|Cory and his cousin Mark walking into the Caribou enclosure|
We didn't see most of the animals on this visit, but the Caribou were out and easy to see. Unfortunately for them the flies were having an easy time finding them as well and every few minutes one of them would shake themselves and jog a little ways in an effort to escape them.
Louise's favorite was the Snowy Owl which is native to Labrador and not uncommon to spot in Newfoundland. I ran across a few articles about rescued owls that the park has helped, including this one.
|Snowy Owl is white under tree in center of picture|
We also saw the Great Horned Owl but he was in a cage and had his back to us so I just got a close-up of the Snowy Owl instead. So handsome! Judging by the markings I'm guessing it was either an immature male or a mature female. Older males will be almost purely white and immature females have more black markings.
Since so many of the animals were no-shows (which is not uncommon in the summer) or their enclosures were temporarily closed I focused on the vegetation as much as the wildlife.
The White Fringed Orchid can be found growing in sphagnum and other acidic moss or wet meadows. It made a nice companion to the Snowy Owl in its enclosure.
Another bird we spied was the Peregrine Falcon which again is native to Labrador but is also a winter migrant to Newfoundland. He kept busy keeping his eye on every person who passed from his hiding place in the tree.
|See the tiny Creeping Snowberries?|
I kept a lookout for Creeping Snowberry which grows in acidic and neutral soils in open woodland and forest verges, particularly on wet ground such as in or on the edge of bogs, often near tree stumps. My niece Emily pointed it out to me when she took me up to the blueberry patch on top of Cemetery Hill and said it tasted like mint. Sure enough, I tossed half a dozen of the tiny berries in my mouth and got a mild wintergreen aftertaste from them.
You'd think I'd be berried-out by now, what with the handfuls of blueberries and raspberries I've been tossing in my mouth as I go for my morning walk every day. I even found a couple of late Bakeapples and a new one called Crowberry. I'll share pictures of those on another post.
They are putting in a new visitor center and I was a bit disappointed when we passed through the old one and they didn't have any nature guidebooks for sale. They advised I try the MUN Botanical Gardens but I didn't have the time to go into St. John's to look. I did have time to stop on the side of the TCH on our way back and buy some Partridgeberry jam and some bakeapples for my mother-in-law. Nothing like a little roadside bartering to complete a day out!
Thanks for a great day, "Sissy"!