After exploring Pink Lake in Gatineau Park, I drove up to one of the park's most popular scenic areas, Champlain Lookout. I got there just as the sun was setting, and I have to say, the view out over the Ottawa Valley was pretty spectacular:
A bunch of other people were there enjoying the view as well, although it felt far from crowded. It was quite peaceful, really:
The scenery was awesome, but I got totally distracted when this creature came out to feed:
A Snowshoe Hare! I've never seen one of these animals before, and I couldn't believe how bold it was. This creature must have been used to the crowds at this popular spot, because it was perfectly content to forage in the grass, only hopping away when people passed within a few feet of it. And maybe the people here are used to this creature, too, because I seemed to be the only one paying any attention to it. Well, OK! I don't mind being the weird person staring and pointing my camera at a cool animal!
Things I love about this lagomorph (and which I have to notice because it makes such a striking comparison to my pet rabbits at home): Those big black-and-white rimmed ears, the little white star on its forehead, the long face and big nose, those gigantic feet and legs. Snowshoe Hare indeed!
Mr. or Mrs. Hare, you are so lanky, and so beautiful.
I also love the faint patches of white on those massive back feet -- remnants of this creature's all-white winter coat, perhaps?
The hare just munched away while people milled around and the sun set over the valley:
Even when the hare did leave the open area (too many people, too close), it didn't go far, and as soon as the offending people left it would come right back out again. The food here must be really good! (Oh my goodness, I just cannot get over those back feet.)
Finally, it got too dark for close-up pictures, and I moved on, but only after a few last looks out over the valley. A Common Raven (I think, judging from that big beak) cut a dramatic silhouette against the sky:
Yes, I am definitely glad I came up here.
That was the end of my trip to Gatineau Park, but I visited another (quite different) place the next morning. Stay tuned!