“Pic of the Week”, May 7, 2021: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Banff National Park

01 Rocky Mountain Bighorns

It’s not often that I’ve seen bighorn sheep traveling in family units — father, mother and youngster. But that’s exactly what we saw when visiting Banff National Park.  Usually, in my experience, if you encounter bighorn sheep they travel in larger herds, often females and their young stick together, as do groups of males.
But this family unit was standing in the snow on a rocky outcropping overlooking a group of human admirers. The small one — probably almost a year old — was especially cute hanging out beside dad, before deciding to wander off.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


 
 

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Spotting a Wild Tiger, Panna Tiger Reserve, India

00 Panna Tiger Reserve

It’s a rough bumpy 45 km ride from Khajuraho to the Panna Tiger Reserve — but it turned out to be very worthwhile.
A Brief Background of the Panna Tiger Reserve
The Panna Tiger Reserve is part of Panna National Park, which is a large swath of nature in one of the world’s most densely populated countries, having an area of 542.67 km2 (209.53 mi2).  The reserve has grass habitat with extensive open woodlands, and plateaus punctuated by gorges.  Life here depends on the Ken river and its tributary streams, which sustain everything you see.  The area was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2011.
India has the world’s largest surviving tiger population.  In 1993 Panna was declared India’s twenty-second Tiger reserve and placed under the Protection …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

A Day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari (1)

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is found near Escondido, California, about a half hour’s drive northeast of San Diego and its world famous San Diego Zoo.  
I’ve visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park about a half dozen times in the past 35 years and really enjoyed every visit.  When we first came to the park decades ago the place was known as San Diego Wild Animal Park, but in 2010 the name was changed because some people were apparently getting it and the zoo confused.  This is not the zoo — it’s where you can go on a (sort-of) safari.  But at either place you’ll have the chance to see a large quantity and variety of …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

A Few Photos of Life in the Everglades

07 Shark Valley 12-2018 (47)

The slowly flowing, warm, River of Grass is teaming with life, although at times it’s hard to see it.  A recommended place to spot wildlife within Everglades National Park is in Shark Valley.  There is a lengthy elevated bike path in the area, which is shared by a tram.  You can rent a bike and cycle around, stopping to see the alligators and birds, or you can sit back in the tram and let a biologist/guide educate you about what you’re seeing.  Both options are very rewarding.  There is no better place to immerse yourself in this UNESCO World Heritage ecosystem.

We visited Shark Valley a few months ago and had a wonderful experience.  I previously published a …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 8, 2019: Hiding in plain sight, Everglades National Park

Shark Valley 12-2018 (173)

My brother and I were traveling down a remote road in Everglades National Park one evening.  We’d stopped frequently to enjoy views and take photos of the River of Grass and Cypress groves.  During our last stop, in the fading light, we noted this alligator nearby, well camouflaged by the low light and reflections of the cypress trees.  There was something primitive and primal about the scene that caused the hair on my neck to stand on end.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

 

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.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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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park

desert

Unless you’ve driven across them, it’s hard to comprehend how vast the deserts of the American Southwest are.  While at first glance the region seems nearly lifeless, it’s rich in a diverse variety of hardy plant and animal life.  An excellent way to see this assortment of desert life is to stop everywhere and explore.  A much easier and more convenient way is to visit a botanical garden which, while not a perfect experience, is highly educational.  A place I’d recommend is the Living Desert, located in Palm Desert, California (very near Palm Springs), which provides a one-stop chance to explore the flora and fauna of America’s deserts –with an African sampler to boot!

Giraffes, Living Desert Museum

The Living Desert occupies …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 4, 2017: Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island

058 Kangaroo Island, Seal Bay

One of the most interesting days we had on our visit to Kangaroo Island included a stop at Seal Bay, now a Conservation Park.  The Bay is home to a colony of up to 1,000 Australian Sea Lions, one of the rarest types of sea lions.  Less than 15,000 of them exist and this Bay is home to one of the largest colonies.

When we visited, there were no other people on the Bay, or for that matter, any of the beaches we stopped at on the island.  It seemed a little odd at the time to be on a miles long stretch of beautiful sandy beach and not have any other people about.  But we took advantage of the opportunity …

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