Roosters Cockfighting near Ocampo in Mexico

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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 »

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Visiting Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary on Horseback

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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 »

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Our Visit to the Pyramids of San Felipe de los Alzati

pyramids of san felipe de los alzati, zitacuaro, mexico

Two butterfly reserves down and one to go, so Bob and I decided to give it a break and check out the local pyramids.  We were becoming quite familiar with Highway 15 being the main road in and out of Zitacuaro, and again we were headed northwest, this time in the direction of Tuxpan.  Our goal was the Pyramids of San Felipe de los Alzati just outside a small village of the same name.  Long before we uncovered the secret trail to the pyramids, we saw them looming on a distant hill. Read more »

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Hepatic Tanagers at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Mexico

hepatic tanager at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve - mexico

As Bob and I climbed the mountain at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Mexico, we were on the alert for any new bird species living in that forest habitat.  It wasn’t until we returned to the visitor centre back at the trailhead that we were treated to a sighting of Hepatic Tanagers (Piranga flava hepatica). Read more »

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In the Midst of Monarch Butterflies at Sierra Chincua Sanctuary in Mexico

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There are eight butterfly colonies that exist in protected areas of Mexico, five of which are located in the state of Michoacan, but only two of these are open to the public.  We wanted to check out both for the different experiences that they provide.  On Day 4 of our trip, we retraced the route towards Angangueo and then branched off towards the Sierra Chincua Butterfly Reserve.  Although smaller in scope, with fewer butterflies overall, we were actually able to get closer to those resting in the trees. Read more »

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Grey Jays wintering in Algonquin Provincial Park

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Who can resist the endearing face of a chubby Canada Jay or Grey Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) as they are more familiarly known?  In certain areas of Algonquin Provincial Park, one is almost guaranteed to sight these friendly birds that are always quick to come close as if in welcome to their territory, the boreal forest. Read more »

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Among the Winged Magic at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Mexico

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For a number of years now, Bob and I have intended to go to the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico to witness the spectacle of the Monarch Butterflies that winter there.  We realized our dream in January 2015 when we flew into Mexico City, and two days later found ourselves at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in the State of Michoacán.  The sight literally brought me to tears. Read more »

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A Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk stakes out my Toronto backyard

juvenile coopers hawk on arbour - toronto - ontario

Bob and I enjoy birdwatching through our patio door as we take our meals every day, but near the beginning of this past December, as we finished up our lunch, all the songbirds took flight in a rushed panic.  Next thing we knew, this Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) assumed a stakeout from on top of my garden arbour. Read more »

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Cow Moose and Calf ready for winter in Algonquin Provincial Park

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When we drive through Algonquin Provincial Park or take the time to hike one of the many trails through the forest there, we never know what marvelous birds or animals may cross our paths.  Many times, it is only the superb scenery that is to be enjoyed, and the peace and solitude of the Park’s backwoods.  Other times, wildlife, such as this Cow Moose and Calf (Alces alces), will come right out to the highway corridor where it is far easier to browse than amongst the tangle of fallen trees in the dense forest. Read more »

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Red foxes wintering in Algonquin Provincial Park

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Late this fall, Bob and I visited Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, and with the early snowfall received in the area, the Park was totally transformed from even a couple of weeks before.  As we made our way around the Park in search of wildlife, we could not resist the temptation to revisit the home range of a couple of Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) known to many people.  The resident Foxes were out and about and seemed all that much more beautiful given the white canvas that accentuated their rich red coat of winter fur. Read more »

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An Eastern Coyote hunting prey near Saintfield, Ontario

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On a recent drive north of Whitby, Ontario, Bob happened to glance into a farm field adjacent to the highway where he spotted a Coyote (Canis latrans) sauntering along.  It is quite common to see Coyotes in and around rural farm properties in Ontario, as well as right in the heart of cities like Toronto, where they share our green spaces and waterways. Read more »

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Dun Aonghasa, the famous stone fort on Inishmore Island

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Dun Aonghasa Fort on Inishmore Island, Ireland

Dun Aonghasa Fort was our first destination of the day when we awoke on Inishmore Island, one of the islands in the chain known as the Aran Islands in County Galway, Ireland.  This prehistoric fort is the most famous of those found on the Aran Islands, and it is perched at the brink of a 100-metre (328 ft) precipice buffeted by the north Atlantic Ocean.  Its location is spectacular. Read more »

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