Diane and I love birds. Making no attempt to disguise ourselves as amateur ornithologists or even casual bird people, we simply enjoy watching them and we’re often fascinated by their intelligence, perseverance and beauty. Because they’re found almost everywhere from rural farmlands to urban parks, almost anybody can enjoy them by simply stopping to look, listen and learn. Keeping a promise to two of our followers whose devote their blogs to the beauty of birds, Diane and I braved the -25 Celsius frigid cold in both Edmonton and Calgary on our recent holiday jaunt to Canada and searched for photographic opportunities of birds crazy enough to withstand Alberta winters.
braving the cold in search of birds
Not surprisingly, only a few species developed characteristics hearty enough to allow year round residency in places north of the 49th parallel and we limited all pictures except the featured image to Diane’s camera so please don’t expect a National Geographic photo spread.
Understanding nature has a plan for everything, we used to feel sorry for the poor little creatures until and wondered how they do it until we realized they’re well suited for the challenge and might even enjoy owning the skies for six months. Unsure why we never simply Googled why the birds don’t freeze, we’ve included a few facts for the curious to help clarify their tolerance.
Unaware I’d slept through several hours of rather violent seas on the return from an incredible day of bird watching on Genovesa Island, I woke to beautiful calm seas as Diane and I prepared for the third day of our Galapagos Islands Cruise. Part of our annual Expat Destination Research Vacationin Ecuador, we planned to visit Cuenca and discover what made it so attractive to expats. For now, however, it was something completely different and our guide Javier briefed us on the day’s activities featuring close encounters with Marine Iguanasand a rare opportunity to kayak and swim with Galapagos Green Sea Toirtoises, the only species nesting anywhere in the islands. Allowing me to relive the experience, this is the third in a five-part series and I hope the post conveys some of the islands beauty.
Thinking early retirement was still years away and unaware I’d be laid off exactly one year later, we went first class on The Ocean Spray,a beautiful 16 passenger luxury catamaran. Fully satisfied so far, we learned about Santiago island, an island flanked with mangrove forests, pristine beaches and teeming with many creatures only found in The Galapagos Islands. Landing at Espulmilla Beach, the group headed inland for a short walk but before we did, scores of beautiful Galapagos crabs scampered across the beach making the morning’s first photo opportunity a bit tricky, but well worth it. Stunningly colorful. adult crabs are bright orange with pink and yellow spots and grow as large as 20 centimeters.
We made our first friend in Malaysia. No, not the monkey.
The expat destination research vacation of 2011 continued after our amazing adventure at Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Still a current Facebook friend, our guide at The Bilit Adventure Lodge in the Kinebatangen River Valley enhanced our adventure with a personalized style not found in a tour guide manual. Unlike the college educated and company trained professional staff we’d met at the luxurious lodge, Loy is a local resident from the village that just happens to work for the lodge. Sharing local knowledge, a few rounds of guitar and some cold beer it was more like hanging out at a friend’s house. Continue reading →