“Pic of the Week”, July 1st, 2016: White Pelican at Victoria Beach


It’s Canada’s birthday today — Happy 149th to all my Canadian friends and relatives, eh?!  What better way to celebrate than to feature the American White Pelican, but in Canada.  Highly symbolic of the identity crisis many in the country have, feeling neither American nor Canadian.

Pelicans are great birds to observe in nature.  There’s nothing like watching a group of them catch a thermal and ride it for hundreds of yards, looking more like a formation of fighter aircraft than living creatures.  Among the largest of North America’s birds, the American White Pelican is almost pure white, but with black feathers in its wings visible only when flying.  Immature birds, like the one featured above, often have some dusky feathers …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 22, 2016. Macaws, Orlando

Gatorland 11-2015 (97) macaws and parrots

Macaws are beautiful birds — although at times, perhaps, a little temperamental!  Watching a flock of them fly through the Amazon rain-forest is a sight you never forget, with flapping flashes of bright color against the green canopy.  And, of course, as easy as they are to see they’re even easier to hear as they’re quite chirpy.

The best place to study these beautiful birds up close is in an exhibit.  But beware those beaks — they can do serious damage to a finger pointed their way!

These photos were taken at Gatorland park in Orlando.

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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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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Everglades City, Florida: Mangroves, Manatee, and the Sea.

Everglades City 2013 019 airboat pelicans

This is the second in a three part series on Florida’s unique Everglades ecosystem.  The first part focused on the Cypress forests of the Everglades, which you read about here. This post deals with a visit to the coastal Everglades.

Everglades City is a small town (population 400) in southwestern Florida abutting the ocean to the south and Everglades National Park to the east.  The town is situated towards the southern end of the Everglades.  In this region, the “River of Grass” has transitioned to a coastal mangrove forest.  Mangroves thrive where the water is brackish and saw-grass can’t survive, and mangroves are ecologically important because they helps anchor the land and keep it from eroding during …

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.All Trips / Europe / Ireland

A Visit to Ireland: Part 7) the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren

047 Cliffs of Moher. Branaunmore Rock just off O’Brien’s Tower

Our journey around Ireland next took us north to the Cliffs of Moher.  From Dingle we headed through Tralee then to the Tarbert ferry over the River Shannon.  The ferry ride can save you considerable time (the other option being driving all the way around the river) but it only runs once an hour so you need to check its schedule and time your arrival accordingly.  The ferry ride lasts about 15 minutes and it was cold but very scenic.
Soon we’re in County Clare and our main stop of the day not far ahead, the famous Cliffs of Moher (pronounced Maahrr), Ireland’s most popular natural tourist attraction which draws over a million visitors a year. …

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“Pic of the Week”. July 12, 2013. Scarlet Macaw, Peruvian Amazon

2013-028-July 11a

One of the thrills of traveling to the Amazon rain-forest is to see its large colorful flocks of birds.  The most spectacular of these are scarlet macaws which are actually not just scarlet but a combination of red, yellow and blue.  To watch them in flight is to see color become fluid and take life.

My brother and I visited the Peruvian Amazon after hiking the Inca Trail.  We spent a few nights at the Tambopata Lodge situated in a National Reserve, a long boat trip upriver from the airport at Puerto Maldonado.  The lodge is in the heart of a beautiful rain-forest and offers the advantage of cool evening breezes from the barely visible Andes to the west which provide …

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