Visiting the Spanish Steps in Rome

Visiting the Spanish Steps in Rome

The Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy

On the afternoon that Bob and I landed in Rome, Italy, we were in dire need of a stretch given the long hours of travel time from Toronto.  Our accommodation, Hotel Manfredi, was centrally located in the Old Quarter so The Spanish Steps were less than ten minutes by foot from the hotel lobby.  It seemed a likely destination given its close proximity. Read more

White Ibis at the shrimp ponds in San Blas

White Ibis at the shrimp ponds in San Blas

white ibis at shrimp ponds, san blas, mexico, pic 2

What great fun to set off exploring the vicinity around San Blas, Mexico, in search of wildlife.  The morning that Bob and I scoped out the shrimp ponds on the outskirts of this small fishing community, quite a variety of birds met our searching eyes, most of which we had never seen before.  Among those plying the water for something to eat was this impressive White Ibis. Read more

A Brown Thrasher at Carden Alvar

A Brown Thrasher at Carden Alvar

brown thrasher, carden alvar, city of kawartha lakes, ontario, pic 5

Our first time visiting the Carden Alvar had Bob and me astonished by the myriad sounds of nature that combined into a marvelous symphony:  choruses of frogs, whirring of Wilson’s Snipes, echoing conk-la-rees from the Red-winged Blackbirds, and Savannah Sparrows raising their voice in song.  On several occasions, all were overshadowed by another lively bit of birdsong that had us mystified…until we finally spotted this Brown Thrasher. Read more

A Black-throated Blue Warbler in our Garden

A Black-throated Blue Warbler in our Garden
black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 1

One day in early May, as I returned home from doing some errands, I found Bob tied up on the telephone.  He no sooner hung up the receiver but what he declared, “there’s a new bird in our back apple tree!”  It turned out to be a male Black-throated Blue Warbler. Read more

A Blanding’s Turtle at the Carden Alvar

A Blanding’s Turtle at the Carden Alvar
blandings turtle, carden alvar, city of kawartha lakes, ontario, pic 15

Bob and I had been looking forward to getting up to the Carden Alvar for at least a couple of years.  Our schedule and family commitments just did not allow us the opportunity until this May.  I was filled with excitement at the prospect of seeing a number of early spring migrants and birds that favour the specialized habitat of the alvar plain, so it came as a pleasant surprise to also come across a rare Blanding’s Turtle. Read more

A Moose Cow and Calf enjoy spring in Algonquin Park

A Moose Cow and Calf enjoy spring in Algonquin Park

moose cow and calf 2

A Moose cow and her calf stand along the forest’s edge in Algonquin Park, in Ontario, in late April. Read more

An American Woodcock at the Carden Alvar

An American Woodcock at the Carden Alvar

american woodcock, carden alvar, city of kawartha lakes, ontario, pic1

Our anticipation ran high the night before our first visit to the Carden Alvar that is located northeast of Toronto, Ontario.  We had our alarm set for 5:45 a.m. but I woke up at 5 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep.  We were on site by 8:30 a.m. and spent hours touring the area.  It was around mid-afternoon that we came across an American Woodcock, and the sighting pretty much made our day! Read more

A Northern Potoo in the mangrove swamp at San Blas

Northern Potoo in the mangrove swamp at San Blas, Mexico

Northern Potoo in the mangrove swamp at san blas, mexico, pic 5

On our boat tour through the mangrove swamp near San Blas, in Mexico, we saw no less than three Northern Potoos, one of the most highly-sought-after species for birdwatchers.  Bob and I had booked a week’s stay in the tiny fishing village on the Pacific Coast and planned to use our time wisely.  Known as a birding hotspot, the town attracts scores of avian enthusiasts, so we had to secure our guides and tours promptly upon arrival to ensure availability. Read more

A Red Fox Vixen in Algonquin Park

A Red Fox Vixen in Algonquin Park

red fox near lake of two rivers, algonquin park, ontario

One particular family of Red Foxes in Algonquin Provincial Park has become quite celebrated, so much so that seeing them no longer represents a challenge.  On our day trip to the Park in late April, it was exciting to come across not one but two Red Foxes separate and distinct from the other well known foxes.  This vixen was spotted near Lake of Two Rivers. Read more

Our Armed Safari in Kruger National Park

Our Armed Safari in Kruger National Park

armed safari, kruger national park, south africa, pic 10

The night before our scheduled Armed Safari in Kruger National Park, I was so wound up with excitement that I could hardly sleep.  Laying awake from 1:30 a.m. on, I didn’t need the alarm that was set to beep us awake at 3:30 a.m., but the dainty chimes wrested Bob from his sleep and then we prepared for the 4:30 a.m. departure from Skukuza Rest Camp.  The armed park rangers in charge of leading us safely around the savanna were Rouleni and Opa. Read more

Our walking tour of Piazza del Popolo in Rome

Our walking tour of Piazza del Popolo in Romepiazza del popola viewed from pincian hill, rome, italy

Bob and I seemed to find ourselves drawn to Piazza del Popolo a few times during our stay in Rome.  From our hotel, we could walk to this large pedestrian zone within minutes and always found something of interest to investigate. Read more

Mudpuppy Pulled from Lake Nipissing

Mudpuppy Pulled from Lake Nipissing

mudpuppy, lake nipissing, ontario, pic 2

When my son forwarded photos of a Mudpuppy that he and his buddies pulled from Lake Nipissing in Ontario while ice fishing, I thought “how interesting” but gave it no further consideration.  I did not realize how uncommon these little aquatic creatures are. Read more

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