.All Trips / North America / Southeastern USA

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

02 Merritt Island NWR Little Blue Heron (46)

During our last visit to Florida, my father and I drove from our base in Orlando to explore some of Florida’s east coast.  Our destination for the day was the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, not far from Titusville.  

This is a massive preserve, some 140,000 acres (57,000 ha), situated on the same island as the Kennedy Space Center.  Because of its close proximity to the Space Center, there are rare times when NASA restricts access to this National Wildlife Refuge (e.g. when the space shuttle was landing in Florida).

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The topography of the refuge is flat, but still there are a mixture of habitats including saltwater and freshwater marshes, dunes, forests and scrub.  Here …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 27, 2017: Saddle-bill Stork, Botswana

Sandibe 2011 505 Sandibe. Saddlebill stork

Among many wonderful memories of being on safari in Botswana are those of its many magnificent birds.  These include our featured subject, the saddle-bill stork, which lives in sub-Saharan Africa.

These are huge long-legged birds, attaining a height of almost 5 ft (150 cm) and weighing up to 17 lbs (8 kg).  The birds have a wingspan of up to 9 ft (2.7m), so they are easy to spot at a distance. They are tallest and most vividly colored of Africa’s storks.  The tend to live on at the edge of forests, where they have access to tall trees (on which they build their nests) and marshes (wherein they feed).  Their diet includes fish, beetles, frogs, reptiles and small mammals. 

The bird’s …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

The Beautiful Lodi Garden, Delhi

50a Lodhi Gardens, Athpula. Delhi 02-2016

In a crowded, congested city of 17 million, green spaces are very important and much appreciated by the residents.  The lovely Lodi Garden in New Delhi, India, offers lots of free space for people to enjoy.  Here you have a chance to walk, jog, do yoga, have a picnic and play.  We arrived fairly early on a drizzly morning and the park was almost deserted.  Of course a little rain never stopped me from exploring.   The drizzle dried up within an hour and then the crowds started to arrive.  But not before I got to see a nearly empty park with lovely palm-tree lined walks.  My first impressions lingered — this was to be one of my favorite destinations …

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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Nowhere is a Place: Visiting Patagonia, 2) Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve, El Calafate, Argentina

031 El Calafate Laguna Nimez Nature Preserve 2-2014 001 Hawk

My first Patagonian post was an introduction to the travel hub of El Calafate. Today’s post focuses on the town’s best attraction.  Situated about a mile from downtown El Calafate, very close to the hotel we were staying at, Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve is a beautiful place worth exploring.  It’s especially a prime stop for bird-lovers, but also offers a nice easy hike in a natural setting.  The Reserve is situated at the edge of a great glacial lake, Lago Argentino, and adjoins a suburban neighborhood.  It contains two lagoons, Laguna Nimez and Laguna Secundaria.

The Reserve is fenced off and you enter through a small visitor center where a modest admission fee is charged.  Signage …

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