On a visit to Oxtongue Lake, Bob and I were keen to spot some wildlife, and we were not disappointed. On a drive into Algonquin Provincial Park, a few kilometres just inside the West Gate, Bob picked out a cow and calf in the ditch where they were nibbling on tender shoots and having a drink of water.
It was no surprise, really, to see them there, removed from the cover of the forest. These animals are drawn to salty puddles formed by the spring runoff because they contain residual road salt that has been washed off the highway by rain and melting snow.
No sooner had we a lit from our car when a pair of noisy motorcycles came whizzing around the corner causing the cow moose and calf to dash into the underbrush. The two cyclists obviously were intrigued by the wildlife too because they parked their bikes a short distance ahead of our own vehicle in order to observe the pair of moose.
The cow moose cast a glance our way as if to judge the safety of the situation, while the calf summoned up enough courage to venture back towards the side of the road.
The cow, being familiar with the noise of vehicular traffic after years of experience, and deciding that we onlookers were at a safe distance, proceeded to quench her thirst. As if one distraction wasn’t enough, then a rip-roaring tractor trailer approached us from the opposite direction and hurtled by with nary a reduction in speed. The calf, once again, was so frightened that it took to the bush for good.
The cow knew that her offspring was out of harm’s way but could no longer ignore the fact that her calf was out of sight. She reluctantly eyed the fringe of trees and then opted to follow her baby deeper into the forest. If only the timing had been different, we could have observed the two moose at length there along the side of the road. As we passed that location later, on our way home, we did not see hide nor hair of either moose. They had moved on to greener pastures.
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