Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Checking in with the Neighbours on Earth Day

 Earth Day. And it's raining. So what to do but put on a raincoat, some rubber boots, and step out the door.

We only get One Earth. We should appreciate it, care for it, fall in love with it and never get over that.  We should understand that we share it.

We know people who look out the window on a rainy day and grumble, but they are missing so very much.

We found where the mice had been under the snow during a long hard winter, nibbling the bark from the little spruce.

And Taffy insisted that I come check THIS out...  turned out to be Wolf Scat. (yes, poop)   It was right at the top of the hill across the road, by the tubing slide, so very close to the resort.  Look at the fur in the scat -- this wolf had a meal of deer! Not so good for the deer, but most wonderful for the wolf, who wants to live too.

Go a little farther, and there's a big old (very old) maple tree that has past its prime.  How to tell? Well, when the pileated woodpeckers start hammering into the tree, it's a sure sign that there are insects and grubs in there, which would not be there in a healthy tree.   It is absolutely amazing how huge the chips are that the woodpecker smashes out with his beak! Look at the pile of chips at the base of this tree!

While looking down, on a northern facing slope where the snow is still lying about a foot deep, these beautiful oyster mushrooms, sometimes known as chicken of the woods, were vibrant on a fallen birch limb.  It is not always the big things that should draw your attention!


Crossing the road out of the fields and into the sugarbush, right at the trail edge was this striped maple, with the bark all scraped raw on one side.  That is the sure sign that last autumn one of the bucks used this tree to polish the velvet off his antlers so he would look sexy for the does.  The bucks will rub the antlers against the tree, almost like sharpening a knife blade, polishing up the rack and getting rid of the last itchy bits of the velvet that has nourished the antler while it grew.

If you stand still in the woods at this time of year, you can literally hear Spring coming.  The entire bush is flowing with tiny creeks and bigger streams, the snow melting off the hillsides and scurrying downhill through last autumn's leaves, creating breath-stealingly lovely miniature cascades at every turn.

There is a wonderful smell to a Spring woods, too, something rich and earthy and fresh. If you are fortunate enough to be a dog, there is a whole lot MORE to smell.  Taffy had to check out the messages written on this stump. No, I was not able to translate it...

Where the beech grow in big stands sweeping up the side of the hill, the deer had been digging for the mast (the beech nuts) that may have wintered over under the leaves.   The wild turkeys will dig up the bush like this as well, also seeking those protein-packed beech nuts.

Through the leaf litter underfoot, unstoppable, tiny shoots are pushing their way up to the light.

Ice falls still hold onto the rocky outcrops of the Canadian Shield in the woods, where the sun can't get a good angle on the northern sides of the hill.  Without leaves on the trees, you can see forever through the trees, and it pulls you away from the trails to wander and explore.  When you get higher, you can see even farther...

We found moss as green as Ireland.

And just beyond that, we came across an old dead tree that the porcupine had stripped of its bark, again searching for the insects and grubs that live underneath.  Porky had tossed down big slabs of the bark at the base of the tree.

The forest changes its face constantly. Here, where the beech stand gives way to the birches, it is an entirely different micro-environment.  Down the hill, there is a stand of red pines.  And where we started along the trail, we walked through hemlocks, and then a maple sugar bush.  If you know what to look for, you will be endlessly enchanted.

Of course there were ducks on the pond, the pond that was as dark green as the evergreens overshading it.  Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are very busy discussing nest sites, and he is being very very attentive.  Not that he'll stick around to raise the ducklings, but like all marriages, it begins in hope...

And, as we came back onto the lawn at Bondi, next to the horse pasture, there were geese. They were actually in the pasture, enjoying the big puddles and poking about for lunch, but Taffy suggested they'd prefer to be back in the air. She has this fascination with chasing geese, who refuse to play by her rules, and keep flying away...

Having been out and about, checking up on our neighbours who share this wonderful piece of the planet with us, it's now time to come inside, hang jackets to dry, and curl up by the fire for dinner.  Happy Earth Day.  Go on, get outside, be kind to the planet...

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Not Where You Look, It's What You See

 If you are ever wondering what to do next, try coming up this way, camera in hand.

Our cousin Robin Tapley is a master at getting out the door and into the best places in the world. Including here in North Muskoka.

These are a few of his photos taken this week -- the first is Ragged Falls, during the Spring Melt. This is a lovely waterfalls at any time of year, but is at its most powerful and dramatic best in spring.

Farther down stream you'll find the Hogs Trough -- the name comes from the steep sides of the shore where the river runs, and pouring in to the river are miniature catracts, like this one.

If you like to have a personality in your pictures, now is the time to visit Algonquin Park. Just look at who is hanging around there now!

Many thanks to Robin for these -- and all-- his fabulous photographs!

The Fog Came In

According to Brian's "Flood State Indicator" (aka calibrated stick. Aka Ruler) we are up another inch of water.  Still not in any emergency state. Despite record snow levels, the melt has been downright civilized up here, in part because there was so little frost in the ground and the swamps weren't frozen solid, so there were places the meltwater could go.  Don't mistake me, the swamps were well and truly frozen during the -30 degree weather we 'enjoyed', but last year we got a series of Winter Thaws that caused the swamps to freeze hard almost all the way to the bottom. This year, the ice came in early, and the snow on top acted as insulation, leaving a wider layer of liquid water under that ice.

Today it hit 18 degrees around noon, and then began to drizzle. When that warm rain hit the cold ice, the fog came in. Forget coming in on little cat feet, a la Carl Sandberg's famous poem. This fog simply rose up from the ice, more like a curtain than a cat.

A pair of Canada geese zoomed in to land at the open water by the main dock.  'Geese' is fighting words for Taffy... She was down the hill and onto the dock almost as fast as the rising fog. "all of you geese, get off of my dock!!" she seemed to say. They took the hint. If you squint a bit, you can just see them moving away from the dock.

Not that you can see much else.  Beyond Taffy is the line of the ice. Beyond that is the Point, the big square boathouse, the Island, and the far shore.   Good luck with spotting that.

The fog made for interesting backdrops. This tree in front of Cedars cottage created a study in black and white -- the line of the trees on the Point floating like a mirage beyond it.


Taffy reports that there is a muskrat hanging out under the dock.  Muskrat is quite happy with the current water levels -- it makes his life easy, and gives him lots of room under the dock to roam around. Or nap.

We found some opened clam shells along
the shoreline as well, which would point to a Muskrat Feast.

It was a challenge to get low enough to say Hello...

What a superb Spring day it was though, with such mirror smooth water, and the ice getting steadily darker in preparation for vanishing.

That was yesterday.  Today, although it soared up to 18 degrees, we had some drizzle in the afternoon.  Down by the cook-out beach, there were frogs stirring.  It keeps a dog busy, all this wildlife in the back yard!   We haven't heard the frogs yet, but I'm willing to bet it will be tonight. 

They can join the Barred Owl who has been serenading us all week...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April Snow

 April is the cruellest month, it is said. It is certainly the most fickle in the weather department.   Every April we get a freak snowstorm, just when we think it's safe to put on a t-shirt.  This year's arrived last night, effectively preventing us from seeing the Lunar Eclipse.

Also arriving today was the first loon. (yes, it is a loon, a bit distant... I really do need a better telephoto...)  Welcome back!

The deer didn't seem to be very pleased with the return of the snow, just when they were starting to find the odd blade of grass. And we simply won't mention what the robin said...

The tree swallows have all vanished. I don't know where they go. They'll be back as soon as it warms, possibly as early as tomorrow.

But whatever else you say about spring snow, it certainly is pretty...

Upping the Game

 Go poke back into yesterday's posts to see how Ten Mile Creek at Seabreeze looked just one day ago.

Today, it had overrun the banks and the culverts, and was pouring over the road -- you can see in the distance where water found its level, so to speak.  And spare a moment of sorrow for the poor chap who has once again had his driveway washed out...

The culverts are running at capacity today.  The Township came in with sandbags and an excavator and was able to coax the overflowing water back into the banks and direct it to the culverts. They are watching this section of road very closely.    Down at Baysville, the situation at Burlemarie Road seems to be quite a bit better - but up here at Seabreeze, the Ten Mile Creek seems to be running unusually high compared to the rest of the waterways.

You can see by the tattletale line of ice on the trees just how high up the bank and over the road the water was flowing.

 Oh, and speaking of ice on the trees, did we mention that last night we did NOT get to see the lunar eclipse. Instead we were treated to the April Blizzard -- a freakishly annoying snowstorm that arrives every year, usualy in April. (occasionally in May, but let us not dwell on that!)

This snow won't last, but it sure made the place look clean and shiny! Covered up all that mud...

And was cold enough to snap the ice back into place at the main dock.

The water level is rising in Lake of Bays. Steadily. And fairly rapidly.  I was told today that the MNR measurements show the flow over the Baysville dam today to be 11,000 gallons per minute (gpm).  Which is impressive.

Except that the flow at the Oxtongue River was 12,582 gpm.

And that doesn't include the Boyne, Ten Mile Creek, Kawagama and the other tributaries and creeks that are leaping joyfully downhill to the lake.    Elementary math
tells us that the Lake of Bays is filling up.

Just compare the level on Brian's 'calibrated stick' at the dock to yesterday's photo...

And yes, Ed Long, a calibrated stick is also known as a ruler, but it sounds wayyy cooler. And a ruler is probably a tad more accurate. And in metric...  So we're going with the calibrated stick thing.

It is interesting to watch the water level rise along the shore.

Yesterday, the water was half way out the dock. Today, Taffy was a bit surprised to discover just how little lakebed she had to sniff about on.

Looking towards Clover and Springside, the water is up to the end of the sailboat ramp, so we've got a good marker for tomorrow's comparison!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Beaver, what an encounter!

Up at Hawke Lake this week, Brian and David were lucky enough to watch Beav, hard at work repairing his dam.  They weren't able to get any photos -- he was a bit too far away for the phone camera they had on them.

Steve Dunford, in the Park last week, captured this great image of a beaver house -- with uninvited guests on the roof...

This time of year we often see beavers at work, as they come out to repair dams and houses damaged by the spring melt.

This dam is right at the edge of the road on the Seabreeze Road.  A strong dam is a good dam, that is the Beaver's philosophy, and just the sound of running water can inspire them to get to work, so this spring, they've got plenty to do!

It's not always easy to be in the right place at the right time for a Beaver experience, but this gentleman, John Cena, out in Calgary on the Bow River, he got the Beaver Experience of a Lifetime.  

Just enjoy...