For Fox Sake…

Before heading for Canada, I had read all about the abundance of raccoons about the place; it was possible to get the distinct impression that the country was knee-deep in the things. It was therefore slightly surprising not see a single raccoon for almost a year after arriving in country, despite looking for the things (living in a block of flats probably didn’t help…

Raccoon at dusk in Toronto

Ew, raccoon?

It seems that one easy way to distinguish between a real live Canadian (one of the wild ones) and a relative newcomer to the country is to look at how they react to raccoons: the newcomers tend to think that the raccoons are terribly cute and splendid, whilst the more established folk are more included to have a reaction that could be characterised as…

Gorilla gorilla, Gorilla

Motherhood

Visiting Toronto Zoo during the Thanksgiving weekend was perhaps not the brightest idea I’ve ever had – the place was uncomfortably busy, with rather a preponderance of morons banging on the glass to try and get the animals to do something (what kind of idiot does that anyway?). However, in amongst all this was the rather touching sight of a mother gorilla with her…

Alces alces. The Moose.

Alces alces, the moose, is the largest of the deer family (that hasn’t gone extinct). Seeing a wild one was very high on my list of things to do in Canada; after two and a half years, I was still failing miserably. This all changed on a visit to Algonquin Park, as the winter snow was in the process of melting; the main road…

Groundhog

Groundhog

I think groundhogs (Marmota monax) are brilliant! If you’re from North America, these things are relatively unremarkable, apart from their alleged weather-predicting abilities (!); not having anything like this back home, they’re rather more impressive to a Brit. Groundhogs are essentially enormous squirrels (Sciuridae); Europeans will be familiar with their more extreme relations that live up mountains – the marmots. Groundhogs prefer to live…

Toronto, Skyline, Night

Toronto Skyline At Night

This was taken from Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands, utilising an ND filter to allow a longer exposure; Toronto at night is almost verging on pretty… Unfortunately, I’d missed that last ferry back from this end of the islands and had to walk back to Centre Island to catch a later ferry, with a scavenging raccoon (who seemed especially keen on pizza) to…

Mink

Mink

The Toronto Islands are a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto and are usually a pleasure to visit – the little cafe at the eastern end of the islands is a fine spot for a bite to eat or a drink. On this occasion, I was on the islands with a view to getting some after dark shots of the Toronto skyline. Arriving in…

Black Bear, Bear, Ursus americanus

You don’t get this stuff at home

This sighting was one of the highlights of my time thus far in Canada; whilst exploring a path from a rather splendid B&B (Shambhala, in Buckhorn), I found this bear just strolling towards me. After contemplating me for a few moments (and kindly refraining from eating me), it wandered off into the bushes; just enough time to get a few photographs. I love the…

Orangutan, Toronto Zoo

People too?

It’s difficult to do Orang-utans justice in just a few lines; they have such intelligence and depth to them – I still recall being taught about their behaviour, when I was at university and eventually reaching the conclusion that you can make a very good case that they are people too – admittedly, hairy orange ones. When you meet their eye or watch them…

Clouded Leopard, Merriweather, Toronto Zoo

A grand old lady

This is Merriweather, Toronto Zoo’s venerable Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa); every other time I’ve visited her, she’s been asleep – this was a rare opportunity to see her moving about. When you’re as old as this Clouded Leopard, you’re entitled to a bit of rest! A typical life-span for a Clouded Leopard in captivity is apparently a little over a decade; Merriweather was almost…