guess mixed permanent homes and summer homes, where we found a nice recreational campground, again, right on the lake – we’d only been on the road a couple of hours if that…but decided to stay.


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Here is a view of Crane Lake, looking eastwards from the boat launch which was in the campground.  This lake is in typical ‘boreal forest’ type habitat…

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from the same spot, but looking westward…

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We had picked this spot right by the lake and the boat launch – this would NOT be a nice place to be when the place was busy…but since we were the only ones there, it was fine…

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Most of the campground was up in this treed area….

There weren’t a lot of birds around…

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this female Hairy Woodpecker was seen quite often….obviously thinking about nesting…

The weather was warm and sunny….warm enough for shorts….after lunch we set off for a bit of a walk…

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and were amazed to spot these – Prairie Crocus!  It was about the last place I would have expected to find them!

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There weren’t many and they were well scattered…

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But there they were ~ and in reality it is amazing that there were any to see….because this was obviously ‘ATV’ country and I was so disgusted by the devastation to the habitat …

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ATV habitat damage….

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and more – why governments don’t ban these destructive machines for recreational use is beyond me!

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even right along the lake shore…. all this despite the sign….

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Unfortunately, it seems that the people that delight in this form of recreation have no more respect for rules and regulations than they do for the environment!  Sorry!  but these things are a pet peeve of mine…it just makes my blood boil!!!

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here is another view of the lake from along the ATV track…

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Ernie actually took this picture….it shows the typical ground cover (where it still exists undisturbed)…lichen, moss and Cranberries

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Back at the campground…

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This was one of several Ring-bill Gull who paid a visit….

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We’d seen a few Red Squirrels like this guy….

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and of course the usual Robins…

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and Yellow-rump Warblers…

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as we were eating supper an amphibious ATV pulled up to the boat launch, from the lake, and proceeded through the campground – remember the NO ATV sign? 

at least the day closed with a nice sunset…

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and another look

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this one with Ernie’s camera…  so ended one of my least favorite days of the trip.

Bird List: Belted Kingfisher – 2; Common Loon – 3; Common Merganser – 4; Crow – 1; Mallard – 2; Yellow Rump Warbler – 5; Junco – 2; Hairy Woodpecker – 1; Black Cap Chickadee – 1; Ring-bill Gull – 6; Swainson’s Thrush – 2; Red Breasted Nuthatch – 1; Robin – 1; Magpie – 1.

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