Tree Swallows near Grass Lake in Ontario

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A Tree Swallow Sits On A Fence Near Grass Lake

A sure harbinger of spring is the sight of Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) staking a claim on a chosen birdhouse, and that is exactly what Bob and I witnessed on a recent spring weekend near Cambridge, Ontario.  A farmer had generously provided a small selection of nesting boxes at the edge of a field, and they were a hot commodity. Continue reading “Tree Swallows near Grass Lake in Ontario” »

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Our Visit To Cong Abbey Ruins In Ireland

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A View Of Cong Abbey On A Sunny Afternoon In County Mayo

It was a glorious sunny afternoon when Bob and I set off to discover Cong Abbey, which lies close to the main street of Cong in County Mayo.  The impressive ruins of the Augustinian Abbey stood proud against a bright blue sky while Bob and I immersed ourselves in the intriguing past of this important historic site. Continue reading “Our Visit To Cong Abbey Ruins In Ireland” »

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A Sandhill Crane At Grass Lake In Ontario

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A Sandhill Crane Stands In The Bulrushes At Grass Lake In Ontario

A sudden change in plans had Bob and me with a free day in which to go birdwatching, an opportunity not to be missed.  Recent reports on ebird Canada had us setting our sights on an area just west of Toronto, an area to which we had never gone birdwatching before.  It promised to be a fruitful day, and sure enough, amongst other species observed, we did sight one Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) at Grass Lake near Cambridge, Ontario. Continue reading “A Sandhill Crane At Grass Lake In Ontario” »

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Our Hike In Ashford Castle’s Mystical Forest

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A View Of The Mystical Forest Beside Ashford Castle

The estate property of Ashford Castle boasts a dense, healthy forest thanks to the efforts of previous owners Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness and his eldest son, Lord Ardilaun.  Sir Benjamin had thousands of trees planted during his occupancy of the castle after acquiring it in 1852, and in later years, when the estate passed to Arthur, he expanded the plantings to create extensive woodlands. Continue reading “Our Hike In Ashford Castle’s Mystical Forest” »

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Ashford Castle – One Of Ireland’s Most Romantic Hotels

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A View of Ashford Castle On A Sunny Morning In County Mayo

It had been a long day prior to our arrival at Ashford Castle, having left Killarney that morning, explored the Cliffs of Moher, and subsequently hiked about The Burren and discovered the history of Poulnabrone Dolmen.  Ashford Castle is located in the picturesque village of Cong on the shores of Lough Corrib in County Mayo, and when we first spotted the magnificent sprawling edifice, we were in disbelief.  It would be our “hotel” for the next couple of days, and it was strikingly impressive. Continue reading “Ashford Castle – One Of Ireland’s Most Romantic Hotels” »

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Dunguaire Castle In County Clare, Ireland

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A View of Dunguaire Castle On a Cloudy Day In County Clare

It was very late in the afternoon when Bob and I came by the famous landmark that is Dunguaire Castle, and the place was pretty much  deserted.  It was en route to Ashford Castle, our accommodation for the night, that we happened upon this ancient castle near Kinvara.  Dunguaire Castle sits on a rocky outcrop on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay in County Clare.  Its simple yet magnificent architecture features a 75-foot tower, and both the tower and the defensive wall have been meticulously restored to their original condition. Continue reading “Dunguaire Castle In County Clare, Ireland” »

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Skiing the Pipestone Trail in a Snowstorm at Lake Louise

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On our second day of cross-country skiing at Banff National Park this past January, Bob and I had decided on the Pipestone Trail system and were planning on tackling a trail of moderate difficulty for our second ski of the season.  The extreme conditions forced us to opt for one of the easy trails instead. Continue reading “Skiing the Pipestone Trail in a Snowstorm at Lake Louise” »

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Redhead Ducks In Toronto Harbour

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A Redhead Duck On The Water In Toronto Harbour

One of the highlights of our day trip this past January to Ward’s Island, one of 13 islands in Toronto Harbour, was seeing a real proliferation of ducks, some of which were wintering in Southern Ontario from the Arctic.  One such species was the striking Redhead Duck (Aythya americana). Continue reading “Redhead Ducks In Toronto Harbour” »

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The Poulnabrone Dolmen In County Clare, Ireland

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The Poulnabrone Dolmen Atop The Limestone Plateau Of The Burren

After our initial exploration of The Burren, Bob and I continued to the peak of the limestone plateau in order to locate Poulnabrone Dolmen.  There, 8 kilometres (5 miles) south of Ballyvaughan in the parish of Carran, it rises majestically and sits conspicuously in the middle of a field.  Poulnabrone Dolmen, and many others, still stand today as stone sentinels at the gates of our civilization’s history, history that is laid bare on The Burren. Continue reading “The Poulnabrone Dolmen In County Clare, Ireland” »

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Walking The Burren In County Clare, Ireland

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A View of The Limestone Pavement Of The Burren In County Clare

After leaving the Cliffs of Moher, Bob and I still had quite a distance to cover since we would be hanging our hats that night at Ashford Castle in the village of Cong.  One area we wanted to investigate on the way was The Burren, a uniquely fascinating bit of landscape near the village of Ballyvaughan.  The stark, mournful terrain of that region is the result of little soil cover and sweeping expanses of exposed Limestone Pavement. Continue reading “Walking The Burren In County Clare, Ireland” »

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Elk In Snowy Meadow Near Lake Louise

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An Elk Lays On A Snowy Field Near Lake Louise

One afternoon during our stay in Banff National Park, Alberta, Bob and I decided to take a drive from Lake Louise along the Bow Valley Parkway, a quieter highway than the Trans Canada, only two-lane versus four.  We were in hopes of spotting some wildlife and were on the lookout for elk, in particular.  Seeing another vehicle pulled to the side of the road, we slowed to have a look.  At first, we didn’t notice the Elk (Cervus canadensis) laying in the snow but rather thought the tourists were admiring yet another beautiful mountain peak. Continue reading “Elk In Snowy Meadow Near Lake Louise” »

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White-tailed Deer In The Wild At Lynde Shores

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White-tailed Deer Look Towards Our Camera At Lynde Shores Conservation Area

In mid-March, Bob and I took a drive out to Thickson’s Woods in Oshawa to look for the Great Horned Owls reported to have been seen in the tall pines there.  On our way home, we took a slow drive along Hall’s Road South, which borders the Cranberry West Tract of Lynde Shores Conservation Area in Whitby.  There, we espied a small herd of White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) lingering in the warm sunshine. Continue reading “White-tailed Deer In The Wild At Lynde Shores” »

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