Great-tailed Grackles stroll on the grass in Zitacuaro

Great-tailed Grackle, zitacuaro, michoacan, mexico, 6

The Great-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) that Bob and I saw in Mexico were certainly impressive when it comes to grackles.  On our first morning in Zitacuaro, as we made our way to the patio for breakfast, we did not recognize the ear-piercing call of a number of these birds as they stood sentinel on the hotel’s rooftop. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, Grackle, Mexico, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Wilson’s Warbler at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Wilson's Warbler at hotel rancho san cayetano, zitacuaro, mexico, 2

Last spring, at home in Ontario, Bob and I had fervently hoped to see a Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla) as they migrated through our region to their breeding grounds in northern Canada.  It was a total surprise to spot one in Mexico on our very first day on the ground there, and it was no further than a short walk from our hotel room at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, Mexico, Travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Slate-throated Redstart at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Slate-throated Redstart at hotel rancho san cayetano, zitacuaro, mexico, 7

In January, Bob and I traveled to Zitacuaro in the State of Michoacan, Mexico, for the purpose of seeing the Monarch Butterflies that had completed their winter migration.  It was an added bonus to come across a good selection of interesting birds such as this Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus), and we didn’t even have to leave the property of Hotel Rancho San Cayetano. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, Mexico, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wildflowers on Ireland’s Inishmore Island

bloody crane's-bill _ geranium sanguineum

Our first morning on Inishmore Island, Bob and I set off on foot to explore the hills surrounding Kilmurvey House, our bed and breakfast accommodations, and made first for the historic fort, Dun Aonghasa.  What a pleasant surprise to find a good variety of wildflowers growing amongst the karst limestone, many of them in bloom such as this Bloody Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium sanguineum). Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Gardening, Ireland, Plants, Travel, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tundra Swan at Unwin Avenue Bridge in Toronto

tundra swan, unwin bridge, toronto, 7

On a recent brilliantly sunny and relatively warm March day, Bob and I visited the Leslie Street Spit for some much-needed fresh air and exercise.  It was on the way home that we made a short stop at the Unwin Avenue bridge here in Toronto and spotted the elusive Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus). Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, Swan | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Lincoln’s Sparrow at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Lincoln's sparrow at zitacuaro, michoacan, mexico, 8

Before we even arrived at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano in Zitacuaro, Mexico, we knew it was going to be someplace special.  Not only was the location centrally-located in relation to three nearby monarch butterfly preserves, but it also turned out to be a haven for interesting birds given the lush grounds and proximity to a sheltered river valley.  To our surprise, one day at lunch, a brave Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) fluttered to the ground next to our sunlit table and cast a curious glance our way. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, Mexico, Travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Berylline Hummingbird at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Berylline Hummingbird at hotel rancho san cayetano, zitacuaro, mexico, 2

During the course of our stay at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano in Zitacuaro, Mexico, Bob and I observed several different species of hummingbirds, but it always seemed that they were either far away or prone to disappear as soon as we got near.  On our hike down to the river adjacent to the hotel, we came across this Berylline Hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina) basking in the morning sun. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, hummingbird, Mexico | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nashville Warbler at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Nashville Warbler at hotel rancho san cayetano, zitacuaro, mexico 6

What a pleasure to find a Nashville Warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla) lingering in the wooded valley next to our accommodations in Zitacuaro, Mexico.  Our morning walk into the depths of the shady glen was completed more out of curiosity than anything else.  It served as a bit of exercise after a hearty breakfast and pleased our senses with the sights and sounds of tropical plants and surroundings.  The presence of dozens of songbirds was an unexpected bonus. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, Mexico | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Long-eared Owl at Tommy Thompson Park

long-eared owl, tommy thompson park, toronto 1

Owing to family demands this winter, Bob and I have had no opportunity to do birdwatching, much less skiing or hiking.  This past Sunday was our first day of liberty, and we seized the moment by going to one of our favorite spots for birdwatching…Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto.  We were not disappointed and came up with a lifer, a gorgeous Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus). Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, Ontario, Owl | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vermilion Flycatchers at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Vermilion Flycatcher, male, zitacuaro, michoacan, mexico 2

Bob and I arrived at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano in Zitacuaro, Mexico, late in the afternoon after having landed in Mexico City that morning, so it wasn’t until the next day that we set out for a walk to explore the extensive landscaped grounds surrounding the well-kept resort.  That is when we came upon a Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) that was frequenting a bench in one spacious area of open lawn. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Birds, Mexico, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roosters Cockfighting near Ocampo in Mexico

roosters cockfighting near angangueo - mexico 4

The second morning following our arrival in Mexico, Bob and I took full advantage of a perfect sunny day to go to Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca “El Rosario” to witness the phenomenon of wintering Monarchs by the millions.  Getting there was half the adventure, and unexpected sights such as a spur-of-the-moment cockfight at roadside certainly made the trip interesting. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Mexico, Travel Photography | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Visiting Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary on Horseback

horseback riding at cerro pelon butterfly sanctuary - mexico 5

Even before we left Canada for Mexico, Bob and I had planned to visit all three of the monarch butterfly sanctuaries that are near Zitacuaro.  Pablo, the host at our hotel, Hotel Rancho San Cayetano, was very pleased that we included Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in our plans.  Of the three that we would visit, Cerro Pelon is the least known and hence less visited, two pluses in our book, but perhaps it is for good reason.  To reach the roosting location of the butterflies, riding on horseback is almost a necessity.  It made for quite the adventure. Read more »

Categories: Animals and Plants, Butterflies, Insects and Spiders, Mexico, Nature and Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments