Some Flora and Fauna on Beausoleil Island

Submitted by Howey on

Beautiful Beausoleil Island is part of Georgian Bay National Park. This rocky outcrop of the Canadian Shield contains some rare flowers, the endangered, shy but deadly if it bites, Massasauga Rattle Snake. The windblown pines and spectacular scenery here are reminiscent of the paintings of the Group of Seven.


Submitted by Howey on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 13:32

Seems, with my level of "expertise", am able to send only one picture at a time.  Anyway, here is the Moccasin Slipper orchid.  Sorry about this.  Fran

Frances Howey
London, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5b

Submitted by Howey on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 13:42

And here is the Rattler - tried to photograph it curled up and asleep but there was such a lot of us trying to get pictures that I could only push through after it had wakened and was slithering off.  Fran

Submitted by Lori S. on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 14:03

Beautiful photos, Frances!  Thank you for posting them!  I hope we will get to see more of the plant life too. 


(P. S. To post up to 10 photos at a time, just click on "More Attachments" up to 9 times.  Then you just have to connect one photo, then go down to the next photo, and connect it, and so on, and when you are done, click on "Post".)

Submitted by Howey on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 14:24

Thanks Lori - I'll try to send you two photos of Polygala paucifolia, a Gaultheria? and some rocks.  Also growing in abundance (although no photographs) were Corydalis "Harlequin", Solomon Seal, Labrador Tea (was Ledum groenlandicum but now called Rhododendron), and Bog Myrtle (Myrica gale).  Fran

Submitted by RickR on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 15:30

Marvelous stuff, Fran.  Yes, yes, we want to see more. ;D  Wow, I had no idea a rattler could live that far north!  Looks like your suspect gaultheria is Partridge berry (Mitchella repens).  It's funny that it is native and supposedly not that uncommon in Minnesota, but I don't think I have ever seen it...

If you could please, would you go back and modify your first post to include where Georgian Bay national park is?  The Canadian Shield covers a large area, and us Americans are pretty dumb. ;)

Submitted by Howey on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 17:45

Thanks, Rick.  Yes, Partridge Berry sounds more like it.  I had never seen one before but I brought home a berry, have extracted the seeds and potted them.  I think it needs an acid soil - something I don't have.  Georgian Bay is a large "offshoot" of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay National Park (the smallest of our national parks) comprises the islands in the Bay.  This is in the Muskoka resort area and just out from Honey Harbour, if that means anything to you.  To get there from London, the fastest way is to drive east on the 401 Hwy, turn up onto Hwy 400 at Toronto and just head north, through Barrie (on Lake Simcoe).  Then follow the signs.  You can take a slower and prettier route on the back roads which takes longer - 4-5 hrs.  Some of the smaller islands are owned by Americans who flip around in their private seaplanes.  We took the water taxi to get to Beausoleil and back - used to call those things "launches" in BC. Fran
PS - I note I "graduated" to 3 stars.  Yipee!
Frances Howey
London, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5b

Submitted by Middleton on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 20:02

Fran, so curious that you posted about Beausoleil island!  A nursing friend of mine commented at a dinner the other night that there are many more Massasauga rattlers out and about this year on the island due to the warmer weather.  School groups are strictly taught not to mess with them!  Fortunately they (the Massasaugas) are protected but unfortunately so many are purposely slaughtered on any of the islands up that way.  Yes they swim!  The park rangers follow them by radio transmitter if inserted.  Was that your first sighting?
Great photos!
Will have to get up to our Muskoka property to compare what is coming into bloom there.
BTW, I garden due south of Beausoleil and Georgian Bay on County Rd 58 on that map Lori posted.

Submitted by Howey on Sat, 06/02/2012 - 04:30

Sharon - glad you liked the pics.  I'll have to be a bit more serious about my photography when we go up there again next year, I hope.  Next time I'll pack a tripod and try to capture in focus Clintonia borealis, Cornus canadensis, the Star Flower and the wonderful  three foot long Fox snakes of which we saw two - great excitement for everyone.  Wild blueberries abound there too - yum!  Yes, it is very distressing to hear that, even though he M.rattler is endangered and "protected", people kill them - why?  And yes, this is the first I have seen one - the highlight of the trip. Fran

Submitted by Hoy on Sat, 06/02/2012 - 14:47

A beautiful place in beautiful sun, Fran ;)
I get the impression that most of the woods consist of conifers but some of the closeups show oak leaf (red oak- Quercus rubra?)?

Submitted by Tony Willis on Sun, 06/03/2012 - 09:41

So good to see,what a beautiful area. We are visiting the Bruce Peninsular and then onwards to Algonquin National Park leaving here  in 10 days and are looking forward to the flowers. I am not mentioning the snakes to my wife otherwise I will be on my own.