Wood Duck and ducklings at Rouge Park

wood duck -female -with babies at rouge national  urban park - toronto

On Father’s Day, my family teamed up for a hike in Rouge Park, in Toronto, Ontario.  For a change of scenery, my brother-in-law suggested a section of trail new to us, beginning just off of Meadowvale Road at the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre.  It was towards the end of our day’s explorations that we came upon a female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) and several ducklings at the ponds along the Cedar Trail. Read more

Dunluce Castle a renowned ruins in Northern Ireland

dunluce castle, northern ireland, pic 1

After waking up to a damp and foggy morning, Bob and I postponed our plans to drive directly to the Giant’s Causeway, in Northern Ireland.  We thought a tour of the Bushmills Distillery would provide a great distraction while we waited for the skies to clear and that it would brace us for the day ahead, but frequent stops to take in the daunting sights along the Causeway Coast caused a substantial delay.  On one headland of that inspirational coastline, we discovered the dramatic ruins of Dunluce Castle. Read more

Great Horned Owlets at Second Marsh, Oshawa, Ontario

great horned owl and owlet, second marsh, oshawa, ontario,

For a change of scenery at the end of a week of birdwatching in parks around Toronto, Bob and I decided to pay a visit to Second Marsh in Oshawa.  Our goal was to seek some of the migrating waterfowl that were moving through this area of southern Ontario.  It came as a surprise to come upon a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and two Great Horned Owlets in the same neck of the woods. Read more

Glossy Ibis sighted in Whitby, Ontario

Glossy Ibis, Whitby, Ontario, pic 11

Imagine Bob’s and my surprise when we got wind of a Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) hanging around in Whitby, Ontario, this spring.  The bird’s presence here in Canada is very unusual, and it had birders’ tongues flapping.  Word spread quickly as to its location, and people flocked to see the Ibis, in some cases driving long distances for a look at this beautiful wading bird. Read more

Flamboyant Cacti at Mesa Verde National Park

musk thistle, mesa verde national park, colorado, 2

From the Visitor Centre at the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Bob and I ascended a sinuous and steep roadway to the Museum that is located near Spruce Tree House, one group of cliff dwellings open to the public.  When we pulled into the parking lot, my attention was immediately captured by the most outstanding examples of wildflowers, Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans), that were bobbing atop tall stalks next to one of the adobe outbuildings. Read more

Razorbill Auks on Carrick-a-Rede in Northern Ireland

razorbill

At the time Bob and I visited Northern Ireland, we had only a casual interest in birds and animals, so it was just by happenstance that we took several photographs of the peculiar looking birds called Razorbill auks (Alca Torda) that were nesting on Carrick-a-Rede Island.  What struck us about their appearance was the thick black beak that is so deep and blunt. Read more

Our walk on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

giant's causeway, northern ireland, pic 6

Bob and I arrived in Northern Ireland a day earlier under rainy skies that persisted into the following morning and dampened our hopes for a clear day to visit the Giant’s Causeway.  In light of the inclement weather, we chose to tour the Bushmill’s Distillery en route as a means of killing a couple of hours, and lo and behold, by the time we drove a little further east to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the rain had stopped. Read more

Our bike ride on Inishmore Island

rental bikes on inishmore island, ireland, pic 2

Bob and I had spent the early part of one morning touring the ancient fort, Dun Aonghasa, and photographing the wide variety of wildflowers at that location, so by the time we returned to our accommodations at Kilmurvey House, our rental bikes were ready and waiting for us.  A quick stop at the nearby cafe afforded us some sandwiches and apples that were tucked into our backpacks before setting off on our bike ride on Inishmore Island. Read more

A River Otter enjoys a spring day near Haliburton, Ontario

otter on ice, minden, ontario

Bob and I had the opportunity to drive to the town of Haliburton on a recent spring weekend, with a set time required for our arrival, so nothing much was going to get in our way of arriving on schedule.  As we drove along Highway 35, Bob drew my attention to a black blob on the ice of Cedar Lake, and I recognized it immediately as a River Otter (Lontra canadensis). Read more

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