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1000 Islands Wildlife

Written by on January 12, 2019 in Island Life Magazine

Aboriginals called the 1000 Islands Manitouana or “Garden of the Great Spirit” long before European settlers explored the St. Lawrence River in the 1600s. It is still defined by its natural beauty of rugged granite, windswept pines, enchanted waterways and wildlife. The human species here, known locally as River Rats, is not alone in making this special place home. Spend any time here and you will see Great Blue Herons, Osprey and other winged islanders that share this region’s spectacular shores with us and some of these other familiar creatures.

Grenadier Island: The Loon is known for its beautiful call. The sound can be heard all over the River especially at twilight. I spotted these two loons having a lively conversation with each other while I was kayaking off the southern shores of Grenadier Island. 

Loons off Grenadier Island. Photo by Kim Lunman.

Hill Island: I was driving on Hill Island to near Ivy Lea Canada when I spotted this Doe. After getting out of the car to grab my camera, I couldn’t believe it when I saw her little fawn appear out of the trees to join her mother for dinner, almost magically posing next to a milk can on this waterfront property.

Dinner Time: A deer feeds her fawn on Hill Island. Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine.

What If Island: This beaver I came to call Bob woke me up every morning I spent doing research at the whimsically-named What If Island in the International Rift overlooking Wellesley Island N.Y. and Lake of the Isles. Bob did daily laps around the tiny Canadian island at 5:30 a.m., slapping his tail against the water, in what became my alarm clock that summer.

Beaver Bob off What If Island. Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine.

Red Roof Island: I spotted this Merganser duck off the shores of Red Roof Island just off the southern shores of Grenadier Island summer, carrying her brood off babies on her back. Mother Mergansers move fast, especially with their special cargo aboard – I counted at least seven babies before she sped away, leaving me on the dock in her wake.

Babies Aboard: Merganser mom and her ducklings make a wake off Red Roof Island just off the shores of Grenadier Island. Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine.

Yeo Island: This Great Blue Heron below watches over the River from its nest on Yeo Island, a private Canadian island near Rockport and the largest undeveloped privately-owned island in the 1000 Islands.

Great Blue Heron at Yeo Island. Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine.


Deer Island: This Osprey below guards its nest on Deer Island. Deer Island is home to Yale University’s secretive Skull and Bones Society retreat near Alexandria Bay and Heart’s Island’s Boldt Castle. The society, including past U.S. presidents George Bush and George Bush Sr. and William Taft as members, has owned the 50-acre private island since 1856. There are only a few rustic cottages on the American island, located close to Canada’s border near Rockport.

Osprey at Deer Island . Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine.

Brock Isles: This mink on Victoria Island, a tiny island stewarded by Canada’s 1000 Islands National Parks island off the shores of Brockville’s St. Lawrence Park, seemed as surprised to see me arriving here by kayak as I was surprised to see it.

Peekaboo: A mink greeting a visitor on Victoria Island near Brockville. Photo by Kim Lunman/Island Life Magazine.