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Photographer takes to Lake Chipican like a duck to water

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Journal Staff

Lake Chipican has been a revelation to Sarnia nature photographer Ronny D’Haene.

“Until last year I didn’t know about (the wildlife) around it,” he said. “I didn’t think there would be much there because of all the people around.”

His opinion was changed by a massive, dinosaur-like snapping turtle he encountered on a trail that encircles the murky pond in Canatara Park.

D’Haene got a decent if grainy shot of the ancient creature, which he nicknamed Behemoth and which appeared in The Journal.

He went back this spring for more, and though he hasn’t spotted Behemoth again he has captured a remarkable array of creatures in and around Lake Chipican, a handful of which are presented here.

Readers may remember a recent image he shared of four turtles sunning on a log, and another of a beaver that has inexplicably appeared.

“I’ve been going to Chipican every day recently and I’m seeing all these things I didn’t know were there,” he said. “I’m seeing all of these birds and other wildlife. It’s been a crazy-good spring.”

Unless otherwise noted, all of the subjects in these photos were encountered in recent weeks in Sarnia’s busiest and most popular park.

‘I’m learning a lot of stuff from the locals,” D’Haene said. “They always stop and talk with me.”

Though unbeloved by local gardeners, a chipmonk eating seeds in the woods around Lake Chipican is a cheerful sight.
Ronny D’Haene


A pileated woodpecker, the second largest woodpecker on the continent, searches for insects on the east side of the Children’s Animal Farm.
Ronny D’Haene
An irritated blackbird dive-bombs a red-tailed hawk soaring over the Children’s Animal Farm in Canatara Park on May 5. Attacking a dangerous bird of prey might seem like risky behaviour, but for nimble and territorial blackbirds harassing hawks is standard operating procedure.
Ronny D’Haene Photo


He went that way! Having cleaned his feathers, a male grackle appears to be pointing while perched on a branch beside Lake Chipican.
Ronny D’Haene





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