Fool Hen

Spruce Grouse
Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

I had no idea Canada had things like this; I’m more used to the idea of grouse living in the highlands of Scotland or similar, being shot at by inbred members of the aristocracy…

This splendid chap is a Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis); according to my bird book, it is also known as the Fool Hen, due to its habit of allowing people to get extremely close before it beats a retreat.

I can vouch for the accuracy of the book, although I didn’t get *too* close, to avoid distressing the fellow…

Alces alces. The Moose.

Moose, Alces alces, Alces

Male moose, with early-growth antlers.

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 through the park has an awful lot of salt put on it during the winter, to help keep it open and in the spring, the salty water around the roads attracts moose – short of sodium after the long winter.

Having failed to see a single moose in two and a half years, we almost got into double figures in two days – a thoroughly memorable couple of days!

Moose are really rather splendid creatures, although ours were looking a bit scruffy, having just survived a really rather horrible winter.

Apparently, moose are unusual in that their noses can close when submerged, making them the only deer that can feed under water.